Guitarist Billy Gibbons’ and bassist Dusty Hill’s toys can be summed up by three Bs: bold, Bolin-made, and because they said so.

Magnatone 4x12s

Gibbons is currently rocking a Class AB, 45-watt Magnatone prototype that will be a production model. It has true pitch-shifting vibrato that’s switchable to tremolo. “The vibrato is to die for,” tech Elwood Francis says. “We’ve been working with Magnatone for close to three years on this amp. I’ve had them on the road for two years in prototype form. They’ve traveled across the world in sea crates, third-world trucks, on the backs of camels, pushed down the cobblestone sidewalks of Pompeii, and hoisted up to the top of buildings on cranes … not one problem ever. Not even a replaced tube or blown fuse.”

Billy likes the Magnatone because it mixes really well with his JMP1s. “The JMP1s are very immediate-sounding, and the Magnatone lets the sound bloom,” Francis says. “Together it’s quite huge-sounding.”

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.

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