Guitar World recently published an article, revealing that a few people confirmed that ZZ Top frontman and leader Billy Gibbons is using some of the cheapest pedals on the market. As the magazine claims, the news of this first broke through Larkin Poe, a roots rock band that appeared on Gibbons’ 2021 solo album “Hardware.”
The band’s leading duo, sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell spoke up on the matter and we can safely assume that they had genuine info on the matter, especially because Larkin Poe went on tour with Gibbons in 2022.
And as Guitar World claims, they confirmed the story with Billy Gibbons’ former tech, calling his pedal choices “far less exotic than we expected.”
Going back to Larkin Poe’s Rebecca Lovell, she said of Gibbons’ cheap pedal use:
“Billy is one of the more gear-obsessed people that we’ve ever crossed paths with. Every time we see him, he’s always got some new pedal or some new system that he’s preaching the gospel of.”
“Most recently it was these mini pedals connected by these adorable mini jumper cables. He’s like [does gruff Gibbons impression] ‘Girls, I’m gonna send you a link. Check your emails! I’m gonna have my tech send you one. I tell you what: shorter signal path, purer tone! Cleaner tone!’”
Her sister Megan said:
“The one I loved was this mini pedal, like this big [makes a rectangle with her thumbs and index fingers], and then he was like ‘but they’ve got an even tinier one!’ He pulls out another box and it’s the size of a postage stamp! He said, ‘This is my fuzz and this is my slap echo.’ It’s like, ‘How do you find this stuff?’ I don’t know, he must have some really pointy-ass shoes.”
Rebecca then also added that, despite the cheap pedal use, Billy is more than invested in his rig:
“I appreciate Billy because even at this point in his career where it would be very easy and tempting to just skate and tune out, he really gets into the mechanics and the nuts and the bolts of his performance.“
“Typically, our conversations hang in the gear domain. He’s still just as ever zoomed-in on his guitar playing and his rig. It’s really sweet. I think what we can take from it is that you’ve got to constantly reinvent yourself. Reinventing your playing, reinventing the tones you’re getting. It’s really inspirational staying out of the rut.”
According to Guitar World, the ZZ Top frontman’s tech shared a few of these not-so-exotic pedal brands that he’s using. And it turns out that you can find all of these via the e-commerce giant Amazon. You know, that place where you can find the cheapest possible stuff online, even when it comes to guitar gear.
The tech supposedly said that Gibbons is using three pedal brands, Rowin, Mosky, and Mimidi — all three of which are super cheap. And we do mean super cheap. For instance, you can even find a Rowin overdrive that’s around $30. Mosky, for instance, has a Klon Centaur clone that’s below $40 while the Mimidi brand has some cheap overdrives that are between $25 and $40.
What makes this whole thing kind of weird or shocking is the fact that Billy uses some of the finest amps on the market. And by “the finest,” we mean Magnatone, the famous “boutique” amp brand. His choices include Magnatone Super 59 and Magnatone Custom 410, as confirmed by Equipboard.
Of course, Billy is also known for his vintage guitar collection, featuring some pretty impressive stuff. In an interview from a few years ago, Billy discussed some of these fine instruments. When asked about his book “Rock + Roll Gearhead” and whether he was reacquainted with some of his guitars, Gibbons said:
“Yes, indeed. The surprise came outta the vault when uncovering the famed Gibson Switchmaster ES-5 seen on page 48 in the new book.“
“It’s the rare jazz box that delivers an unexpected punch when all three pickups are engaged. It’s a beast.“
“We’re enjoying recording the effect on several tracks on the new [Gibbons solo band] BFG disc [Hardware]. And as mentioned throughout the book, Pearly Gates is always close at hand. She’s got it.”
The Switchmaster ES-5 is an old hollow-body guitar model, known for its three P-90 pickups and an abundance of controls. It was initially introduced in 1949 and was manufactured until 1962. Gibosn brought them back to life in the mid-1990s but with your conventional PAF humbuckers. Of course, there were also some old versions that came with PAFs after Gibson started putting them in instead of P-90s.
Photo: Alberto Cabello (Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top))