ALTHOUGH HE’S BEST KNOWN AS
the unofficial poet laureate of Louisiana’s fertile
roots music scene, Anders Osborne is also
a wicked slide player and a serious tone junkie.
His current palette ranges from bold and beautiful
cleans to demonically overdriven noises. A
devoted Strat cat, he uses an arsenal of amps
to craft his tones with the care of an old-world
blacksmith. —Jimmy Leslie
What were the amps on your most recent
CD, American Patchwork, and how did you set
I like mixing big and small amps. I used a
100-watt Marshall JCM800, a ’64 Fender Concert,
a 50-watt Marshall plexi, a Vox AC30,
a ’50s Silvertone 1x10 combo, and a vintage
Gibson 1x8 combo. A custom splitter box
sent the signal out to four amps, and I daisychained
the others. Certain combinations such
as the Concert and the JCM800 sound awesome
chained together. I plug into one input
on the Concert and then run a cable from its
other input to the input of the JCM800. I lined
everything up in a big room and shuffled the
order until I found my sounds. Then I moved
around the room to find the sweet spots.
Can you tell me exactly how the Patchwork
sessions went down?
I cut most of my basics using two-tofour
amps. I like to have a close mic on each
amp, and a couple of condensers around the
room. I really sculpted the sound with the
wall of amps during overdubs. Generally, I
will double or even triple track certain licks
for emphasis. If I have a peel-the-paint-offthe-
walls sound going, then I might play
my Strat with a super-clean sound, double
that, and tuck it underneath. That provides
an articulate string tone in the center of
the huge, muddy sound. “On the Road to
Charlie Parker” is a good example. It has
close to 40 tracks of guitar.
How do you sort through so many tracks
I try not to over track, so I don’t have
that much to sift through. A particular passage
might sound perfect with only one
amp. Taking the time to figure that out
saves a ton of time mixing.
What’s your stage amp situation?
I’m using two amps. One is my brand
new signature Category 5 4x10 combo. It’s
a hybrid between a Fender Super and a Concert
with the power jacked up to 110 watts.
But it’s not just louder—it’s more! Somehow,
it’s still very warm and old-fashioned
feeling. I’m also using a JCM800 through a
4x12 cabinet. Combining the jabby punch of
my Cat 5 4x10 with the girth of the 4x12s is
killer. Category 5 is also making me a twochannel
amp designed to combine the sound
of my plexi and my JCM800. We’re almost
there, but I’m waiting to get it just right.