Premier Guitar is on location in Chicago, Illinois, where Rebecca Dirks meets up with Nicholaus Arson and Vigilante Carlstroem of the Hives. In this segment, the guys discuss their heavily battered go-to axes (and why it doesn?t really matter for garage rock anyways), along with their mix of boutique and vintage amps and effects.

Premier Guitar is on location in Chicago, Illinois, where Rebecca Dirks meets up with Nicholaus Arson and Vigilante Carlstroem of the Hives. In this segment, the guys discuss their heavily battered go-to axes (and why it doesn?t really matter for garage rock anyways), along with their mix of boutique and vintage amps and effects.



Guitars
Nicholaus Arson's main guitar is a vintage Fender Telecaster Custom with a hot bridge pickup (he never uses neck pickups—there's not even a switch). While both guys have different rigs around the world, this is the guitar he travels with. His U.S. touring rig is rounded out with a newer custom Tele and a custom "Arsonette" with a Lace Sensor that's designed to be a cross between a Tele and a Firebird.

Vigilante Carlstroem's main guitar is a '59 Epiphone Coronet that he travels with and plays at all of his shows. It's stock, other than a replaced jack, and all of the wear was done by him. For his U.S. rig he also has a '90s Gibson Flying V with Lollar pickups that's been broken in half and beat up. He uses it for songs that require the neck pickup sound.

Amps
Arson uses a Fender Bandmaster and '76 Fender Vibrolux, both on all the time, through a vintage Hiwatt cab with Celestion Heritage Greenback speakers.

Carlstroem uses Divided by 13 amps in all of his backlines around the world. He usually uses the FTR 37, but was using a JJN 50/100 for the arena shows on this tour. The amps go through a vintage 4x12 cab with Celestion Heritage Greenback speakers. All of the amps' controls and circuitry are shielded with foil because the amps and the Epiphone are sensitive to interference. He also uses a Fender Vibro-King for a cleaner sound, in conjunction with the Divided by 13 head.

Effects
Arson's board is very simple—he usually just plays straight into his amps. He incorporates a Crowther Audio Prunes & Custard fuzz for songs like "Tick Tick Boom," Boss DD-3 Digital Delay for slapback echo on "Take Back the Toys" and "Bigger Hole to Fill," Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah used for the intro to "Hate to Say I Told You So," and a Electro-Harmonix Micro POG for a cover of The Jets' "Yeah," which is no longer in their setlist.

Carlstroem's board has a Divided by 13 Switchazel used as a boost, custom Frantone Vigilantron tremolo, Z.Vex Fuzz Factory (his favorite pedal), Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay usually set to slapback, and Electro-Harmonix POG2 used for an octave down or to make noise like imitating the saxophone on "Go Right Ahead" or organ on "My Time is Coming."

A few simple chords is all it takes.

Beginner

Beginner

  • Learn to play a 12-bar blues, in three different keys, using one shape.
  • Study an assortment of strumming and picking patterns.
  • Gain a basic understanding of the 12-bar blues form.
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As usual, there is more to this lesson than the title implies. We will be working with one chord shape at a time, but over the course of the lesson we’ll study three different shapes. The final example in this lesson incorporates all three shapes to demonstrate how a few basic ideas can provide us with infinite possibilities.

It is important to know that for every chord name in this lesson there are countless shapes—also known as fingerings or voicings—available. For this lesson, I chose what I consider to be the most practical and flexible shapes.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

My years-long search for the “right” Bigsby-outfitted box finally paid off. Now how do I make this sumbitch work in my band?

Considering the amount of time I’ve spent (here and elsewhere) talking about and lusting after Gretsch hollowbody guitars, it’s taken me a remarkably long time to end up with a big Bigsby-outfitted box I truly love. High-end Gretsches are pricey enough that, for a long time, I just couldn’t swing it. Years ago I had an Electromatic for a while, and it looked and played lovely, but didn’t have the open, blooming acoustic resonance I hoped for. A while later, I reviewed the stellar Players Edition Broadkaster semi-hollow, and it was so great in so many ways that I set my sights on it, eventually got one, and adore it to this day. Yet the full-hollowbody lust remained.

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