PG’s Chris Kies visits Nashville’s Basement East to spend some quality time with Monster Magnet guitarist Phil Caivano who shows off the Gibsons, Marshalls, and custom dirtboxes he and cofounder Dave Wyndorf use to take flight.
This 2003 Gibson Les Paul Custom ’54 Oxblood reissue is Phil Caivano’s main squeeze. The band typically uses two tunings, and this is the first choice for songs that are tuned a half-step down. The original Burstbucker pickups became microphonic so he upgraded with a set of Wolfetone Marshallheads. This guitar uses either Ernie Ball .011–.048 strings or Dunlop .011–.050 strings.
Phil Caivano’s go-to 6-string for songs that require him to tune down to C standard is this 1970s “sandwich-bodied” Gibson Les Paul Standard. It still has the original ’bucker in the neck, but he swapped the bridge model for a DiMarzio PAF Pro. Since it’s tuned lower, and Phil likes to keep the guitars feeling similar, he goes with Dunlop .013–.060 strings to mimic the tension in the other guitars.
No one can accuse Monster Magnet cofounder and Space Lord No. 1, Dave Wyndorf, of being a gear snob as he uses this Epiphone SG Special as his favored live guitar.