This Nashville YouTuber Mythbustin is on a Guitar Gearing Mission

This Nashville YouTuber Mythbustin is on a Guitar Gearing Mission

Although people’s feelings about their gear and what it does often influence the way they play psychologically, that doesn’t mean the gear is doing exactly what they think it’s doing. Lill jokes about a friend – playing for the record, Lill insists he loves and has learned a lot from – who uses Two Rock’s amp setting on a digital amplifier to get a sound he calls “the John Mayer thing that’s it.” The issue is that when Lill asked the friend what model of Two-Rock amp John Mayer plays, and what amp the model is, he didn’t know.

“It’s just funny,” he says. “It’s like saying ‘Oh man, I love Dale Earnhardt. That’s why I drive a Chevy, you know, just like Dale does.’”

Perhaps what bothers me most about Lill is that, in a world of influencers who are increasingly active on their social media, he doesn’t aim to turn his videos into a full-time career. Instead, he’s just a musician, sharing what he learns with those of us who don’t have the time and resources to do the same experiments.

When asked why he first started making the videos, he says, “I realized that knowing the answer without having any proof doesn’t always work and when you do it catch on videos. So I try to make sure to capture things on video as much as I can.” They have amazing production value, for a man who admits he never really owned a camera.

Instead, Lill gave me a free gift – the knowledge that speaker cabinets and tone settings matter more than the hunk of wood and strings in my hand. This is valuable information, considering the amount of time I’ve spent hunting guitars and no messing with tone knobs.

“I’ve seen a lot of different approaches to how people present information on the internet, and the way I’ve chosen to go is to be as unbiased and kind as I can,” he says. “It really doesn’t matter if someone believes me or not. It’s just a guitar.”

Jim Lill’s Current Signal Chain

Given his background and history in testing, what does Jim Lill actually use? This is the sound equipment you will find in his studio.

Guitar

Lill says, “The Anderson Tele has been my number one since high school.” The other guitars and bass are used for specific sounds but are not used as often.

Pickups

The Tom Anderson Telecaster features a 2018 Seymour Duncan Vintage Stack bridge pickup, a 1980 Bill Lawrence Black Label S2 mid pickup, and a 2009 Seymour Duncan Mini Humbucker neck pickup. Lill notes that he only uses the bridge pickup in the telecast. All other guitars feature stock pickups.

Pedals

Lill uses a 2001 Boss CS-3 compressor pedal to balance different volumes of different guitars. That goes into an RC Xotic Booster for single volume and a 2020 Nobles ODR-1 overdrive (painted black) and a 2017 Paul Cochrane Timmy V2 (white tape added to read “Jimmy”) for a bit of grit to his tone . Then the signal hits a 1990s Ernie Ball volume pedal and a 2018 Sonic Research ST-300 Turbo Tuner Mini for volume and tuning control. For the final stages in his chain, he adds a Boss TR-2 Tremolo (painted black) and uses a Stomp Line 6 HX 2020, mostly for its legacy delay algorithms. “It’s the tuner, CS-3, and the delay that uses it the most,” he says. “Tremolo is usually for the Bass6. Everything else is just in case.”

Amps

Lill owns a 1966 Fender Bassman head (stock AB165 circuit), a heavily modified 1965 Fender Bassman head, and a 2001 Carr Slant 6V 1×12 combo. “I’m working on figuring out my amp situation right now,” he says. “Imagine one of these three being my main amp.”

Lill speaker cabinets.

Photo: Jim Lill

Speaker Cabinets

Lill combines his own homemade 2×12 2022 with a 2001 Celestion Vintage 30 (with the closed back side) and a 1967 Fender Utah (with an open sided back). “I used the one I did the most,” says Lill, “but I also have two cabs that JT Corenflos used on sessions and a cab that Tom Bukovac used on sessions.” Impulse responses from Jim’s cabinets are for sale on his website.

Sons

Lill uses a Shure SM57 (one for each speaker). Regarding placement, he says, “I was taught at the studio that I prefer to place the mic two fingers from the grill cloth, straight back, centered on the line between the dust cap and the cone. That’s where I start. .”

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