JESSE HOFSTEE / SPERO

Spero: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / SoundCloud / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your current rig.

I’ve always been after a big, bold tone for my guitar. I like more low-end, dark tones which is why I went with a ’66 Fender Bassman as my main amp. I use a lot of vintage gear; I feel that there is just more character in each amp, and nothing beats the simplicity and true tube tones. That has been my go-to amp since I really started playing guitar. It just puts out such a big, full tone and it has that low-end that I love. I more recently got my hands on an ‘60s Vox Super Reverb amp to add to the mix. It breaks up at a lower volume than the Bassman and has a dirtier tone which pairs great with the Bassman when running them stereo. My first electric guitar was my Gretsch Electromatic. It is one of the cheaper models that I bought used, but even after buying more guitars, it’s always been my go-to; I’m a big fan of Gretsch guitars. My other go-to guitar is my Harmony H78. I found it with no paint and no knobs and I knew I had to have it. All the main parts are original and it just has so much character and such a great dirty tone. As far as pedals, I have tried to keep things simple but over the years have acquired more and more. My board is still a work in progress and changes as I learn more. My main pedals that I use are my Boss Blues Driver and delay pedal for a little slapback delay. On some of our heavy parts I use my Boss Super Octave for a fuzzy thick tone. I got the Soul Food pedal for when I just need a little cleaner gain. Never used a phaser ’til our last time in the studio so it’s something I am now introducing here and there. I am a big fan of dynamic playing and songwriting so I use my volume pedal often to help achieve that. It also helps, since there is usually only one guitarist in Spero, to have a rhythm and lead volume level easily accessible.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style/gear?

My sound has changed over the years but our latest time in the studio I really captured some big, gritty tones that I have been after for awhile. Just a heavy but still natural classic tone is something I really have been into lately. Our latest single release “The Sounds,” is a good portrayal of that tone. It’s big and gritty, and has a tremolo going throughout which is something I have never used, but have been liking lately.

3. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?

The guitar I have always been after is a ‘50s-‘60s Gretsch White Falcon. A little aged off white paint and a little wear and tear would be perfect. I just think they are such beautiful guitars and have such a great classic Gretsch tone. One day I will have one.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?

There have been a few different guitarists whose sound and gear setup I have always looked to for inspiration and its always changing for different styles. Lately, I have been digging Dean Fertita’s sounds, mostly on the latest Dead Weather album. He just has some screaming raw tones and makes good use of echo and delays to make the parts really sustain and sound like there is more than one guitar.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?

Spero has a new EP entitled Eclipse that we released on May 13th. We had the opportunity to record with producer Vance Powell in Nashville and are so stoked on the outcome. [Purchase/listen to it here] We will be headlining a show to support the release at the Music Box on May 26th with Creature and the Woods and Grim Slippers. Hope to see you out there!

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DUSTIN LOTHSPEICH / OLD TIGER

Thank you for visiting Gear and Loathing in San Diego. As the guy behind the scenes of this whole thing, I figured I’d start the whole project off by sharing what musical equipment I use and get the ball rolling. I hope y’all enjoy the site and find some musical inspiration along the way. ~ Dustin

Old Tiger: Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

1. What is your favorite piece of gear? The JHS Colour Box. I’ve never been able to get the perfect light, full-bodied overdrive sound I’d always heard in my head until I played through that thing. It just purrs at all frequencies – and it’s great at doing a ton of other stuff (like crazy velcro fuzz noises). It’s pricey but worth it.

2. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? I think “Get Along,” off Old Tiger’s record, Love Have Mercy, is a good indication of what I try to do as a guitar player. That record has a lot of cool parts and different players, so while it’s not a great example of how I actually play live, that song has always been a nice one to listen to.

3. If money was no object, what’s the holy grail piece of gear you’d buy? Probably a vintage Gibson ES-355, ES-330 or Gibson Barney Kessel model – because vintage guitars (especially old Gibson semi-hollowbodies) have so much mojo, and they’re so comfortable to play.

4. What’s the worst or weirdest piece of gear you’ve ever bought or used? I have a weird Squier Bass VI that I still haven’t bonded with yet. It’s a cool instrument and has some funky sounds in it, but playing a bass with that many strings on a neck that thin has turned out to be a difficult task.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? Currently working on writing lots of music for Old Tiger’s next record. Hope to share some new stuff soon.