RODNEY GENE JUNIOR Gear And Equipment
Professional affiliations – Professional Endorsements – Here are just some of the companies I support.
New custom built our board- Built around the FREE THE TONE ARC53 and the Ethos OD with HRM. This is just a cool pre-gigged glamour shot!
Carr Amplification (** CARR Artist**) CARR Amplifiers are my main gigging and studio amps. I currently use a Carr Impala 44w, an amazing Carr Rambler 28w pentode-14w triode (built for me with my initials in the serial#!!) and a Princeton-ish 22w Carr Sportsman with a 1-12. Steve Carr is a true genius of this industry…and one super generous and cool dude with an amazing ear! Carr Amplifiers have the highest standard of build quality and clarity I have ever seen or heard. Tonally they carry the heart and spirit of classic 40’s 50’s and 60’s amp tones while providing that next-level reliability, flexibility and sonic diversity that supports the modern player with vintage sensibilities. Glorious tones…. just glorious.
Elektra Amps (Gibson EH185 inspired amplifiers from the Netherlands!) I am the first USA player to have one built and shipped here to US. It uses octal pre-amp tubes and large coke bottle power tubes. The tones are vintage and unreal! This is a very specific circuit. The amp is hand-made through and through BIG, impressive build quality, impressive tones, feel, response, handsome and truly a tone king! Just a stunner!
D2F Amplifier Covers Tom Palmer (Rest In Peace Buddy) made heavy-duty amp covers. Basic and nice stuff, accurate fit, great price…and his customer service is excellent, fast and friendly and human. Didn’t get much better than that.
Gibson Es-335 Block (My main semi-hollow-body) You see this guitar show up on alot of my studio session recordings and demo videos! This guitar is a daily staple for sessions and as versatile as my Telecasters.
Gibson Es-345 With Varitone (Another heavily used semi-hollow-body of mine) You see this guitar showing up on alot more studio sessions in 2017 recordings and a few new demo videos!
Gibson ES-LP (Thin hollowbody P90 tone machine of mine) This one is a Gold Top natural beauty! Super light – classy blues and jump blues guitar.
Michael Tuttle Guitars: It is hard to describe what ‘next level’ quality means, even to experienced players until they have experienced multiple references, multiple times and the time to grok it. My working gear is what some consider cork sniffing gear, but in truth it is simply a result of years and years working with builders as a tech and then refining my ear producing songs daily for years. Developing a particular level of discernment. None of it makes you play any better, but as a player, those refinements are a base level for me as it were. Even with all that, the classic S is at the top of the ‘next level’ ladder as far as finish work, fret work, hardware, playability and tones… Just stunning. Grateful to have here in my arsenal of tone tools!
Free The Tone (**Free The Tone Artist**)
Yuki Hayashi and Free The Tone (A term coined by the great Pete Cornish) – Yuki is another integral, innovative tone leader from Japan. Designing and manufacturing high-end guitar/pedal solutions with next level musicality and quality. The FFT MS-2v Overdrive, TA-1H Tri Avatar and FT-1Y Flight Time Delay get full time duty on my pedal board. Super grateful for his contribution to our industry. Well deserved accolades.
TK SMITH DESIGN One of my main gigging and studio guitars for a very specific old school country/rockabilly jump swing vibe. Based on the original Bigsby designs, TK Smith is a rare craftsman and artisan in the guitar business and one heck of a great guitar player himself. It’s a long waiting list to get a guitar made, but man oh molly what a guitar!! That is bakelite folks, and hand-cut, hand ‘inlaid’ pickguard, cut on a 1930’s band saw…old school. Hand cut, hand made neck, handmade pickups…handmade custom Bigsby Arm…Too much info to describe here…go HERE and enjoy the beautiful guitars!
TK SMITH DESIGN PICKUPS Been a big user and supporter of TK’s unique Charlie Christian blade and pole piece pickups. Huge woody tones. Very dynamic and musical! He recreated the original Paul Bigsby pickups with his CAR design and they are a sight to hear and behold. As unique and individual as the originals. TK has a level of craftsmanship that is next level. Grateful for his contribution.
Dan Dunham Guitars I have a custom designed Dan Dunham guitar. Dan makes incredible vintage toned guitars, Early Kay inspired that ooze with mojo and soul. Woody, big,vintage sounding. In the blues and jump blues world, his guitar builds are well sought after and embraced. My own is a hybrid design that utilizes TK Smith CC pickups and a boutique P-90. This guitar oooozes old school blues tones!! From Freddie King to Gatemouth!
RUTTERS GUITARS Marc Rutters offers some of the best vintage correct bodies and hardware available to us today. Next level build quality for all types of Telecaster hardware. I currently have one Rutters Tele body and use Marc’s Tele Knobs on 2 guitars.
Lollar Guitar Pickups I really enjoy Jason Lollars pickups and his approach to tone. I really found my stride tonally as a professional when I discovered Lollars. He is a truly gifted and passionate builder and the company operates with a high standard of excellence and integrity. Jason, who came along a bit later in the game in regards to the original big 4 aftermarket companies, came along singing his own songs so to speak. He really captures the tones, vibe, feel and cool factor of the past, giving us the vintage tones we want while carving out his own sonic palette. I recall buying a guitar with a Lollar Special T and Imperial Low-Wind and I was so impressed and interested from that point forward. I have been a staunch supporter and user since. Jason was also largely responsible for fueling the ‘home pickup’ craze with his book. It helped launch many of today’s boutique home/garage builders churning out the next generation of pickup enthusiasts. In an era where it feels as if some of the old established companies have lost their passion for the subtleties of vintage tones and that next level quality, it is a total breath of freshness to see the spirit of vintage excellence and innovation persevere with sincerity in this company. Genuinely one of the very best contributors in the industry. Huge blessing.
Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Maricela Juarez ‘MJ’ has become a bit of a icon in her field simply by longevity if nothing else. As Seymour’s former right hand woman, she has wound custom pickups for every imaginable rock star, session player, virtuoso, celebrity and working Joe for 25+ years. I had many sets of custom shop pickups made for me over the years. The SD Custom shop pickups have become somewhat production models now, selling in force in big box stores online. So take it for what it is now. Still, when you want something personalized this might be one possible place to turn. I have been commissioned by SD Custom Shop in the past to write demos for them.
Jerry Amalfitano Pickups: Jerry Amalfitano is a Texas pickup maker who has found his own thread of soul, tone and vibe to weave with. He really makes a truly fantastic pickup. Sweet and clear. Spongy but responsive and clean. Jerry recently sent me a set of his Daytona SVL pickups to demo and the fine folks at Suhr guitars made me a new guard and backplate and off we went.
DON MARE GUITAR PICKUPS Don has been a friend and a colleague for more years than I can count. Years ago when I gave up ‘tech-‘ing’ to focus on producing, I sent Don all my pickup related ‘stuff’. He was getting into custom winds at the time and really pursued his own voice shortly after. I dig everything Don has ever made for me. He is a great human being, passionate about his craft and pickups in general. Don is a bit of an official expert on Roy Buchanan’s tone. Looking for Roy’s tone secrets outside of his hands? Ask Don! Currently I use a custom wound ‘Twangzilla’ bridge pickup and ‘Tall Boy’ low-wind neck pickup with nickel cover….Rich sweet sweet tones! Here is a sample of my custom Mare Tall Boy Tele neck pickup using a Andy Timmons backing track:
PG Music Really honored to have been asked to be a permanent endorsing artist for PG Music and Band In A Box! I love PG Music and all they do for musicians! Amazing learning tools! Been a dedicated BIAB user for years now. Truly a MUST- have for the serious professional musician or aspiring hobbyist! The new Real Tracks and audio features are phenomenal! Two HUGE thumbs up! Thanks PG Music!
Thomastik Bass Strings – 25 year user of TI Jazz Flats. The perfect bass string for vintage tones. You;ll hear these on almost every demo and session I do.
D’addario Strings – This is my ‘main’ string. Been on all of my guitars since I have been playing. I currently have 10 guitars strung with Nickel Wound EXl115. Consistently great! The awesome folks at D’addario recently sent me a few sets of NYXLs to try. A game changer. I wouldn’t have expected to be so surprised by strings, but I am. These NYXLs last 3x longer and are nearly ALWAYS in tune. It’s an odd thing to pull a guitar from the stand after a few days, click on the tuner and the guitars need zero tuning adjustment. Impressive. They feel great and they sound great.
Colossal Cables Professional drummer Brian Christopher Mendes makes a high-end cable that is worth the asking price if you are interested in those last percentages where we live as professionals. I am a bit of a cable geek and have alot of high-end cables but it wasn’t until recently that I became a full blown convert.
Usually not overly excited about new cables as I have been using such good cables and making my own Mogami/Neutrik cables for so long, but gooooodness~ these are truly next level exceptional in build quality and sound.
Ethos Overdrive CustomTonesLLC. (**Ethos Artist**) Rob Hall is another tone genius. He really has an ear for delivering those musical frequencies that alot of constantly seek out with our gear. His ETHOS pedal gained a fast following in the boutique gear industry as Dumble inspired circuit while delivering it’s own unique musicality and palette. The Ethos ‘clean’ channel is almost legendary for it’s huge musical direct tones. The Ethos Clean or Ethos amp I consider to be one of the very few ‘must have’ integral pedals for the gigging and studio musician. It covers so much ground in the right ways and is used by me for nearly every session in some capacity.
My own 2 Full Ethos also have the HRM mod retrofitted by Rob:
Here are a few other gear / pedal companies I use and appreciate: The boards below are just a portion of what I own. I enjoy all of the classic tones and classic overdrives and delays. Klon type, Plexi type, TS808, Dumble tones, Bluesbreaker, BOSS OD’s, 80’s ProCo RAT tones as well as modern classics from a Timmy, to a Zendrive, King Of Tone etc…
Fractal Audio Systems – The AXE-FX II has been a true blessing in the direct amp modeling world and an amazing support for me over the past few years. Although my own preference for recording guitar (and gigging) is micing my amps and pedals, on occasion I can get a unique or rare amp tone or an ultra quiet non-bleed signal path if the session calls for it. On occasion I find a tone that is just working for some reason and so I go with it while the iron is hot. This Fractal unit always delivers in spades! For practice and tonal ideas in pre- production it is pure heaven.