A modern blues master takes us through his signature gear and gives some insight into his upside-down style.

Eric Gales, busy promoting his new album, Middle of The Road, took a break to hang with PG’s John Bohlinger at City Winery in Nashville. Gales, a master of melody, nuance, and flash, showed us his simple setup he uses both live and in the studio.

Gales’ No. 1 is this Sonnet Raw Dawg II signature model by Magneto Guitars. This S-style axe features a hard-rock maple neck, East Indian rosewood fretboard with an 11" radius, medium C-shape neck, 22 narrow jumbo frets, and Lollar Blackface pickups.

His backup is this Xotic XS-1 loaded with Fishman Fluence Single Width pickups and a Super-Vee BladeRunner whammy bar. Both guitars are strung with Dunlop strings (.010-.046) and tuned to Eb.

The bluesman runs his 100-watt Two-Rock Eric Gales signature amp into two Pure Sixty-Four 2x12 ported cabinets loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s.

Gales’ signal hits the Boss TU-2 tuner and then a DigiTech Whammy 5, a Mojo Hand FX Colossus Fuzz, a Custom Audio Electronics wah (bling'd-out by Dunlop), an E.W.S. Eric Gales Brute Drive, an MXR Bass Envelope Filter, and a Tech 21 Boost D.L.A. And though the MXR EVH Flanger is still on his board, Gales says he’s currently not using it.

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Intermediate

Beginner

  • Use shapes and patterns to think outside of scale-based note selection.
  • Learn a handful of “outside” licks with a shape-based approach.
  • Break out of playing ruts by adding a new approach to your playing.
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become second nature. This is what I refer to as “the big rut.” Every player has been at this point, where they’ve been spinning their wheels in the same tracks for so long that now they are simply stuck. Nowhere to go and nowhere to grow, seemingly. This is also the point where guitarists tend to start rapidly accumulating gear in hopes that something new will spark inspiration. (Not that you or I would ever do such a thing, right?)
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