Andy's always been a bit of a gear freak. In college, he started building guitars, fixing his tube amps and generally diddling with everything he could get his hands on. Here's a rundown of the unique gear he uses on the show.
"I'm a nut for old amps. I've never walked past a pawn shop in my life!", Andy jokes. His collection includes an early '50s Gibson GA-6, two amp-in-case Silvertone 1457s, a Fender Twin Reverb and a rare 1978 Marshall Club & Country.
The most identifiable guitar in his lineup, the Danelectro 12-string is wholly specific for Andy, featuring his own special tuning. Most 12-strings use a regular set of six guitar strings with a light set tuned an octave above the regular set. Andy liked the idea of the 12-string, but replaced the light set of strings with a second, standard set of six.
"I use two identical sets of 0.009 strings. The result sounds a lot like two guitars, playing in unison," he remarks. "I can't believe no one else has thought of this, but I think I'm the first to do it."
Andy has also replaced the tone capacitor with a 1950s-era unit. He comments, "It gives the guitar instant boss-tone, real authority."
Andy explains how his unique tuning works in the video here.
Constantly in pursuit of new sounds, Andy built his workhorse amp, the Alamito Reverb, in his apartment in New York City.
"I was on the road a bunch, playing really little clubs. My style of music needed a cranked amp sound, but the rooms couldn't take the high volume. So, I set out to build a little five-watt amp that had reverb and tremolo and would sound like a big amp, but a fraction of the volume."
The result was the Alamito Reverb. Andy describes the amp as a marriage of classic Fender sounds with a single 6550 power tube. "I need something clean enough to play Country, but rough enough to rock."
Hear the Alamito in action in the video here.
"I use ScreaminFX pedals a BUNCH!", Andy remarks. "They bring amps to life and push them in a very unique way. I couldn't live without the Uverbia reverb pedal. It's a real spring reverb that is a god-send on non-reverb amps."
On the show, Andy uses a collection of two compressors, an analog delay and a distortion boost of his own design. "I like compressors because they sound very 'Country'. The Joyo Pipebomb is a real squishy sound for clean pickin', and the Wampler Ego Compressor adds a touch of modern Nashville bigness."
Andy built his distortion-boost pedal, again out of necessity. "I love old Tube Screamers, but I wanted one that sounded a bit more unique. I took the old schematic, and paired it down to just the simplest parts of the circuit. Now, it's hi-fi and raw at the same time. The chips that make those things work all sound different. I must have auditioned fifty JRC4558 ICs before I built it!", he laughs.