These country boys talk about how gear from EVH, PRS, Gibson, Sadowksy, Peavey, and more, works damn good for their new-school, arena-ready twang-rock sound.

PG’s Tessa Jeffers chats with members of the backing band for country act Jason Aldean, including guitarists Kurt Allison and Jack Sizemore, as well as bassist Tully Kennedy. While Sizemore is a Les Paul die-hard and Kennedy swears by Sadowsky, Allison’s gear is a little less predictable for a country player—the guitarist rocks out with EVH gear and a special hollowbody he says is unmatched in tone.

Jack Sizemore's Gear

Guitars


Jack Sizemore says he and his co-guitar comrade, Kurt Allison, are “masters of Craigslist,” trying to out-deal each other by scouting deals in each location they travel to. Sizemore had seven guitars on the road with Aldean, but prefers mostly Les Paul-style axes. His favorite is a Deluxe LP, one of 200 made. “As far as Les Pauls go, it’s pretty light, which is a good feature for me,” he says. His new Gibson goldtop gets most of the onstage action, but he switches it up with a very heavy ’83 Ibanez LP-style axe that he scored for $300 on Craigslist.

Jason Aldean’s music requires the players to keep multiple models around for tunings, so Sizemore’s longer scale PRS is tuned a whole step down and sometimes dropped-D tuning. Rounding out the bunch is his “string breaker” ’61 Gibson SG reissue and an ESP with a Floyd Rose. Sizemore’s guitars are strung up with D’Addario .010-.052s, and he uses Fender heavy picks.

Effects and Amps


Sizemore depends on his “old school” Seymour Duncan Twin Tube distortion so much that he keeps three or four on hand in case one breaks. Other effects in his drawer include an Xotic Effects RC Booster, Budda OM Overdrive, TC Electronic G-System, and a Radial Tonebone Head Switcher that allows him to route his two amp heads (a Peavey 6505 and Budda Bully) through one cabinet: a Budda 4x12 cab with Celestion vintage 30 speakers.


Kurt Allison's Gear

Guitars


Guitarist Kurt Allison has some interesting genre-bending gear that might be considered atypical for a country band. He likes to switch it up, but his current favorite find is a hollowbody PRS JA-15. “You don’t think of it as being a good lead or crunch guitar but the tonal qualities are great in this thing—I love it,” he shares. Allison’s pals at EVH recently turned him onto a Wolfgang Custom, and he swapped Seymour Duncans into it for more country bite.

Allison has a stock Tele for when he needs a definitively Tele sound, like on the track “Hicktown.” Rounding out his artillery are three more PRS models: a top-carved satin PRS single-cut with Lollar P-90s, a P-90-equipped PRS SE (dropped a whole step to D), and a PRS 305 with Duncans. He strings them up with D’Addario .011-.052 strings.

Amps


A longtime Mesa/Boogie guy, Allison recently switched to EVH 5150 III amps. He loves the first channel because it has punch and is “blackface-like.” When playing live, he drives his 50-watt head through 25-watt speakers because he prefers the way it breaks up, but he keeps a 100-watt head for backup.

Effects


Allison prefers a raw tone, but his favorite pedal is a Roger Linn AdrenaLinn II, which he uses to arpeggiate sounds in time through a MIDI sync back to the drummer. Allison’s pedalboard is further equipped with a TC Electronic Flashback, MXR 90 Phaser, Klon Centaur, Line 6 MM4, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Vox Wah, DigiTech Whammy, and an Electro-Harmonix Micro POG and Q-Tron.

Tully Kennedy's Gear

Basses


“The Sadowsky P/J 5-string is my calling card,” says bassist Tully Kennedy. He brings the same basses he records with on the road. His number one is a white model, which has endured “20 years of getting its ass kicked.” His blue P/J 5 bass is tuned down a half step for Aldean’s tune called “This Nothin’ Town.” Kennedy uses Dean Markley Blue Steel nickel-plated medium gauge strings.

Amps and Effects


In Kennedy’s rig, an Aguilar DB 750 drives two single Aguilar 1x12s. He has an Avalon preamp, which is sent to the front of house and then the signal is split with his secret weapon: an Aguilar tube pre. For effects, Kennedy uses a Crybaby Bass Wah on three songs, a Boss CEB-3 Bass Chorus, and a Fulltone Mosfet Bass Drive on the song “Johnny Cash.”


SWShopTheRigButton

Equipped with noise reduction and noise gate modes, the Integrated Gate has a signal monitoring function that constantly monitors the input signal.

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

A modern take on Fullerton shapes and a blend of Fender and Gibson attributes strikes a sweet middle ground.

A stylish alternative to classic Fender profiles that delivers sonic versatility. Great playability.

Split-coil sounds are a little on the thin side. Be sure to place it on the stand carefully!

$1,149

Fender Player Plus Meteora HH
fender.com

4
4
4.5
4.5

After many decades of sticking with flagship body shapes, Fender spent the last several years getting more playful via their Parallel Universe collection. The Meteora, however, is one of the more significant departures from those vintage profiles. The offset, more-angular profile was created by Fender designer Josh Hurst and first saw light of day as part of the Parallel Universe Collection in 2018. Since then, it has headed in both upscale and affordable directions within the Fender lineup—reaching the heights of master-built Custom Shop quality in the hands of Ron Thorn, and now in this much more egalitarian guise as the Player Plus Meteora HH.

Read MoreShow less
x