Editor’s Note: Rod Janzen had a little more to say, so we thought we would add it to the interview and have a go at this one for another week. Enjoy!
This is not the first time that Rod Janzen has appeared in the hallowed annals of Guitar of the Week. And rightly so, he is the impressive guitar slinger who rides shotgun with the one-and-only Dierks Bentley. Together they laid down the tracks for their latest album, “Modern Day Drifter,” and are, once again, touring the country with their remarkable band.
Editors Note: We met the band in an earlier Guitar of the Week.
Not only is Rod an amazing guitar player but he is apparently a highly influential musician as well. Last time he was in Guitar of the Week we touched on the fact that other artists had picked up Andersons because of Rod, and now he seems to have done it again. This time it is his very own band mate, Dierks Bentley himself, who can be seen hangin’ around with a Hollow T Classic. And on October 1st Dierks was inducted as the newest and currently the youngest member of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Now we are not saying that these two events are linked in any way, but it sure seems to be a rather coincidental, simultaneous leap forward—in both ways. Our congratulations and thanks to Dierks—and Rod of course!
Always the nicest guy around, we caught up with Rod, somewhere on the road, to quickly update the latest happenings since last we talked.
TAGW: The last time we spoke in Guitar of the Week you had a matching set of Translucent Blonde Andersons—a Hollow T Classic and a Hollow Classic—as your main guitars. A beautiful Transparent Yellow, Hollow Cobra with P-Series pickups was in route to you. Now that you have it, how has it been working out for those bigger single coil assignments?
Rod: Yes, I use the Cobra on things that require a little fuller humbucker-type of sound—rock, swing and also big ballad types of songs. The Anderson P-Series pickups sound great and are amazingly quiet.
TAGW: Over the summer you acquired a new Translucent Butterscotch, Hollow T Classic—with an all-Swamp Ash body—like your other two Trans Blonde guitars. What role does this new one fulfill?
Rod: I would like to report: Another great sounding guitar! The new Hollow T Classic fills the role of stay-home guitar—lately anyway. I use it all the time on the Grand Ole Opry, as well as for recording sessions and in-town projects. This enables me to leave the others safely in the guitar world case when we get home—although we are hardly ever home.
TAGW: We do believe that your Translucent Blonde, Hollow T Classic has the TD-Series hum-canceling single coils on board and your new Trans Butterscotch features our vintage pickups, TV1 in the neck and TV3 at the bridge. How are you enjoying them and the difference in sound between the two?
Rod: The difference in sound is actually very slight. The TD-Series pickups are very handy in noisy situations where you have to find that one spot where things are quiet. If you play a Tele, you know. The TV-Series are slightly more vintage sounding, and with the body weight being a little different, gives a slightly more vintage overall sound and vibe. The TDs however are definitely a live favorite with amazing tone. I think its one of the best sounding “Teles” in this town—and so do the guys at Glaser Instruments in Nashville—and they see ‘em all.
TAGW: Of course we also couldn't help but notice that Dierks Bentley is now playing a Translucent Butterscotch, Hollow T Classic of his very own. Did you have some influence here or how did that come about?
Rod: He actually showed up on a local gig I was doing and handed it to me to play to see what I thought of it. It’s alder and a little warmer than mine and sounds great for what he needs it for. I guess he really liked the sound of mine and wanted that same quality and tone, so he went and found a Hollow T Classic on his own.
TAGW: Can you elaborate a bit more on how you hear the sonic differences between the Swamp Ash and Alder body woods of your Hollow T Classics compared to Dierks?
Rod: Dierks’ guitar is little warmer and darker sounding than my Hollow T Classics. As I said, his is Alder and mine are Swamp Ash, but they all sound equally good in their own way. Like mine, he also has Heavy frets and a Maple fingerboard. It is so great to pick up and play. They do sound a little different, but very accurate at the jobs they do.
TAGW: Are you still playing through your same rig as you were last time we spoke?
Rod: Same rig, sans the Hiwatt 50. The 2 TopHat, King Royales—sound awesome—as well as the 2 direct lines off the Pod Pro.
Editors Note: For a complete rundown of Rod’s rig check out our last interview with Rod in Guitar of the Week.
TAGW: And how about Dierks, what does he plug his Anderson through?
Rod: He has a little pedal board and runs that into a Mesa Boogie, Lone Star—100 watt, 2x12—sounds really good.
TAGW: If you were stranded on a lush tropical island and the native peoples promised to take care of you only if you could soothe them with the world's best electric guitar tones, which guitar and amp would you choose to play?
Rod: Probably I’m supposed to say an Anderson, right? Okay, I’ll take my Trans Blonde, Hollow T Classic and a Vox AC 15. And can I bring a Plexi-head and my ‘77 Les Paul? No wait! I’ll bring my Plexi and you send along one of those new Atoms. An Atom would be just fine with me!
TAGW: We have to finish up by asking, how you are doing personally? Are things all good? We hope they are. That is how life is supposed to be. Anything else you need us to mention?
Rod: Doing great! We have a new single in the top 10. I believe it should be a huge hit. We have got the Kenny Chesney tour all next year and we are now starting by playing smaller arenas on our own. We will be doing hard core touring for another month or so, but it’s paying off. I just wanted to mention that Dierks said he wouldn't mind if you ever wanted to ask him any questions or do a Guitar of the Week with him as well.
TAGW: Oh man, that sounds great! We will be in touch.
Looks like we have more good things coming your way from Guitar of the Week. Stay tuned.
Before we go, one last shot of Dierks accepting his award at the Grand Ole Opry. He always has something good in his arms.
• MODEL: – Hollow T Classic
• FINISH: – Translucent Butterscotch
• BODY WOOD: – Swamp Ash
• BODY WOOD BACK COLOR: – same
• NECK WOOD: – Maple
• HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Natural with Aged Vintage Tint
• NECK BACK FINISH: – Satin with Aged Vintage Tint
• NECK BACKSHAPE: – T/A Standard
• NUT WIDTH: – 1 11/16-inch
• SCALE LENGTH: – 25 1/2-inch
• FRETS: – Heavy—Exclusive Anderson Stainless Steel
• BRIDGE: – Fixed Bridge
• TUNING GEAR: – Split Shaft
• HARDWARE COLOR: – Chrome
• PICKGUARD: – Black
• NECK PICKUP: – TV1
• MIDDLE PICKUP: – N/A
• BRIDGE PICKUP: –TV3
• SWITCHING: – 3-Way
• PICKUP COVERS: – Chrome on Neck
• PICKUP RINGS: – N/A
• STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010-.046 Elixir® with NANOWEB® Coating
• DESTINATION/LOCATION: – Rod Janzen/Dierks Bentley Band