Premier Guitar hung with Charlie Starr and Paul Jackson of Blackberry Smoke just a few hours before they blew the roof off of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The boys shared their recipe for Southern rock tone that’s as thick as grits and gravy. Special thanks to the band’s tech, David “Doc” Oswalt, for details.
Charlie Starr covers vocals and his share of guitar abuse both live and in the studio. Starr splits up riff duties between a modest collection of guitars. His main axe is a battle-scarred 1956 Les Paul Jr. with the original P-90 pickup. The next guitar is an Echopark Downtowner ’55 Gold Custom (nicknamed “Goldie”) loaded with an Echopark ’58 P-90 in the neck and an Echopark Echotron in the bridge. For slide, Starr uses a custom-made T-style guitar with an ornately engraved top that usually lives in open-G tuning. Naturally, Starr has a P-90 in the bridge and a “lipstick” pickup in the neck. A J. Hamilton “Elizabeth” gives Starr some semi-hollow tones and features a pair of humbuckers with matching wooden pickup rings. Finally, a Gibson Custom Shop Southern Rock Tribute 1959 Les Paul rounds out the arsenal. Recently, Starr had the chance to play J.D. Simo’s ’60 Les Paul and, according to Starr, the Southern Rock LP held up comparably.