When he’s not busy writing a sick track (“Meth Lab Zoso Sticker”) for a Martin Scorsese blockbuster like The Wolf of Wall Street, guitar virtuoso Joie Calio is tearing up stages with his musical partner Phil Leavitt in the rock band 7Horse. While Calio also provides backing vocals to Leavitt, it’s his fret work that truly allows him to shine. Just how does he get those crazy tones and bad-ass rhythms you ask? Dude, he has SO much gear that he’ll have to tell you himself!

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Calio: I am a gear freak – there’s no denying that. To say that there is one piece of gear that I use as a signature sound would be tough – I have a few guitars (7 that I’m touring with), lots of pedals, a couple amps, and we record at studios that are a vintage gear-head’s dream. But, having said that… being the rhythm and lead guitar (without a bass player live) forces me to play a certain way, as well as my fingerstyle and slide playing. Having one of the greatest drummers in the world – Phil Leavitt, helps too. Using great amps and guitars (vintage and new) in general is a big part of my sound. Also really like Curt Mangan strings – they sound great and are super high quality.

What about it makes it so important to you?
Calio: I can tell if someone has used good gear, or cool gear when they record. You know when a guitar player cares about his/her tone. I strive to be that guy.

How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Calio: I have a Bogner Shiva 20th anniversary (KT88) amp that I got just before 7Horse started our second record – Songs For a Voodoo Wedding – that sounds amazing; it has a plexy vibe. I combined that with a ’58 Bassman or 1965 Fender Vibroluxe or 1965 Fender Deluxe. Also used a Fender a Bassbreaker in the mix for a song.

How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Calio: I use a lot of the same gear I record with for our live show. As I mentioned I have a Bogner Shiva 20th Anniversary paired with a Bogner 2×12. I also have a Matchless Clubman paired with a Matchless 2×12. I run both rigs at all times. They do a great job of getting my studio sounds live. Although I have been eyeing a Metropoulos GPM 45 Bluesbreaker 2×12 combo for a possible 3rd amp live. Same Curt Mangan strings as well.

What are the major pros and cons?
Calio: The pros speak for themselves. The cons – not cheap! Although I do get help from Gretsch, Bogner, Matchless, National, and Curt Mangan. The guys at Wildwood Guitars in Louisville CO help me out immensely as well.

Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Calio: The fact that’ve have 2 amps with 2 x12 cabs live means I have a back up right there. My goal is to have a back-up head for each rig and of course – more guitars.

How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Calio: I started collecting my gear at the beginning of 7Horse. First I got my Fender ’51 Tele Nocaster Custom Shop. Then I got my first National NPR. I already had my Gibson j-45 which I used on the recording of “Meth Lab Zoso Sticker” – the song used for the Scorsese movie The Wolf of Wall Street, along with my Gretsch Silver Falcon. Then because we started using a few different tunings I needed to have coverage live so I wouldn’t need to retune all night long.

Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Calio: At the moment I have 3 Gretsch Guitars – 6136 White Falcon/6136 Silver Falcon/G6139 Black Falcon Center Block Double Cutaway. A Fender ’51 Telecaster Custom Shop. A Gibson ES 330 VOS. 2 National NRP resonators-Green Burst/ Silver. A Fender Telecaster Baritone. And my trust Gibson j-45. Along with the Bogner, Matchless, and a nice stash of pedals… I’d have to say I’m living the dream!

Check out the song “Flying High (With No ID)”


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