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 AT10RP- The same specs as the AT10P but in Classic White with a rosewood fretboard. Andy ask Ibanez to build him this and fans ask about it so much they had to release it as a model. 

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.

Here is a link to a strat ready drop and go pickguard with Andy's pickups 

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.

JHS Andy Timmons Drive- Based on the JHS Angry Charlie the Andy Timmons Drive is a versatile drive pedal which sounds very similar to the lead channel of Andy's Lonestar. It has three distinct voices but lets the character of your playing come through. This with a great analog delay is as close as you'll get to sounding like him. The new AT+ model adds a boost which adds compression and sustain. 

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. 

Strymon Timeline- A recent addition, the Strymon Timeline is an incredible programmable digital delay. Andy sets it to sound like his Deluxe Memory man. But it's more reliable on tour.

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.

Carl Martin Andy Timmons Compressor - Andy ask Carl Martin to build him a dual compressor for two different settings. Carl Martin ask Andy if they could release it to the world. 

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. To learn more about my thoughts on the Lonestar, check out my review.

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. To learn more about my thoughts on the Stiletto, check out my review.

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. 


  1. You omitted the very first AT100 signature guitar, the AT100SB, manufactured in 1999. This guitar was a very limited run, which exact number was never really known. Each guitar came with a custom shop certificate, and the back cover signed by Andy. It is the sole of the AT100's which is an exact match for Andy's own prototype. The current production models AT100CL and AT10P do not have the two volume pots, but the Fender typical arrangement, volume, tone, tone. That said, the possibly most atypical of them all, is the AT300. This was a short lived production because of its cost. However, possibly one of the best ever Superstrat ever manufactured. A mahogany body, a rosewood fretboard, and the Andy Timmon's pickup set. Those whom bought them keep them, or regret them if they ever let them go. This was a real perfect match, and this guitar is possibly the real AT series collector, even more than the AT100SB. Andy no longer uses his AT300, but the whole Resolution CD was made with it. I have been monitoring the typical auction sites, and have not seen any in the past 5 years.

  2. I did not know that about the AT100SB. Thank you for the great information! I've been trying to keep an eye out for a AT300 as well, really amazing guitar. Thanks for checking out the blog.

    1. I was lucky enough to find the AT300 on ebay a few times. The first time I wasn't able to get it but after like 3 years of watching for one I acquired one in excellent condition. Now I have the AT100 and AT300 and was able to get him to sign them both

  3. Forgot to add that Andy no longer uses the dual, in series, Memory Man delay pedals, on his live set up. He replaced them with the Strymon Timeline, which is less temperamental.