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TALKING TONE WITH SCOTT SHARRARD
Scott Sharrard, fresh off the release of his new LP , "Saving Grace", has spent the last decade as the lead guitarist of the Gregg Allman Band. Scott knows tone! We invited Scott in to talk tone and it was TONE we got! Freddie King, Allman, Muscle Shoals, and Gibson, Gibson, Gibson! Scott Sharrard is a master of tone! Enjoy!
"You know and when you find the right guitar just feels like a kind it becomes part of your anatomy you know." - Scott Sharrard
What piece of gear is key to your tone?
If there's anything that's a part of my sound gear wise it would be the design of this guitar (Gibson Custom CS-336). From the first the first day I picked it up, you know, it's the same story you hear every guitar player say about their main axe. I mean, I mail ordered it! So when it showed up I was taking a risk. I pulled it out and the second I lifted up I was like "that's the right weight". Then I put my hand around the neck and this has that slim neck they were making in 59 on all the ESs.
So this guitar I bought it I bought it from a music store online and like it was 2001/02 and I think that's the year it was made. It's a Gibson Custom Shop CS-336. I know Gibson's always changing things they're always going through changes so, I think there were a couple of years where they made this guitar very specific way. They were advertising it as being "tonally carved," at the time, was the phrase. The idea was the inside is like the inside of an L5 archtop guitar but shrunk down to the size and I mean it's a normal semi-hollow otherwise.
I have replaced a lot of the electronics in the parts and it just to make it a little bit more road friendly. This has been my main guitar ever since about 2002. So it's it's seen a lot of miles.
What are the Pickups in your Gibson Custom Shop CS-336?
These pickups are made by this cat, he has a company called Wizz pickups. He hand makes them and I got turned on to him by this friend of mine Richard Brent who runs the Allman Brothers Big House Museum in Macon.
I've been on a quest for '59 PAFs for a long time and those can be two to four thousand dollars. I was asking Richard what he recommended and he said that he heard this guy does the best ones and I would have to agree.
What's going on with your bridge pickup, is it reversed?
I was at the Gibson factory a couple of years ago in Memphis where they keep all the ESs and they had the Freddie King signature model. I noticed that that Freddie used to reverse his back pick up, his bridge pickup, so the magnet is a little bit closer to the middle. That warms up the bridge pick up, so, I started doing that after I saw that because Freddy's like my hero man. So I flipped that my bridge pickup magnet is flipped backwards.
What's up with your new record, "Saving Grace"?
My new solo record. "Saving Grace," was recorded half in Memphis and half in Muscle Shoals. In Memphis we used Howard Grimes, Charles and Leroy Hodges, the Hi Rhythm Section, to play on it. Those are the guys who played on Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," "Love and Happiness" and so many of those great albums out of Memphis in the 60s and 70s. Then the other half we did in Muscle Shoals at Fame Studios, which is where I also recorded the last Greg Allman record, "Southern Blood," that's how we got to know them. On my record I had Spooner Oldham come in and play keys, which of courses you know, he plays on all those Aretha Franklin records. David Hood, on bass, who's on thousands of hits like, "I'll take you there." Then in Muscle Shoals we got to use our friend, Chad Gamble, to play drums He's been with Jason Isbell since the beginning, and they're good buddies of ours. So it was really like a dream list of talent. They're all songs I wrote and sing and you know it's really my first time where I get to step out from the shadow of working with Greg and do my own thing full time.
Other than your Gibson CS-336, what other guitars and gear did you use on "Saving Grace"
The Big House Museum, as I mentioned before, and Richard Brent, they brought Dwayne Allman's 1957 Goldtop. The one he played on "Layla" and the first two Allman Brothers Records. They brought that to the sessions in Muscle Shoals and of course he used to cut in Muscle Shoals with that guitar as well. So they brought the guitar, and I used that guitar for four or five songs. And then I use this guitar (336) for the lead on the rest of the record. When I was doing rhythm guitar for the record I used my Fender Telecaster. I have a kind of a mongrel Tele, it's made from two different Telecasters, and it's got a great rhythm sound. We cut the record live on the floor with the band. It was me playing rhythm guitar (Telecaster) and singing the final lead vocal live with the rhythm section, so all that went down at once. Then I just I wanted to kind of craft the guitar tones on this record. I wanted to pay very special attention to getting the right sound. So obviously this guitar (CS-336) and Dwayne Allman's Goldtop were in the front of the amp and then the telecaster for rhythm. I had two amps set up the whole time running in parallel when I was doing the lead guitar overdubs. That was always a 50s Tweed Twin Deluxe with 1x12 and my '66 Vibrolux Reverb running in parallel. I only used a fuzz pedal on one song, that was the only effect on there. Everything is straight into the amp with the amps on about seven for the lead guitar sounds.