Guitarist Billy Gibbons’ and bassist Dusty Hill’s toys can be summed up by three Bs: bold, Bolin-made, and because they said so.
On the current ZZ Top tour, Billy Gibbons starts the night with a John Bolin-made purple telecaster. The guitar was made in 2012 and has a 24 3/4 scale, a chambered mahogany body with a flamed-maple top, a set mahogany neck with painted maple fretboard, Glendale saddles, a Cream T BFG Banger pickup with LED pole pieces, and checkerboard binding. According to Gibbons’ tech Elwood Francis, this guitar is “feather light.” Like all of Gibbons’ guitars, it’s strung with .07-.038 strings.
ZZ Top approaches gear like they approach facial hair: Go big or go home. Billy Gibbons’ tech Elwood Francis and Dusty Hill’s tech Ken “TJ” Gordon give us the behind-the-scenes rundown of the current touring setup.
Billy Gibbons’ Gear
Here’s a glimpse at what Billy’s been using live, but let it be known that it’s already changed. “We started the tour using the Les Pauls for the encores, but that gave way to whatever guitars we happened to pick up along the way,” said Billy Gibbons’ tech Elwood Francis from the road in mid-November. “Things change at the drop of a hat. In the past week, we've acquired four guitars and six fuzz boxes—and the tour only has three more gigs.”
Dusty Hill’s Gear
Tech Ken “TJ” Gordon describes Dusty Hill’s bass tone as, “Texas blues with a little nastiness and a lot whoooo!” Here he guides us through Hill’s gear, including a collection of basses that were custom-made to match the guitars of bandmate Billy Gibbons.