While out on tour with Steve Earle from 2000 to 2005 I had quite a few different amp rigs out on tour. I started with 2 Marshall 50 watt 1987 model heads into 2 4 x 12” cabinets then went to a rig with a ’62 Fender Bassman and an Oahu head. The Oahu sounded really fine and was sequestered to spot at Cowboy Technical Services Recording Rig. I also had a Gibson Super Goldtone 30 head which blew up on me a couple times. I then went to a really cool rig that used 2 Fender Pro Jr’s. The low watt class A thing sounded fantastic but the build on those amps wasn’t quite rugged enough for kind of constant touring we were doing with Steve.
I saw a couple guys I know using the Dr Z amps and that led me to the Good Doctor. For the last two tours I had the Dr Z heads out here. They are fantastic sounding, super rugged distinctive hand wired class A machines. My most flexible rig used 2 MAZ 18 Jr. NR heads and Z 28. When people ask me about these amps…and its all the time too…I send ’em to Stu at Fat Sounds in Cary NC. He’s one of the best Dr Z dealers and he has some special stuff that the Doctor makes just for him, like the MAZ 18 Jr NR (no reverb).
The cabinet on the left is a fantastic Gibson Super Goldtone. It is set up with 2 10″ speakers open backed and 2 12″ speakers closed backed. The cabinet is divided L/R with one 10″ and one 12″ per side. On the left side I have a Mojotone 10″ ceramic speaker and a Celestion Vintage 30 12″. On the right side I have the new Jensen P-10 R 10″ and the P-12 R 12″ alnicos. I had my friends at Vintage Amp Restoration in St. Louis make the clean looking wheat colored grill for me. The blonde Fender Bassman cabinet also has 2 Jensen P-12 R’s. I get my speakers from Acme Guitars in St. Louis.
When the Yayhoos play gigs in the US Dan Barid and I have been using 1 Dr Z MAZ 18 Jr. NR each (through the Bassman cabinets). For the last few Eric Ambel & The Roscoe Trio runs I’ve been using the Dr Z Z-28 and Chip Robinson has been using the MAZ 18 Jr NR (through the Bassman cabinets)
Here’s a shot of my Earle Tour Pedalboard from top left clockwise….Wasabi Forward/Reverse delay-I use this specifically for the reverse effect. Its a good sounding pedal but I found that its not very easy to change settings on the fly. Thats why I have the Danelectro DanEcho right next to it. The DanEcho has a couple great features. First is the fact that it has a “high cut knob”. The reason people say digital echo sucks is because it is too acurate, too scratchy. With this high cut knob you can dial out the high end so the repeats have less treble. They blend better and sound an awful lot like tape echo. Other good feature is the “half/double” speed switch. I can pretty much do the gig with all the settings in one place and toggle back and forth from slap to long ass rockstar solo delay.
The Fulltone Supa-Trem has to be one of the best trems on the market. It is also very performance friendly with a half/double speed switch, hard/soft effect switch and an internal gain matching pot that helps you recover volume loss encountered by the trem. The gain stage is the same one Fuller uses in his Fat Boost pedal.
The plain black box to the right of the Supa-Trem is the AC power connection for the Techstar Power Supply that is located underneath the Brooklyn Overdrive. That big white Wah Wah is the Fulltone Clyde Wah. Its a very smooth well built Wah with an internal contour pot that can make the sweep more intense. Boss TU-2 Tuner works well and I’m used to it.
Continuing bottom row right is the Techstar Standby/Router box made for me by Randy at Techstar. Guitar goes in then feeds several different signal paths. Main 2 outputs to to the amps after all the pedals (except for the tuner which is on its own loop). Its a stereo out from the Fulltone Choral/Flange. 3rd output skips the pedalboard after the standby to go to one amp with a ‘no effect’ signal (usually the Dr Z Z-28). The box also has phase switches for outputs 1 and 2 and a master ground switch.
The red box to the left of the router is a loop selector built by Ferg in Nashville. The DanEcho sounds great but it is not a true bypass pedal. I use the loop selector to engage the DanEcho.
The blue box with the Roscoe sticker is a Fulltone Fulldrive 2. It is one of the earliest models. I have a grommet under the first gain pot so It is impossible to turn myself down (with the damn comp cut switch) while playing. The pedal has the Mid-Mod that was done by the late Keith V. at Aramat Effects. New Fulldrive’s have this mod which yields less scooped out midrange.
The green pedal with the Roscoe sticker on it it the Fulltone Choral/Flange. This is a hell of a wiggle pedal. It gets me my stereo out and has a gain matching pot on it that is like the one on the Supa-Trem. I use this pedal in conjunction with the Supa-Trem to get a very realitic Leslie effect. The Choral/Flange in stereo with the Supa-Trem in mono comes really close to the “stereo top rotor/mono bottom” of the classic Leslie rotating speaker. On a real Leslie Cabinet the top and bottom rotors are never in sync They have their own motors.
Lastly that blue pedal in the middle is the Brooklyn Overdrive built by the girls at Frantone in Brooklyn. This is the best overdrive I’ve ever heard. Built truly like a tank and it has more bottom than any other overdrive I’ve ever heard. How about that?
Two Tele’s, Two Stories…..Both bodies were painted by Todd Hanson of Hanson Graphix in Wauseon, Ohio the Purple one was built by Phil Maneri of 5th Avenue Fretshop in Columbus, Ohio. It features a ’68 Fender neck that I got from Matt at 30th Steet Guitars in NYC. Its got a Fralin Blues Special pickup in the bridge and a Gibson P-94 that I had laying around that I decided to use because it matched some of the paint in Todd’s body. Turned out to be a fantastic pickup combination.
The White one was also painted by Todd. It was built by Scott Platts of Stonetree Guitars in Saratoga, Wyoming.Scott came out and measured my ’68 and ’66 Telecasters and set out to build the Roscoecaster. Roscoecaster #1 (the 2 tone sunburst based around my maple board ’66 Telecaster Custom) is a fantastic instrument. First time I ever plugged it in was onstage to play the encore of “Take It Easy” with Jackson Brown and Steve Earle. So I had this crazy Todd body laying around in my studio for a whole year before it dawned on me to send it to Scott. The White one is the result. It has a Fralin P-90 and a Blues Special bridge pickup.
The Blues Special is 5% overwound/5% darker. Its the best tough vintage style pickup. I really like the Lindy Fralin Pickups. Lindy gives excellent service. Both guitars use the fantastic Callaham Vintage T Model Bridge with the extra thick cold rolled steel plate and his great compensated brass saddles.
Gibson Historic Series ’60 Les Paul Special with Lindy Fralin P-90’s. I have owned several of the Gibson Historic Les Pauls included the ’54 Goldtop and the ’57 Junior Singlecut and the ’58 Flametop Standard. I like this one the best. I really like the combination of the P-90’s and the original wraparound tailpiece.
The Bigsby equipped Gretsch Spectra Sonics Model was designed by TV Jones and features his custom wound Filtertron pickups. This guitar makes me play completely different. Steve liked it and got one too. Its a very unique instrument. Has the ‘Gretsch Vibe’ in spades but its so much more streamlined and usable for the live gig. Straight up volume and tone controls. No mystery switches. It also features the Bigsby B7 with the pull down bar.
The B7 is only one that works for somebody with an aggressive right hand.
Jerry Jones Electric 12 String with custom pickup blend pot. Jerry Jones guitars are handmade versions of the Danelectro type guitars. This is the best working 12 string I’ve ever used. The blend pot idea was borrowed from the Rickenbacker. It really helps you dial in the blend between the two pickups which really is the heart of the 12 string sound. I have the pickup selector switch disabled. This mod was done for my by Dave at Joe Glasers shop in Nashville. The Baritone was made for my by Chris Cush at Mojo Guitars in NYC and it features NOS Harmony pickups and electronics. The neck is a Deep Six from WD.
I use D’Addario Strings (12, 15, 20 plain 34, 46, 56 wound) and Cables and Schub Capos. My gear is powered by the Furman Power Factor Pro
Brent Willis was my tech on the Earle tour and he did a super bang up job keeping my stuff going. Justin Townes Earle took care of my stuff for quite some time and is a bonafide recording star now. Greg “Chief” Frahn was the head guitar tech who took care of Steve’s stuff and also knews the words to a million songs for soundcheck. I appreciate all those guys and the rest of the superlative Dukes Crew. FOH mixer Matt Svbodny always made sure I was loud & proud in the house and after Dave Kissner bailed on us for greener more reverbey roots rock pastures Neil McDonald was giving it back to me through my Sensaphonics Pro Soft 2X dual driver In Ear Monitors. From time to time Scott Strandsberg would leave just enough lights on in between songs for me to move my capo.