The Rigs: What guitarists’ sound influences you the most, both past and present, both acoustic and electric? Feel free to name numerous players.
For me, it’s ever changing. Even the ones that are passing can leave a print on you that lasts forever. Some of the ones that have stuck with me are…
Dan Lebowitz: *Jimi Hendrix – Discovered him in high school, because as a guitarist, you’re supposed to love him. Honestly, I wasn’t knocked off of my feet at first. I appreciated him and liked the music, but it wasn’t until a few years later, that I saw the “Jimi plays Monterey” video and suddenly I got it. The rawness just kinda grabs your heart.
*The three Kings (B.B., Albert, and Freddie) have also been a big influence on me. Tone! Tone! Tone! I love how their guitars help to tell the stories in their songs. Often, while they are singing, they use their guitars to answer their voices. Then, when it’s time to let it rip, it’s as if they’ve released the caged animal.
*Wes Montgomery really blew my mind when I first heard him, and I’ve spent some time digging deep into his thang.
Man, I could just keep going, but a few more would be David Gilmour, Charlie Christian, Eddie Van Halen, Mississippi John Hurt, and the great saxophonist Charlie Parker. All of those players have influenced me hugely.
TR: What 2 musicians’ setups (guitar, pedals and amp setup) would you like to know about?
Lebo: Of all the rigs out there, I’d love to spend some time with the the Edge’s rig . (U2)
TR: Two part question: What is the direction of your sound as a band at present and where does your guitar sound fit into that? How do your amps, individual pedals and guitars play their roll in that sound. (be specific to the each if possible)
Lebo: I like to think of it as rootsy-adventurism. I’m super into warm analog tones, but I like to go out on a limb with them. I always use tube amps. Mostly Victoria, Goodsell, and old Fenders. I dislike playing through amps that have too much power, as I rely heavily on amp breakup for my sound. For me, an amp can’t be over 40 watts. These days I’ve been enjoying the 15 to 20 watt amps. Even on big stages. You can turn em up without blowing people’s ears out. There’s such a rich compression that happens when an amp is working hard. In short, I like the sound of a suffering amp!
TR: Where do you see your sound going in the future as a guitarist?
Lebo: I have no idea. That’s the fun part for me. I’m really open to trying new things, and I find that I’m influenced by all kinds of music, so who knows!!!
TR: What is the lineage of your guitar sound? In other words, when you started playing guitar, who did your sound most resemble and how did that sound evolve to your guitar setup today?
Lebo: When I first started playing guitar, Pete Townsend was my guy. I loved The Who. In a sense, I’m still with those types of sounds. I like to experiment a bit more these days, but when it gets down to it, a nice creamy tube amp and a comfy guitar is where it all starts for me.
TR: Could you walk me thru the signal flow of you pedal board? In other words, which pedal is wired to the next?
Lebo: This is something that I change from time to time… right now it’s sort of a long chain….
Guitar > Jangletone II (CAE) > Analog man Bi Comp > WH-1 (original whammy) > Fulltone Clyde (wah) > Home Made Overdrive > Zen Drive > Q-Tron + > Line 6 Echo Park > mini Deja Vibe > Ernie Ball Volume Pedal (500k pot).
TR: List of Guitars and Amps you play? (be as specific as possible)
Lebo: Guitars: Takamine Cedar top acoustic/electric with a sunrise pickup wired straight to the jack, Santa Cruz Vintage Jumbo Custom, Gibson L-4 CES, Gibson ES 335 , Sierra 8 string Lap Steel, Carter u12 pedal steel guitar.
Amps: Victoria 20112, Victoria Golden Melody, Goodsell 33 Custom, 1967 Fender Pro Reverb
TR: What gauge and brand of strings do you use ?
Lebo: I’ve been usin DR strings lately. I like heavy strings… 12-54
TR: Have you ever gotten any custom work done on your guitars?
Lebo: I apprenticed with a guitar builder for a couple years, and then worked as a luthier for couple years after that. I love working on guitars, but I love playing them even more. So, as I got more recording/touring opportunities, I just let the playing take over. At any rate, i do all of my own guitar work and I like to experiment with my instruments. I mess with them often.
TR: Do you have a trusted person that works on your guitars for custom work and major repairs?
Lebo: As I said before, I work on my instruments myself, but if I have a really perplexing job, I take the guitar to Keith Holland’s Guitar Hospital in Los Gatos, California. Keith is the master luthier I apprenticed with. He does amazing work…. A real artisan.