Tessa Jeffers discusses the go-to gear for Neon Trees' Chris Allen and Branden Campbell.
Chris Allen's main guitar is a Fender Eric Johnson Strat that he's modified with a GraphTech Ghost Acousti-Phonic system and stereo output jack for the acoustic part of "Everybody Talks." The bridge pickup is a Lindy Fralin Split Blade to help cut noise and hum. He also uses a Fender Custom Shop model of his design with an Eric Johnson-profile neck, 12-string headstock, Jazzmaster body with Tele hardware and electronics, a NOS '63 Tele bridge pickup and a Jazzmaster neck pickup. He also uses a MIM Fender Jazzmaster in a custom tuning for "Sins of My Youth."
Bassist Branden Campbell's number one bass is his 1961 Fender P bass. It has Hanson NeoPunch pickups, which are wired like a classic Fender-style with an additional Neodynium magnet for more hair on the note, which he likes for how they break up with a natural compression. The bass also has a new pickguard and Babicz Full Contact bridge. He uses DR Fat Beams strings, gauges .045 - .105. He also uses a '66 Guild Starfire with original Hagstrom "Mickey Mouse" pickup that's tuned to Eb for "Everybody Talks." "It is the loudest but clearest of any of my basses," Camp told us. Other basses include a Rickenbacker tuned to Drop D, a Hofner Club Bass Limited Edition, a '74 Gibson Ripper bass, and a Fender Mike Dirnt P Bass.
Allen uses a Laney Lionheart LH-20 20-watt hand-wired amp. He told us, "Even though it's only 20 watts, it gets really loud. Sits well in the mix."
Campbell plugs into a Fender Super Bassman 300 with 6550s and two channels: vintage and modern.
On his board, Allen uses a Cusack Pedal Board Tamer to keep his tonal path as streamlined as possible. He’s arranged his effects switches song-specifically in order to minimize the “tap dancing” he was doing from song to song. He names his Ibanez TS808HW Hand-Wired Tube Screamer overdrive as a must-have, and his Malekko Trem and Vibrato and Z.Vex Fuzz Factory are also favorites. He’s also using: EHX Nano Holy Grail, Dunlop MXR Power Amp, Keeley Compressor, Fulltone GT-500 Boost/Distortion, Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo, A/B amp switch to control his Laneys and Roland JC-120, HardWire CR-7 Stereo Chorus, and a TC Electronic poly-chromatic tuner.
Campbell’s pedalboard is extensive for a bassist. He says his Aguilar Tone Hammer is his bread and butter, but he’s also proud of his homemade channel switcher for his one-of-a-kind white Fender Bassman amp rig (bottom right). Starting from the top left, Campbell’s pedals include: a JHS Bass Utility, Tech 21 VT Bass pedal, Aguilar Tone Hammer, Peterson StroboStomp tuner, EBS DPhaser, EBS UniChorus, EHX Nano Holy Grail, JHS Pandamonium 4 Wheeler Fuzz, TC Electronic ND-1 Nova Delay, Z.Vex Woolly Mammoth Bass Fuzz Pedal, EHX Bass Big Muff Pi, JHS Low Drive, EHX Bass Microsynth, EBS Octabass, homemade amp switch.