Guitar Special Vol.371 with Jimi Bell (Demons Down, Autograph, House of Lords)
This article series is about the tools of popular guitarists. What are their favorite guitars and how is it related to them? This time with Jimi Bell (Demons Down, Autograph, House of Lords, Beyond Purple).
Pic by: Christopher Carroll
When you start guitar playing and do you remember your first guitar?
I played lots of instruments prior to finally picking up the guitar. Piano , trumpet, and also played the standup bass for many years then switched to drums. I played drums from ages 10-13 then discovered guitar and never put it down. However being left handed made it very difficult in those early years because there wasn’t much available to me . My uncle worked at Ovation Guitars at the time and got me and acoustic to start with . I then got my first Ovation electric semi hollow body guitar called an Eclipse . When I was 15 I got my first lefty Fender Strat. Sunburst with a maple neck.
What are your influences and which guitar players are your faves?
I had 3 main influences that really helped me mold my style of playing. My 1st was blues guitarist Johnny Winter. Even though Johnny did play traditional blues, he also played many amazing fast runs as well which really caught my ear. I then discovered Deep Purple and instantly was hooked on Ritchie Blackmore. His style and technique just blew me away. As time went on I then discovered Al Di Meola . I would have to say he’s the one that really changed my life . I instantly gravitated towards his incredible picking technique. It was precise and flawless. Plus there were many others such as Alvin Lee, Van Halen , Michael Schenker, and many country pickers as well.
How many guitars do you own and what are your favorite models?
I’ve owned at one point in my life over a 100 guitars . Many Flying V and Explorer shaped guitars , Gibson Les Paul’s, SG’s Fender Strats, Hamer , Dean , Gretsch , countless Kramer and Charvel guitars. However, I’ve owned many guitars from smaller independent companies. They really take the time to make exactly what I’m asking for. Some of the smaller companies I’ve used or still use are Tyme guitars, Viper guitars, many from Roberts Guitars in Jacksonville FL and my main guitars that I’ve been using exclusively for a few years now are PVX GUITARS out of North Carolina. The owner Paul Vogt took the time to get every exact detail I wanted . There was a few trial and error’s but then we finally got it 100 % accurate. I help design the newest model and I couldn’t be happier.
Pic by: Greg Carchidi
What do you think makes the perfect guitar and amp?
Honestly that all depends on the players needs . What works best for me might not be what another player is looking for . Every player has their own style so they pick what works best for them.
How do you feel about the question of modeler or tube amp?
I’m still a tube amp guy. I’ve used some of the modelers in the studio but I find the tube amp works best for me. I’ve been using a Marshall JCM 2000 for many years now . It’s either that or a Marshall 900 that I seem to prefer.
Which guitars and amps were used on the new album or for recordings?
I’m using my Marshall JCM 2000 into a Torpedo 16 ohm load box with simulated cabs in my recording program. Mostly I’ll use my PVX guitars for recording or l’ll use one of my Strats.
When you only can choose one guitar, which one will you take?
It would definitely be my PVX Guitars . I have 2 set up and tune down a full step for Autograph and 2 tuned down a 1/2 step for my other projects.