Gary Rossington Gear, Effects, Tone, Rig Examples – In-Depth Guide


Gary Rossington’s iconic guitar playing and tones are crucial milestones in the history of classic rock. The legendary band, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s guitarist, created his unique southern rock sound with songs like “Free Bird,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Simple Man,” and many more. Rossington’s guitar playing and amazing melodies are the cornerstones of all these songs.

Gary Rossington uses many different southern rock guitar licks, bluesy intonation, and country rock twang. His unique tone has high precision and articulation and sits somewhere between classic rock, blues, and country sounds. He is mainly known for his Gibson guitars, especially SG and Les Paul, in which he has his own signature models. He does not use many effect gear and solely relies on guitar-amp combinations to get his sound, which shows his minimalistic approach that can give more character to the tone.

So, if you like the Lynyrd Skynyrd sound and want to replicate it, this is the article for you as we will discuss all Gary Rossington gear, effects, and tones before giving you some rig examples to get closer to his sound.

Contents show

Guitars

Signature Guitars

Gibson Custom Shop Gary Rossington Les Paul

The main guitar of Gary Rossington is his beloved Gibson Custom Shop Gary Rossington Les Paul. The guitar is a limited edition instrument, and there are only 250 guitars all over the world. But it looks great, has a monstrous tone, and feels incredible. It features a figured maple top, one-piece mahogany body, rosewood fretboard, trapezoid inlays, aged gold hardware, a ‘59 rounded neck profile, and a 24-3/4” scale length.

Gibson Custom Shop Gary Rossington SG

Another amazing Gary Rossington signature guitar is the Gibson Custom Shop Gary Rossington SG, an extremely hard-to-find guitar. It is also a limited edition instrument with only 250 instruments worldwide.

It features a Brazilian rosewood fretboard and a set of Gibson Burstbucker 1 & 2 PAFs with some little alterations in details. The rest of the specs are the same as classic vintage SGs. While Gary Rossington does not use this guitar as often as Les Paul, sometimes he uses it on the stage.

Electric Guitars

Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar

Without a doubt, Gary Rossington’s favorite guitar is the Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar, which he used for most of his career quite often. He said he loved the humbucking pickups and the warm tones of the guitar. He had a 1959 Les Paul, which he named Bernice after his mother. He stopped touring with that guitar as the emotional value of the instrument became too much for him. In most of the Lynyrd Skynyrd recordings and shows, the guitar can be clearly heard.

Gibson Les Paul Axcess Alex Lifeson Ebony

Another Les Paul Gary Rossington used after the 1959 Les Paul for a while is the Gibson Les Paul Axcess Alex Lifeson Ebony model. It is a very thin and light model that Rossington liked to have on the stage.

Fender Telecaster

Gary Rossington also had a Fender Telecaster in the early days of his career along with Allen. They both used it for a while before deciding these guitars were not meant for them. So they got rid of them pretty early in their career.

Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Another guitar Gary Rossington used throughout his career is the Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster Electric Guitar. While he is not a big fan of Strat, he used this guitar on the recording of the song “Red, White and Blue.”

Gibson 1960s Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Mini Humbuckers

Gibson 1960s Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Mini Humbuckers was actually owned by Alle, but Gary used it in some shows until 1973 when it was stolen after a show.

1969 Gibson SG 

Another guitar Gary had used since the early days of his career was a 1969 Gibson SG. It had stock Gibson SG pickups, a cherry red finish, an ABR-1 bridge, and a lyre-non vibrato tailpiece.

Gibson ES-335 Electric Guitar

Another member of Gary’s guitar arsenal was the Gibson ES-335 Electric Guitar. He did not use it much, but he liked to have the choice when he wanted to have a different sound.

Gretsch Tennessean Electric Guitar

Just like the ES-335, Gary Rossington had this Gretsch Tennessean Electric Guitar in his studio, which he used for practice and jam sessions but never used for a recording or a show.

Guild X-79

For the This Is The Way era Gary Rossington used a Guild X-79 guitar on the recordings and the shows but did not use it again later.

Guitar Strings

D’Addario NYXL0942 Super Light 09-42 Electric Guitar Strings

For most of his guitars, Gary Rossington uses D’Addario NYXL0942 Super Light 09-42 Electric Guitar Strings, which are pretty lighter than most guitar strings. This way, he gets a thinner sound and more playability.

Guitar Pickups

Seymour Duncan SH-4 

In one of his Gibson Les Pauls, Gary Rossington used Seymour Duncan SH-4 humbucker pickup but preferred the original Gibson ones in his signature models.

Seymour Duncan SH-5

In one of his Gibson Les Pauls, Gary Rossington used Seymour Duncan SH-5 humbucker pickup but preferred the original Gibson ones in his signature models.

Amps

Peavey Mace 320T Combo

One of the first amps Gary Rossington used was the Peavey Mace 320T Combo in the early days of his career. He used the amp for a long time until he started experimenting with other amps like other Peavey models and some Fenders and Marshalls. 

Peavey Mace 320T Head

Peavey Mace 320T Head has been the primary amp of Gary Rossington since his early days in the 70s. He uses it combined with Peavey Cabs and another 320T combo amp. Later after the Edge of Forever album, he stopped using the combo but went on solo with the head. He used the 320T amps both on recordings and on the stage.

Peavey Gary Rossington Signature Penta 140W Tube Guitar Amp

In 2009, Peavey created the signature model, Peavey Gary Rossington Signature Penta 140W Tube Guitar Amp, for the legendary guitarist. The map is mainly based on Gary’s favorite am, the 320T model. It has 140W power and four EL34 and 12AX7 tubes. After this model came out, Gary solely got his tones from this amp.

Fender Prosonic

Another amp Gary Rossington tried out in the mid-era of his career was the Fender Prosonic amp. He used it for some shows combined with his Peaveys but stopped using them after a short while. 

1973 Marshall Super Tremolo

1973 Marshall Super Tremolo was one of the first amps Gary Rossington used with Lynyrd Skynyrd for the Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd album. The 100-watt amp was used combined with a Fender Twin amp.

Fender Twin Reverb

In the early albums, on the stage and in the studio, Gary Rossington used a Fender Twin Reverb combined with the 1973 Marshall Super Tremolo. Later he switched to Peavey 320, and it became his main amp.

Cabs

Peavey 4×12 Cabinets With Standard Peavey Black Widow Speakers

For the 320T head and his signature amp model, Rossington preferred Peavey 4×12 Cabinets With Standard Peavey Black Widow Speakers.

Effect Pedals and Plugins

Univox Uni-vibe Phase Pedal

In the Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd era, Gary Rossington was getting his phaser tones from the Univibe Phase Pedal, which was the only pedal he was using.

MXR Phase 90

MXR Phase 90 was the second phaser pedal Rossington used as he started using them with the Peavey amps around the Nathin Fancy era.

Maxon PT-999 Phase Tone

One of the few pedals Gary Rossington uses is the Maxon PT-999 Phase Tone to get his phaser effects.

Line 6 MM4 Modulation Modeler

For the modulation effect, Rossington preferred a Line 6 MM4 Modulation Modeler, which is a highly versatile pedal to get any modulation effect he desires.

Line 6 Amp Farm

In recent years, Gary started getting the help of the Line 6 Amp Farm plug-in to create his effects. He does not rely on effect pedals or plug-ins much, but when he needs the Line 6 Amp Farm delivers great choices for amp heads, speaker cabs, and amp-miking options for the studio.

What Is Special About Gary Rossington’s Guitar Tone?

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Gary Rossington have an iconic tone that is instantly recognizable when you hear it. Songs like Free Bird, Simple Man, and Sweet Home Alabama are instantly recognizable thanks to their unique riffs and guitar tones.

Gary Rossington’s tone is pretty smooth, a lightly overdriven sound than a crunchy one, which puts it somewhere between classic rock, blues, and country sound. The dynamics are very important in his tone; as harder he plays, the amps break up more to overdrive ranges.

On the EQ side, his tone is quite bright, creating a great contrast with his Les Pau, as these guitars are quite warm by default. His tone is not thick at all, without much low-end range.

He does not use many effect pedals but relies on the built-in effects of his amps. He likes to add a bit of reverb to his ton, along with phaser effects here and there. He only uses a phaser pedal for his tones. 

His special tone comes mainly from his minimalistic approach and the quality of his amp and guitar. A bit of overdrive, high treble frequencies, a bit of reverb, and great playing dynamics will get you close to his legendary Southern rock tones.

Gary Rossington has an unorthodox approach behind his Southern rock epic tone. His tone’s specialty comes from the little details instead of many different gears and complicated setups. For example, he uses G strings for the third and second strings so that he gets a more consistent sound out of his guitar. Instead of using a screwdriver, he uses little pieces of wire around 5 inches long.

For slide guitar, he uses a glass Coricidin bottle, just like Jimi Hendrix used a Zippo lighter for his All Along The Watchtower solo. Every guitarist has their own special tricks. All these little details create his unique Southern Rock tone.

How To Sound Like Gary Rossington?

To sound like Gary Rossingto, you need the basics of his gear, and you have to get his techniques and musical approach right. Basically, you need a Gibson Les Paul-style guitar, a lightly overdriven amp, preferably a tube amp, and a balanced EQ with slightly higher high-end frequencies, a bit of reverb, and a phaser pedal.

Starting with the guitar, Gary Rossington likes to play with warm-sounding guitars like Les Pauls. As he does not use many effects, the sound of the guitar plays a pretty important role in his tone. So, going for a Les Paul-style guitar is important to catch his tone.

For the amp side, you need a good tube amp, but you can also go with a good modeling amp to get closer to the tube amp sound and make the setup more affordable. In any case, you will need that lightly overdriven authentic tube amp sound that is a must for the Southern Rock tones. 

For the amp settings having a gain of around 4 will make you sound pretty clear, but the amp will break up when you play harder. So the dynamics become very important. You can play the verses softer for the clean sound and go harder in the choruses for a more overdriven sound, which is the case in most Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes.

The tone should be quite sharp, so the highs should be around 6-7, while the bass and mids should be more balanced around 4-5. You can experiment with the bass turning it a bit more down as the Southern Rock sound is quite thin.

Finally, a little bit of reverb will prevent you from sounding dry and dull. Having the reverb knob around 3 is a perfect idea. 

This is the basics of the Gary Rossington sound, but of course, for different songs, there will be small alterations. For example, for Free Bird turning down the gain a bit and having more reverb is a good idea. For Sweet Home Alabama, having more mid-ranges makes you closer to the sound.

Gary Rossington Guitar Rig Examples

Budget

Guitar – Epiphone Les Paul Special Satin E1 Electric Guitar

Epiphone Les Paul Special Satin E1, Heritage Cherry Sunburst
  • This guitar has a Poplar body with a sleek look thanks to the Vintage Worn...
  • The Les Paul Special Satin E1 has a comfortable and fast Mahogany bolt-on...
  • It's also loaded with Epiphone's world famous open-coil humbuckers with a...

Amp – Boss Katana-50 MkII 1 x 12-inch 50-watt Combo Amp

Boss Katana-50 MkII 1 x 12-inch 50-watt Combo Amp
  • 50/25/0.5W 1x12" Guitar Combo Amplifier with 5 Amp Voicings
  • Cab-emulated Headphone/Recd Output
  • 4 Tone Slots
  • 60 Effects

If you want to have an affordable Gary Rossington setup, having a Boss Katana-50 MkII 1 x 12-inch 50-watt Combo Amp along with an Epiphone Les Paul Special Satin E1 Electric Guitar can get you pretty close. Just find a good tube amp sound from the modeling amp, and try to adjust the settings as mentioned before in the article to create the Southern Rock tones.

Mid-Range

Guitar – Gibson Les Paul Tribute

Amp – Peavey Classic 30 II 30-watt 1×12″ Tube Combo Amp – Tweed

Peavey Classic 30 112 Guitar Combo Amp
  • Genuine Spring Reverb with level control
  • Pre- and post-gain controls on lead channel
  • External speaker capability
  • Chrome-plated chassis

As Gary Rossington has a minimalistic approach when it comes to his gear, having higher-quality guitar and amp will get you closer to his sound. Gibson Les Paul Tribute with a Peavey Classic 30 II 30-watt 1×12″ Tube Combo Amp – Tweed is a great combination as both are just a bit more affordable versions of Rossington’s actual gear.

High-End

Guitar – Gibson Custom Shop Gary Rossington ’59 Les Paul Standard 

Peavey Mace 320T Combo

Cab – Peavey 4×12 Cabinets With Standard Peavey Black Widow Speakers

Effect Pedal – Maxon PT-999 Phase Tone

Effect Pedal – Line 6 MM4 Modulation Modeler

Plugin – Line 6 Amp Farm

If you want to have the exact sound of Gary Rossington, going with his exact gear is the best idea. So, Gibson Custom Shop Gary Rossington ’59 Les Paul Standard is his signature guitar, which was produced for only a limited amount. So, if you can not find any, you can also go with a high-end Les Paul with humbuckers.

As the amp choice, his amp Peavey Mace 320T Combo is the best you can go with. The tube amp is a great combo amp, but you can also use it with Cab-Peavey 4×12 Cabinets With Standard Peavey Black Widow Speakers for a louder sound.

Maxon PT-999 Phase Tone, Line 6 MM4 Modulation Modeler, and Line 6 Amp Farm plugin are the pedals and plugins you will need for different songs. Although they are not for the fundamental tone of Rossington, he uses them for some songs.

Conclusion

Gary Rossington is one of the most recognizable names in rock history, thanks to his unique tone and his amazing melodies and licks. Songs like Sweet Home Alabama, Free Bird, Simple Man, Gimme Three Steps, and Tuesday’s Gone are some of the milestones of rock history.

His way of combining classic rock, blues, and country-folk sounds is amazing and gives him a unique character. He gets his sound with a minimalistic approach as he does not use any gear, but he puts so much attention to detail that it creates the amazing character of his sound. 

Basically, a good guitar-amp combination with the right settings can get you close enough to his sound. The rest is in your hands to replicate him, as the dynamics of your playing will play a huge role when trying to get closer to Gary Rossington’s sound.

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Last update on 2024-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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