Guitarist Mike Sullivan chronicles the essential guitars, amps, and noisemakers he needs to construct the band’s instrumental post-rock sonic mayhem.

Mike’s current main squeeze is a 1985 Gibson Les Paul Custom that he bought in his hometown of Chicago at Rock N Roll Vintage. Since acquiring the guitar, he dropped in new pickups—a high-wound Lollar Imperial in the bridge and a standard Lollar Imperial in the neck. Sullivan goes with D’Addario NYXL .011–.056 strings and tunes this one to a DADGAD variant—C#-G#-D-G-C-A#. When it comes to picks, he’s been loyal to the Dunlop Max-Grip Jazz III since he found some inside a box for an Andy Timmons pedal.

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The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

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Megadeth founder teams up with Gibson for his first acoustic guitar in the Dave Mustaine Collection.

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The bass wiz and author shares deep wisdom about bass, music, and more.

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