Friday, November 21, 2014

Jim Root Gear Guide

ADHD's Gear Guides at any Budget. I'm a firm believer that the tone comes from the hands. If your trying to achieve a certain guitar hero's tone you have to not just have the chops but you've got to get down their style of attack with your picking hand as well. That said every step you take toward finding the right gear is often very inspiring and WILL get you closer to “that” sound. I'm going to break these down into Guitars, Pickups, Pedals and Amps.

Jim Root Gear Guide.

Jim Root is the epitome of rock n roll cool. Serving as the principle riff-mister in both Stone Sour and Slipknot his brutal down tuned riffs are powerful and memorable. His weapons of choice have changed over the years but we are going to focus on the last few years. Despite his use of complicated switching systems you can easily get his sound using a pretty straight forward setup. Jim has been using various Fender signature models, EMG pickups, and Orange amps for his straight up tone, and uses effects pedals to add flavors.

Guitars – Jim Root has been using Fender guitars for the last several years. He is the only artist with a signiture Telecaster, Stratocaster and a Jazzmaster. All three are setup mostly the same with Mahogany bodies, and maple necks. He prefers harder ebony and maple fretboards over rosewood. A single volume knob and a three way switch for the EMG 81/60 humbucker set.

Fender Jim Root Signature Telecaster- This was Jim's first production signature guitar. It comes in either a black or white flat nitrocellulose finish that beats up easily. The fretboard has a 12” radius not quite as flat as most modern shred guitars but still easy to get low action. The neck has a modern Fender C shape, again not as thin as a lot of modern shreders but not what I would call thick.

Fender Jim Root Stratocaster- A few years later, Fender put out a Stratocaster version of Jim's Telecaster. Other than the body shape, the only difference is a compound radius fretboard.

Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster – The most recent addition to the Jim Root line up is a signature Jazzmaster. Again featuring the compound radius it also uses a more durable polyurethane finish.

Squire Jim Root Telecaster- For a budget model the Squire Jim Root Telecaster is a well built guitar. It saves money by having a rosewood fretboard and covered passive pickups, but still includes the 12” radius fretboard. And you can always add the EMG's later.

Fender Blacktop Stratocaster – Another cool budget alternative, the Fender Blacktop series packs a lot of bang for the buck. Add in some extra springs on the wammy for more stable tuning and your in business.

A Tip on Strings- If you want to try out down tuned riffs slap a higher string gauge on your guitar. Rule of thumb is for every full step down, go up a gauge. If your used to 9's or 10's try 11's or 12's for Slipknots songs.

Pickups- Jim's choice of pickups hasn't changed much over the years. He likes the EMG 81/60 set that a lot of modern metal guys favor.

EMGJH James Hetfield Humbucker Set- The EMG JH set is an 81/60 combo that is aggressive. The 60 cleans up well while the 81 has a sound favored by Zakk Wylde, Kerry King and of course Jim Root.

SeymourDuncan JB/Jazz Set- EMG's have a particular sound and while Duncan's Blackouts also have that covered if you want a passive set that can be used for similar tones the Duncan Hotrod set does an excellent job of covering a lot of territory. This is the number one replacement pickup set in the world for a reason.

Pedals- Jim has a lot of gear, pedals and racks galore but his sound is pretty straight forward. He likes pedals to add flavor and likes to get most of his sound from his guitars and amps.

Dunlop Rotovibe – While neither a UniVibe or a Phaser, Jim has stated that he loves the Rotovibe in the studio but that it's not always practical for use in a Slipknot show.

EHX Small Stone Nano Phaser- Jim swaps this and an MXR Phase 90 on a regular basis. Either one works great, run it in front of your drive pedals for more of a vibe feel.

Digitech Envelope Filter Synth Wah- Jim loves Envelope Filters, often having three different ones for crazy sound effects. While most of the analog filters only cover certain sound the Digitech and do those and so much more.

MXR Carbon Copy- Most delays will work for the way Jim uses them but the versatile Carbon Copy has become a favorite of players everywhere. Unless you need a lot of different delay presets this pedal works great.

Maxon Overdrive OD-9 – The original TS9 pedal by the guys who made them originally. Great for punching up solos, cutting through the mix, or giving your passive pickups a hotter sound.

Wampler Triple Wreck – While Jim has used a Rectifier in the past he is more recently associated with Orange amps. I find I can get extremely close to his sound using this pedal running into a clean amp. Plus it's just so versatile.

Amps- Jim Root's live set up uses the Orange Rockerverb, but in the studio he has used everything including Mesa Rectifiers, Bogner's and Budda's. He also has a signature Orange Terror head that is voiced to sound like his Rockerverb.

OrangeRockerverb 100 – Available as a two channel head or combo this amp has an aggressive upper midrange that Orange amps are famous for. It's also available in a 100w or 50w.

Orange #4 Jim Root Signature Terror Head- voiced after Jim's trademark Rockerverb heads this signature head takes the Tiny Terror head platform to a whole new level. For a single channel head they are remarkably flexible, and sound killer. And while made for bedrooms and small clubs put it on top of a miked 4x12 cab and it can handle the job.

Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier- Used early in Jim's career these amps are very versatile, and can be found on stages around the world.

If you want to experiment with the Orange sound but your not sure if that's what you want check out IK Multimedia's Amplitube. They have a great model of the Rockerverb making dialing in those brutal sounds is easy.

Obviously there are a lot of alternatives out there but these are a great place to start your tone search. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

D'Addario NYXL Strings Review

Strings are a very personal thing. When you start playing you try out a few different brands before you settle on something. It's a balancing act that is a bit different for each of us. How they feel, the tension of the string, how well they stay in tune, how long they last, the cost and how they sound are all considerations. Through different points in my life I've tried different strings and tend to like certain strings on certain guitars. Some strings feel rough to me, some don't seem to last very long and still others just don't sound right. A few months ago I received a pack some of the new D'Addario NYXL strings. So I thought it was time to do a review.

First let's talk about how long they last. I've read a lot of stories about guitar players who change their strings everyday or after each gig. But most guys I know change their strings between 1 and 4 months. I tend to rotate my guitars and have two out all the time, with the others in cases. I also wash my hands before playing and wipe down the strings with a clean cloth when I'm done. I'm guessing my guitars get new strings between 2 and 4 months. So when I say that my Ibanez has had NYXL strings on it for over 6 months, and they feel and sound BRAND NEW that seems impressive to me. 

I played D'Addario XL's for many years before switching to a different brand. They feel very smooth to me, and have a higher tension than other strings I've played. The new NYXL strings are the same, slightly higher in tension than the XL's but very smooth, slick even, as if each string feels polished. Some strings feel very course to me, like running your fingers up and down an old wire fence. The smoothness is great, I do wish the tension was a little less. It's not difficult to adjust to but be prepared to reset up your guitars if you like low action and thinner necks. 

When I first put on strings I like to stretch them out a bit, then for the first day or two I find myself constantly retuning them. Then they seem to "settle in" and I only retune every so often. With the NYXL strings I don't find myself retuning as often as I did. Even with the floating floyd style wammy bar. I can dive or pull up on the bar and it seems to go back to zero with fantastic accuracy. In fact the first time I tuned it up it stayed in tune very well and the settling period was over very quickly. 

So how do they sound? The first thing you'll notice is that these things are LOUD. Even acoustically, compared to my other electrics it's noticeably louder. This means it hits your pickups harder, which hits your amp harder. If you are a player that focuses on dynamics your going to have to adjust pedals and your amp, but having this louder output isn't a bad thing at all. In fact it gives you a wider range of dynamics to work with. They also sound like a bigger string. I'm using the 10's but they sound like 11's but with the clarity of 10's

Ibby vs Strat, different guitars for different sounds
So lets talk about the cost factor. Currently these strings run around $10-$12 a pack. That's a big jump from the standard XL's that can be had for $4-$5. But your looking at a string that can last at least three times as long and stays in tune much better. And if you buy in bulk you can save quite a bit of money. Still if your someone who constantly wants new strings on your guitars this may not work for you, but I would urge you to try them. They really do feel great. 

I really like the D'Addario NYXL's on my Strat, but I haven't decided if I like them on my Ibanez. They are different guitars and I like them for very different things. For me the real test comes when I switch them back to the old strings, and I'll see if I miss the NYXL's or if I feel like I've come home. That's the real test for me.

This review was completely unsolicited and any opinion is my own.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Zakk Wylde Gear Guide

ADHD's Gear Guides at any Budget. I'm a firm believer that the tone comes from the hands. If your trying to achieve a certain guitar hero's tone it's not enough to have the chops but you've got to get down their style of attack with your picking hand as well. That said every step you take toward finding the right gear is often very inspiring and WILL get you closer to “that” sound. I'm going to break these down into Guitars, Pickups, Pedals and Amps.

Zakk Wylde Gear Guide

Zakk Wylde is one of the biggest guitar heroes in the world. His Les Paul through a Marshall on steroids approach takes the classic rock-n-roll formula and turns it up to 10. He has always kept a Keep It Simple Stupid attitude to gear every since his early days in the late 80's with Ozzy. A Les Paul, loaded with EMG's, and a handful of pedals into a Marshall JCM800 is the backbone of his sound. Zakk is famous for shredding pentatonics and pitch harmonics, but he is more than capable of playing everything from bluegrass to piano ballads to Al Di Meola style fusion.

Guitars – Zakk Wylde has a lot of different guitars, Gibson Flying V's and ZV's, Dean Razorbacks, and a few others. But he is most known for wielding the Bulleye Les Paul. According to legend it was originally cream but he didn't want people to think he was trying to be another Randy Rhoads so he asked someone to paint it with a vertigo spiral. When it came back it had a bulleye on it and it was time for his first photo shoot with Ozzy. Zakk just rolled with it joking that the bullseye would give the haters in the audience something to aim for.

Gibson Zakk Wylde Les Paul- There have been different versions that Zakk has played over the years but this is the guitar everyone associates with him. It's a Les Paul custom with a maple cap and neck, ebony fretboard, and EMG pickups. And of course the Bulleye graphic.

Epiphone Zakk Wylde LesPaul- The import version of Zakk's iconic “Grail” is a great deal. It's better built than the typical Epi Paul, and already loaded with EMG's. If your shopping used there are some great deals but makes sure the EMG's are the 81-85 set as the HZ set won't get you the same sound.

PRS SE Tremonti- At first it might seem odd to include this model in the budget offerings but the PRS SE line has some of the best built budget models in the business. Couple that with already hot humbuckers and a similar control layout, if your looking for something other than the “bullseye” you can't go wrong with these.

Pickups- EMG's have a unique, modern sound and if you want that Zakk Wylde tone the EMG 81-85 set there isn't much else to choose from. But don't think they are just for metal, a lot of country guys use them and even tone guru David Gilmour was a fan for many years. EMG's use a preamp that acts as a buffer to drive your guitar signal down long cables. I always have at least one guitar with EMG's in it for a smooth modern metal sound.

EMG Zakk Wylde Set- If your loading a Les Paul with EMG's this is the set your going to need. It comes with replacement parts for all the electronics and quick connects for everything. You can drop this in almost any dual humbucker mahogany bodied guitar and get the Zakk sound.

Seymour Duncan Blackouts- Not exactly the same sound as the EMG's SD's Blackouts have been a big hit with the metal community. They have a more open sound and wider frequency response but the preamp is very much the same. If EMG's weren't exactly what you were looking for but you still want that modern sound try these.

Pedals- Zakk Wylde's choice of pedals hasn't changed that much over the years. In the early days it was Wah, Vibe, Drive, Chorus. Recently he's toyed with a few other pedals but it's still basically the same.

Dunlop Zakk Wylde Crybaby- This pedal has become a favorite of players everywhere, based on the Hendrix wah, it has a thick sound that cuts through the live mix and no extra knobs to distract from your playing.

Dunlop Hendrix Crybaby- A favorite wah of many players the Hendrix Crybaby is what Zakk used for years before his signature wah pedal. A great choice for players wanting to accent their leads.

MXRZW44 Berzerker Overdrive- an overdrive with less of a mid hump than a tube screamer. Zakk uses this to push his JCM800's from crunchy into screaming distortion.

Boss SD1 Overdrive- Before the ZW44 this was the main stay on Zakk's board, they are cheap and work great to cut through the mix.

Dunlop Rotovibe- Not exactly a UniVibe or a Phaser but a useful replacement for both on a cramped pedalboard. Sounds get thick and swirly when engaged. Vibe purist won't like it but it's an underrated pedal IMO.

MXRZW90 Wylde Phase- I talked about what surprising fun this pedal is in my review. Zakk has been using the EVH Phase 90 in the modern setting but his signature pedal is the same thing without the toggle switch. I use it for Phaser and Vibe-ish sounds and it can be bought for cheap when they go on sale. This is my “make it sound cool” pedal.

MXRZW38 Black Label Chorus- Zakk uses Chorus to thicken up sounds almost like a doubler. Give it a lot of width but keep the speed down. It also adds a sparkle to the sound making Zakk's signature pitch harmonics easier.

Boss CH1 Super Chorus- As with some of his other pedals this is what Zakk used before MXR started putting his name on everything. It's a favorite of a lot of players. 

SuhrRiot- If you'd rather play though a clean low watt amp like a Fender Hotrod this pedal sounds very similar to an over driven JCM800. It's my personal favorite 800 in a box pedal.

In the last few years Zakk has also been experimenting with the MXR EVH Flanger and MXR Carbon Copy as well as the Boss Octave pedal.

Amps- Despite a few early adds with a different manufacturer Zakk has always used Marshall JCM800's. But a word of caution, these amps have to be cranked and according to long time BLS guitarist Nick Catanese  “most people sound like ACDC when they play though them, you have to really hit the strings hard”. They also tend to sound different from each other so don't judge them all by one experience.

Marshall JCM800 Reissue- With guys like Kerry King and Zakk Wylde playing 800's the demand for these forced Marshall to reissue the popular amp. Couple it with your favorite overdrive pedal and this is the sound of 80's shred.

Marshall Joe Satriani JVM- This incredible amp is based off the modern JVM but voices from the Marshall 30th Anniversary amp, JCM800, and AFD100. With all this 80's shred inspired tone it's no wonder this is a favorite amp of shredders everywhere.

The JCM800 tone on a budget is difficult, The Suhr Riot and other Marshall in a box pedals are close. Another option is amp modelers, which seem to be getting better every couple of years. Still there is nothing quite the same as the feeling of standing in front of a great sounding JCM800 half stack.

Obviously there are a lot of alternatives out there but these are a great place to start your tone search. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

ADHD Thoughts on Relabeling Pedals for Profit

I'll start out this post by saying I'm not going to call out any manufacturers. But I'm putting this out there so that you can know what to watch for if your doing research.

My Personal Experience with Deceptive Sales 
Several years ago I worked for a guy who was always trying to find a way to squeeze a few dollars out of people. He was very charismatic, quick with his answers, and seemed very sure of himself. In short he was a great salesman. One day one of our vendor reps was telling us about a product they had. It was a good product and suited our needs very well, and it was cheap about $38 for a Five Gallon bucket. We asked them if they had any problems with us putting our own label on it. They told us "we don't really care once we've been paid just don't ask us to stand behind it".  I thought it would be great to mark this up a little and resell it as a cost efficient alternative to other brands. But my boss had another idea "Let's sell it for a lot more, like $200 and we'll tell them that we mix it up here at the shop and at that price we could put a different name on it and sell it for multiple things." Not only we're we selling a cheap product at a premium, we were lying about where it came from. We were selling snake oil. A few months later, for a variety of reasons, I quit.

Deception in the Pedal Industry
So what does this have to do with guitar stuff? Recently a boutique manufacturer was outed as doing something similar. Taking a cheap Chinese made wah pedal (that was surprisingly good) putting "goop" on the circuit board to cover up components and putting his own label on it. The boutique pedal buying community is, of course, upset. Worse is that he has threatened legal action against forums in an effort to hide his deception. And of course this isn't the first time this has happened. A few years ago this happened with a popular cheap overdrive that I talked about here. Of course there is a line you have to cross to really make customers angry and for each of those customers that line may be a bit different.

So what is legal? We have clones and forgeries, forgeries are supposed to be illegal. Clones are supposed to change a bit not be built by the original manufacturer. I personally like it when brands say "we based this pedal on such and such and then changed some things like...". There are quite a few TS9 circuits out there with added bass, more gain, more available volume boost, and better switching among other things. I have absolutely no problems with this. Ghost building has been done by many brands, Ibanez did it with Maxon, and at the time Maxon wasn't importing in to the USA so for them it was a boom in sales and Maxon was building them for Ibanez. Ibanez has since moved production away from Maxon and both continue on. This is obviously legal.

But telling a customer that you are 1) building a product in the USA when it's being built in China, 2) that you are hand making some of the components when your not... well I guess I can see where someone who spent $250+ of their hard earned money would be upset. Especially when I've seen the original sell for $85 brand new. And it's not like he couldn't have sourced the components himself and done everything he was saying very easily. The wah is not a complicated circuit. I also have no problem with a company like Visual Sound who designs their circuits here and has them built overseas and shipped over. They are very transparent about where their products are made, it says it right on the label.

How to Protect Yourself
So how do you protect yourself? That's tough. The first thing is to do some research, I like to hit the forums over at to see if anyone has identified the circuit and any "changes" to it. I don't know that much about electronics but these guys do. Also I like to listen with my ears and not my pocket book. That's tough because it's easy to get caught up in the nostalgia of a product. Be aware that there are a lot of  guys on the internet who get pedals for free for reviewing them. (I haven't yet but if anyone wants to send me some... hint hint). Some of them like Pete Thorn and Bjorn from Gilmourish seem to know how to make almost anything sound good. If you notice on my pedal reviews I always say that I'm not being compensated and that my opinions are my own, if that is altered you might ask yourself why. When reading the marketing put out by a manufacture are they using vague terms like "musical" or more specific terms like "picking dynamics". You can tell if a pedal responds to your touch but will it make you more musical? Waiting to hear a product for yourself is always best, and if you can set up a blind test with some friends even better. One last thing going back to my salesman days, if someone brought up a competitors product we would always talk down about their product and talk about the benefits of ours, "why would you want to use that" is salesman speak for "I don't carry that but here is something I do carry that is sort of similar". It's a lot to keep in mind but your the consumer and it's up to you where you spend your money.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Audiophiles, High Fidelity, and Why Sound Quaility Should Matter to You as a Recording Artist.

I just stumbled on this interesting documentary, which in my experience, is mostly true. Distortion of Sound is a documentary put together by the high fidelity audio company Harman. It talks about a few of the problems in our record industry today including the sound quality of mp3's, streaming audio, and consumers who don't know any better. But I've heard the difference and not only is it mind blowing, once you hear it, you can't unhear it.

Many years ago, in the late 80's and early 90's one of the popular things in stereo were high fidelity component sound systems, you bought a receiver, tape deck, record player (that's vinyl for those of you who aren't familiar), CD players all separately, Some of these systems could easily cost in the thousands of dollars. But you could buy very high quality components for around two hundred bucks. I did a lot of research and decided on a Kenwood system. It sounded better to my ears, was well made, and received high marks in audiophile magazines. I also had a walkman for portability and convenience . I made many mix tapes and spent hours listening to albums. But at some point in the digital revolution I stopped listening to it, I got busy and the stereo got put away. I tried selling it a few times but no one would buy it. I've looked it up on eBay and found the different components selling for fifteen or twenty dollars (people ask more but seldom get it).

Then a few years ago I was talking to a customer of mine, who told me he had spent a large sum of money designing some new high end audio speakers. I was intrigued. He asked me to bring three CD's that I had been listening to, that I thought sounded like they were recorded well. I have a pretty large selection of CD's in various genres so I grabbed a couple I thought would be interesting and brought them to his house. This guy had designed his own audio amplifier and showed me and a couple of other guest some differences that the speaker could make, as well as the room. Then we started with my CD's, the first one, a local band that was a mix of the Stones and punk, sounded just awful, it was actually painful to listen to and we turned it off before the first song was over. I was floored, it sounded fine in my car and on my computer, what happened?!?! The next CD I put in was a different experience, it was a string quartet that had recorded instrumental versions of Tool songs... it was amazing! I heard details I had never heard before, and everyone in the room was swept away into the song. We all sat there listening to this track with our mouths hanging open. It was magic. As the song finished my customer and one of the other gentlemen as me for a copy of the CD.  He then played a couple of CD's he felt were recorded at well and you could almost hear the band in the recording room. Later when I jumped back in my car to leave, I heard it. I couldn't unhear it! While not as pronounced as sitting in his living room the one album sounded awful, and the other album sounded great. I pulled my old stereo back out when I got home, it still sounds great.

So here is the Harman documentary The Distortion of Sound. Below I've made a few notes where I agree and a couple where I don't.

At 3:30 in they talk to the artist about how much time they spend getting those sound right only to lose them to mp3 compression. But as I mentioned above, a lot of albums really aren't recorded well. The sound quality just isn't that great, and when I throw a CD on my stereo it's very apparent.

I think this documentary get's it right for the most part, one of the things they don't do a good job with is comparing audio compression with digital compression. It's not the same thing but at 9:35 they explain how mp3's digitally compress audio files. WAV files that CD's use do a much better job and there are other lossless audio formats out there. Still we've discovered that WAV files could be improved upon.

 At 15 minutes in the guy talking about the "head-bob-test" is dead on about the problem. People don't know it but subconsciously your missing something. If your familiar with the better quality version your brain fills in what isn't there. But if your not familiar with it, you can't replace it. He says four times more people get into the song! What! Yeah, I totally believe it, because I've seen it.

Lastly the irony of listening to the this documentary on YouTube is rather amusing. YouTube has increased it's quality but it still compresses the sound quality quite a bit. Andy Timmons is one of my favorite guitar players, I love his style and tone. A few years ago when he released his Beatles tribute Andy Timmons Band plays Sgt. Pepper, I listened to a few tracks on YouTube. I wasn't that impressed with what I was hearing, I liked the playing but the songs didn't blow me away. Then someone gave me the CD and one day I threw it in my stereo, once again I was floored! It's a breath takingly beautiful sounding album.

If you want to find out more about what Harman is doing to make audio quality better start at

I think this documentary points out a small part of a much larger problem that I'm not ready to tackle in this already lengthy post but for now, just listen.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Little Wisdom from Joe Bonamassa

I have to admit it took me a while to learn this. But like most of us I started with a single channel, solid state amp and the only way to switch between clean and dirty was to use a pedal. And although I'm still bad about using my tone knobs, I've gotten much better about using my volume knob. This combined with the Mojo Hand Zephyr gives me a surprising array of options. Here is one of the masters of our time talking about not using pedals.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Andy Timmons Gear Guide

ADHD's Gear Guides at any Budget. I'm a firm believer that the tone comes from the hands. If your trying to achieve a certain guitar hero's tone it's not enough to have the chops but you've got to get down their style of attack with your picking hand as well. That said every step you take toward finding the right gear is often very inspiring and WILL get you closer to “that” sound. I'm going to break these down into Guitars, Pickups, Pedals and Amps.

Andy Timmons Gear Guide.
Andy Timmons: Tone for Days
Andy Timmons is one of my favorite guitarist. The term “tone is in the hands” is particularly important with Andy. His style of Rock, Jazz and Fusion combined with his stripped down sound focuses on dynamics. Steve Vai said that you can hear the sound of Andy's fingers on the fretboard on the Resolution CD. Andy uses a signature Ibanez guitar with DiMarzio pickups, a few key pedals and has a long history with Mesa Boogie amps. But his real tone comes from his ability to strip away the extra to the basics of what the sound needs.

Guitars – Andy has been using Ibanez guitars since the late 80's in his days with Danger Danger. Ibanez was signing a lot of hot young gunslingers after their success with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. There have been three different signature models and a fourth is on the way.

Ibanez Andy TimmonsSignature Guitar- There are two versions of this guitar which are identical in every way except where they are made. The AT100 made in the Ibanez Japan facility and this Premium model the AT10P. Both Feature his exacting choice of hardware and DiMarzio pickups as well as a copy of his original neck, a little thicker than the standard Ibanez neck it feels much closer to a standard strat neck.

Ibanez Andy Timmons AT300- This out of production model features the same specs as the AT100 but with a slightly rounded mahogany body of the SA series and special inlays on the rosewood fretboard.
Fender Standard Strat HSS – This guitar is a great budget alternative to the AT100. With it's alder body, maple fretboard and HSS pickup configuration it's the blueprint the AT100 is built from. Upgrade to Andy's favorite pickups and you have a great mid priced guitar.

Pickups- Andy's choice of pickups hasn't changed much over the years. A slightly hot PAF in the bridge and two hum canceling Single coils are where it's at.

AT10P with the AT-1 and Crusiers
DiMarzio AT-1 Humbucker- Custom designed with Andy and DiMarzio it's a well balanced pickup That is a bit hotter than a PAF. Perfect for any kind of Rock.

DiMarzio The Crusier- Andy uses The Crusier Bridge pickups in the neck and middle positions of his AT100 Ibanez. These are voiced similar to normal single coils but without the hum.

Seymour Duncan JB- Before signing a deal with DiMarzio Andy had a JB in the bridge of his Ibanez. It's the worlds most popular aftermarket pickup and sounds very similar to his AT-1 pickup.

Pedals- Andy Timmons pedalboard has changed quite a bit over the years. He loves trying out new pedals and can make just about anything sound like it was sent from heaven.

BK Butler Tube Driver- A favorite of players like David Gilmour and Eric Johnson the Tube Driver sounds amazing into a cranked tube amp, but not that great at bedroom levels or in front of solid state or modeling amps. For the time being they are being built by hand by BK Butler himself.

Xotic BB Custom Shop
Xotic BB Preamp Custom Shop- The BB Preamp is another one of Andy's famous overdrives. At one point there was an Andy Timmons Signature version available that had a little more mids in it. This Custom Shop version has a Mid's control knob in it that Andy says you can dial in to sound just like his version. It's a fantastic pedal on any setup.

Xotic SL Drive- I don't know if Andy has used one of these but it works as a great alternative to the Tube Driver in smaller setups. Set up a nice overdriven sound with some delay and play Electric Gypsy.

Vintage Memory Man
Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man- Andy uses two vintage units with slightly offset times to produce a chorusing effect and it sounds amazing. Any good analog delay will work but the EHX analog delays have a certain sound that helps nail the tone.

Electro Harmoix Memory Boy- A nice budget alternative to the Memory Man with a few less bells and whistles. 

Carl Martin Compressor – Andy has used one of these for a long time and loves it. He uses it to boost the front end of the signal with just a touch of compression.

Visual Sound Comp 66- One of my favorite budget friendly compressor pedals. You can use it as a boost and/or compressor and it has a switchable tone control and Visual Sounds True Tone Buffer built in.

Amps- Andy Timmons has several vintage Marshall's, Vox's and Fender amps at home. But he relies on Mesa Boogie amps in the studio and on the road. I'm pretty sure he has sold more Mesa Boogie amps as an endorser than anyone other than Metallica.
Andy's Lonestar's and Stiletto's

Mesa Boogie Lonestar – Available as a head or combo this amp has a clean Fenderish quality and a beautiful Lead tone. Andy uses the 100 watt version as the core of his tone.

Mesa Boogie Stiletto- No longer being produced by Mesa Boogie, this was a two channel amp based on two of Andy's old Marshall's with some Mesa extras added in. They have a fantastic clean tone and take pedals very well. They turn up regularly on ebay but have been replaced in the Mesa line by the Royal Atlantic.

Mesa Boogie Transatlantic- Also designed with Andy's input the Transatlantic covers most of the vintage amp categories in a small package making it perfect for small gigs. Look on YouTube for for live clips of Andy playing it. The TA30 includes an effects loop and a little more power.

Egnator Tweaker- When these came out they were all the rage in internet chat rooms and for a good reason. The Tweaker comes in a combo or head and is available in a 15 watts all the way up to an 88 watt. They are well built, flexible, and take pedals well. They also sound good at lower volumes which can't be said about all tube amps.

Obviously there are a lot of alternatives out there but these are a great place to start your tone search.