Guitarist Billy Gibbons’ and bassist Dusty Hill’s toys can be summed up by three Bs: bold, Bolin-made, and because they said so.
This goldtop bass is the newest in the Fender Dusty Hill signature series. He’s always trying to think up new ideas for basses, since a big part of ZZ is to push the envelope with flashy, never-before-seen instruments. One day TJ suggested that Dusty have Fender build him a goldtop bass. “Dusty loved the idea, so I put the call in to Mike Eldred at Fender, and he was all over it,” he recalls. “When we got this one, we knew it was a winner right out of the case. Fender thought the same thing and did a limited run of 50, which all sold before they were built. We’re still trying to get a few more of them.” The bass is painted in Fender’s surf gold, which Gordon says differs from Gibson gold.
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.