Collin Jones is the lead guitarist of Haewa, Ocular Panther, and his solo looping project Stereo Nest. Collin’s playing is melodic, yet intrinsically rhythmic in the way all of his groups compose their music. He runs a fairly simple setup that’s stayed the same for the most part, but he knows how to coax the sounds he needs out of what he uses. I got the chance to talk to Collin about his rig while he stopped in Manchester, NH with his 90’s tribute supergroup, Olmec’s Rejects, also featuring Rob Compa of Dopapod and Richard James of Pink Talking Fish. Check out Collin’s playing in this performance of Haewa’s song “Warlock.”

Guitar & Amp

Custom Rock Beach Guitar

Fender Twin Reverb Reissue

Pedalboard

Signal Chain: Boss TU-2 > Vox Wah > Boss BD-2 Blues Driver > Ibanez TS9DX Turbo Tube Screamer > Marshall Echohead Delay > Digitech Whammy 4 > Marshall Regenerator > TC Electronic Flashback X4 Delay > Pigtronix Infinity Looper w/ External Control

InterviewPhoto credit to Aaron Winters

Jared Lindquist: Who built your guitar?

Collin Jones: My guitar was built by Greg Bogoshian of Rock Beach Guitars. Every one of his guitars is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted instrument. When I first saw and played the guitar that I’m currently using, I absolutely fell in love with it. It is made from Cocobolo wood so it has a very interesting look and sound to it. For over 10 years, I played the same American Sunburst Stratocaster (and still do occasionally depending on what I am doing). Since I was so used to the feel of a Strat, this guitar made sense to me because it has somewhat similar features and dimensions to it. One of my favorite things about this guitar is the humbucking p90 pickups. It has an extremely fat sound, almost like a Les Paul, all while still maintaining the quality of a single coil. Personally, I think it’s the perfect balance.

JL: What is the one pedal on your board you couldn’t live without?

CJ: If I had to choose, my Boss Blues Driver is the most crucial pedal. When I’m playing, the Blues Driver is always on and I stack everything else on top of it. This is what gives me my rhythm tone which I then build on top of to create other sounds. It also happens to be the first pedal I ever owned, so through the years I have dialed it in to a place I really like. It’s a fairly common, inexpensive pedal, but it gets the job done nicely.

JL: When was the first time you were exposed to the world of effects pedals?

CJ: The first time it really caught my ear was when I first heard Jimi Hendrix use a wah pedal. I loved how rhythmic it sounded. In fact, the second pedal I ever bought (after the Blues Driver) was a Vox wah pedal which I also still use to this day. That was the first real “effect” I started experimenting with beyond overdrive and messing around with my tone.

JL: What are those Marshall Effects you’re using?

CJ: I use a Marshall EH-1 Digital Delay and a Marshall RG-1 Modulation pedal. They are both very inexpensive yet powerful pedals that really caught me by surprise. I use the delay strictly for the reverse effect which I put on ever so slightly and use exclusively when I am playing leads. It adds a nice swirly effect that melds each note together in a smooth and interesting way. This is actually a very crucial pedal for my lead tone. When I play leads I almost always use it. The Modulation pedal gives me cool filter/phaser effects that work really well with my TC Electronics Flashback Delay pedal, which I build drones with and then loop with my Pigtronix Infinity looper.

JL: Did you take any inspiration from some of your favorite artists when you were building your current board?

CJ: 90% of the pedals I use I have owned for over a decade. When I first started playing as a young teenager, I bought most of them randomly. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but happened to find the sounds I liked and since it all seemed to work, I just stuck with it. After I had my core tones hashed out, I started having ideas for more ethereal sounds I wanted to make and started researching what was out there to achieve those ideas. That’s when I bought my looper and delay pedals. Later on, I added a whammy pedal because I was a huge fan of the album “Uberjam” by John Scofield and he made some crazy sounds with it on that record. I didn’t know what I was hearing until I researched what he was using, so I bought one. Also, as I previously mentioned, Jimi Hendrix definitely influenced me to buy a wah pedal very early on.

JL: Who are some of your inspirations as a guitar player?

CJ: As far as well known guitar players go, Jimmy Herring and John Scofield are two of my obvious influences. Manual Gottsching is also a favorite of mine because he developed a very trance-y, almost electronic style of playing. I am a huge fan of kraut rock and early electronic rock, so he is a big one for me. In the more modern electronic vein, I’d have to say Jon Guttwillig from The Disco Biscuits is a pretty huge influence for me. Ironically, at this point in my life, I don’t actually listen to a lot of guitar players. I have become more inspired and influenced by things outside of the guitar itself and aim to channel those things through the guitar in hopes that something raw and truthful comes through. It’s really easy to cop somebody else’s style by listening to them. Consequently, it’s a slippery slope because you can lose your own style if you can’t break way from it at some point. At first, it is necessary but as time goes on, I think the goal is something beyond that. The best way that I’ve found to channel my unique sound is to really focus on looking inward, block out distractions and listen to my own voice and what it is telling me. I also think listening to other instruments and styles of music is a great way to find inspiration outside of the box. I listen to a lot of electronic music. I find it fascinating because it is so infinite and hard to grasp how some of the sounds are made. I like to take things like that and apply it to the guitar. Ultimately, guitar is one of the most direct forms of expression. I think to use it most effectively, you need to look beyond the instrument itself and channel something from within to utilize it’s power.

JL: What goes through your mind when you’re deciding which effects to turn on while you’re playing?

CJ: My use of effects really depends on what the music calls for. I usually just feel it out as I go. My board is pretty simple so really it’s just going between rhythm and lead tones, and then on top of that I will add delay and wah when appropriate and do some weird bendy stuff with my whammy pedal in ambient sections. In of my bands, Haewa, we have a very “spacey” sound so I end up using delay a lot. I dedicate the Flashback for rhythmic delays since I can easily tap the tempo in, and use the Marshall delay for the swooshy reverse sounds when I am playing leads.

JL: What are some of your favorite pedal combos to play with?

CJ: I love using long feedback delay in combination with my whammy and wah pedals to get some really interesting textures, which I then loop on my infinity looper. Another cool thing is recording a loop and reversing it as I am playing it, so when it loops, it automatically flips itself.

JL: Who are some of your favorite contemporaries on the scene currently?

CJ: Rob Compa, Paul McArdle, Mikey Pantano, Jimmy Gondoli, Mike Gantzer and Craig Brodhead are some of my favorite guitarists of all time! These guys have really inspired me throughout the years. Having the chance to sit down and play with all of them has been a huge inspiration for me.