Phil X Gear, Effects, Tone, Rig Examples – In-Depth Guide


As Bon Jovi’s new lead guitarist who replaced Richie Sambora in 2016, Phil X is one of the most influential rock guitarists today. He began playing with Bon Jovi as a substitute guitarist back in 2011, before joining the band officially.

Theophilus Xenides, better known as Phil X, is a well-known Greek-Canadian musician and songwriter. He is a prolific session guitarist, having played with Tommy Lee, Methods of Mayhem, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Orianthi, Rob Zombie, Chris Daughtry, Alice Cooper Thousand Foot Krutch, and many others before joining Bon Jovi. Plus, he is a guitarist with a crowded setup, a lovely old-school hard-rock tone, and a pretty decent technique.

Phil X is known for his love for collecting guitars and equipment, along with his preference for single-pickup guitars. His most loved guitar is ESP LTD Viper, while his favorite pickup is P90 which he mainly prefers to use in the bridge position.

He also has a Youtube Channel where he introduces and reviews rare vintage guitars from his collection. His channel is pretty famous, with over 30 million subscribers. Let’s try to look at his collection to see what he has to offer for us.

Contents show

Guitars

Gibson

Gibson Les Paul Goldtop

Phil X became a Gibson musician a few years ago in 2019. That is why he has tens of different Gibson guitars that he uses from time to time. But, one of the regular members is this Les Paul Goldtop with PX-8 pickups, which he likes the even sound they provide.

1997 Gibson Custom Shop Historic ’58 Les Paul Standard

Another Custom Gibson Les Paul Phil X likes is the 1997 remake of the 1958 Historic Gibson Les Paul Standard. Phil X’S version is black and he likes it and uses it thanks to the guitar’s flat neck. His model features Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups. He uses it in live performances as well as in his studio for his recordings.

1964 Gibson SG Junior

Phil X uses a 1964 Gibson SG Junior for the live performances of Who Says You Can’t Go Home and Lost Highway. It is a beautiful cream-finished vintage guitar with a solo bridge P-90 pickup. Phil X loves single-pickup guitars as he believes these guitars have better sustain, tone, and harmonic richness. Most of his guitars are inspired by this SG Junior.

Gibson Custom ES-355

Another guitar Phil X uses with Bon Jovi is a Gibson Custom ES-355 which resembles the 1955 vintage model. Phil occasionally uses this guitar for some songs to have a vintage classic rock tone.

Gibson Les Paul Standard

A classic piece in Phil X’s collection is Gibson Les Paul Standard. He has many versions of this guitar and uses them with Bon Jovi as well as his band The Drills. The bridge pickup is P90, which is his favorite pickup in rock history.

Gibson SG Les Paul Standard

Gibson SG Les Paul Standard is another classic piece in Phil’s collection. He often uses the SG Junior in his recordings and live performances. It became one of his favorite guitars after he started working with Gibson.

Gbison 1991 Les Paul Standard

Another Les Paul in Phil’s collection is Scott Humphries 1991, Les Paul Standard. This guitar has been used on many records, including Methods of Mayhem, Rob Zombie, and Andrew WK.

1961 Gibson Les Paul Junior

Phil X uses 1954 Gibson Les Paul Junior with a white finish in his live gigs with Bon Jovi. As he is a fan of single-pickup guitars, it is not very surprising. The single bridge pickup is a P-90 dogear model.

1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom 25/50 Anniversary

The reissue of 1978 Gibson Les Paul is yet another Les Paul in Phil’s collection. But, he does not use this guitar often in his recordings and live gigs.

Gibson ES-330

Phil X occasionally uses a Fretted Americana Special Gibson ES-330 with P-90 pickups. This guitar is a regular member of his studio setup.

Gibson ES-335 1964 Cherry

Another vintage ES series from the Phil X collection is Gibson ES-335 1964 Cherry. He puts a sponge between the bridge and tailpiece to silence the strings if in case they are in a different key.

Gibson SG 1967 Special

Phil X loves SG-style guitars, and one of his most-loved guitars is a Gibson SG 1967 Special. He likes the batwing pickguard this guitar has. His favorite P-90 pickups are again present on this guitar.

Epiphone

Epiphone Sheraton-II PRO

Phil X also has a black-finished Epiphone Sheraton-II PRO with golden-finished electronics. This one is also a regular member of his studio setup.

Schecter Tommy Lee Signature

The baritone guitar of Phil X’s choice is a Schecter Tommy Lee Signature. He says the guitar sounds enormous when you go for those low notes. It again only has a single humbucker in the bridge position. The guitar is tuned to Drop C and Phil uses it for the song We Got It Going On with Bon Jovi.

Yamaha

Yamaha SG1820

Before joining Gibson, Phil X was a Yamaha artist who was mainly using the SG series. He often used an SG1820 vintage guitar with Seymour Duncan 59 pickups. As he is in love with SG-style guitars, this one was one of his favorites before he started using Framus and Gibson guitars.

Yamaha SG1801PX

Another Yamaha SG series model Phil X was using is Yamaha SG1801PX. This model was also called Phil X’s signature model, as Yamaha designed it for Phil X. It is also called “Les Paul Killer” with its excellent design and sound. Phil X was using a single Arcane PX90 pickup in the bridge position with this guitar.

Fender

Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

Like most of the guitarists, Phil X also loves Stratocaster. His favorite one is a  Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster with the SSS configuration. Usually, the guitar had a sunburst finish, but Phil X introduced the top to a torch made it look burnt-charcoal color.

Fender Standard Telecaster 1983 – 1984

Although he is not a Fender fan, Phil X also has a Fender Standard Telecaster 1983 – 1984. He changed the bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail and used this Telecaster live many times. He liked the nice and chunky sound of the guitar.

ESP

ESP LTD Viper 301

Another one of Phil X’s favorite custom guitars is ESP LTD Viper 301. He has a P-94 pickup on the bridge position, and the neck pickup is removed. There is a wolverine toy instead of the neck pickup. 

This is a cheap guitar that Phil X used early in his career. He liked to cover it with stickers. He used it in many recordings and also in live performances. Although this is a relatively cheap guitar, Phil X loved the simplicity and the comfort it provides.

Framus

Framus XG Series

Phil X uses many Framus Pro Series guitars that he customized as he is in collaboration with Framus. His faithful companion Framus Phill XG is designed by him and Framus together and is a remarkable guitar he uses both for recording and live gigs. 

He says that this one is his dream guitar. He removed the neck pickup and used it as a single-pickup guitar. The guitar features an SG body which is his favorite.

He has many versions of this guitar; one with three P-90’s and a sparkle green finish, one with two Arcane PX pickups with a worn-white finish, and one with a single PX-8 with a black finish, and many more that he uses both live and for recordings.

Luxxtone Choppa S

This one is another member of the live gig guitar that Phil X uses from time to time. It is a Strat-style guitar with an HSS pickup configuration. The humbucker is an Arcane Phil X PX-8. 

Duesenberg Starplayer TV Fullerton

Phil X uses these unique vintage-style guitars on some songs where he needs to use some whammy bar action. These rare guitars are great vintage guitars with a warm sound.

BluesMan Sedan

Bluesman Sedan is a great vintage Strat-style guitar. Phil X says it is the best Strat-style guitar he has ever played. He does not like Strat-type guitars much but uses them with Bon Jovi gigs in songs like I’ll Be There For You. His model is red-finished with an SSS pickup configuration.

Paoletti ‘Nancy’ Wine Nail Series Millesimata

Phil X uses this guitar, Paoletti ‘Nancy’ Wine Nail Series Millesimata which is from an Italian brand Paoletti, for playing the song, Saturday Night with Bon Jovi. It is a Tele-style guitar made from Chestnut wine barrels. Phil X says the neck pickup is the best Tele pickup he heard in his life.

Gibson Explorer

For pure Rock N’ Roll sounds, Phil X uses his Gibson Explorer. You can see him playing this guitar at Bon Jovi concerts during the song Lay Your Hands On Me.

Other Guitars In Phil X’s Collection

As he is a collector who likes to experiment with different guitars and setups, it is impossible to talk about all of the guitars of Phil X. However, you can check the frettedamericana Youtube Channel to learn more about the guitars in his collection. There are some other interesting guitars that are unique and vintage which are extremely rare. But he rarely uses them for his professional recordings or live gigs.

Acoustic Guitars

Gibson Hummingbird Acoustic/Electric Guitar Wine Red

Phil X uses an Acoustic/Electric Guitar Wine Red for the live acoustic partitions. It is a versatile guitar that was introduced to the music scene in 1960 by Gibson.

Framus FD 14 S BK CE 12

One of the regular members of Phl X’s live setup is Framus FD 14 S BK CE 12, which is the dreadnought cutaway 12-string acoustic-electric guitar of Framus. Phil X uses this one on each Wanted Dead Or Alive performance.

Framus FD 28 SR CE

Phil X uses another Framus acoustic guitar, FD 28 SR CE, for his unplugged performances. Like the rest of his Framus acoustic guitars, it has a dreadnought cutaway body, Fishman Prefix Plus T Preamp System, along with a solid AA Sitka Spruce top.

Gibson SJ-200 Original

Phil X also has a Gibson SJ-200 Original acoustic guitar in his studio for his unplugged recordings with Powder and The Drills. He likes to mic this guitar with a Shure SM57.

Amps

Friedman Brown Eye 100W Tube Guitar Amp Head

Friedman Brown Eye 100W is one of the favorite amp models of Phil X that he regularly uses in recordings and live gigs. It is a hand-wired all-tube amp that provides amazing British-tyle amp tones with a tight low-end, heavy punch and the ability to take on the biggest pedalboards. 

Friedman Phil X 100W Signature Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Head

Friedman Phil X 100W Signature Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Head is Phil X’s first choice of an amp as he designed it with Friedman equipment together, customizing it to his liking. It is an ideal amp for blues, rock, and metal tones with its hand-wired all-tube system as well as  100 watts of punchy, rock-ready tones. The amp shines with its sensitivity and touch response.

Original 1976 Marshall JMP Super Lead

In his studio, one of Phil X’s amp heads is an Original 1976 Marshall JMP Super Lead. He uses it to get vintage overdrive tones like AC/DC sound, which he truly likes. As the head got too hot, he removed the front panel of the map, replacing it with his dad’s barbecue grill, which surprisingly worked and solved the heating problem. 

Marshall 1959SLP Plexi Custom

Another amp in Phil X’s studio is a customized Marshall Plexi 1959SLP 100W head which was built by one of his friends. With a voltage switch added, the amp can run 500 V or 400 V, providing AC/DC kind of overdriven tones as well as more aggressive and higher-output Eddie Van Halen kind of distortion tones.

Kasha Rockmode Head

Another hand-wired all-tube amp in Phil X’s collection is Kasha Rockmode Head. He uses this primarily for live performances with the band Powder, as he needs more modern rock sounds when playing with them.

1963 GIBSON Atlas IV

1963 Gibson Atlas IV is a very rare amp that Phil X uses when playing live as well as in-studio with The Drills; the amp provides more of a vintage classic rock tone. He uses it with an Ultimate Attenuator to lower down the volumes for the rhythm guitar sections and without it for his lead tones.

He also combines and uses Kasha and this amp together in recordings.

Peavey Classic 100

Phil X uses a Peavey Classic 100 amp head for his clean as well as classic rock tones. It has two channels which both provide lovely rock tones for clean as well as overdriven tones.

Bogner Alchemist 2-Channel 40-Watt Guitar Amp Head

Phil X uses a Bogner Alchemist Amp head to get his clean tones. He puts everything on clean and tan. He likes this amp for slightly overdriven tones and fully clean sounds.

Supro 1965th BlackMagick Head

With Bon Jovi, Phil X uses a Supro 1965th BlackMagick Head prototype combined with the Friedman amps.

Cabinets

Friedman 4×12

The Friedman amp heads of Phil X are connected to Friedman 4×12 cabinets.

Marshall 1960A 4×12” Cabinet

With most of his amp heads, Phil X uses Marshall 4×12” Cabinets. Although there are many different models, such as 1975, 1957, and more, he uses the 1960A model the most.

Two Notes Phill X Collection

Two Notes made a series of cabs that Phil X used in the studio and on stage with many artists like Chris Cornell, Avril Lavigne, Alice Cooper, and many others. The collection consists of Mars 212, Mars 412, Master Of Tone, MLC, and Super 108 cabs. All of the cabs are recorded with 8 vintage mics from the ones Phil X used.

Bogner Alchemist

With his Bogner Alchemist amp head, Phil X prefers a Bogner Alchemist cabinet in his studio recordings.

Pedals

Polytune 3 TC Electronic

Phil X uses Ultra-Compact Polyphonic Tuner with Multiple Tuning Modes in his recent pedal setup with Bon Jovi.

Melody EQ / Drive

To get his drive tones with an equalizer, Phil X has a customized J. Rockett Audio Designs Melody Overdrive/EQ Pedal on his Bon Jovi pedal setup. He uses plenty of gain from this pedal.

Way Huge Saucy Box

Phil X has another custom overdrive pedal, a Way Huge Saucy Box, which is used to balance the ratio of clean and dirty tones with its straightforward interface of a gain and a volume knob. He uses it for his tones for Bon Jovi.

Xotic RC Booster SH Pedal 

Phil X also uses a Xotic RC Booster SH Pedal in his Bon Jovi setup, which is a rare pedal to crank up the clean tones with a little bit of gain.

DigiTech CR-7 Hardwire Stereo-Chorus Extreme-Performance Pedal

For his chorus effects, Phil X prefers a DigiTech CR-7 Hardwire Stereo-Chorus Extreme-Performance Pedal, which he says is the best chorus effect he tried. It is in his Bon Jovi pedal setup.

Eventide H9 Max Multi-effects Pedal

Phil X has an Eventide H9 Max Multi-effects Pedal in his Bon Jovi setup; for cases, he needs more effects to use in any performance and songs.

MXR Talk Box

Phil X also uses an MXR Talk Box in his Bon Jovi set up to use in songs like It’s My Life. 

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal

To eliminate the noise from his tone, Phil X has a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal with his pedals for Bon Jovi records and live gigs.

Strymon Flint Tremolo and Reverb

For the reverb and tremolo effects, Phil X prefers a Strymon Flint Tremolo and Reverb pedal for his Bon Jovi tunes tones.

Xotic XW-1 Wah Pedal

Even though he does not often use Wah with Bon Jovi, Phil X has a Xotic XW-1 Wah Pedal on his setup. He sometimes uses it but not often.

Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal High Voltage Distortion Pedal

In his second setup, which he started using in 2020 with Bon Jovi, Phil X has a Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal High Voltage Distortion Pedal, which he truly finds versatile and great-sounding. He gets his distortion mainly from this pedal and amps.

Radial Twin-City ABY Amp Switcher

Phil X has the Radial Bones Twin-City ABY amp switcher pedal, which lets him connect to two amps simultaneously, using them without signal loss or noise. He uses this to have his signature Friedman and Supro working at the same time with a good balance.

Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal with Bypass

In this setup, Phil X has A Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal with Bypass instead of Polytune 3 TC Electronic as a tuner.

King Tone Guitar The Duellist Dual Overdrive

For overdriven tones and to break the clean tone a bit, Phil X has a King Tone Guitar, The Duellist Dual Overdrive in his latest setup that he combines with amps and the Gamechanger.

Laney Black Country Customs Steelpark Boost

To boost the tones and cut his tone through to bring his sound to the front of the mix, Phil X deployed a Laney Black Country Customs Steelpark Boost to his setup.

LAA-Custom Phil X Fuck Jazz Overdrive Pedal

The signature overdrive pedal of Phil X is LAA-Custom Phil X Fuck Jazz Overdrive Pedal which he uses with most of his projects but rarely with Bon Jovi. This is an excellent tone tool that performs amazing, pushing a clean channel as well as pushing a breakup/overdrive channel with a head or combo. 

With this pedal, Phil X does not use anything else in his setup, just the Radial Twin-City ABY Amp Switcher for the amps and a tuner. He wanted a transparent overdrive pedal as he admired his amps’ tones, and this pedal delivered it.

Greer Lightspeed Organic Overdrive

Another great overdrive Phil X used in the past for his projects was Greer Lightspeed Organic Overdrive. Again, it is a transparent overdrive that leaves space for the amps’ tones.

Pickups

As Phil X has tons of guitars, he has many pickups in his collection. Here I chose his favorite ones that he uses in multiple guitars.

Gibson P-90

P-90 pickups are, without a doubt, the favorite pickups of Phil X. His own signature pickups are inspired by these pickups, and his favorite guitars, Gibson SG Junior and Les Paul Junior, both have single P-90’s in bridge positions. These pickups are highly versatile sounding great with blues, country, and rock tones as well as heavier tones.

Seymour Duncan SH-6b Duncan Distortion

When Phil X wants a heavier-sounding guitar, he prefers Seymour Duncan SH-6b Duncan Distortion pickup on the bridge position. It is a passive humbucker pickup, which delivers tight lows with great top ends. Ideal for hard rock and metal styles.

Phill X PX90 Arcane Inc.

Phill X PX90 Arcane Inc. is the Phil X version of the iconic P90 pickups. It sounds clear and powerful with the extra grind, just like the iconic P-90 but with a bit of modern touch.

Phil X PX-8 – Arcane Inc.

Phil X’s signature pickup that he uses on most of his SG-style guitars is a Phil X PX-8 by Arcane Inc. It is a hot-rodded pickup with Alnico 8 magnets. It is a highly sensitive pickup with clear and powerful, with extra grind and beautiful highs.

Phil X PX Super 8 – Arcane Inc.

Another signature Phil X pickup is Phil X PX Super 8. This one is a higher gain humbucker than PX-8, which is super overwound and built around super strong Alnico 8 magnets. He uses this for SG’s that he wants to customize for heavier tones.

Phil X PX-100 – Arcane Inc.

The signature Phil X pickup PX-100 designed by Arcane Inc. is the Phil X version of P-90 pickups. It is a humbucker-sized P-90 with a hot and unique P-90 tone with clear and powerful sound. It is designed to achieve all of the P-90 legendary tones and much more. This is the preference of Phil X for single-pickup configuration guitars, which he wants to use for vintage classic rock sounds.

Microphones

Shure SM57 Dynamic Microphone

Phil X prefers the industry-standard Shure SM57 to mic his cabs during recording and also in live gigs. He combines it with a Royer R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone to have the full spectrum of sounds. He likes to create the contrast with a bright-sounding dynamic mic and a darker-sounding ribbon mic.

Royer R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone

The second mic choice of Phil X is Royer R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone. As told before he uses it combined with a Shure SM57.

Shure SM58 Dynamic Microphone

He also uses Shure SM58 for backing vocals with Bon Jovi and also for lead vocals in his other projects.

Sennheiser MD 421 Dynamic Microphone

Another microphone Phil X uses in his studio for recording guitars is Sennheiser MD 421. He mostly uses this for acoustic guitar recordings.

Accessories 

Guitar Picks

As Phil X loves to attach the strings aggressively and heavily, he uses relatively thick Everly Star Picks, which measure around 0.73 mm. As there is a star-shaped hole in the middle, it makes the handling easier when attacking hard to the strings.

Guitar Strings

Again he needs solid gauge strings to play as he digs hard into his strings. He prefers the medium 11-48 set.

What Is Special About Phil X’s Tone?

Well, if you are familiar with Phil X and his work, you know his perfectionism about guitar tones and his impressive attention to detail. That is why Fretted Americana to equip is working with him to review their vintage guitars on Youtube, and that is why he has one of the most-watched Youtube Channels in the guitar world.

Besides his advanced technique and creative playing style, Phil X gives great attention to details about his guitar tone, which made him collect tons of guitars, amps, pedals, cabs, and any kind of guitar gear through the years. He likes to experiment a lot with his tone, always trying to reach for a better one.

To summarize, he has a massive and thick guitar sound with vintage touches. It is a great heavy-classic rock tone with enough crispness and thickness but also clarity. His tone is very transparent, and his playing dynamics are extremely hearable.

In the recordings, Phil X’s guitar tone sounds massive with great depth. And again, the trick here is that he quintuples his tracks and his guitars to get that massive distorted guitar “Wall of Sound” on his tracks. He pans two of them to the right and two of them to the left before adding a fuzz pedal DI track and leaving it in mono.

You can hear this Wall Of Sound technique in all of his recordings, especially with The Drills. He also doubles mics his amps with an SM57 and R-121 ribbon mic for this technique to get all of the ranges of sound possible.

Another special thing about Phil X’s tone is its sustain and harmonic richness. He has a controversial trick to reach this sound which is removing the neck pickup and leaving the guitar with a single pickup in the bridge position. As he is a fan of SG and Les Paul junior guitars, he does not like to have extra magnetic fields pulling the string, limiting their vibration and sustain. He believes the tones get much better and more affluent without the extra magnetic field.

Another unique aspect is that he attacks his strings really aggressively. He plays his guitar very energetic, and this is reflected in the overall tone with great dynamics and thickness.

How To Sound Like Phil X?

Guitar

To sound like Phil X, you should use a proper guitar that can serve you on this goal. You can take a hint from his favorite guitars, which are SG Junior and Les Paul Junior-style vintage guitars. His signature models throughout the years are ESP Viper, Yamaha SG1901PX, Framus XG, and various Gibson SG Juniors and Les Pauls.

What is common among these guitars in terms of sound are their pickup configurations: they are all single-pickup guitars. Some of them are not, but Phil X removed the neck pickups on those, making them single-pickup guitars.

He loves the old, and great P90 pickup sounds on bridge positions. His signature pickups are also inspired by P90 pickups, as he wants that versatile and thick classic and hard rock tones. He can just play with the tone knob to get more crunchy or clean and trusts in these pickups that they will deliver the right sound.

Also, he gets more sustain and harmonic richness with single-pickup guitars as he believes too much magnetic field created by extra pickups mess with the tone, sustain, and harmonic richness by pulling the strings.

So, you should go for single-pickup guitars with a P90 style pickup to get closer to his tone.

Amp / Amp Settings

Phil X likes massive, thick, and vintage overdriven guitar tones. And to get that, he uses tube amps as many guitarists. His adjustments change a lot from song to song, but generally, he likes dry classic rock guitar tones. 

Even though he uses high-end 100 Watt amp heads like Friedman Phil X Signature and Supro 1965th BalckMagick Head for his live performances to rock the stadium, you do not have to go that big to replicate his tone. He also uses small amps like Marshall MS-2 Micro on his Youtube channel and sounds similar.

So if you can’t afford high-end tube amps as he uses in live gigs and his recordings, you can use this trick. He uses a Shure SM57 and a Royer R-121 mic on his guitar cab or amp to make the sound bigger. So to replicate this, you can use a dynamic mic plus a ribbon mic, meaning a brighter mic and a darker mic to get all of the harmonic richness to your sound.

You can get closer to his classic rock tone with high mids and slightly lower bass and treble. However, you should have enough treble for that extra sparkle and enough bass for that extra thickness, so around 4 o’clock should be fine for both.

The important thing here is the balance. When you hear Phil X playing Bon Jovi tunes like You Give Love A Bad Name or Wanted Dead Or Alive or No Women Of Mine with his band The Drills, you hear that he sounds fat and thick, but he does not have high gain in his tone. It is all about balance here, so a moderate amount of gain on your amp will do the trick.

Pedal Effects / Pedal Settings

As you know by now, Phil has many pedals on his setup for different occasions. But, I will only go for what is essential here. What he often does in Bon Jovi gigs and also whenever he wants to have his signature classic rock tone, he uses an overdrive pedal, a distortion pedal, and a boost pedal to get his tone.

Lately, he has Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal High Voltage Distortion Pedal combined with the  King Tone Guitar The Duellist Dual Overdrive pedal in his setup, along with a Laney Black Country Customs Steelpark Boost pedal. He gets his gain mainly from the distortion pedal and adds a bit of overdrive from the other pedal and also from the amp. 

This way, he gets fat and thick-sounding dirty tone which makes his guitar sound massive. The boost pedal also helps his guitar to stand out in the mix, giving his guitar more character.

So, you can replicate his tone by having a distortion pedal along with an overdrive pedal and balancing the gains as he does. Go for around %60-70 of gain with the distortion pedal and %20-30 of gain in the overdrive pedal and start experimenting from these levels.

For the clean sounds, just use your overdrive pedal with a %10-20 of gain to break up your amp a little bit.

Techniques

Phil X is an aggressive guitarist who attacks the string heavily when playing the rhythm parts as well as on his solos. He uses pentatonic scales mainly while shredding and deploys many techniques from classic and hard rock style playings with bluesy licks, staccatos, various bends, and legatos, combining them with very fast scale runs.

To play like him, you have to treat your guitar heavily and progress with your technique as much as you can. He plays great classic rock riffs in every position of the pentatonic scale, so you have to learn all the positions on the fretboard and be comfortable going between the different positions with speed.

When changing different positions, he also uses slides in between the boxes of the pentatonic scale and adds slow tempo bends to create contrast before and after getting fast again. He accompanies the rhythm with staccatos while continuing to create contrast with his dynamics, attacking more aggressively to the strings.

Just like his tone, his playing style is all about balance and creating contrasts. He uses many techniques and licks from the ’70s and 80’s rock legends like Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Angus Young, and many more.

Phil X Guitar Rig Examples

Budget

Guitar

ESP LTD Viper 10
ESP LTD Viper-10 Electric Guitar with Gig Bag, Black
  • Offers a cool double-cutaway look that’s perfect for metal, hard rock,...
  • With the Viper-10 Kit, you get both a great starter electric guitar and a...
  • Has the great sound of two ESP-designed LH-100 humbucking pickups, and a...
  • The included gig bag is perfect for taking the Viper-10 to lessons and to...

One of the signature guitars of Phil X was an ESP LTD Viper 301, which he used with a single pickup, removing the neck pickup and placing a wolverine toy to the hole. ESP LTD Viper 10 is the more affordable version of that guitar. 

Gibson P94T Humbucker Sized P90 Bridge Pickup Black Gold Cover
  • The P-94 is a unique combination that provides the best of both worlds, the...
  • Replacing a humbucker with the P-94 requires no routing or other damaging...
  • P 94 The P-94 features uses the same enamel coated vintage wire and Alnico...
  • The P-94 has higher output and sustaining qualities than traditional...

You can replace the bridge pickup with a Gibson P-94 pickup like Phil X did to get his signature classic rock tone. If you remove the neck pickup, you can also get a bit of better sustain and harmonic richness.

Amp

Boss Katana MKII 50-W
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

Boss Katana MKII 50-W is one of the best budget-friendly versatile amps out there. You can tweak some adjustments to get Phil X classic rock tone without any pedals, as it features 5 amp types along with many different great-sounding effect choices.

Pedals

With a digital modeling amp like Positive Grid Spark Guitar Amp, you don’t need to use any pedals as you can get the tones you like from the thousands of presets and customizations you can get from it.

Mid-Range

Guitar

Framus D Series Phil X Signature

Phil X loves Framus XG series guitars, and he has many of them with different customizations. Lately, Framus released the D Series, which includes a relatively affordable Phil X signature guitar.

It is again an SG-style guitar with some of Pihl X’s favorite pickups; Seymour Duncan SH-4 and SH-1.

Amp

Marshall Origin 50-W Tube Head
Marshall Amps Marshall Origin 50W Head w FX Loop and Boost...
  • 50 Watt all valve head
  • Switchable high, Medium, & low power output
  • Tilt control - blends bright & normal sounds
  • Footswitchable FX loop & boost

If you want a good old classic rock tone, you have to go with real tube head amps. Marshall Origin 50-W Tube Head is one of the most classic amps to deliver that tone. You can use it with a cab of your choice, and this tube amp will deliver some rock-solid vintage tones with a moderate amount of gain.

Pedals

Phil X Fuck Jazz Overdrive

With his band The Drills and his solo projects, Phil X uses his signature Phil X Fuck Jazz Overdrive pedal in his setup. With the help of the gain from the tube amp, he can easily create his signature classic rock tone. It is a great pedal for pushing a clean channel or pushing a breakup/overdrive channel with a head or combo.

High-End

Guitar

Framus Phill XG or Gibson Custom 1963 SG Junior
Gibson SG Junior '60s Gloss Finish Electric Guitar, Heritage Cherry
  • Gibson P-90 Single Coil Pickup for Vintage Tone
  • Solid Mahogany body and neck
  • Vintage Style "Lightning Bar" bridge/tailpiece
  • Includes Deluxe Gig Bag

Well, if you want to spend more on a Phil X-style guitar, you have 2 choices. You can go with a custom Framus Phill XG, which Phil X says is his dream guitar. Or, you can go for a  Gibson Custom 1963 SG Junior, whose dream guitar is inspired. 

Amp

Friedman Phil X Signature 100-W Tube Head
Friedman Phil X Signature 100-Watt 1-Channel Tube Head with Boost
  • 100-watt Guitar Tube Amplifier Head with Effects Loop
  • Custom Transfmers
  • Presence Control
  • Boost Function

The regular member of each Phil X concert is his signature amp, Friedman Phil X Signature 100-W Tube Head. Even though he uses many pedals, he also gets his overdrive tone with the help of this amp which is a massive and excellent tube amp head. You can use it with a cab of your choice, and this amp head will deliver the tone.

Pedals

Gamechanger Audio Plasma High Voltage Distortion
Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal
  • High voltage distortion is a new and previously unexplored method of...
  • Unique frequency response with grainy and sizzling distortion textures....
  • Wide scope if picking response. From sputtery broken sounds, to rhythmical...
  • Harmonic transparency allows to play even the most complex chords. Suitable...

The main ingredient of Phil X overdrive, especially with The Drills, is Gamechanger Audio Plasma High Voltage Distortion.

The Duellist Overdrive

To break up the clean tones and get a little bit of crunch for his distorted rhythm guitar and lead guitar tones, Phil X gets the help of The Duellist Overdrive pedal.

Eventide H9 Multi-Effects Processor
Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer Pedal
  • Includes all 45 algorithms and associated presets from the acclaimed...
  • Plus H9 Exclusives: Ultra Tap delay, Resonator, Compressor EQ,...
  • More than 600 Factory Presets (Unit ships with 99, others available via H9...
  • Share Algorithms with up to 4 additional H9

Whenever Phil X needs another effect like delay, reverb, chorus, mod, etc., he gets it from Eventide H9 Multi-Effects Processor. You will need this to replicate his tones fully.

Laney Black Country Customs Steelpark Boost
Laney Electric Guitar Single Effect, Black (BCC-STEELPARK)
  • Black Country Customs Steelpark boost pedal
  • Controls: Drive, volume, bass and treble
  • Switches: On / off
  • Connectors: Guitar input jack in and out

And finally, he uses Laney Black Country Customs Steelpark Boost to make his tone stand out in the mix. If you are going to play with a band with the Phil X tone, you will need this pedal to make your tone shine among the rest.

Conclusion

Phil X is one of the coolest and most successful classic rock guitarists today. He loves experimenting with new tones, never stops learning, and is always searching for a better technique, tone, and gear. That is why he has many guitars, pedals, amps, and recording techniques which makes his tone unique and constantly evolving.

It is not cheap nor easy to replicate his tone as he gives a huge amount of attention to detail. But that is how you get some of the best guitar tones possible in recordings and live performances.

There is so much to learn from Phil X for every rock fan and guitarist. Just trying to follow in his footsteps will help you learn a lot about gear, guitar tones, and techniques.

If you found this article useful you may want to save this pin below to your Guitar board

Last update on 2023-02-06 / 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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