"This is my Eric Johnson in tropical turquoise. I've had this for a couple ye... more
"This is my Eric Johnson in tropical turquoise. I've had this for a couple years now. I was playing an old Korean strat, it was the first guitar I ever got 18 years ago. I just got this and I love it. It's got so many cool features on it. I've had it for about two years now. It feels like it's pretty new. It's got like a quarter sawn neck, so all green is going this way. It's not going to bow as much over time. It's got binding on the neck, which most strats don't. Also, one cool thing about it is that usually they have a string tree right here to hold the strings down against the nut here, but with the Eric Johnson model it's got a recessed head and also these pulls get shorter and shorter so that the strings pull down like this. it's supposed to help with sustain. It sounds good to me so I've been very happy with it. I have moded some things. On 'Everybody Talks,' there's an acoustic part that I actually recorded with like a 1946 Silvertone, like a really cheap archtop guitar. There was like this little acoustic sound that was kind of really key to the song so I had to be able to recreate an acoustic sound without being able to play an acoustic on stage. This is the ghost pickup. Graph Tech makes this and it's the Acousti-Phonic Ghost system. So it's got a pickup right here in the bridge and now I have a stereo jack right here. So it's sending this signal from my pickup and then a signal also from the piezo. This has a really nice acoustic sound to it. It's really cool. The first time I ever saw that was with the Cranberries. I think I saw them a long time ago and they were playing a song and it had this really nice acoustic sound to it and I was like 'Where is the acoustic up there?' I think someone was playing like a Parker Fly or something, but then I figured out what it was: they had a piezo pickup in the bridge. So I really like this one. I also like the stock pickup that comes in this, the Eric Johnson, but with a lot of the venues we play we get a lot of interference with the lighting and stuff so it'll create this sort of buzzy sound. And I mean single-coils are known for that, so I changed out the pickup here: it's a Lindy Fralin split rail and it really cuts out the noise and sounds good. I played Gibsons for a number of years, and actually on our last album 'Habits' I recorded most of the album with Gibsons. But a week after we finished in the studio I decided to bring my old Strat just to try it out. I was experimenting with some different amps and different pedals. I was trying to find the perfect combination to play live, and my Strat just sounded really good live. We'll try out and use fifteen different guitars in the studio, twelve different amps, just a ton of different pedals. Some of them I'm borrowing from other people, others I'm renting, or I'm just using some of my own stuff. We try not to limit ourelves in the studio trying to go, "Oh are we going to play this live exactly the same?' We just want to get the best product we can, and the best sound that we can get on the album. Then later we try to reproduce it. You don't want to stifle the creativity because you can only use one guitar live... I would have to say that the Eric Johnson is my number one. Because of the Acousti-Phonic piezo pickup in it I'm able to do the acoustic in it - it has a little more versatility to it. And so I end up having to play the [Eric Johnson] in certain songs where I can't really play other guitars."
"This is my black Jazzmaster. It's a Mexican Jazzmaster. I have it in a diffe... more
"This is my black Jazzmaster. It's a Mexican Jazzmaster. I have it in a different tuning, it's a completely different tuning. Right now on our set we have one song that we play it on and it's 'Sins of My Youth.' Before, on the last album cycle, we were playing farther down and we have a few older songs that I use that tuning a lot. Like almost exclusively, I played that more than standard tuning. I ordered the pickguard on eBay. It had tinsel like inside the pickguard. So when the lights hit it just right it kind of looked like there were LEDs in there. It just kind of sparkles. It's really cool."
"Is this my number one guitar? You know it's like asking me to choose between... more
"Is this my number one guitar? You know it's like asking me to choose between chldren, but I would say this is like 1.5. I would have to say that the Eric Johnson is my number one. Because of the Acousti-Phonic piezo pickup in it I'm able to do the acoustic in it - it has a little more versatility to it. And so I end up having to play the [Eric Johnson] in certain songs where I can't really play this one. With songs I play, every night it's kind of been changing since I only got this guitar three months ago. I've been figuring out which songs it sounds better on. I really like this one on 'Teenage Sounds,' I actually really like it on every song. But I would say that with the other I play 'Everybody Talks,' 'Lessons in Love' because it's got a little more grit to it with the Eric Johnson, and everything else is just kind of 50/50. It just depends on the night I'll switch up. This guy I had custom made. What's cool about this and sentimental about it is that I used to play with this bassist like in high school and he worked for Fender at the time. That was like fourteen years ago or something. I decided to look him up and see if he was still working there. He's actually a master builder there now. So I hit up our rep at Fender and asked if we could have him build me something. I heard from him a little later on Facebook and he said he'd love to build something for me. This one I'd been thinking out for about a year and a half, just like every feature on it I wanted to have on a guitar. Some of the things I took from the Eric Johnson, like the quarter sawn neck. I wanted to have the same feel, the same profile to it. And then it's got like a Fender Twelve-String headstock on it but with only the six strings on it. That kind of looks cool. I feel like the design down here kind of really goes well with the Jazzmaster body. It's got a '63 new original stock Telecaster bridge pickup, Jazzmaster neck pickup, and this is all Telecaster hardware. Then I designed the shape of the plate, it's a single-ply pickguard. I liked it simple and wanted it simple. I definitely wanted it to have a pickguard but I didn't want it to be all over the place. I figured that the more wood, the better. I didn't want that covering up the wood. I know that it doesn't affect the resonance all that much, having a bigger pickguard. I just wanted it real simple so I did the one-ply and I just did this tiny shape."
"I'm playing through a Laney Lionheart 20-watt handwired. I think it's just t... more
"I'm playing through a Laney Lionheart 20-watt handwired. I think it's just the LH-20, this is the name of it. I've been playing Laney for a couple of years now. Before that I was playing Fender, HotRod Deluxe, and before that I was playing a Peavey - a really old Peavey amp. But in the last two years I've found that the Lionheart Series are really good. They're handwired. Even though it's only 20 watts it gets really loud. It sits well in the mix."
"I just got a Cusack Pedal Tamer, it helps me switch between all my different... more
"I just got a Cusack Pedal Tamer, it helps me switch between all my different effects. It was getting a little too tough. I was doing a little too much tap dancing. I was able to manage it with just the one album of material but now that we have two albums it was getting a little hectic. But with this I can hit one button and it can switch six different pedals on or off. So that's been very helpful."
"The one that I have on almost all the time is the Ibanez Tube Screamer. I us... more
"The one that I have on almost all the time is the Ibanez Tube Screamer. I used to have the TS808 reissue, and I really like that a lot, but I was going through them a lot. I was breaking them for some reason. I think it was the TSA, you know we were flying around so much. And my pedalboard wasn't great so I didn't pack it right. Well anyway, this time around I bought one of the handwired ones that they just redid. They hand selected the chips and hand wired the pedal and gave it a different color - it's a dark green. I just A/B the two against each other and this one just sounded way better. That's like my main pedal."
"Another one that I just started using on this new album is my DigiTech HardW... more
"Another one that I just started using on this new album is my DigiTech HardWire Chorus Pedal. It's just like a $100 pedal but it's got a really good chorus sound to it and we put it all over this album."
"So I was kind of running out of space in my pedalboard. I already have one o... more
"So I was kind of running out of space in my pedalboard. I already have one of the biggest that they make, that Pedaltrain makes. I had very little space to work with and so I started looking for very small pedals. I came across Malekko, they make these little mini ones. They're just tiny. I really like the sound of them, and they're also really affordable, like $100 for either the tremolo or the vibrato, and then $140 for the other one. For like boutique type pedals that's pretty good. I really like them."
"I came across Malekko, they make these little mini ones. They're just tiny. ... more
"I came across Malekko, they make these little mini ones. They're just tiny. I really like the sound of them, and they're also really affordable."
"I have the Fuzz Factory. Zvex is a really fun company. I like all their hand... more
"I have the Fuzz Factory. Zvex is a really fun company. I like all their hand-painted stuff. I didn't spring for the hand-painted pedal, but the hand-painted ones it's like the whole thing is done, it's like a unique piece of art. This one just has the name on it like painted on there. But yeah it's a fuzz pedal, kind of like vintage style. It's a real crazy, nasty-sounding fuzz. It squeals. I use it on two songs, so I don't use it a ton. I use it on 'Teenage Sounds' and on the end of 'Trust'."
A TC Electronic PolyTune Polyphonic Tuner Pedal is seen in Chris Allen's peda... more
A TC Electronic PolyTune Polyphonic Tuner Pedal is seen in Chris Allen's pedalboard during this rig rundown video.
A Fulltone GT-500 FET Distortion plus Booster and Overdrive Guitar Effects Pe... more
A Fulltone GT-500 FET Distortion plus Booster and Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal Red appears in Chris Allen's pedalboard in this rig rundown video.
This rig rundown video of Chris Allen's pedalboard shows a Strymon El Capista... more
This rig rundown video of Chris Allen's pedalboard shows a Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo Delay Pedal in use.
An MXR M-133 Micro Amp Pedal appears in this rig rundown video of Chris Allen. more
An MXR M-133 Micro Amp Pedal appears in this rig rundown video of Chris Allen.
Best Boost Pedals
An Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal is seen in C... more
An Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal is seen in Chris Allen's pedalboard during this rig rundown video.
A Keeley 4-Knob Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal appears in this Chris Allen r... more
A Keeley 4-Knob Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal appears in this Chris Allen rig rundown video.
A Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus appears in this rundown video of Chris Allen... more
A Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus appears in this rundown video of Chris Allen's rig.
According to DigiTech's website, Allen uses the DigiTech Whammy 4th Gen pedal. more
According to DigiTech's website, Allen uses the DigiTech Whammy 4th Gen pedal.
"D'Addario strings sound and play great. I've been using them for most of my ... more
"D'Addario strings sound and play great. I've been using them for most of my life. I've always liked the minimal packaging that cuts down on waste AND keeps the strings fresh longer. And you know all the other string companies are jealous of D'Addario's colored ball ends," says Chris Allen about the D'Addario EXL110 Nickel Light Electric Guitar Strings.