eric gales

The hottest name in mod­ern blues gives TG an ex­clu­sive run through his cur­rent tour­ing rig

Total Guitar - - RIG TOUR -

If there’s one blues rock gui­tarist leav­ing every­one else in the dust right now it’s Eric Gales. Even Joe Bona­massa has gone as far to de­scribe the Mem­phis mav­er­ick as, “one of the best, if not the best gui­tar player in the world”. There’s no short­age of high praise from other gui­tar he­roes too, in­clud­ing Car­los San­tana, Dave Navarro and Mark Tre­monti. His lat­est full-length al­bum, Mid­dleOfTheRoad, will in­evitably be con­sid­ered one of the quin­tes­sen­tial gui­tar al­bums of this year. So, with plenty of wind in the sails, he talks TG through the tools of his trade. And if you want to see it all in ac­tion for your­self – Eric’s com­ing back again to the UK and Ire­land later in Oc­to­ber…

Gui­tars Mag­neto Son­net Raw Dogg II 1

“I’ve had this one for about three or four years now. I had one be­fore, but Mag­neto ended up cus­tomis­ing this one for me with my name at the top and on the 12th fret. They put all the gold trim­ming on it and ev­ery­thing, with some Ja­son Lol­lar pick­ups in there for that real good tone! It’s got reg­u­lar vol­ume and tone pots but, as you can see, they’re a lit­tle dif­fer­ent but that’s why it works for me. I like Bul­let Sil­ver, and this other one has a re­flec­tive smoke fin­ish with this glassy bronze feel to it when you stare at it. This colour just grew on me, man! I like th­ese gui­tars. They’ve been work­ing real close with me since day one and they’ve tai­lored this to be my main go-to. It feels great and it’s the same for gui­tar play­ing – once you find some­thing that works well for you, then you’re gonna keep on us­ing it. I have about three Mag­neto gui­tars in my col­lec­tion and about 15 gui­tars over­all, in­clud­ing quite a few Strats, plus some Saint Blues gui­tars, which I used to play. Then there are some John Page gui­tars, as well as a cus­tom Olym­pus Or­pheus that’s made out of Greek me­lios for the body and Greek olive wood for the neck. I’ve played Les Pauls be­fore, but the Strat bod­ies are my cup of tea!”

Xotic XS-1 2

“This is the Xotic, which was made for me a few years ago. I had a sit­u­a­tion go­ing with them and held onto this one. It’s got the Flu­ence Fish­man pick­ups so I can get all my coil-splits. I’m pre­dom­i­nantly a rose­wood guy, maybe oc­ca­sion­ally I’ll play maple, but I tend to pre­fer rose­wood. It’s pretty ba­sic, there’s noth­ing too spe­cific go­ing on here. I’ll use both, but this one is prob­a­bly more of a back up. I don’t know which gui­tar I’ll use for which songs, I tend not to have it all mapped out like that. Both are tuned to E flat and ready to rock. I love the re­verse head­stock look [Eric plays the gui­tar up­side down]. They tai­lored this one pretty well to my lik­ing… it has an ap­peal­ing look from afar! The ac­tion is a lit­tle lower on the Mag­neto, I tend to like lower ac­tion with 10-46 gauge strings… but there’s no rule. I al­ways say, ‘Use what­ever works best for you!’”

AMP DV mark Lit­tle GH 250 Greg Howe sig­na­ture 3

“My sig­na­ture head is still be­ing fi­nalised, but trust me – it’s com­ing! I’m us­ing the minia­ture Greg Howe model for now; he’s a pretty damn good player. Mine will be a sin­gle, clean chan­nel with two preamps and a solid state power amp run­ning at 100 watts. I’m go­ing to call it the Raw Dawg and it should be ready to hit the mar­ket soon. I be­lieve it will be rea­son­ably priced when it comes out, like $350 or $400. So it will be some­thing that any aver­age consumer can buy. Not many peo­ple can get their hands on $8,000 bou­tique amps like Two Rocks, or what­ever! We might put out a combo ver­sion later down the line, but to be­gin with it will be a

minia­ture head go­ing through a 2x12 cabi­net, with the Ce­lestion speak­ers po­si­tioned upright in­stead of side by side. The guys at DV are also mak­ing me my own sig­na­ture bass amp too, be­cause I played bass on the record. I own about four or five amps in to­tal, in­clud­ing some old Fen­ders; but it’s too much to bring out on tour when I can make a phone call and have stuff wait­ing for me. I like real amps – you won’t catch me play­ing through an Axe-Fx, man…”

Ped­als Dig­iTech Whamm y 4

“So blues play­ers tend not to use Wham­mys, but I’m al­ways try­ing to bring other el­e­ments into my mu­sic as well as the ob­vi­ous. There’s a lot I’m in­spired by, so I try to in­clude all the spices in there and show peo­ple what else I’ve been lis­ten­ing to. Though I ad­mit, I don’t even have any Wham­mypedal he­roes. I just threw it in there be­cause I felt it would sound dif­fer­ent and unique. A lot of peo­ple men­tion Tom Morello from RATM and how he uses it, but I hadn’t re­ally done that much re­search. I’m ven­tur­ing off on my own and I tend to keep it on one set­ting that goes up rather than down, like how most play­ers use it.”

Dun­lop MC404 CAE Wah 5

“Yeah, this di­a­mon­den­crusted one is pretty bling ha ha! This is the Bob Brad­shaw wah that Jim Dun­lop made for me. They di­alled it up for me and got it sound­ing just right. I would say it’s much more of a Cry Baby sound, with a nasal ‘ Weeeeh’ rather than a darker ‘ Waaaargh’... if you un­der­stand what I mean! It de­pends on the tone I’m look­ing for. Some­times I might try to dial it in as more of a Morley kinda thing, but more of­ten than not, I’m all about the Cry Baby.”

E.W.S. Ja­pan Brute Drive Eric Gales sig­na­ture 6

“This is my sig­na­ture over­drive. It’s pretty much more dis­tor­tion for when­ever I need. I can hit the Colos­sus made by Mojo Hand if I want more of a fuzz thing go­ing on. I go back and forth be­tween the two and it re­ally just de­pends on what kinda mood I’m in on the night! It’s so ran­dom, there’s no telling what song I’ll use th­ese ped­als on.”

Mojo Hand Colos­sus Fuzz 7

“I used th­ese ped­als all over the new al­bum, it’s the same ped­al­board and I would say the so­los were pre­dom­i­nantly recorded us­ing the Colos­sus Fuzz into a clean chan­nel. It re­ally sounds killer, man. I use dis­tor­tion less over­all, but who knows, it can change on cer­tain nights if I’m in more of a fiery mood! It all de­pends on how ag­gres­sive I want to sound. Fuzz tends to be a bit more sat­u­rated

than reg­u­lar dis­tor­tion to my ears, though both have their place!”

MXR M82 Bass En­ve­lope Fil­ter 8

“I use this one specif­i­cally be­cause it just seems to work well. I plugged it in and I thought it sounded re­ally great… I can’t hon­estly say that I’ve AB’d it against an­other en­ve­lope fil­ter for ac­tual gui­tars or, for that mat­ter, any­thing else out there ha ha! You know, I’m just that kind of player – I just go for it and try not to over an­a­lyse things too much. Again, I have ab­so­lutely no clue what I’ll use it on when I play with it on the road, but on the record I used it on the song Car­ryYour­self. De­spite what most peo­ple might think, that’s not a wah-wah you’re hear­ing there! I can use my pick at­tack to change the sound of the note, that’s what de­ter­mines the EQ.”

Tech 21 Boost DLA 9

“This is on all of the time at a quar­ter-note echo… even for my rhythm play­ing. It doesn’t get in the way at all – even though I guess most gui­tarists save de­lay just for their big so­los. Like the Bass En­ve­lope Fil­ter, I haven’t sat around do­ing th­ese AB com­par­isons on any of this. If I find some­thing that’s cool, I just keep it. Tech 21 came up to me at NAMM once and said they’d no­ticed I like us­ing de­lays, so I should try us­ing this. I haven’t used any­thing else since!”

MXR EVH 117 Flanger 10

“To be per­fectly hon­est, I don’t use this much at the mo­ment, but it’s there if I need it. There’s no flanger on the al­bum ei­ther, so it’s purely there on the off chance I might want to add that kind of colour. You could say there’s a bit of an Ed­die Van Halen in­flu­ence some­where in­side me – he’s ba­si­cally laugh­ing his way through a lot of those songs and I’ve al­ways loved that.”

“there’s an Ed­die Van Halen in­flu­ence some­where in­side me – he’s ba­si­cally laugh­ing his way through a lot of those songs...”

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