Look under the hood of Jared James Nichols’ pristinely restored ’61 Ford Falcon, and it’s striking how simple the engine is, at least by today’s automotive standards. The same is true of Nichols’ guitar, which is an Epiphone Les Paul boasting only one pickup (a bridge-position Seymour Duncan P-90).
Compared to most contemporary electric guitars, Nichols' ax could hardly be more basic.
“I yanked out the neck pickup and the switch a while ago,” says Nichols on episode 57 of the No Guitar Is Safe podcast, “and honestly, to get the clearest sound possible, I am thinking of taking out the tone circuit, too. I can’t keep any piece of gear original. I always have to mess with stuff!”
Presented by Audio-Technica and their stellar E-Series line of monitoring headphones (which you can enter to win using the form below), this episode features an in-depth interview and jam with Nichols, who—as host Jude Gold quickly finds out—gets a stunningly wide range of guitar sounds out of his Epiphone, despite his bonehead-simple guitar/cable/amp approach to live rigs.
“Sometimes I don’t even have a tuner in line,” says Nichols, who doesn’t even play with a pick. “I don’t want anything to get in the way of my sound.”
From how he recorded his forthcoming album, Black Magic, and what it was like playing the big solo on “Sweet Home Alabama” with Lynyrd Skynyrd at an arena in Germany, to how he is preparing for his upcoming fall tour supporting UFO and Saxon, Nichols shares how he, despite being just 28-years-old, manages play giant guitar solos that seem to emanate from an old rock and roll soul.
“It was only when I stopped trying to be perfect with everything I played,” says Nichols, “that the dirty, nasty, mojo-y stuff started coming out.”
Listen to No Guitar Is Safe by clicking on any of the links below.
You can also enter to win a pair of Audio Technica ATH-E70, ATH-E50 or ATH-E40 Headphones using the entry form below the podcast links.