Jonathan Grusauskas is the guitarist of Boston-based band lespecial, which he formed with childhood friends Luke Bemand and Rory Dolan. Jon switches masterfully between his guitar and synthesizers, providing roaring leads, heavy riffs, and clever synthesizer/sampler work on all fronts.
2006 Gibson Johnny A model (SN: J938)
Alesis Micron synthesizer:Some of Jon’s main sounds include a Wurlitzer-type piano that he manipulates with filters and delays, as well as a square wave that he uses for both 8-bit sounds and synth bass sounds. He’s customized a lot of his own patches over the years.
Roland SP-404 sampler:He mainly uses this with preloaded sounds that he can play percussively, as well as a glitch-like machine gun effect, which can be heard in “Sound That We Do”.
Mesa/Boogie Stiletto 2×12 (w/ EL34’s)
Decimator II G String Noise Gate > Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer (Analogman Brown Mod) > AMT Optic Wah > Digitech Whammy DT > Vox Satchurator > MXR Phase 90 Vintage Reissue > Okko CocoComp > Boss GE-7 Equalizer > back into Decimator II G String Noise Gate > Strymon Flint Reverb/Tremolo > Source Audio Programmable EQ > Xotic Robotalk > Strymon Timeline Delay/Echo > Boss DD-6 (for fast glitch repeats)* > Boss DD-7 (in loop mode) > Boss DD-7 (for analog echo/reverse delay) > Boss RC3 Looper > Mission Engineering Volume Pedal > TCE Polytune > Boss DD-5 (w/ Boss FS-5U for tap tempo)
*You can hear this glitchy sound around 8 seconds into lespecial’s song “Jackwise”
About his Digitech Whammy DT, “The Whammy DT is a really special pedal. I’ve used Whammy’s since the beginning of lespecial 13 years ago. I’ve had several of the models and this is by far the best. You can de-tune or uptune your guitar by 1-7 semitones or an octave, or an octave MIXED with your direct signal. On these settings you can strum full chords and it tracks each note! I don’t use that so much Live, but I use the momentary switch a lot. This is a new feature to any Whammy. It allows you to instantly jump to a pitch 1-7 semitones (or an octave) up or down from your current note, ONLY when your foot is depressing the switch. So you can get these fast intervallic leaps that add complexity to a run you’re already playing for instance. You can hear the Whammy DT doing that specific trick on the intro to “Pentachronic”, the solo on “Onlookers”, and live versions of “Fruit Wolf Dance” and “Skull Kid”. It’s my favorite new trick. Adrian Belew had a similar pedal designed for him. I got to show it to Mickey from Twiddle, Cliff and Nathan from Mike Dillon Band, and lots of other friends on tour. They got a kick out of it. Always fun to share a bizarre peace of gear with people who get what the hell I’m talking about. It’s not exactly Christmas time dinner table conversation.”
About his Boss GE-7, “The Boss GE-7… CUT 400hz! I read it on a metal forum and tried it out and loved the sound. Gotta love the internet. I’ve used the same rule for EQing snare drums while making a beat..something about 400hz. It’s sort of this Mid-range low whistle sound that maybe isn’t necessary in all sounds.”