“You can have the same amp, the same guitar, but between five guys – it’ll sound different”: Alex Lifeson weighs in on the gear vs player debate

“At the end of the day”, the former Rush man says, gear is “just a bunch of tools.”

Alex Lifeson performing onstage

Credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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Alex Lifeson has given his thoughts on the age-old debate of whether or not good tone comes down to the player or the gear they use, and it seems the Rush guitarist is firmly on the side of ‘team player’.

Lifeson – who recently released his own line up of amplifiers – an overdrive pedal, and a signature guitar under the name of LERXST, argues that at the end of the day, our gear is just that – a selection of tools.

Lifeson switched from Gibson guitars to a Hentor Sportscaster during the 1980s – a guitar which inspired his signature LERXST model (built in collaboration with Godin and launched at NAMM this year) – the Limelight. It reimagines the original Sportscaster concept with “modern part selection and craftsmanship to create a high-quality, forward-thinking instrument designed for today’s players”.

Speaking to American Musical Supply, he explains why he made the switch from Gibson (via Ultimate Guitar): “Going into the 355, I loved those big bodies. They were very comfortable and comfortable to sit and play, and standing. Just something about that body, the way it fit against my increasing stomach. But that other platform, that Fender sort of platform – I thought I could make more out of it.”

He later goes on to add that at the end of the day, your guitar is simply a tool. And although it’s important to find the right one for you, every guitar will sound different when played by different people.

“You know, they’re all tools, right? We love them, we collect them, we hang on to them, but at the end of the day, they’re just a bunch of tools,” he says. “So they do different jobs. You don’t use a screwdriver for what a hammer is going to do.

“And all the guitars have their own characteristics. One to the next will always have something that’s not very different but is different. You can have the same amp, the same guitar, but [between] five guys – it’ll sound different,” he explains. “Just because of the way you pick and the way your left hand works.”

Watch the interview below:

Find out more about LERXST.

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