What to Learn from Gibbons Rig Rundown

June 17, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More
The new Billy Bo Pros are cool! (Mark Rockpit photo)

The new Billy Bo Pros are cool! (Mark Rockpit photo)

If you haven’t heard or seen it yet, Premier Guitar recently put up a 17.5-minute Billy Gibbons rig rundown via Billy’s tech, Elwood Francis. This is a seminal event because Billy has kept his rig deets pretty tight…but honestly, there’s not much new stuff in it.

Really wish PG had read the most popular WoodyTone post ever – on Billy’s rig – before the interview. But as often happens, we’ll have to take what nuggets we can get. Here’s the new/interesting stuff:


> He really does use 7s – and if you didn’t know it, they’re made by Dunlop and are for sale. The 7 set is: 7, 9, 11, 20, 30, 38. He moves waaaaaaaay up to 8s for slide.

> All his stage guitars, except a few backups, are made by John Bolin. They are all replicas of the real things (Gibsons, Gretsches, Fenders) with hollow bodies and frequently hollow necks too.

> All his guitars are modeled via the rack’s parametric EQ to sound like his Pearly Gates Les Paul. The modeling is done with an open G chord.

> No coins for at least 12 years. He uses Jim Dunlop glow-in-the-dark gel picks.

New Stuff

> The big one here is Billy’s amp (rack) settings: Bass way up, Mids on 2, zero Treble, zero or minus Presence. Elwood says Billy’s light touch makes his guitar tone sound so sweet. I bet the EQ helps too….

> He has two iso cabs: one with an Eminence Governor, and one with an Eminence Man O War (a 120w speaker!). Heil mics are used in the cabs.

> In addition to his rack, he has a Mojave Scorpion that’s always on. Elwood says it’s a stand-alone – it doesn’t see the EQ. He said, “It’s for when Billy turns down for the older songs” that don’t have as much gain. He notes that the Marshall JMP-1s in the rack won’t clean up, so the Scorpion is mixed in with the Marshall.

> For pickups, he likes the magnets close and then the polepieces are a raise little bit higher. Doesn’t sound like there are any set specs – it’s all visual.

Here’s the vid:

Category: Billy Gibbons, Eminence speakers, Jim Dunlop (non-FX), Marshall, Mojave Amp Works

Comments (2)

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  1. huh says:

    Hi. Love your site. Can only find dunlop glow in the dark nylon picks. No glow in the dark gel. Could elwood be mistaken?

  2. windwalker9649 says:

    7’s?!?! Man, I can’t even imagine what that would feel like; cotton thread maybe? Billy Gibbon’s has an amazing tone (this is given even more creedence when you read the quote from Jimi Henndrix saying Gibbons was his favorite guitarist), I just can’t imagine getting any tone out of strings so light, especially combined with this info that most of his guitars not only have hollow bodies, but some with hollow necks. The must weigh nothing.
    I know when I went from going down to 11’s, then later using 11s, but changing out the A,B, and highE down from a 10 gauge set took tine to get use to the lack of tension when it came to fretting notes without making the note go sharp, or going for a one step bend but over shooting them at first expecting to have to use “X” amount of force when only needing half that amount. Plus, I try to pick every note(camee from playing acoustic only for a year before bringing electric back), and I found w/lighter strings I was hammering on and pulling off more than I wanted to.

    Goes to show touch is almost everything (almost), I don’t thing I could have my tone going down to 7s. Mine came from using 12s for so long. The downsizing was gradual, but damn, 7s? How does he slide with 8s, I need 13s or I end up unintentionally fretting the string. Though slide playing is rare w/me, and usually done on a hollowbody or dobro.

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