How The Reverend Billy F Gibbons gets his TONE
It’s all about TONE.
Want to know more about ZZ Top’s Billy F Gibbons and how he creates one of the most unique tones in Blues/Rock?
Check out “The ToneQuest Report.”
Click this link to read a free issue that includes a 10 page interview from 2002 where Billy describes the secrets behind his search for the ultimate tone.
The interviewer starts with this introduction:
“Welcome, Señors and Señoritas. We resume our exploration into the mysterious realm of tone, and this month our journey begins midway between Houston and San Antonio in a little town called La Grange. You know how that story goes… The creepin’ shuffle boogie intro to “La Grange” exploded into one of the most unique and recognizable guitar tones on the planet, compliments of Billy F. Gibbons and that Little ol’ Band from Texas. You gotta hand it to the Rev… with just one note stroked from Pearly Gates, there is no absolutely no doubt who’s in charge, and that’s a high wire act matched by a mere handful of players in the long and colorful history of the guitar.”
So how did Billy start defining his tone? As I learned from the report, it started when he found the guitar that ultimately became knows as “Pearly Gates”. Check out the story…”
…a friend called and said he knew a farmer with an original Les Paul. He kept it under his bed and rarely played it. At that time I was driving an old 1930s Packard automobile, and I gave it to a girlfriend so she could get out to California to audition for a part in a movie. She made it and got the part, and swiftly sold the Packard and sent a check to me. I remember the day her letter arrived, and immediately struck out toward the farmer’s place and said, “How ‘bout $250 for that guitar?” He said, “Fine,” and that’s Pearly Gates.
- Billy F. Gibbons, The ToneQuest Report, 2002
Even though that interview was from 2002, not much has changed for “The Reverend”.
Here is a link to a recent video from Premier Guitar where Billy’s tech, Elwood Francis, runs through Bill’s live rig. This is 17 minutes of pure heaven for tone searchers… enjoy!
…and remember what Billy says: “You gotta have the TONE!”