Zakk Wylde Talks Les Paul's and Randy Rhoads
Wylde plies a variety of Gibson models, from the Zakk Wylde Les Paul Bullseye to the Zakk Wylde Flying V Bullseye Floyd Rose to the brand new Zakk Wylde Moderne of Doom . We combed through the fierce lead guitarist's archives to learn more about what makes him such a Gibson loyalist.
Check back next month for Gibson.com's interview with Wylde regarding Black Label Society's upcoming album, Catacombs of the Black Vatican, out April 8.
On his gear, as told to Gibson.com: "I'm playing the Pauls and the ZV, and the Flying V and the double-neck for 'The Blessed Hellride.' Me and Nick [Catanese, former Black Label Society guitarist] both play double necks for that one in Black Label. It's cool. And we have our signature Marshalls JCM 800s. And we both go out of two of them each, and we both go out of two cabinets and we're in quad sound. Nick uses Paul Reed Smiths, too, but I play the Gibsons. And then I have my pedals: chorus, distortion, Eddie Van Halen phase shifter, the Zakk wah, and the Roto-Vibe. Let's put it this way: any 15 year-old kid could have my set-up.
"It amazes me when people say, 'Hey check this new amp out, or this new rack gear. It sounds just like a vintage Marshall.' Well, why not get a vintage Marshall? Nuthin' sounds better than a Gibson plugged into a Marshall.
"And next time we get to Nashville I'm thinking about having Gibson design me a custom guitar that looks like a motorcycle joined with a Flying V. They did a great job on the ZV, putting together the horns of an SG with the wings of a Flying V and a Les Paul Custom neck on it. That thing slams."
On the birth of the Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Vertigo , as told to Guitar World : "When I first got to LA, I had that cream Les Paul, which is an amazing-sounding fiddle," Wylde told Guitar World. "So I had the blond hair and the cream Les Paul -- and it was gonna look like a Randy Rhoads tribute band when I get up there with Ozzy. So I wanted to get something painted on it. Eddie Van Halen had the stripes and Randy had the polka dots.
"I saw the poster from Vertigo, the Alfred Hitchcock movie, and thought that would be awesome. So I explained it to my buddy Max, who ended up doing Slash's guitar, but when I went down there for the photo shoot, I opened up the case and saw the Bullseye logo. I had drawn it on a piece of paper and everything, but it was too late anyway. So we did the photo shoot, and the rest is history.
"So then I saw the Vertigo logo again just recently, and I said, "You know, I'm just gonna get this done.' It came out cool. So there's the Buzzsaw, the Bullseye and the Vertigo -- which is like a Bullseye, but 21st-century-style."
On what stands out to him about Gibsons, as told to Gibson.com: "It's the history and the quality of the instrument, too. It's an amazing instrument. It's like a cheeseburger; it doesn't go out of style, no matter what generation. Whether somebody picked a Les Paul up in '58, that same guitar still works today. It doesn't go in and out of fashion. And that's because it's a great instrument. It doesn't matter what violin player is going to pick one of these up and whether it was made 10 years ago or 100 years from now. You pick up a Les Paul, and it's always going to sound great. When you buy it, it's an investment, and you're never going to have to buy another guitar again."
On whether he studied Randy Rhodes' playing before auditioning for Ozzy, as told to Music Radar: "Oh, totally. Without a doubt, I studied him. He had unbelievable technique and could do all the things on the guitar that are astounding. His scales, the diminished scales he used unreal. But it was his writing and the way he composed his solos I mean, his solos were songs within the songs He was way ahead of what everybody else was doing."
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