.010–.046. You can bend the strings like you
would with .010s, but the bigger strings
vibrate the wood more.
We put on bigger side dots that you can
actually see in the dark and lightweight
tuner buttons, a kind of ivoroid material
that eliminated about a pound of weight
off of the headstock. We spent over a year
on the pickups. Here in Austin, Ed Reynolds
built a test guitar that allowed us to change
the pickups in a matter of seconds. That
way, there was no guesswork as to what we
were hearing. We compared all the pickups
that Paul sent us to all the boutique pickups available and just honed it down. The
amount of potting, 50 turns of wire more or
less, the various types of wire—everything
made a difference.
I have great old Gibson 335 with PAF pickups in it. We weren’t trying to replicate the
exact tone of that guitar, but to match the
magic in those pickups. It might be an upper
harmonic—people have all kinds of names
for that quality. Not all PAFs are magic. I’ve
owned four or five PAF guitars, and some of
the pickups sounded terrible.
Each pickup has its own volume control, so
when the selector is in the middle position
you can work with the blend between the
pickups. And of course it has the tremolo,
which adds a liveliness that a stop tailpiece
guitar does not have.
What made you record
10,000 Feet so
soon after last year’s Loud Music
A number of things: the brave new world in
which we live, where you can make records
at home; a period in my life where I have
been inspired to do a lot of writing; and also
being fortunate enough to play on different
records where I learned from great producers, engineers, songwriters and musicians.
All these things gave me enough confidence
to do my own record. I did one and it was
so much fun that I wanted to hurry up and
do another one. I learned so much doing
Loud Music, in every aspect, from songwrit-ing, recording, and mixing, that it was beg-ging to get out.