Premier Guitar is on location in Des Moines, Iowa, where PG's Rebecca Dirks visits with Coheed and Cambria guitarists Claudio Sanchez & Travis Stever who talk about their current live setups including Gibson Explorers, Les Pauls, SGs, Fractal Audio Axe-Fx, and DR Strings.

Premier Guitar is on location in Des Moines, Iowa, where PG's Rebecca Dirks visits with Coheed and Cambria guitarists Claudio Sanchez & Travis Stever who talk about their current live setups including Gibson Explorers, Les Pauls, SGs, Fractal Audio Axe-Fx, and DR Strings.



Claudio Sanchez' Guitars
Claudio prefers Gibson Explorers, and his number one is a 1980 Gibson E2 Explorer (left). It has a Bare Knuckle Nailbomb in the bridge and stock neck pickup. The finish is sanded off the neck for speed, the electronics are upgraded with sealed pots, and the headstock has been broken and fixed. His second, most-used Explorer is a 2005 '76 Reissue with a calibrated set of Bare Knuckle Nailbomb pickups and the same electronics mods.

In addition, Claudio uses a recent-issue Fender USA Tele dropped a half step for "The Afterman," a baritone Gibson Explorer (right) for "Sentry the Defiant" and "Hollywood the Cracked" (tuned B to B), and a double-neck SG with a Seymour Duncan JB bridge pickup for "Welcome Home."

He has another Gibson Explorer he doesn't use as often with a Seymour Duncan JB bridge pickup and a portrait of his father, as well as Martin HD-28 and Taylor GS8 acoustics that he uses on "Iron Fist" and "Wake Up."

Claudio uses DR Strings Drop-Down Tuning .010–.052, and his main guitars go back and forth between standard and dropped-D tuning.

Claudio Sanchez' Amps and Effects
Claudio uses a Whirlwind switcher and Audio-Technica wireless units into a Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra through a Matrix GT1000FX power amp to a cabinet onstage for monitoring. The house sound goes direct from the Axe-FX.

For patches, Claudio's main distortion tone is based on two Marshall Super Lead types, with a wah and pitch shifter set to expression pedals onstage. Medium gain is based on an old Orange head with various delays and effects, and his clean is modeled after a brownface Fender amp with delay and compressor.

The system is controlled with a Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro with two Mission expression pedals for octave up and wah. He uses a Mission Tap Tempo pedal as well.

Travis Stever's Guitars
Travis' go-to guitar is a Gibson Custom Black Beauty Les Paul with custom Coheed & Cambria inlay in the body that's used in standard and dropped-D tuning. He also uses a Gibson Traditional Les Paul goldtop with a Bigsby a half-step down for "The Afterman" and "Wake Up," a Gibson Les Paul with EMG 81 and 85 pickups tuned a half-step down for "Welcome Home" and a lot of early Coheed material, a Gibson Les Paul with a Bigsby tuned standard, and a Gibson SG with the low E tuned to B for "Sentry the Defiant." Travis' acoustic is a Taylor used for "Iron Fist" and the VIP acoustic performances. He also uses the DR Drop-Down Tuning Strings in .010-.052.

Travis Stever's Amps and Effects
Travis' rig is the same as Claudio's: a Whirlwind Multi Selector, Audio-Technica wireless, and Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra. He only uses a few presets, his heavier sounds modeled after his Mesa/Boogie Mark Vs, and lead tones are more of a Marshall kind of lead with delay and reverb.

On the floor, he uses a Mission expression pedal and Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro, as well as an Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Jr.

A compact pedal format preamp designed to offer classic, natural bass tone with increased tonal control and extended headroom.

Read MoreShow less

In their corner, from left to right: Wilco’s Pat Sansone (guitars, keys, and more), drummer Glenn Kotche, Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, and keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen.

Photo by Annabel Merhen

How Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline, and Pat Sansone parlayed a songwriting hot streak, collective arrangements, live ensemble recording, and twangy tradition into the band’s new “American music album about America.”

Every artist who’s enjoyed some level of fame has had to deal with the parasocial effect—where audiences feel an overly intimate connection to an artist just from listening to their music. It can lead some listeners to believe they even have a personal relationship with the artist. I asked Jeff Tweedy what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that.

Read MoreShow less

Luthier Maegen Wells recalls the moment she fell in love with the archtop and how it changed her world.

The archtop guitar is one of the greatest loves of my life, and over time it’s become clear that our tale is perhaps an unlikely one. I showed up late to the archtop party, and it took a while to realize our pairing was atypical. I had no idea that I had fallen head-over-heels in love with everything about what’s commonly perceived as a “jazz guitar.” No clue whatsoever. And, to be honest, I kind of miss those days. But one can only hear the question, “Why do you want to build jazz guitars if you don’t play jazz?” so many times before starting to wonder what the hell everyone’s talking about.

Read MoreShow less
x