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Jake Bugg: Sounds Of The Lightning Bolt

Jake Bugg: Sounds Of The Lightning Bolt

Bursting on to the scene with a sound long lost to the waves of time and not heard since the golden era of '60s folk, Jake Bugg hit the radio waves in 2012 with the dual sucker punch of 'Country Song' and the now-iconic 'Lightning Bolt,' ushering in a new era of retro-folk infused rock, with the unmistakable jangle of acoustic guitars, energetic singalong choruses and spring reverb-soaked vocals. Since then, Bugg has seemingly reinvented the notion of what folk is, putting it back on the map of popular music while notching up top-selling albums and sold-out shows across the globe in a vignette of rootsy feist.

With just a few trusty guitars by his side and a head full of melodies to boot, Bugg entwines the musings of vintage Dylan with the fierce, hungry energy of young charisma and rebellious freedom. To celebrate the new album 'Saturday Night, Sunday Morning,' we're going to take a look at Jake's sound, and with just a few simple pieces of gear, we'll show you how to unlock classic Bugg tones and the 'Lightning Bolt' spirit!



Jake can usually be spotted rocking the stages with his trusty Martin 000-15SM and a handful of other acoustics (most notably his Robert Johnson L-1 and custom Patrick Eggle solid mahogany Parlour; we highly recommend you check out this beauty!). However, for the purpose of nailing the Bugg sound without breaking the bank, we're going to take a look at some very affordable and awesome alternatives that hold their own just as well on stage and in the studio!

Fender CD-140SCE - Natural

Sporting a solid spruce top, 12" walnut fingerboard and matching Ovangkol back and sides, the CD-140SCE is the perfect choice for projecting bright, jangly tones across the studio and stage. With a scalloped X-bracing system to strengthen and enhance acoustic resonance, achieving rich and warm folksy tones is a joy with the trusted Fender Dreadnought design. Providing a loud, robust sound, the CD-140SCE is ideal for strong strummers and flat pickers alike. Crafted to perfectly supplement the singer cum guitarist style of on the move performance with its articulated, three-way controllable Fishman Presys Plus pickup system; we highly recommend the CD-140SCE for a dynamic playing experience and the lush sounds that solo artists expect.


Need Fresh Strings?

Fender Player Series Telecaster - MN Butterscotch Blonde

Once again professing his affinity for all things vintage ice-cool, Jake can be seen in the video for 'Taste It' with his 1952 reissue Fender Telecaster, complete with maple neck and matching colourway. The rock-solid Telecaster of the '50s era has long been a staple in the rock 'n roll family album, and with its comfortable baseball bat "C" profile neck, lightweight alder body and powerful Alnico 5 Tele' single-coil pickups, it's no surprise that the Telecaster truly can do it all. Want sparkly clean? Check! Want to kick it up a notch and hear the pickups bark? Check! Want vintage rock 'n roll tones fit for 21st-century demands? You got it!

A lot of guitars brag about their dynamism and versatility, but if it wasn't for the path laid by the humble Tele's innovations such as its design simplicity, rugged build, characterful sound and rich history within its blood, then guitars of the modern era wouldn't be what they are today.


Why Not Try...Gretsch G2420T Streamliner - Hollowbody With Bigsby - Riviera Blue



Staying true to his Cali' inspired Fender loyalty, Jake can often be seen strumming his way through tunes such as 'What Doesn't Kill You' and 'Slumville Sunrise' on his trusty Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue. With roots dating back to the early '90s, the reissue model has a notoriously fat clean sound capable of beefing out stage mixes with its chunky volume and warm, valve clout. However, picking up pseudo-vintage amps in their original glory from the early '90s is not such an easy feat! So, we had a rummage through our gear collection and picked out the perfect alternative...

Blackstar Debut 15E Combo

With 15 watts of beautiful British tone and elegant '50s campus charm, the Debut 15E is more than your typical combo. The Debut is designed and crafted by the same UK R&D team who build Blackstar's high-end valve amps. With all that experience in a portable and affordable package, not only do you get top quality tones, but you can be assured that the Debut 15E creates the most realistic sounds and throws the biggest punches when you put it on a stage with its rivals. Using Blackstar's patented ISF control, now you can switch between British or American tube-style emulation, which is perfect for nailing that retro hot-rodded Bugg tone and more!

With simple to use clean and OD channels, there's no unnecessary gimmicks to stand in the way between yourself and outstanding tone; just you, your guitar and a great amp, the most direct and best way in our opinion to achieve a gorgeous guitar sound. That being said, did we mention that these amps also sound amazing with a couple of FX thrown in front of them too? See for yourself!



Don't Forget To Plug In!



Electro Harmonix Stereo Pulsar Tremolo

During live sets and jams, Bugg has often been known to throw a few FX favourites into the melting pot, and the tremolo is no stranger to retro vibes, it practically built them! Use sparingly for awesome, tasteful sounds and if you really want to discover where Bugg honed his too cool for school-surfs up sound, then check out the tremolo tones of Link Wray's 1958 classic 'Rumble' and you'll really hear how much of an influence this track had on the guitar world.


Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Neo Reverb

Often cited as one of the best and most recognisable reverb pedals on the market, the Holy Grail sits proudly on thousands of pedalboards across the world, and for good reason! Simple to use, rugged and with superb reverb tones, the Holy Grail's prowess lies in its ability to transform dry, dull guitar signals into monolithic behemoths of space and time.

And what's even better, is that EHX has now added the plate reverb to a more compact and pedalboard-friendly chassis! Although we won't be exploring the ethereal and mind-bending capabilities of the Holy Grail in this scenario (but hey, it's yours to experiment with!), Jake uses his reverb to lock down classic spring reverb sounds for that unmistakable energetic '50s live room sound.

The thing we love about Jake's tone is that although modest and simplistic by design, it doesn't need to be anything more or less, and you can really hear his influences gushing through, especially when he turns on the Holy Grail's tight spring reverb and you're transported back to Folsom Prison Blues. Reverb can be used on practically anything and if you want to explore your potential as a solo singer-guitarist then the tremolo and reverb effects can really kick your sound up a gear and beef up your sonic palette!


Power Up! Xvive Micro Power Supply