Watch the G&L Guitar online guitar lesson by Ladd Smith from Modern Nashville Guitar
"What an awesome guitar! I feel very blessed to have found it. It took me years to pull that off and like I said, it was very serendipitous. It really helps you free up your mind so that you can be creative and focus on the music when there are no annoyances or distractions in the way your guitar plays or sounds. It should feel like an extension of your body with a tone that just inspires you. The guitar that I'm talking about here is a late-nineties (I'm guessing) G&L ASAT Classic, heavily customized with the Stets-Bar tremolo system that I love, jumbo frets, a Keith Banjo Tuner among other bells and whistles. One thing to note also is that I usually prefer a 3-piece Bridge with the bottom wall shaved (it gets in the way of the finger work) and Brass Saddles on the G-D-A-E Strings, and the special Seymour Duncan Pickups. Let me give you those pickups for reference; Seymour Duncan Five-Two in the Bridge Position. Basically it was designed for Brent Mason originally and it's usually a custom shop order. Sand-cast Alnico V magnets on the three low strings add more definition and punch to the bottom end. Sand-cast Alnico II magnets on the three high strings provide a warm and smooth top end without sacrificing that great Tele quack. Tele players often complain that their low strings sound mushy and their high strings are too bright - especially in the bridge position. The Five-Two concept counteracts this phenomenon. - Alright, that was cut and pasted - but I couldn't have said it better myself. Next is the Seymour Duncan HotStack - which I mistakenly call a 'HotStack in the video which is an entirely different (but equally awesome) pickup - this pickup I blend in with the Neck and Bridge pickups with an independent volume knob. It's great for finding a sweet spot somewhere between a Strat and Tele. Also the middle pickup has a double tapped coil put in by my good friend and guitar tech Chris Roberts. Last but certainly not least is the Seymour Duncan 'Firebird Mini-Humbucker' in the Neck Position - which is phenomenal in my opinion. I personally like it just as good or better than any other kind of mini-humbucker I've heard. If you want to feel basically what my neck is shaped like, don't put your hands around someone's throat, but do go feel a Danny Gatton Signature Model Telecaster. I love the high-gloss Curly Maple neck in that special U shape, so that's basically what my guitar neck is inspired by. Depending on what strings and frets I will be playing around on that particular track, I temper tune my guitars the best that I can. That's basically what the Buzz-Feton tuning system is about by the way. I don't have enough space to get into Temper Tuning in detail, but it's definitely something worth researching on Google or Wikipedia if you're going to be recording solo guitar parts.
A couple things that I forgot to mention are my picks and strings of choice: I use a .73 Ultex Guitar Pick by Dunlop Accessories. This is my very favorite pick out of ALL of them I've ever tried, I've never had one break on me, not even once, no matter how hard I play. Jimmy Dunlop told me that the Ultex material is a Patented Material first developed for use by NASA. The .73 Ultex is somewhere between Medium and Heavy and extremely versatile for electric or acoustic lead. When I do Acoustic Rhythm tracks I usually use a thin Nylon pick by Dunlop. When I use a Thumbpick, I like the Fred Kelly Slick Pick, Herco Blue Thumbpicks (made famous by Chet Atkins and then Brent Mason) and I also like John Pearse Thumbpicks.
My guitar strings are GHS Boomers, a nickel-plated steel wrapped around wound custom string set that we are working on getting out there to you guys as a 'GHS Boomers - Artist Signature Set', so you don't have to mix packages together like I have all these years! Here are the gauges: 0095, .0115, .016, .026w, .036w, .046w You get a real thick wirey feel from the bigger gauge on the bottom and the 9 1/2's on top gives you a very rich and full sound on the high end. I can't stand wimpy thin sounding tone and I've found that along with the pickups and everything else, a fresh set of strings that 'fit your guitar' helps the magic along tremendously.
String Treatment: My pal Thom Bresh uses 'Fast-Fret' on his guitars, and he loves it, but it's a bit too high-maintenance and sticky for me. I'm a fanatic for these little chemically treated pads called Axe-Wipes by DeoxIT & CAIG Labs - I don't officially endorse or promote them, but I've used them for years and I run my strings through them as soon as they come out of the package. You would not believe all of the oil on a set of strings straight from the factory, in any brand. Well, oil collects particles and you get gunked up and rusty pretty quick, especially if you have a high phosphor level in your sweat (cut back on the soft drinks!) These Axe-Wipes just make your guitar sound better in general, and you don't have to change your strings anywhere nearly as often, also it makes your fretboard Super Fast. Having grown up in the guitar shop, I've tried everything to make the neck play faster and get the strings to last longer. I've tried magnetizing and/or demagnetizing the strings, talcum powder on the neck, boiling your strings (this was mainly a Bass Guitar thing), every oil, polish, neck lubricant, spray-on, rub-on product out there and frankly nothing can touch this stuff. It's magical, I've got all of my buddies using it now - well, except for Bresh, he loves that Fast-Fret."