Kim Thayil says part of the reason he’s not into gear is because a 14-year-old kid playing Eruption once “scared” him out of a guitar store

“That’s one of the first questions I get asked by guitar magazines. ‘What’s your gear?’ It’s like, ‘Eh… amp, guitar, pedal?’”

Kim Thayil on stage. He's playing a Guild guitar and is wearing all-black.

Image: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil has explained how he navigates the right gear choices for him, and it appears he’s not too fazed about picking out specific models or brands, but rather what kind of sound he can get from them instead.

Back in September, Guild introduced its collaboration with Thayil for two new signature S-100 Polara models. They each host his preferred specs and design elements, and earned a 9/10 from Guitar.com in our review.

Speaking at a live Q&A event at Guitar Center in Seattle, Washington, Thayil was asked by an audience member what amps he’s currently using and if he is moving over the world of digital by using amp modellers.

The guitarist candidly reveals he doesn’t tend to fuss over what specific models he uses, but tends to navigate his choices by what sounds he can get out of them instead: “I’ve often failed to be on a first name basis with my equipment,” he says [per Ultimate Guitar].

“So I know that it’s Mesa Boogie. What kind of Mesa Boogie? I don’t know. [I’m like], ‘Can I dial this in? Can I make it sound warm? Can I do that? And I kind of leave it at that.” He adds, “That’s one of the first questions I get asked by guitar magazines. ‘What’s your gear?’ It’s like, ‘Eh… amp, guitar, pedal?’

“With the amps, my deal is, ‘I don’t like that; that doesn’t feel right; that sounds like a Van Halen amp, that sounds like a Metallica amp; I don’t want to sound bright and brittle; I don’t want to sound like I’m a drum; I want this…’ I don’t know how to identify that [by name] because I don’t sit in guitar stores ‘cause there’s a 14-year-old that played Eruption [by Van Halen] and scared me out of the store [laughs].”

You can watch the full Q&A below:

You can shop the Guild Kim Thayil Polara line up now via Guitar Center.

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