This post of Craig talking about his guitars and amplifiers follows a previous one talking about recording his last couple of albums (see: Claxton Band

Is there any particular sound, anything, anything that that impresses you that is a signature sound for you? Any favourite guitars that you like using?

Well, yeah, absolutely. Both albums [“Lies and Alibis” and “Azure Blue”] feature a couple of amps. I record in stereo and on each amp they tend to put a condenser mic, a ribbon mic, a dynamic mics so there’s a mind blowing number of choices that have to be made at the mixing of what sounds the best,

I have a couple of favorite amps, one is a Fender 57 Deluxe, the “Tweed” model, which a little 12 Watt thing, and a Bludotone “Bludo Drive” 100 watts guitar amplifier (example: which I’ve used it a couple of gigs, but it’s not particularly practical, beings 100 watts. It’s heavy. It’s loud. An amazing and very much a sort of Dumble style amp. I do love that. [FYI: Dumble was the original boutique amp builder where each amp was handmade by Howard Dumble to suit the particular Guitar player. His clients include Robben Ford Stevie Ray Vaughan Larry Carlton Jackson Browne Cris Cross & others- they sell for ridiculous money, often 6 figures]

Bludotone amplifier

Recently I’ve become a, you know, a bit of an amp collector. So I’ve got a couple of others that I’m keen to use: a Tone King Imperial ( ) and. A Carr “Telstar” And it was a very funny post I put up [on social media] “have you seen my new car? It’s a Telstar!” but anyway, that caused a few groans… (

It’s great to get nice guitars and nice amps and it helps to make sounds happen. But it’s not essential. You know, you can make great music with cheaper guitars or different guitars.

I found that out when we were doing a song which I particularly like. It’s one of my favorites called “The only thing that matters” and it’s a blues. And I’d always thought it was going to be a fade at the end. As I heard the brass being played, overdubbed onto it, I realised that the brass arrangement went right to the very end and the only person who was flubbing at the end of the song was me, and that everybody else had done a finish and I’d literally leaned across to Michael “We’re gonna fade this one” and then I heard them do this incredible chord ending. So, we’re not fading this one, it seems. Which meant I had to redo the solo. I didn’t have my guitar. I didn’t have my amp. So I borrowed Michael’s amp and I used a completely different guitar. And quite honestly, you listen to the song in the play out you go. “Oh, it’s changed pickups or something”. It does not sound at all like it’s a completely different set up. It’s just like I said, it’s in the hands. And that that goes for everybody. I’m sure you get Derek Trucks and give him a coronet guitar from 1967 and plug it into a solid state amp, he would still sound like Derek Trucks, you know. You can get fascinated with gear, but the pandemic has meant vintage gear has just become outrageously expensive like it’s gone. It was expensive before, but now it’s gone crazy through the roof so… I don’t think you necessarily have to spend 10s or 20s or 50s or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a good guitar, you know. It’s just a bit insane if you ask me.

Another of Craigs amps

Look, at the end of the day, there’s no such thing as bad guitar tone. You know, people go on and on about it and becomes a rabbit hole they dive down and never come out of. So I tend to think no matter what I play or what I play through, it’s going to still sound like me.

Guitar wise, I’ve sold off a few of the vintage guitars that I had only because the boutique stuff I own, like the Xotic Stratocaster – they call it a “California Classic”, of course they can’t call it a Strat – it’s just a remarkable guitar – really, really loving it – and just about does everything I need in that three single coil style guitar. (

I’ve got an LSL thin line Telecaster – which of course is not called a Telecaster, it’s called a “Soledad”. I prefer to call it a “Soul-dad”, but anyway it’s got a P90 pickup in the neck and a humbucker in the bridge which is splitable, so you can get quite a passable country Tele sound if you ever wanted it… I don’t know that I’ve split that humbucker too many times… That covers so many, so many, sounds, you’ve got so much just on the guitar that you can roll volume off, adjust tone, play soft, play hard before you even start thinking about pedals or amplifiers. So yeah, that does a lot. But then I have a few others. For certain things I will pull out a Les Paul because nothing sounds like a Les Paul, really, except a Les Paul.

On “Lies and Alibis” [the last album], I played a 335 for the slide part on a song called “Monday Blues”, which someone commented it sounded “George Harrison-ish” and I will take that compliment any day of the week, thank you very much! Nothing particularly technical about that, except I whacked a set of 12 to 54’s on it, which pulled the action up high and then I just played the slide licks on that … and I thought, wow, it sounded great. It’s got a set of Peter Florance “Voodoo Vibe” pickups in there which are “PAF”-style and are very very nice.

For the new album [coming], I’ve got a couple of new guitars – I tend to spend all my money on guitars and amps, so I’ve got a few more!

Craigs 12 String

I did buy a Duesenberg12 string (  which I hope to use just because I felt there’s got to be some songs in this. It’s light, it’s resonant, it’s easy to play, so lookout for some 12-string part in there somewhere

A national Les Paul-shaped – bigger than Les Paul but in that single cutaway style  – resonator electric guitar as well and … what else? Hmmm … There are a few others … Ohh, a baritone! An LSL baritone ( ). There’s just one song it just works in B, and of course the baritone guitar is tuned down to B. So looking forward to getting that one out, but that’s a “once-er” sort of song. I don’t think I’ll play baritone very often- we’re not doing death metal or anything like that. And I wanted the LSL because they’re a very small company in California that make incredible guitars, make not a great number, you know, maybe five or six hundred a year. And just to notch up above some of the more production line baritones that were out there. This one arrived and it’s like your “dad’s baritone”. It’s like a butterscotch Tele with a black pickguard – it has two humbuckers. You don’t even know it’s a baritone until you go to tune it and then you reach out and “hmm, machines are a bit further away than on other guitars!” but it’s really nice, so I’m looking forward to using that as well, so.

Is it a 27 inch neck or is it a 30 like a Fender Bass VI?

It’s a 27, so it’s a shorter one. For a quite heavy band, it’s a signature model for the guitarist from the architects ( but I tell you it sounds awesome clean. It sounds great in a blues situation, so yeah, I thought it was really very special. Their guitars ARE very special. So, yeah, very happy about that.
(Fearless Flyers: guitar, baritone, bass, drums:
Look, vintage gear is fantastic. Don’t. Get me wrong. I love vintage gear. There’s something when you get a good guitar or a good at bass or amp or whatever. Yeah, they are very special, but they have their inherent built-in problems. You know that they’re that old for a start. Fifty, 60-70 years old.

Some of them don’t even have a master volume…

Well, I gotta tell you the Custom Deluxe only has volume and tone and it can get pretty loud, but it seems a perfect size for venues like the Royal Mail. I tend to use it as a pedal platform, so I have a couple of little pedals, like the RC booster which is on all the time because it just makes everything sound better. That would be my desert island pedal if I could only have one, pedal, that’d be it. Then I have an AC booster for a bit of drive.

Another pedal is the “conspiracy” something or other … The “Way Huge Conspiracy Theory” I think it’s called, which is really nice. And LSL very kindly sent me a their “Klon” clone ( ) which is yet to make its way on the board, but very, very tasty so I will be doing a little bit of rearranging. I do tend to travel with a little pro junior on the side, so I’m playing in stereo at gigs – the Pro Junior is 15 watts. That’s really just a backup because they’re valve amps.

I have had one gig a little while back now where the valve amp cut out halfway through the gig, and I ended up finishing it on an acoustic guitar that was there that I borrowed. So yeah, you can never predict these things, you know, valve might last 40 years, or they might last four weeks. It’s just one of those rolls of the dice.

But … I’m still avoiding going digital. Look, not that there’s anything wrong with those amps or the sound of them: they can sound pretty damn good. I’ve just felt when I play the sound tends to disappear. They just don’t push the air the same way and as far as a valve amp does, so I haven’t gone down that rabbit hole yet.