Exclusive: In-Depth Look at Isbell & Kingfish Rig Rundowns, Vintage Gear, New Pearl Jam, Keeley & EVH | Gig Rundown
The Rig Rundown crew breaks ground on a casual new video series where they'll chat about everything happening in guitardom and the musical universe. This time, they cover recent Rig Rundowns with Kingfish and Jason Isbell, discuss fresh music from Pearl Jam and Marcus King, ponder if using vintage gear on tour is worth it, and highlight some new products from Keeley and EVH. They close out with a debate on Billy Corgan's suggestion to rebrand the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tune in and turn up!
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Session drum ace Aaron Sterling might have fusion roots, but his bread-and-butter work lives at the top of the charts, where’s he’s featured on tracks by artists such as John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Lana Del Rey. He tells Cory what brought him to Los Angeles, why he’s “meant to be in the studio” instead of the stage, and he shares the surreal story of playing with EVH in a florist’s parking lot for Tracy Morgan.
Sterling defines his approach to recording in his studio as a “pedalboard approach” and explains:
“When guitar players started getting more pedals, in the old days, and then they started getting a pedalboard. And then there’s the rack. This was this evolution where you guys started controlling more and more of your sound and it was less waiting for a mixer to do interesting things later. And you were just like, ‘Here’s the sound.’ You have your own plugin, you have all this stuff that you’re doing to control your sound so that there’s less work later.
I got inspired by that concept when I started recording, even before I had my own studio, to give an engineer the most amount of stuff that’s done. So that when I started recording myself, my philosophy was always the pedalboard philosophy, which is I’ll give you the sounds, I’m not just gonna play the drums and let you do stuff later. I don’t wanna think of myself as a drummer. I’ll think of myself as a creator using drums to give you sounds that hopefully are the right thing for the song.
”Stick around for the drummer’s opinion of the Beatles’ “Now and Then” and learn why he prefers large cymbals.
Wong Notes is presented by DistroKid.
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On this year-end, in-person edition of Dipped In Tone, our two hosts look back on the year’s most inspiring pedals, guitars, and amps, plus the biggest gear disappointment.
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It’s the most wonderful time of year: the “year in gear” season is finally upon us, and we’re celebrating with this special in-person episode of Dipped In Tone. Zach and Rhett gang up at Zach’s place to run down the best of the best of musical excellence and oddities in 2023.
The guys start in with their favorite stompboxes. Rhett tips his hat to Old Blood Noise Endeavors’ Beam Splitter, Hologram’s Chroma Console, and Universal Audio’s 1176 pedal, which he runs as a hard-clipped overdrive. Some might say it sounds shitty, but as Zach notes, “Shitty is pretty in the mix!” Zach’s “boring” picks include the Nobels ODR-1, his collection of new Tube Screamer variants, and the Poly Beebo. Along the way, they talk about the magic of going back to old gear they’d written off in their younger days, and dig into the root causes of Zach’s discomfort with more experimental playing approaches.
Rhett sings praises for the new Orange OR30 and remembers its early 2000s predecessor, the AD30, and he and Zach agree on the superior, “8K” quality of Two-Rock’s current offerings over nearly every other amp on the market. Out of this year’s axes, Rhett favors both Fender’s Vintera II ’60s Bass VI and the Mexican-made Jason Isbell Custom Telecaster, plus the Collings 470 JL—Julian Lage’s signature. Zach spotlights his PRS SE Silver Sky, and a gorgeous Gibson Custom Shop 1959 ES-335 Reissue.
Be sure to stick around for the end,when the duo call out the year’s biggest disappointment in gear, which Zach describes as “baby’s first modeler.”
The indie-rocker tells Cory Wong how the legendary martial artist inspired her gritty new record, and goes deep on the dangerous game of celebrity.
Hot off an eight-show stand in New York with Vulfpeck, plus a guest appearance with Dave Matthews Band at Madison Square Gardens, Cory Wong sits down with indie-rock bandleader Margaret Glaspyfor an in-depth dialogue on artistry, celebrity, and the wisdom of Bruce Lee.
Glaspy shares how she cut her latest record, Echo The Diamond, live off the floor, with most of the “homework” happening beforehand and studio performances happening in-the-moment. “It really felt like air blew through the studio and then the record was made,” she says. “What you’re hearing is mostly what happening.” The songs are like photographs of a particular moment, rather than an essential, unchanging thing; Glaspy says she values the “dying art” of taking risks in music.
Glaspy runs down how she and husband Julian Lage work on each other’s projects, and highlights one of their key criteria in assessing performances: are you your best guitar player right now? “Would you hire yourself or fire yourself?” poses Glaspy.
The conversation turns to Glaspy’s rig on the record—she played through a Magic Amps rendition of a black-panel Fender Princeton, plus a Fender Champ combo—before revealing that these days, she’s bypassing her tuner pedal and letting the audience hear the process between songs. “Let’s not hide what’s needed to make this actually go,” she laughs.
Glaspy runs down how she and husband Julian Lage work on each other’s projects, and highlights one of their key criteria in assessing performances: are you your best guitar player right now? “Would you hire yourself or fire yourself?” poses Glaspy.The conversation turns to Glaspy’s rig on the record—she played through a Magic Amps rendition of a black-panel Fender Princeton, plus a Fender Champ combo—before revealing that these days, she’s bypassing her tuner pedal and letting the audience hear the process between songs. “Let’s not hide what’s needed to make this actually go,” she laughs.
The conversation turns to Glaspy’s rig on the record—she played through a Magic Amps rendition of a black-panel Fender Princeton, plus a Fender Champ combo—before revealing that these days, she’s bypassing her tuner pedal and letting the audience hear the process between songs. “Let’s not hide what’s needed to make this actually go,” she laughs.Wong and Glaspy swap notes on Bruce Lee’s winning combo of talent and work ethic (and how one of his quotes inspired Glaspy’s record) before finishing with a fascinating philosophical dissection of artistry, pop culture, and celebrity. “The business of celebrity intertwines them in a way that’s hard to escape,” says Glaspy, who sees a clash between surface-level fantasy and bone-deep darkness in pop culture.
Tune in to the episode to learn all the gems from Echo The Diamond.