Hank 3’s Four Rigs for Four Sets

January 28, 2013

“I’m a huge gearhead,” understates Hank 3, who tours with four different rigs for his country, hellbilly, Attention Deficit Domination (doom rock), and 3 Bar Ranch (speed metal matched with actual cattle-auction hollers) sets—which are all performed in one almost non-stop evening. The sound system to accommodate this multi-stylistic onslaught is massive—so colossal in fact, that Hank 3 assists with the breakdown and setup as if he were one of the crew.

“It’s always a challenge,” he says. “But I’m especially proud of the sounds I can get with these rigs, as well as the fact I’m using amps you don’t see out there that much. A lot of my inspiration for the ADD rig came from Jucifer—the way she set up this enormous amp and speaker array—and this is definitely the most gear I’ve ever played and ever hauled. People look at me like I’m crazy, but I’ve got the rest of my life to strip it down and play with just an acoustic guitar.”

On his Country Setup

“To start off with the country, it’s my old Dimebag rig—the Randall RG-100 head. I run it into a Port City 2x12 cabinet—which is a really big-sounding speaker cab. For some reason, that Randall solid-state amp sounds amazing with acoustic instruments. It doesn’t matter if it’s my Guild SB-37 acoustic guitar, a fiddle, or a banjo. And that thing is a workhorse. You can’t kill it. There are a couple of spots in the country set where I want some grit, and for that I use a Pro Co RAT with the LM308 op-amp chip.”

The Hellbilly Set

“For the hellbilly part of the show, it’s pretty much the same rig as the country set, but I swap out the SB-37 for a Guild Nightbird chambered solidbody, and I use the RAT a little more.”

What It Takes for Attention Deficit Domination

“The rig for my doom-metal project took me almost five years to get into place. Most guitarists worry about their highs, lows, and mids, but I’ve always been fascinated with really pushing some air without turning up that loud, and going down and getting the guitar sound extremely deep. What I’ve done is collect all of [current High on Fire guitarist] Matt Pike’s old gear from his band Sleep. I have four of Matt’s Green 4x12 cabinets and [bassist] Al Cisneros’ 4x15 Green rig. I have four amps running simultaneously via a Voodoo Lab Amp Selector for this set. For my main high-gain sound, I use an Electric Amp Innovations White amp loaded with EL34 tubes and running two Green 4x12s. Then, a KT88-loaded Electric Amp Innovations Green amp is run through the other two Green 4x12s. Now, for the low-end rig, I power the Green 4x15s with an Orange Matamp Legend 120 slaving a 200-watt Orange Matamp Slave Unit that’s also loaded with KT88 tubes. Finally, I power four subwoofers— two in the front of the room, and two back by the sound mixer—with Peavey CS 4000 and IPR 3000 power amps, and a dbx 120A Subharmonic Synthesizer. My guitar is an ’80s Gibson Sonex—which puts out the biggest, fullest tone I’ve found in a guitar.”

The 3 Bar Ranch Rig

“For the speed-metal set—what I call ‘cattlecore’— I need a tighter crunch, so I just unplug the two Green speaker cabs from my White amp and connect them to a 5150 head. If I need any extra gain, I use the old DOD Buzz Box to get that Melvins guitar sound. My guitars are a Gibson Les Paul with EMG pickups and the Guild Nightbird. After I go from that huge ADD sound with the subwoofers to the speed-metal tone—well, it can be a tough transition because my ears are shot by then. Things can sound a bit strange—especially with a bandana over my head.”

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