Tristan “1690” Grigsby, guitarist for the Chicago-based metal band DaiTribe, spoke with me recently about his signature series Sarricola guitars. Grigsby and the band just finished working on their newest release, Epochalypse A.D., which is due in stores on April 17, 2012. Here’s what he had to say about his gear.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Tristan: Hands down, my signature series Sarricola guitars. There are three models in the line currently. An Apache, Bishop and Carnage, with two more being introduced soon.

What about it makes it so important to you?
Tristan: Well, from the first time I ever picked one up I could tell it was something different. The craftsmanship of my gear is extremely important to me. I played one of each model that Sarricola has to offer. I was looking at different models from different years and making notes on the consistency of the instruments. Having designed equipment and approaching it from that perspective first, I knew what I needed very quickly. I made a sketch on a small piece of paper and it grew from that. The Apache came together pretty effortlessly. We designed it to be a road piece as well as a studio weapon. The great neck radius and angle were staples of their catalog and it compliments my technique-based style. I don’t have to fight the guitar or compensate at all. It’s a very solidly assembled guitar. It has a 25 1/2 scale neck, large frets, single pick up/volume knob, locking trem and a larger body. Those are things you can notice in the tone of a guitar whether it’s plugged in or not. The placement of the volume knob is measured and based off my right hand tendencies. I do a lot of rolling of my volume knob along with constant vibrato bar abuse and that reach has to be automatic for me. The body design of the Apache allows me full access to all 24 frets and after 20 years of recording/touring with these guitars, I’ve noticed that they age like a fine instrument should.

What are the major pros and cons?
Tristan: The best part of having a signature guitar is you don’t have to compromise or adjust for the short comings of an instrument. The scale suits me, thicker than average body, body contour, and balance is all ideal. The negative (for some) is that there aren’t any neck through models yet. I could also use 20 more of them right now.

How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Tristan: I’ve been playing my Apache for over 20 years. The first day I got it, I played it something like 13 hours straight in the studio. Bill dropped it off, and I went to work. No idea whether it was gonna withstand that type of first day demand.

The Bishop came 3 years later. Bill Sarricola (founder and master builder) had been hitting me up since I turned in the final concept for the guitar. He believed strongly that there should be a two pickup version. I generally play a guitar and put it through rigorous pacing for around a year before anyone hears or sees it. There weren’t so much “changes” as we were just experimenting on that eternal “tone path”. The endless “what if” discussion, if you will. The Bishop was around seven months before I even recorded with it.

The Carnage was the final addition to the line. It was again, more about a different perspective and not stereotypical “change”. Bill found a great piece of Swamp Ash and I had been playing with a bunch of different players. At the time, all my main guitars had floating trems. I needed a guitar with a stock trem so I could play in all these different situations no matter the tuning. I’m pretty big on consistency and not change for change sake. They all serve their purpose so well that I can get anything I want from them. I wouldn’t change anything except the finish.

Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Tristan: The Sarricola Apache guitars are great, professional quality instruments with a versatile, full tone. Regardless of your style, my signature line will work with you and not against you. It’s a great tool for any artist to add to their collection. You rarely find someone that owns only one of these!

Check out the song: “I Hate Me”