By Brad Sarno

Mike McGinn

I primarily play a 1984 Fender Telecaster which I bought from the Guitar Showcase in Campbell on the night Ronald Reagan won his second term.  I felt I needed a consolation gift to quiet my disappointment.  It was only $200 new. American made. Black with maple neck. Like Joe Strummer.

I put a Seymore Duncan stacked humbucker in the bridge position and left the stock neck pickup as it sounded better than anything else.

I use Pyramid Gold Chrome Nickel Flatwound strings. Medium Heavy 12-52 gauge. According to Weir, they were the strings the Beatles used. They never seem to break and don’t squeak too much.

My amp for local shows is a Mesa Boogie mk3 combo, SimulClass with an 12″ EV Black Shadow speaker.  It’s an amazing sounding amp. But it is very, very heavy for the size. On the road I rent a Fender Twin Reverb, Deluxe or just about anything close.

Pedal wise I have a ProCo Rat distortion and a Dunlop CAE Wah – MC404. But I rarely use either. For the last Skull and Roses gig I plugged right into the amp.

I knew this great guitar player and teacher way back and I asked him about equipment, like tube vs solid state amps, pedals, pickup, etc.  And he just said, “Forget all that. The tone is in your fingers.” He is correct.

Brad Sarno is a musician and inventor. With his wife Auset, he runs Sarno Music Solutions, which creates equipment that, among other things, allows guitarists to sound like a certain well known former Grateful Dead guitarist. He is the ideal guy to write the Tone Zone.