Rig Rundown - Rick Beato

One of YouTube’s leading music authorities opens up his well-stocked studio and shares the stories behind some of his most cherished gear.

Rick Beato has been making records and playing on sessions for decades. Over the years, he's worked with Shinedown, Needtobreathe, Trey Anastasio, Tyler Bryant, and many others. About three years ago, Beato decided to focus on building his YouTube channel and he currently has over 1.3 million subscribers. He invited the PG team into his well-appointed studio to check out his drool-worthy gear.


Beato

If you’ve watched Beato’s channel, you’ve seen this 2003 Gibson Les Paul Special. He bought it off the rack at Guitar Center about 15 years ago and was instantly drawn in because of how easy it was to reach the upper frets. After going through a deep dive about string gauges, he keeps this one strung up with a set of Ernie Ball .008–.032 strings.

Beato

This 1965 Gibson SG is another of Beato’s favorites. He purchased it from a local guitar tech, Dave Onorato, and the guitar features a Tune-o-matic bridge rather than the original vibrato. According to Onorato, the extra distance between the stop tailpiece and the saddles gives the guitar a unique sound.

Beato

Working in a fully stocked studio means having the perfect instrument for every musical situation within arm’s reach. When harmonically complex chords are called for, Beato reaches for this ’97 Danelectro U2 strung with .010–.046 strings.

Beato

This 2000 Gibson Les Paul started life as a Classic, but Beato had it modded to Standard specs with Mission PAF pickups. In Beato’s session days, this was his #1 go-to guitar.

Beato

A Telecaster is a must in the studio and this ’97 Fender USA Telecaster is Beato’s twang machine of choice. He says he’s only had it set up once and rarely needs to adjust the truss rod.

Beato

Hard to believe, but Beato says this 1957 Gibson Country Western is his only acoustic guitar. He discovered the slope shoulder flattop while doing a session and pestered the owner for years about buying it. Eventually, Beato got his hands on it and likely won’t let it go.

Beato

Okay, he might have lied. This 1974 Guild classical has been by Beato’s side since he started playing guitar. In the video, you can hear Beato’s story of how this guitar ended up in the hands of world-famous classical guitarist Christopher Parkening.

Beato

With a mountain of amps at his disposal, Beato has plenty of sonic options for any recording project. For this Rig Rundown, he plugged into his 2015 Vox AC10 to keep the volume down during the interview.

Beato

This Orange Overdrive head has quite a backstory. In 1999, Beato was making a record at NRG studios in L.A., where Stone Temple Pilots were working with famed producer Brendan O’Brien. Hearing Dean DeLeo’s massive tone, Beato felt compelled to investigate and discovered that DeLeo was playing through an Orange Overdrive. A few years ago, when O’Brien was unloading some gear, Beato saw that same Orange Overdrive head was for sale and immediately jumped on it.

Beato

Beato has hundreds of pedals to choose from, but usually only keeps a few on his pedalboard. For this shoot, he had his Pedaltrain Nano loaded with a Keeley Compressor, a JHS Bonsai, and a Strymon Volante delay with a Strymon Zuma supplying the juice.

How jangle, glam, punk, shoegaze, and more blended to create a worldwide phenomenon. Just don’t forget your tambourine.

Intermediate

Beginner

  • Learn genre-defining elements of Britpop guitar.
  • Use the various elements to create your own Britpop songs.
  • Discover how “borrowing” from the best can enrich your own playing.
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When considering the many bands that fall under the term “Britpop”–Oasis, Blur, Suede, Elastica, Radiohead’s early work, and more–it’s clear that the genre is more an attitude than a specific musical style. Still, there are a few guitar techniques and approaches that abound in the genre, many of which have been “borrowed” (the British music press’ friendly way of saying “appropriated”) from earlier British bands of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

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Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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