I recently chatted with Righteous Vendetta guitarist Justin Olmstead about his favorite piece of gear. The band is currently out on tour in United States and Justin was more than happy to let the PureGrainAudio readers in on the secret to his punishingly-downtuned sound. Here is how the conversation went.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Justin: It definitely has to be my PRS Mike Mushok baritone guitar.

What about it makes it so important to you?
Justin: There has always been a certain punch that my tone has been lacking. This guitar solved that problem. It allows me to run at lower gain without losing the sustain and intensity required for our heavier sound.

What are the major pros and cons?
Justin: Like I said, the major pro is that the guitar allows me to run at a lower gain. The lower I run the gain, the more clarity and attack I get with the overall sound. The one con about it is the wound G-string on my preferred string gauge. My lead playing is heavily influenced by modern melodic fusion players, who utilize the G-string for many of their bending licks. The wound string makes it very difficult to execute anything over a half-step bend. It takes away a little bit of freedom from your lead playing.

How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Justin: I have been using this guitar for about 7 months now. I would definitely be open to change, but I don’t know that I’d ever switch away from a baritone again. The extended scale-length is perfect for dropped tunings.

Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Justin: For anybody who plays in drop tunings, especially for players who do a lot of riffing, I suggest trying this baritone at least once. If you have the same problem with your tone that I had, this might be the answer you’ve been looking for!

Check out the song “What You’ve Done”