What strings do you use, Derek Trucks?

The slide supremo goes under the microscope

© Tim Mosenfelder/Corbis

From the Guitar Techniques archive, we ask a great guitarist all those little questions you really do want the answers to. Here's slide supremo Derek Trucks...

Do you have a type of pick that you can't live without?

No, I actually don't use a guitar pick - I only do finger picking.

If you had to give up all your pedals but three, what would they be?

That would be easy. I don't use any guitar pedals, just my guitar straight into the amp.

Do you play another instrument well enough to be in a band?

That depends on what band it is! I've seen a few bands that I could play all of the instruments, but for bands I'd actually want to be in I would need to stick to guitar.

If a music chart was put in front of you, could you read it?

Yes.

Do guitar cables really make a difference?

I think they do make a difference on some level. Of course the biggest difference is whether they actually work at all on a night-to-night basis. I use Planet Waves cables.

Is there anyone's playing (past or present) that you're slightly jealous of?

I would love to be able to compose classical guitar pieces like Ralph Towner - and I wish I could sing like my wife (Derek is married to top blues singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi).

Your house/studio is burning down: which guitar do you salvage?

My'61 SG would have to be the one. It's a classic vintage guitar and they're not making any more of those!

What's your favourite amp and how do you set its controls for a gig?

Blackface Fender Super Reverb - volume 8, treble 8, mid and bass 4, reverb 3, bright switch on!

What kind of action do you have on your guitars?

I tune my guitar to open E and the action is set as low as I can get it and still play slide, because I play both slide and non-slide on the same guitar. I'd say it's medium height.

What strings do you use?

DR Pure Blues from .11 to .46.

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