of any of them. I’d be heartbroken losing the
others, but… oh, and a couple of these other
Les Pauls that I have currently, because they’ve
been set up exactly the way I want them. So I
guess they could all go except for those.
And what about the Howard Roberts?
Well, I definitely need the Howard Roberts, yeah.
OK, so you would keep pretty
much all of them?
[laughs] Yeah, now that you mention it. I’m
thinking, “Well, that’s not really fair to that
Gretsch sitting over there, so...”
Your gear list for the tour lists six Les
Pauls, mostly Customs and Standards.
Tell me about them.
Well, a couple have piezos, and a couple have
Floyd Roses. One’s got a Bigsby. And the
tonality is different from one to the next. I’ve
got a Custom that weighs about 80 pounds,
and I’m sure that that last E chord I played is
still ringing out! It’s amazing! It’s such a heavy
piece of wood that sustains like crazy. And
then the Gold Top is great. It’s a ‘ 59 reissue,
and I love the neck on it. That one is set up
with a piezo with no vibrato. They all have
their own job. They are tools for me.
There’s some debate going on about
the “Swiss cheese” body Les Pauls versus
the chambered body Les Pauls, do you
have an opinion?
They sent me [a chambered] one and I checked
it out, and it is nice to have a lighter Les Paul
[laughs]. I would have to say it’s lacking a little
bit, but really, I would want to spend a little
more time with that guitar and put it through
its paces. I got it when we were on tour, and I’d
like to see how it reacts in the studio. It is kind
of nice to have that little break for your shoulder, but I’m not sold on it yet.
And speaking of the shoulder, did the
double neck go out on the road this
last tour, just in case?
Well, the double neck made it to rehearsals,
just in case. [Laughs] But it didn’t make it on
the road this time. But you never know; it’s
there, it’s waiting...
How do you go about choosing a
particular guitar to play live?
Well, for this tour, because I had a lot of tunings
and different requirements I had to try to set up
for, it made the whole selection process much
easier. But I think increasingly over the years I
like to mix it up a bit, even if it’s just bringing
one particular guitar for one or two songs. I
know it drives Bucky [Alex’s guitar tech Bob
‘Bucky’ Huck] crazy because it’s just that many
more string changes he has to do on a daily
basis. It’s a lot of fun to have all these instruments around for a three-hour show.
How loud is Rush on stage?
You’d be shocked! I’m sure your stereo at home
is louder. The loudest thing on stage is Neil’s
drums, acoustically. There’s no monitors on
stage. Geddy goes direct so there’s no bass rig
on stage. My amps are down very low, just loud
enough so that I can get some feedback if I step
right up to them. And the reason we do that is
we want to have a nice, manageable sound on
stage that we can pump clearly through the PA.
How much guitar is in your in-ear monitors?