Obviously, over the years I've had loads of guitars, but they’ve come and gone. I got to the point where I didn’t think it was nice to have guitars and not use them. All the guitars I’ve got I intend to use. I’ve got a couple of Teles with Lace Sensor pickups and maple necks. Maple necks feel softer to play, and I think you get a bit more sustain. I find the rosewood necks a bit tinnier. But I’m no expert by any means.
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I don’t want to sound arrogant or bigheaded or anything, but I didn’t need any advice. I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t a kid when I started. I had a focus on what I wanted to do. And when I first started playing guitar, I got an immediate reaction just from people and audiences. As soon as [blues-harp player] Sonny Terry and [blues guitarist] “Brownie” McGhee heard me, they took a shine to me immediately. There was no turning back once I started on guitar.
I first began having success picking on a guitar that wasn’t plugged in. I was picking really hard so I could hear it acoustically, and when I plugged into an amp, I was surprised that it didn’t sound very good. I discovered that the way I attack the string really affects the tone. Modifying your picking attack—for clean tone, distortion and playing on an acoustic—makes a huge difference in the sound.
And it made me think immediately of my Les Paul Junior from the  Revenge/Alive III tour. It was one of the most beat-up Les Paul Juniors ever. I got it at Guitars R Us on Sunset Boulevard, and we recorded with it a lot. Gene [Simmons] loved it. Kiss even rented it for [1998’s] Psycho Circus, because they wanted that sound. It had a humbucker in it—a Seymour Duncan JB—but there was just something about the mahogany body.