Yes, I admit, I have GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).  It's a sickness, but it's kind of fun.  My feeling is that when I'm sitting in the rocking chair at the old folks home, I would rather be able to say "Gibson Country Gentleman? I used to have one of those, I remember what they were like" than have to say "Gibson Country Gentleman? I remember those, I wonder what they were like...."

But the emphasis of this page is to talk about the gear I use and how and when I use it.  So I'll talk about my guitars, amps, and pedals, probably to more of a degree than you want to read about.  But hey, that's geekery for you.  Thanks to Deke Dickerson for inventing (as far as I know) the term "geekery."


Yes, I have a few guitars.  The ones I like best, as far as electric ones go, are Gretsch and Reverend.  On stage or in the studio, with the Lizards or with the country bands, I mainly use three different brands of guitars:

Reverend - I have one of the prototypes of the Pete Anderson Eastsider S model, and it's my #1, go-to, country-twangin', Tele-like object. I've also got a couple of Tricky Gomez semi-hollows which are giving the Eastsider some competition for the #1 spot lately. It's a versatile, Bigsby-equipped beauty that is a treat to play. It's also my backup axe with the Leapin' Lizards. I've got all 3 different flavors of the Pete Anderson hollowbody, which are some of the most versatile and great-sounding guitars on the market. They can serve with any band I play with. If I'm in doubt about what guitar I'll need for a job, I bring one of the PA models and I can get the tone I need pretty easily.

Gretsch - I've been fond of Gretsch guitars for a long time, and have had quite a few different ones, but with the Lizards, I mostly use either a Cadillac Green Country Club or a Cadillac Green 6120 Nashville, equipped with TV Jones pickups and Tru Arc bridges. Loving the big sound of that big guitar and the Brian Setzer Signature TV Jones pickups, or the Nashville with its stock High-Sensitivity Filter'trons to play a show with.

RainSong - Much as I love Martins, Guilds, and well-made Gibsons, for acoustic guitar duty in any band, I don't think you can beat a RainSong. They stay in tune, don't care about temperature or humidity changes, and they're pretty much indestructible. I've got a WS-1000 that has 14 years and a whole lot of miles on it, but still looks like new.  It's the guitar you hear on the acoustic song ("Believe") on the Lizards' "Spin Me" album


Want to see some guitars I've let slip away (some for good reason, some with big regrets)?  Click here for the Ones That Got Away.


For amps, I like a couple of brands:

Rivera - These are American-made (Southern California, just like me!) boutique-grade tube amps which are built like tanks and sound like heaven. The Sedona 100 is the greatest acoustic guitar amp ever made, and the other Riveras I've had have never disappointed. They're not much fun to lift, but as a salesdude at Guitar Center once told me, "Ya gotta sacrifice for the tone, man."

Quilter - Actually, you don't have to sacrifice your back for the tone. Man. Quilters are the perfect amp for the gigging musician. They're lightweight, great-sounding, durable, and they're also made right here in Southern California. I like to mix and match speaker cabinets with my MicroPro head, but I can play an outdoor gig wth my 19-pound MicroPro-8 and be plenty loud, even un-mic'd. And the 8 makes a great acoustic guitar amp, too. I used to have the Steelaire, with its 15" speaker, which I'd still have if I hadn't had the need for cash to fund some other purchase.  It never ends.


Pedals and processors are a big topic with me, mainly because I have a lot of them, and use some extensively.

One thing that's common to all my rigs (except one) is the Nocturne Atomic Brain. It's a preamp that duplicates the preamp of the Roland RE-301 Space Echo, made famous by Brian Setzer. These, and other, pedals are made by Tavo Vega, a rockabilly wild-man who builds pedals for rockabilly musicians, but his pedals are great for lots of different kinds of music. He's another Southern California boy, way out in the Inland Empire.

I use a separate pedalboard for the Leapin' Lizards, and it's got an Atomic Brain, a Nocturne Nailhead tremolo, and a Nocturne Ubangi Stomp overdrive. It's also got a Strymon El Capistan delay, an unmodded EH Soul Food overdrive, a Mooer EQ (mostly used as an extra boost, though I currently have it set with the low end turned way down to get that sitar-ish sound in Wanda Jackson's "Funnel of Love," which is on our set list a lot), an Xotic SP compressor (shhh, don't tell the Rockabilly Police), a Boss TU-3 tuner, a Boss volume pedal, a Boss LS-2 line selector (for signal routing), and an Aphex Acousic Exciter, which is one of my tone secrets, and also provides a low-impedance DI if I need it. There's also a signal router I built that I call the "X-Box" that facilitates switching between two guitars without having to plug or unplug cables, or bypassing the pedal chain altogether and going straight to the amp (if I ever wanted to do that). This picture is a little out of date, at the urging of Ag Donnaloia, guitar player for the Johnny Boyd Band, I got an Xotic SP compressor to replace the Mooer. I like it a lot better. The compression is much more subtle, and the tone is great.

Other Gear

Oh, we'll talk all about PA gear in the near future.