Interview: Tesla Guitarist Dave Rude Talks Gibson Guitars, Marshall Amps and Touring with the Scorpions

When Tesla first set the rock world on fire with their debut album, 1986's Mechanical Resonance, Dave Rude was 8 years old.

As fate would have it, in 2006, founding Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon came across The Dave Rude Band on MySpace and asked Rude to join his band as a rhythm guitarist. That eventually led to Rude joining Tesla, where he's remained ever since.

We recently spoke to Rude about his technique, influences and gear.

GUITAR WORLD: Your style of guitar playing suggests influences well beyond your age. Who are some of the players who influenced you in your formative years?

I'm heavily influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, Joe Perry, Steve Vai and The Edge, all the classic guys. My favorite players have a very unique identity and sound all their own. which has always been really important to me and something I strive for. I prefer originality to technical prowess, even if it's a little sloppy or unorthodox. That's where the magic lies.

You are almost never seen without a Les Paul or another Gibson around your neck. Do you have a favorite?

Gibsons and Epiphones are the best guitars around. I've always been a Les Paul player, and I've gotten into Explorers recently too. Epiphone just sent me a new Explorer Pro in a really cool finish I've never seen before called TV Silver, which I am loving.

Also the Gibson Slash AFD Signature Les Paul is out of control. Part of what makes that guitar so great is the Seymour Duncan Slash Signature Alnico II pickups. which are just amazing. They're so clear, you can hear each note in a full chord through a distorted amp, but still hot enough to give you some serious bite and drive. I love them so much that Seymour Duncan is sending me out some to throw in my other guitars too.

What do you use as far as amps and effects?

I play Marshall amps: a JCM 900, DSL 2000 and an older Slash signature from 1997, which is an exact replica of the old Jubilee head from the '80s. The vintage 4x12 cabs with 30-watt Celestions are my favorite -- killer saturation because you really drive the speakers to the breaking point and make them sing.

Can you give us a little background on your "other" band, The Dave Rude Band?

I started that band in 2005, and we made a demo that I put up on MySpace when that was happening. Six months later, Frank Hannon randomly found our profile and sent me an email, which is how I ended up joining Tesla. We've released two EPs which are available at and on iTunes. I'll be releasing a new album later this summer with some really cool songs that I'm super excited about, too. It's a hard rock thing, and I sing and play guitar.

Tesla will be supporting the Scorpions on their farewell tour. Are you looking forward to soaking up as much of them before they call it a day?

Absolutely!! They're still amazing after all these years. We played a few shows with them in 2010 and they were just on fire. Klaus still sings his ass off and, of course, Mathias and Rudolf are tearing it up. I can't wait. Plus we're doing Red Rocks, which has always been a dream of mine.

2011 saw Tesla release Twisted Wires & Acoustic Sessions, which has lots of interesting material and different renditions of Tesla classics. What sort of gear did you use acoustically during the recording of that record?

I played my trusty No. 1 Les Paul and an acoustic nylon string that Frank has.

When can we expect to hear a follow up to 2008's studio album Forever More?

We've all separately been working on songs for a new Tesla record here and there, so I'm sure we'll get together and lay them down sometime soon. So far there's some cool stuff I think people will dig a lot. Really rockin'. But right now we're focusing on all the touring we'll be doing this summer, both with the Scorpions and headlining on our own after that. We're all looking forward to getting back out on the road this summer!

Tesla will be supporting the Scorpions starting in early June before starting a string of US headline dates. Follow them via their Facebook page and official website.

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