Guitarist Billy Gibbons’ and bassist Dusty Hill’s toys can be summed up by three Bs: bold, Bolin-made, and because they said so.
Dusty Hill’s main bass has a chambered slab body with a Seymour Duncan stacked P-bass pickup. “The cornerstone of Dusty's sound is his original Fender Precision bass that he bought in a pawnshop in Dallas,” says Hill’s tech, TJ Gordon. It’s Gordon’s duty to EQ all the basses to match. Hill has used many different pickups, but the one constant has always been the stacked P-bass design. “Dusty plays with his fingers—he uses all four, and he will also pop with his thumb, then brush/strum with his fingers. This pickup just works with his style. It helps create that constant ‘Texas Blues’ tone, but also adds a little nastiness.” The reverse headstock is a Dusty Hill signature, adds Gordon. “Why, you ask? ’Cause he's Dusty Hill, and why not?”
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.