If you are not familiar with Chase Bryant by now, I think it’s safe to say you must be living under a rock. “One To Watch In 2015,” The Next Big Thing,” and “A Superstar In Waiting” are just a few of of the headlines Chase has garnered in the past year (all of which I personally agree with). The 22 year old’s debut single “Take It On Back,” broke into the Billboard top 10 as one of the fastest rising singles of 2014.
Born into a musical family, Bryant’s grandfather played piano in Roy Orbison’s first two bands and, later, for Waylon Jennings. His uncles co-founded the group Ricochet, which had several hits in the ’90s. “From the time I was a kid, the only thing I wanted to do was play music,” he says. But Chase does not just simply play music, he writes, records, sings, shreds guitar, and co-produced his own EP.
I got the opportunity to meet Chase this past February at Joe’s Bar in Chicago, where he became the 3rd artist in history to ever sell it out on his first appearance. The show was absolutely amazing and I have to say that his talent was only outmatched by his down-to-earth personality. So as a guitar nerd myself, I jumped on the chance to sit down and talk all things guitar and gear with Chase, who is rapidly becoming one of country music’s most skilled guitar junkies.
You’re left handed and play a right handed guitar. Was it hard to learn to play upside down?
Playing guitar left handed was basically like learning anything else. It’s kind of like throwing a baseball, you have to get acquainted to it to really be able to do it and once you do, it eventually comes pretty easy.
Have you ever tried to play it right side up?
No (laughs) That would be horrible for me.
How many guitars do you have?
Oh God (laughs) Probably like 50.
What does your current guitar rig look like?
I got a 1961 Fender Bassman head, on an old Marshall 2×12 basket weave cabinet. On my pedal board, I have a Boss TU-3 tuner or sometimes a PolyTune tuner. A Nobels ODR-1 for overdrive stuff. I use a Love Pedal Kalamazoo for lead sounds, but that always changes. I got a Tap Tone delay, made by T-Rex, which is basically the closest thing I’ve found to my old Big Box Memory Man. Then, a Boss RV-5 reverb which is a big deal for me. It’s modulated and has a lot of cool shimmery sounds.
Do you swap pedals around or does it stay the same for a while?
I always tinker with it a little bit. The amps pretty much stay the same and the Nobels will always be on that board, but the lead sound and delay changes a bit. I’m always interchanging those.
What is your all time favorite pedal that you couldn’t live without.
Oh yeah, the Nobels ODR-1 and Big Box Memory Man Delay, absolutely.
I know you often use a pink Telecaster and a Les Paul Goldtop. Do you have a favorite guitar?
The pink Tele is definitely one of my favorites for sure. It has a P90 in the neck and a humbucker in the bridge. It’s a guitar that I designed for a company called LSL Guitars. A guy named Lance Lerman, who’s one of my best friends in Van Nuys, California builds them. It’s called the Bad Bone P90 and man do I really love that guitar. (laughs) One of my other favorite guitars though, is Fender’s Jazzmaster. I have one at home and it’s probably one of my favorite guitars I own.
Is there any guitar right now that you have your eye on?
Oh definitely. I would love to get an old SG. Lance and I in LA, are still working on a couple new things. Gibson and I are also working on another guitar right now. So basically an SG, Les Paul, and great Strats I’m always on the lookout for. So I guess kind of everything (laughs) There’s always more than one thing that I have my eye on. (laughs)
Who are your guitar heroes?
Tom Bukovac, who is a Nashville session player, Tom Petty and Derek Trucks for sure.
What is your approach to songwriting? Music or lyrics first?
Most times it starts with whatever comes out of that guitar (laughs)
How jacked are you for the new single ‘Little Bit Of You’?
Yeah, definitely. I am so excited about the new single. It’s personally a song that I love and enjoyed writing and I’m just excited to get it out there for everyone to hear it.
Is there a full album on the horizon?
Yeah we just finished it up and it’s going to be out at some point this summer.