plays fat-ass riffs, runs, and
slide assaults sans bass on
Moreland & Arbuckle’s Flood
[Telarc]. To get that girth and grittiness he used a 1960
Oahu Tonemaster combo recorded in the same room with the
harp amp and drums, and a Blue Pepper tube head through a Marshall
4x12 cab in an iso booth to maintain definition. “As the only stringed
instrument it’s essential that I get the biggest sound I can,” explains Moreland.
“On guitars tuned in open D or open G, I use strings gauged .014,
.018, .024 unwound, .028, .038, and .048, with high action—and on guitars
in standard tuning I use .012-.056 gauge sets. I prefer moderately heavy
Dunlop steel slides, and I avoid pedals because they drain my tone.” In addition
to various Gibsons and Fenders, Moreland plays a 4-string cigar-box guitar
with an actual bass string routed to a separate amp.
“To get a thick sound, I use my thumb for bass lines or rhythm chunks
that carry the tune, while my other fingers play rhythm flourishes and
melodies. My thumb plays simple downstrokes—chunk, chunk, chunk—or
more complex patterns on the bottom two strings, while I play upstroke patterns
with my fingers, and downstroke patterns with the backs of my fingers.
Then, I just drop in a little slide here and there for country blues or Chicago
blues-type sounds. This rolling technique is super cool and effective once
you get the hang of it.”