With both Slipknot and Stone Sour to juggle (including festival shows this summer at which he played with both bands), Jim’s headspace can get a little crowded. However, it turns out that, when it comes to his setup, things are refreshingly straightforward.
Jim: “All my racks are the same between Slipknot and Stone Sour. The only thing I’ll do is switch out pedals in the GCX system. But it's the same heads, same wireless, same GCX. They have two Orange Rockerverbs, whirlwind channel selector, and Audio Technica wireless systems.
"We did pre-production for Slipknot in Japan and it was the same rack that I used for Stone Sour, but I hit a couple of notes and it automatically sounded like Slipknot. I don’t know if that’s my approach, the bone density of my fingers or my mentality. Whatever it is, I think it’s magic! Because it’s the same guitar, same strings, same pickups, but that magical thing just happens. It’s even the same tunings.
“It can be a bit of a mindfuck for me, though. As a guitar player, artist, songwriter, live musician... whatever role you’re in you’re always trying to improve. I don’t seek out knowledge when it comes to guitar playing; I like to let it happen naturally.
"When we did the House of Golden Bones album I had an epiphany with scales and modes. It was like I had been playing all of these scales and modes all one way my entire life, so I know these scales without looking at the fretboard. I can pick through them, I can string skip them and I can arpeggio with them, and it occurred to me that when I’m trying to do a solo sometimes I pop in and out of key.
"I’ll think, ‘Why the fuck is that happening?’. I took all of the shapes and moved then up a couple of frets and all of sudden everything was in key. All of a sudden it dawned on me that maybe that’s what music theory is and I should learn how to actually play guitar!
"In some ways I had to learn how to play guitar again. All of these shapes were muscle memory, but just sliding them up or down a few frets, now I’m getting them mixed up. The solos I had written with my old guitar playing mentality need to stay how they were because that’s how they were recorded, so I’m switching between the two with the two bands.”