Eyehategod Amp Settings & Gear Guide – Achieve Their Tone!

Author: Santiago Motto | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Growling, otherworldly guitars mixed with the raspy vocals, and the menacing drums create a unique sound; the sound of Eyehategod. I guess you could call them sludge metal, doom, or stoner metal but the truth is there’s no category for a band that can’t stand labels.

This is the story of a single guitar and amp that has taken Jimmy Bower and company all the way across the country and back several times.

Indeed, let me give you some advice about how to achieve the tone of this unique group of gentlemen who have been bringing mayhem and metal to the world since 1988.

Jimmy Bower Guitars

Jimmy Bower is a man who knows what he wants and has been getting it for several decades on stage with Eyehategod. He plays a very strange guitar that Gibson only made for a four-year (1980-84) period called Gibson Sonex.

What’s unique about the Sonex is that it’s technically not made out of wood. Indeed, the body of the guitar has a wooden core surrounded by a compound called “Resonwood”. The idea was to build a more affordable guitar and compete with innovative brands at the dawn of the eighties.

So, the Sonex’s body is called Multi-Phonic because the inner tonewood core (mahogany) acts as a resonance source and also as an anchor for the neck.

Why did Gibson do this? Well, they advertised the model as resilient to extreme temperatures, having survived tests made in −40 °F and 180 °F.

The rest of the guitar is a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard and dual humbuckers. The guitar is shaped like a Les Paul but the pickup selector is where you would find it in an SG and it comes with a huge pickguard covering most of the guitar’s face.

According to Jimmy Bower, what he loves about the guitar is the low growl and nastiness in his tone. Perhaps, the Resonwood composite with the interior mahogany core gives the guitar a darker timbre than you would expect from a maple-neck instrument.

The only modification done to it was swapping out the bridge pickup for a Seymour Duncan Distortion to make it an even hotter instrument.

To replace the Gibson Sonex, you could play through a bolt-on PRS SE CE24.

These guitars feature a mahogany body with a maple neck, just like the Sonex. If that’s too fancy of a guitar to bring mayhem to the world, an Epiphone Les Paul Special Satin E1 could do the trick too.

The Tone-Pot Trick

To get maximum levels of growl, Jimmy Bower uses the tone control always in zero. Yes, I know what you might be thinking, but if you pair that with obnoxious levels of distortion, a very powerful pickup, and a guitar with a unique tone, you get those crushing lows Eyehategod needs on every show.

Also, don’t use the neck pickup, all the magic happens in the bridge pickup with the tone rolled all the way down.

Four Strings and a Loud Guitar

When Jimmy Bower was learning how to rip the fabric of reality with his crushing riffs and tones, he couldn’t control the feedback and the ringing of the first two strings of the guitar. So, he did what a sludge/doom metal guitar legend would do: take them out.

So, Keith Richards was able to write memorable songs with a 5-string telecaster and Jimmy tears reality apart with metal tones on a 4-string Sonex.

While Keith tunes to open G, Jimmy goes for a low C playing jazz strings going up to .56”.

Jimmy Bower Amplifier

Yes, I didn’t just skip the effect-pedals section, there is none. Jimmy is a straight-to-the-amp guy who prefers performance and stage presence to gizmos, pedals, and problems. That said, he plays a very unique amplifier (as you were expecting to) and gets all the tone and distortion from it.

He plays an Ampeg SS-150, a solid-state amplifier with two channels and 150 watts of power to melt the first row and grind the next two. Jimmy has been playing it throughout his career along with a Randall RG80 head.

He runs the head through 2 Mesa Boogie 4×12 cabs loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. He plays them straight to the ground to get an extra dose of low-end. This is a common saying among guitar players; wheels just kill some of that growling, scary lows doom metal needs to breathe.

To replace that Ampeg SS-150 you can use the Randall or a Marshall MG50GFX. You need an amp with transistors that can sound distorted, loud, and nasty.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than a 12” speaker since it needs to convey those lows and low mids into the world.

Amp Settings for Eyehategod Tone

To begin with, bear in mind that you need to roll off your tone knob on the guitar completely and use a generous amount of distortion. Jimmy gets it from his amp and that’s the kind of settings you’ll find right below.

In the case you’re using a cleaner amp, make sure to add a distortion pedal, which can be a Pro Co RAT 2 with the “Distortion” and “Volume” knobs all the way up.

Use the “Filter” control to find the sweet spot where the guitar growls instead of barking.

  • Volume – 10
  • Gain – 10
  • Bass – 10
  • Middle – 7
  • Treble – 10
  • Presence – 2

The Bottom End

There isn’t a single element that defines the sound of Eyehategod. On the contrary, it’s a sum of items that range from a unique non-wood guitar to a solid-state amplifier and a rolled-off tone knob.

Truth is, though, that once you get all those elements together with the heavy hands and the riffing power of Jimmy Bower, things get nasty and people dance, jump, and scream.

Don’t be afraid to walk on the wild side and let that low-end shine through. Just beware of neighbors and volume!

Happy (sludge metal) playing!

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About Santiago Motto

Santiago is a guitar player with over 25 years of experience. A self-confessed guitar nerd, he currently tours with his band 'San Juan'. Called 'Sandel' by his friends, he has a pop palate for melodies, ballads, and world music. San especially has an immense love for telecasters and all-mahogany Martins.

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