Whether in the studio or on solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.
Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name,All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.
Shoenfeld recently let PG’s John Bohlinger in on some of his sonic secrets, running through his session rig at East Nashville’s 3Sirens studio.
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Melody Maker Magic
Shoenfeld’s choice of guitar depends on the song, but a good deal of the time he plays his 1964-’65 Gibson Melody Maker. Before Adam got it, the guitar had been modded with a Badass bridge and the original pickup was swapped for a DiMarzio X2N engraved “1979.” All his electric guitars are strung with D’Addario NYXLs, gauged .010–.052.
It’s That Strat
People think they’re hearing humbuckers on Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” but it was played on this stock American-built 1998 Fender Stratocaster.
Next in the arsenal is this Bigsby-equipped Gretsch 6120 from the early 2000s.
For a P-90 tone, Shoenfeld goes with this 1964 Gibson SG Junior. Other than the bridge, the instrument is all stock.
To cover country’s de rigueur twangy bite, Shoenfeld employs this Fender ’72 Telecaster Custom reissue, built in 2004.
A rare, exotic gem, this all-stock 1964 Rickenbacker 330 is used by Shoenfeld for sessions and is his main guitar when he’s fronting his own project.
Shoenfeld describes this Morgan SW-50, modded by Joe Morgan for more headroom, as “very Bassman-ish, but a little squishier … tubier.”
He also relies on this racked blonde Fender Bassman from the early ’60s.
This jack-of-all-tones Dr. Z MAZ-38 has been modded by Nashville-based boutique amp make Ebo Customs.
Ebo Customs also made this sweet tube-driven E-Verb reverb unit. You’ll find one of these in fellow studio ace Tom Bukovac’s rack, too.
The Vox Cambridge was introduced in 1965. This one’s from the next year, when both tube and solid-state versions were made. Check out the video for the inside scoop on this doggie.
50 Watts of Law
The Marshall JMP combo is a truly iconic amp—with big teeth and big tone. This all-stock example was built in 1977.
This Fender 2x12 Bandmaster bottom cab carries some fat: It’s loaded with a pair of Tone Tubby Hempcones.
Board, Not Bored
There’s plenty to get excited about in this pedalboard built by Nashville’s XAct Tone Solutions (XTS). First stop is an XTS buffer box, with in/out pass-throughs, an FX insert (between the Xotic AC Booster and Dyna Comp), a MIDI-in for the Line6 M9, external expression inputs, a click-in for the Lightfoot Labs Goatkeeper, plus a buffer that’s always on, a ground switch, and an extra pedal power jack. Next: a Dunlop Volume (X), a ZVEX Box of Rock, the AC Booster, an MXR Dyna Comp, an EHX Pitch Fork, and Xotic X-Blender (keeping an EHX Micro-Synth and Jetpack Mods XP1000 modulation and filter pedal on tap), an original Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer, a Catalinbread Teaser Stallion fuzz, the Lightfoot Labs Goatkeeper tremolo, a Strymon Mobius, a Strymon El Capistan, and a Line 6 M9. Finally, there’s a versatile db Instrument Amp expression pedal with two left/right pots and two up/down pots. A Voodoo Labs Mondo supplies the juice.
Which one do you prefer?
Rhett and Zach unpack the big news for secondhand guitar sellers and buyers: Sweetwater has launched their new Gear Exchange. How does it compare to Reverb, Craigslist, and Marketplace? To find out, Zach takes the site for a spin and buys a pedal. He calls the process both “very easy” and “normal.” They discuss the pros and cons of the various used-gear outlets and share tips for not getting got when buying gear. Plus, Zach grew a mustache, Mythos Pedals is moving, and he talks about his forthcoming line of Strat pickups inspired by Hendrix’s reverse-stagger setup.
Sweetwater vs. Reverb
Get 10% off from StewMac when you visit stewmac.com/dippedintone
A highly versatile sonic tool, the pedal can deliver a broad range of tones – everything from mild, wonderfully organic overdrive to medium-gain crunch with a richly satisfying midrange kick.
The pedal is a collaboration between Shnobel Tone and guitarist, songwriter, composer, and record producer Frank Simes. Based in Hollywood, Simes‘ long list of credits includes work with A-list artists such as Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Warren Zevon, RodStewart, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, and Martha Davis from The Motels. Additionally, Simes was the musical director for The Who for many years.
Its touch sensitivity makes it a perfect choice for guitarists who rely on precise right-hand technique, and it cleans up nicely when you roll back your guitar's volume knob.
Frank Simes Overdrive features include:
- Three knobs: Volume, Gain, and Tone controls
- True bypass foot switch
- Top mounted power and in/out jacks
- Hand-built with through-hole components
- Crinkle-coated diecast aluminum enclosure, dimensions 4.7 x 3.7 Inches
- Standard 9v center negative power – no battery compartment
Frank Simes Signature Overdrive
Shnobel Tone’s Frank Simes Overdrive has a suggested retail price and MAP of $249.
For more information, please visit shnobeltone.com.
The Reference II Series 112 and new 115 feature a new look, ceramic magnets, and Poplar ply shells.
With gigging musicians in mind, portability was paramount to the design of these cabinets, which still feature all of the power that you expect from Bergantino. Using a lightweight Poplarply shell and Baltic Birch baffles to encase the ceramic-based speakers, these cabinets are extremely easy to transport, while still packing all of the low-end presence and warmth that is required for professional bassists in any genre of music. Covered with rugged tolex finishes and cloth grills, these cabinets look as good as they sound and provide long-term durability that is required for the wear and tear of touring and gigging musicians.
The Reference II Series utilize ceramic magnets with vented pole pieces for the fullest and roundest low-end possible. Along with their high-power handling capability, the Reference II Series cabinets boast versatility fit for players who utilize fingerstyle, pick, slapping, and tapping techniques. Their presence and punch matches their low-end output and produce an accurate, full-bodied, and authentic representation of your bass guitar in both live and studio settings.
Reference II Series 112
The Reference II Series 112 is new and improved, featuring the tone that bass purists love, but in a lighter package without sacrificing any of the full-bodied, robust properties that have made this a favorite. The 112 can achieve any sonic palette you desire while faithfully reproducing the natural tone that comes directly from your bass and your fingers. Many bassists love the Reference II Series 112 because of the “blank canvas” it provides the player seeking a solid, no-frills bass tone, and this updated edition upholds that, but with noticeable improvements. Seamless, tight, quick, and responsive, this cabinet is the right choice for players of all levels.
Reference II Series 115
After receiving many requests to bring back our 115 cabinets, lovers of rumbling low-end can rejoice, as the latest edition to our lineup is here to maximize your bottom end with a responsiveness second to none. We’ve taken everything our players loved about our previous15” offering, shaved some weight, and updated its design to fit our high standards of the Reference II Series. With our proprietary speaker curves, it can be made to sound full and modern or vintage and rolled off, but never dry. The 115 cabinet provides a massive sound in a lightweight, easily transportable package that is ready for small venues, arenas, and everything in between.
Reference II Series 112: $1059.00
Reference II Series 115: $1099.00
These Cabinets Currently Shipping in the USA. For more information, please visit bergantino.com.
A new quintet of sweet-sounding and awesome-looking analog boxes spans Mariner Tremolo, Titan Boost, Arcas Compressor Sustainer, Agena Envelope Filter & Orbit Phaser.
After decades, Gibson revived the brand with the debut of the Maestro Original Collection line of pedals. Introducing five new pedals, the Agena Envelope Filter, Arcas Compressor Sustainer, Mariner Tremolo, Orbit Phaser, and Titan Boost, designed and styled for musicians looking to create a unique sound. The Maestro Original Collection pays tribute to the brand’s pioneering classic models, while staying true to Maestro’s spirit with modern features, expanded versatility, and advanced tone-tweaking capabilities. The Maestro Original Collection is available worldwide at authorized Gibson dealers.