As promised earlier in the week, here we bring you Part 2 of our ‘Gear Nerd’ interview with LAMB OF GOD GUITARIST Willie Adler. In Part 1 (which you can find HERE if you missed it), we chatted to Willie about how he got into playing, his guitar playing career and the first guitar he ever owned. In this final instalment, we talk about his endorsers past and present, his current set-up and his tips to budding guitarists…
RR UK: So who have you been endorsed by over the years and what guitars have you had from them?
WA: Framus was the first company to court us and let us try their stuff, and that went on for a few years. They were great guitars and I still have all those as well. We were doing the Sounds of the Underground tour in the States and the artist relations guy from ESP approached me and gave me his card. At that point the band was growing and I think – no offence to Framus – the band kind of outgrew that company and what he could afford to do for me at that point just wasn’t enough. I appreciate everything they did for me in the past, but that’s when I called the ESP guy.
RR UK: So what is it that you particularly like about their guitars?
WA: It’s just the way it feels. When you pick it up, it feels amazing. You don’t have to lower the action or change the pick-ups or anything, it’s just perfect. The way that they operate, the way they build their guitars and how hands-on they let you be when you construct custom guitars, it was great.
RR UK: What guitar are you playing at the moment?
WA: I am playing my signature model- the Willie Adler model- through ESP. It’s based on their Eclipse model but I changed a few things. The wood and pick-ups, and the actual finish on the guitar. It’s extremely flattering [to get offered a signature model], I mean, who am I to get a signature guitar, you know?! I guess none of it has sunk in, it’s still a treat to be able to have my own guitar. Something I’m very flattered and honoured by- that they would put me alongside people like Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, or George Lynch. It’s quite the honour.
RR UK: Run us through your full stage set-up?
WA: I use a Mesa Boogie Mark 4 head – I actually use two of them. I don’t really use other pedals besides a tuning pedal and chorus pedals when I play ‘clean’. There’s one of my heads that runs through an isolation cabinet which is a Mesa Boogie cabinet, and that cabinet’s in a huge road case that sits behind the stage. So the cabinet in the road case is actually what everybody is hearing out in the audience, it just stays mic’d, doesn’t change, none of the settings change. So I use those two heads and I have a Rocktron Hush Super C unit. I just changed it all too as I got a new tech, but the meat and potatoes of the rig are the Mesa Boogie Mark 4 and the Mesa cabinets.
RR UK: So how many guitars do you have?
WA: I have four guitars with me. I have one that’s just a warm-up guitar, then I have my main one in drop D tuning, a back-up in drop D tuning, then one guitar for C# tuning cos we do three songs in C#.
RR UK: What would be your top tips for any budding guitarists?
WA: Just love what you do, I guess. If you’re playing a guitar to try and be in a band, or try and get girls or try and make money, its probably not gonna work out! But if you actually love what you do and it makes you feel great to play guitar, then that’s the best reason in the world to do it. Like I said, there’s no easy button to help you play fast, just continuous playing and practising and playing what makes you feel great, what you love.