j d simo

JD Simo’s current mainstay live guitar is a 1960 Les Paul sunburst called Candy. For a while Simo was playing a ’59 ’burst on loan from Joe Bonamassa.
Photo by Charles Daughtry

To set the vibe for his power trio’s second album, JD Simo headed to the Allman Brothers’ Museum in Macon and got his hands on Duane Allman’s ’57 goldtop.

Only a handful of people can say they’ve hefted and played Duane Allman’s ’57 Les Paul goldtop, but none of them had thought to track a whole album with it, let alone use the Allman Brothers’ famed Big House in Macon, Georgia, as the recording studio. None, that is, until Nashville-based axeslinger JD Simo came along. Let Love Show the Way, his barnstorming power trio’s latest slab of electric hard rock, has a great backstory and is a reverent nod to the past, with a tube-warmed glimpse of a freewheeling future. But the incredible live presence of this band is where we’ll start.

Sparks, splinters, and copious locks of hair fly around the small basement stage at Bowery Electric, just a few doors down from where bands like Television, Talking Heads, Blondie, and the Ramones once shook the walls at the legendary New York punk mecca (and now sadly defunct) CBGB. Fully cranked through his exquisitely vintage 100-watt Marshall half-stack, 29-year-old JD Simo uncorks a smoldering solo over the hypnotic break of “I’d Rather Die in Vain,” the 10-minute epic staple of his band’s explosive live set and one of many dizzying highs on the new album. In the space of two minutes, Simo channels everyone from Hendrix to McLaughlin to Peter Green to Derek Trucks, throwing his whole body into the performance and exhorting bassist Elad Shapiro and drummer Adam Abrashoff to join him in the ritual—which they duly oblige.

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Tasty stomp stations from top players.

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Third Eye Blind’s Kryz Reid

Dave Phillips at L.A. Sound Design built both Reid’s “A” and “B” effects rigs. Phillips wires everything with Mogami 2524 cable, except for the Divine Noise 50/50 (half curly, half straight) cable that connects Reid’s guitar to the pedalboard. The A rig consists of a RJM Effect Gizmo, a programmable true-bypass loop switcher run by an RJM Mastermind GT MIDI foot controller. The Effect Gizmo sits next to all the effects in a rack unit alongside his amps and cabs. The Mastermind GT lives in Reid’s pedalboard with a custom A/B Box interface for the rack, two custom-made Mission Engineering expression pedals, an Ernie Ball 25k Ohm Volume Pedal, a Boss TU-2 tuner, and a TC Electronics Ditto Looper. Reid’s guitar runs into a custom Phillips A/B box. The A signal goes to the rack and the B signal runs to his redundant pedalboard and amps. The signal then feeds a Jim Dunlop Rack Wah controlled by a custom Mission Engineering expression pedal.

We rummaged through our entire backlog of Rig Rundown footage and photos to compile a guide to some of 2014’s tastiest, most elaborate stomp stations, including boards from the Cult’s Billy Duffy, Keith Urban, the Pixies, the Sword, Carlos Santana, Brent Mason, and more.

Go gear-geekery deep with this Nashville ace who talks (and warns) about the addiction of playing vintage gear.

Premier Guitar hung with J.D. Simo in his studio in Nashville where he explains the secrets to keeping a vintage Marshall sounding its best and also how to keep it from never breaking down. But he warns that once you go down this rewarding path of obsession, there's no turning back.

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