The Soul of Tone: Jeff Allen
When leading worship, I lead from an electric guitar. I used to use an acoustic guitar exclusively, but somewhere around 2007 I switched back to my first love: The electric guitar. And what’s funny, is that I took my old Fender from high school, and just made it better for me and the genre of music that I was playing.
Now that particular guitar was not designed to be a versatile instrument at all. You see, I have the Tom DeLonge Signature Fender Stratocaster. It had a crazy humbucker and no tone knobs and was made to thrash, punk rock style. I was working in Pawnee, Illinois at the time, and living in Springfield. I decided to go to my local music store, the Rock Shop. The guys there took great care of me and helped me to customize this awesome guitar. We added a 59 Seymour Duncan humbucker, and a tone knob for better control.
I still only have one humbucker in the guitar to this day with zero plans of adding any other pickups. I’m a pretty big fan of the tone I get from the instrument and I haven’t been able to get that sound out of any other guitar until I picked up my Tele (ironically). I bought an American Strat and dropped the same humbucker in the bridge but that endeavor was not successful. That’s when I knew I was stuck with this surf-green eyesore. Well, that’s some people’s opinion…I think she’s beautiful!
I use a Vox Valvetronix VT100 2×12 Combo. It has some amp modeling capabilities and I set it to AC-30 for everything I play. Everything. Doesn’t matter. It’s on AC-30. I trust our Technical Director and resident audio engineer, Nathan Tobin, with my tone as well. He EQ’s the sound and also takes a separate channel and runs it through an amp modeler at front of house to combine it with my amp to give me an awesome sound.
Later I sold the American strat and bought a beautiful Nashville Telecaster. I use it almost exclusively now. I have my Strat as a backup. It’s a darn good backup though. This guitar sounds great, looks great, and plays great. I haven’t customized it at all like I did the Strat and I don’t really plan to.
I only use three pedals and only two are any kind of effects. I use the Boss DD-3 for delay, sparingly. I use the Dunlop JH-1, which is a Jimi Hendrix signature wah pedal. It’s great and I got it for free somewhere, maybe as a gift, so that doesn’t hurt. And of course, I use the Boss tuner. It’s almost mandatory, right?
That’s my rig. Very simple, it’s true. There are a few of reasons that I go with such a simple setup. One, I am a punk rocker at heart. I don’t feel a need to go overboard with effects because of that. Two, I came from an acoustic guitar, so one sound all the time feels right to me. (I control clean and dirty by how I play in to the instrument) And three, I have other guitarists in my band who play with effects. I serve as rhythm more so than lead, so I just don’t need much.
Jeff was kind enough to share a video that demonstrates his guitar tone.
Jeff Allen is a worship leader at Christ Church’s Collinsville/Maryville campus. He is married to his wonderful wife Brittani. They live in Belleville , Illinois. You can follow him on twitter by clicking here. To visit out his website Click Here.