Singer-songwriter and Melbourne local Courtney Barnett is widely adored in music circles around the world, and its hard to think of an artist who has had a more astronomical rise to fame in the past few years.
With her trademark mix of sincerity and humour she turns the everyday and the mundane into hit songs like ‘Avant Gardener’ and ‘Depreston’. Following the release of her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Barnett has been busy playing on American network TV and headlining festivals. It’s a wonder she even has time to attend the various award ceremonies she gets nominated for, Grammys and Brit Awards and the like. An upcoming slot at Splendour in the Grass will serve as Barnett’s homecoming after a busy few months overseas, so we thought we’d take a look at the gear she has used to craft her sound.
Harmony H59 Rocket Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
Being left-handed, Barnett often finds it hard to come by guitars that she actually likes, but in a guitar shop outside of Melbourne she found the guitar that she has come to be closely associated with. For a while Barnett toured with it, but she found that it got smashed around a bit too much for her liking and it has now been retired from that tough life in lieu of a Fender Telecaster.
American Standard Fender Telecaster
The fear of breaking her Harmony Rocket lead to Barnett buying a Fender Tele, a slightly more robust guitar that actually stays in tune (one of the main problems with the Rocket). She bought the guitar on eBay with the help of a friend, which was her solution to never being able to find any good left-handed guitars in guitar stores. This guitar now serves as her main touring guitar, and she is very fond of its tone.
This guitar was another tour-specific addition to Barnett’s arsenal, as guitarist Dan Luscombe played one a lot on her debut album and so she needed the ability to replicate the grittier sounds and the tremolo bends.
Fender Hot Rod DeVille, Fender Deluxe & Fender Twin
Barnett isn’t super picky when it comes to amps, and at the moment she still doesnt take her own on tour, as the Fender DeVilles, Deluxes and Twins that she plays at home are pretty easily available to find. Fender amps are often known for their chime and their ability to take pedals really well, both of which Courtney takes full advantage of.
This is one of Barnett’s main pedals for her heavier sounds, the kind of which feature more prominently on her debut album than her previous EPs. Its also one of her favourite pedals, and one that has endured for a while on her board as others get changed.
Boss BD-2 Blues Driver
Another pedal used for her overdriven sounds, the Boss Blues Driver is a staple on many pedalboards of professional artists.
MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay
After using a brandless pedal for her delay for many years, Barnett now has an MXR pedal that she uses for delay. It is normally set for a pretty short slapback effect, useful for bridging the gap between the rhythm and lead parts that she has to play both of in the live set.
Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Another recent addition to the pedalboard, the chorus is used for playing a few songs from her debut album live, including ‘An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless In New York)’.