Premier Guitar’s world-famous Rig Rundowns take you backstage to explore the live gear used by your favorite guitar and bass players. Whether you’re into shred, country, indie, or classic rock, Rig Rundowns give you the lowdown on the instruments, pedals, and amps powering the biggest acts on the road today—and often we even coax them into demoing their favorite settings. Listen now and pick up new tricks for how to set up your rig!
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
“Gear is meant to be destroyed in the line of duty,” laughs Ruban Nielson. “I realize I prefer to see my equipment all dinged up rather than sitting perfect in my basement—that’s a dorky thing to do.”
That doesn’t mean Nielson doesn’t care about his sound. He noted in a 2015 interview with PG that he spends countless hours in his basement tinkering on breadboard circuits and swapping out components, trying to maximize a pedal for his needs. “I like the idea that instead of buying your sound, you’re building your sound,” he said.
Over the course of 14 years, five albums, and thousands of touring miles, Nielsen has been custom-fabricating his guitar voice. But as we all know, the quest is never-ending, like trying to catch the horizon. After all, isn’t it the journey, not the destination, that matters?
“I used to be too much of a savage to care about a clean boost or headroom,” says Nielson. “‘Just give me a distortion pedal already!’ But now I’m exploring the intricacies, subtleties, and nuances of guitar.”
Ahead of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s headlining performance at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl, Ruban Nielson welcomed PG’s Chris Kies onstage to explore his current sonic lab. Nielson covers his two space-age guitars (and what inspired them), explains how he convinced Benson to put a Monarch inside a vintage solid-state Yamaha, and details the pedals—including a few of his own designs—that extract a kaleidoscope of moods.
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David Ryan Harris
Guitarist and singer-songwriter David Ryan Harris rose to prominence as a key part of John Mayer’s band between 2004 and 2012, and he’s backed everyone from Santana to Dave Matthews to Nick Jonas. But as a solo artist and bandleader, Harris has been spinning gorgeous R&B, blues, and funk for decades. Harris took PG's John Bohlinger through his current touring rig before a stop with Scary Pockets at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl on October 5.
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Brian Setzer 
Two-time Grammy Award-winning rockabilly hero Brian Setzer recently played a sold-out show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in support of his new solo album, The Devil Always Collects. Tyler Sweet, who has teched for Setzer for 17 years, took PG’s John Bohlinger through the rig that rocked this town, and just about every other town in the world over Setzer’s 40 years of twanging and sanging.
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Formed in 1969 by slide guitar juggernaut Lowell George, disbanded after his death in ’79, then revitalized in 1987, Little Feet combines George’s bandmate and co-writer Fred Tacket along with virtuoso Scott Sharrad in their new recording and touring lineup. Tacket and Sharrad invited PG’s John Bohlinger to their soundcheck at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium to talk gear and tell classic stories from Little Feet’s early days.
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Irish rock band Fontaines D.C. is a dual-guitar ensemble featuring Carlos O’Connell and Conor Curley. At first, the duo used similar guitars, amps, and settings in an effort to work as a symbiotic saw buzzing their way through songs. The indistinguishable incisions lacerated their earliest work with angsty piss and vinegar. But as the quintet’s musicianship has evolved, they’ve embraced wider influences, adding different knives to their collection of cutlery. And more specifically, they’ve learned when to slice, when to dice, and how to work off each other.
“I think we’re trying to be more patient and more conscious of the texture,” Curley told PG in 2022, describing how he and O’Connell have worked together to refine their sound. “The first album was very much in a fighting mode,” he continues, “with the two guitars EQ’d the same and just smashing off each other. On the second one, we learned to play together a little better. We’re still working on it, and sometimes we still try to become as one almost, when the song needs it, but I think now we’ve learned to fit in with how we’re EQing everything. It feels really good.”
Ahead of their opening slot priming crowds for the Arctic Monkeys, O’Connell and Curley invited PG’s Chris Kies onstage at the Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville. Carlos covered his favored Fender solidbodies, while Conor showed off his eclectic hollowbodies, and they both walked through their respective pedalboards.
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The Band CAMINO
“‘Stumbled into guitar’ is a good way of putting our start with the instrument. [Spencer Stewart] and I formed the band in 2015 and that’s when I got my first electric guitar,” admits The Band CAMINO’s vocalist and guitarist Jeffery Jordan.
That sort of sideways T-bone collision into guitardom allows this pop-minded duo to avoid typical tonal tropes like worrying about tubes versus modeling, or imports versus custom. Their focus was and continues to be translating their danceable melodies into guitar-driven rompers and producing the best live show possible.
“We definitely enjoyed a pedalboard-and-amp-era of the band, but the tech has come so far and we’re able to eliminate so much room for error and potential inconsistencies, allowing for a freer performance,” adds Jordan.
As we quickly found out in our Rundown with Jordan and Stewart, the band’s approach favors execution over exhibitionism.
In mid-September, just before the band commenced their headlining Screaming in the Dark tour, in support of the just-released The Dark album, co-frontmen and dueling guitarists Jeffery Jordan and Spencer Stewart invited PG’s Chris Kies to rehearsal for a gear talk. The main chauffeurs of CAMINO explained how grabbing guitar later in life allowed them to avoid a lot of gear gossip and find tonal solutions that enrich their performances. Plus, they both discuss the stable of studs from Fender, Gibson, and Epiphone that give bounce and beauty to their merging of indie-rock and electropop.
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This podcast is so much more fun to listen to than 60CH. Makes me wanna practice all day!! Lol
One of my favorite guitar related podcasts
This is one of my top 5 podcasts about guitarists, pedals and gear. I have discovered several musicans and bands through this podcast and found very useful informaiton about guitarists and bands that I really like. If you're a guitarist and a fanatic about tone, it doesn't get any better.
Review TOOL find them n interview them in depth pls . Oh and keep up the 5 star reviews you guys Rock ...