The Texas rockers have used the same tone formula for decades, but when it comes to gear and making a statement, they’re kings of style.

The amp signal goes to a two miked iso boxes: one is miking the Marshalls, while the other drives the Magnatone stage cabinets with custom Eminence speakers. Francis uses an Orange amp straight from Hill’s wireless to monitor the bass, and a Carr Raleigh amp from Gibbons’ wireless to monitor guitar.

ZZ Top’s guitar and bass tech, Elwood Francis, explains the ins and outs of the newest guitars and basses that Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill have out on the road for 2015.

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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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Jazz virtuoso Lionel Loueke joins us in contemplating who we’d put at the helm while making the album of a lifetime. Plus, musical obsessions!

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