WHEN JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD guitarist Jake Orrall steps on stage to play his raw brand of garage rock, two things matter to him: Playing loud and having cool-looking gear.
“It’s more about the look than the sound,” says Orrall, who performs with his brother, drummer Jamin, in the two-man, bona fide “brotherhood.”
Although JEFF The Brotherhood’s latest album, Hypnotic Nights [Warner Bros.], is on a major label and was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, the brothers have taken a DIY approach throughout their career, managing several indie releases and tours, and, in the case of Jake, building a bizarre, one-of-a-kind guitar with three strings.
“I just couldn’t figure out six strings,” says Orrall. “At first, I took off all the strings except two, and I tuned those two strings to the same note for power chords. Then, I wanted something heavier, so I added a string, and starting envisioning a ‘legit’ three-string guitar.”
Built by Dave Johnson of Scale Model Guitars, Orrall’s 3-string features a double- cutaway Lucite body and a custom three-pole humbucker. Orrall tunes the 3-string to drop-D, and via a Morley Quad Box, simultaneously routes the guitar into a ’72 Sunn Concert Lead and Emperor 4x12 cabinet and an Acoustic B600H bass head plugged into Emperor 4x12 and 1x18 cabs.
“With three strings, I’ve abandoned chord progressions to just play heavy riffs,” explains Orrall. “So I run everything through an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, and that’s why I like solid-state amps. I want to get as loud as possible while still staying super clean.”