The Texas-metal-boogie masters chat about their minimalistic gear approach—including an amp with one knob—and the benefits of touring with a bassist that builds custom stompboxes.

Austin metal quartet The Sword talked with Premier Guitar before their show at the Exit/In, in Nashville on February 17, 2014. Guitarists John “J.D.” Cronise and Kyle Shutt explain why all they need for a successful tour is four guitars, a couple amps, and a bass player that builds custom pedals.

J.D. Cronise's Gear

Guitars


John “J.D.” Cronise is a full-on Gibson man. When not bludgeoning his beloved 1979 Gibson E2 Explorer, he’s playing his 2007 Gibson Les Paul Custom plain top. Both guitars feature Gibson TP6 tailpieces. The E2 features a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge and a DiMarzio Super Distortion 2 in the neck. The Les Paul sports a Super Distortion in the bridge and a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates in the neck.

Effects


J.D.’s pedal chain starts with a TC Electronic PolyTune into a Rocktron HUSH. Next is an MXR Phase 90 into a Bogner Ecstasy Red overdrive/boost and ending with an MXR Carbon Copy delay. J.D’s board also holds a TC-Helicon VoiceTone D1 that he uses as a doubling effect for his vocals.

Amps


Cronise plays through an Orange OR100 and keeps a Laney AOR pro-tube as a backup. Both players run their amps into two black tolexed Orange 2x12 and 4x12 cabinets, (models PPC412 and PPC212), loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers that have twice the wattage of a standard Orange cab.

Kyle Shutt's Gear

Guitars


Kyle Shutt tours exclusively with two Electra Guitars. The first is a lovely 2013 Electra Omega Prime featuring a maple fretboard, a Duncan Invader pickup in the bridge and a Duncan JB in the neck. The other is a very “black beauty-ish” 2013 Electra Omega featuring a Super Distortion in the bridge and a Duncan Phat Cat P-90 in the neck. Electra was an innovative guitar company in the ’70s that could not survive the pointy guitar craze of the ’80s, but they are now back and better than ever.

Effects


Kyle’s effects chain starts with a Boss TU-2 tuner into a wah (although you see a Vox enclosure, the actual circuitry is a Dunlop Cry Baby that’s been heavily modded by The Sword’s bassist Bryan Richie). Next in line is a Boss DS-1 into a Rocktron HUSH, then into a phaser (built by Richie), ending with a delay—also built by Richie. While PG was conducting this interview, Bryan was soldering something in the background and looked a bit like a mad scientist, only way cooler. Both guitarists use a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 to provide juice for all this grease.

Amps


Kyle uses a 50-watt Big Crunch One Knob, which, as you probably guessed, gets it all done with a single volume control. Both players run their amps into two black tolexed Orange 2x12 and 4x12 cabinets, (models PPC412 and PPC212), loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers that have twice the wattage of a standard Orange cab.

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This 1964 Vibrolux Reverb arrived in all-original condition, right down to a two-prong power cord and a death cap wired to the ground switch. The author’s well-worn Strat is the perfect companion.

How our columnist’s risky purchase turned out to be a dusty pre-CBS jewel.

This month, I’d like to share the story of my 1964 Fender Vibrolux Reverb. It was a really risky purchase that had some big surprises.

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Fat tones from a sweet niche where Les Paul, Gretsch, and Telecaster share the limelight.

Copious, unexpected tones. Cool, useful bass contour control. Very nice build quality. Excellent value.

Heavy.

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Reverend Flatroc Bigsby
reverendguitars.com

4.5
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4.5

If you only pay casual attention to Reverend guitars, it’s easy to overlook how different their instruments can be. Some of that may be due to the way Reverends look. There are longstanding styling themes and strong family likenesses among models that can make differentiation a challenge for uninitiated guitar spotters. For instance, the Flatroc reviewed here has more or less the same body as the Charger, Buckshot, and Double Agent OG (which has an entirely different body than the more Jazzmaster-like Double Agent W). If you don’t have an experienced Reverend enthusiast at your side, it can all be a bit mind bending.

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