To this day, every single Tame Impala song has been entirely tracked by Kevin Parker, the brains behind the Perth phenomenon. Parker’s guitar sound has played a large part in his rise to popularity, and many fans have tried to replicate the heavily-effected style. Whilst the sound of his new album has drifted towards synthesisers, the guitar still plays an important role, and even supplies some of the synth sounds.
Rickenbacker 335 Jetglo
Bought in Japan, this Rickenbacker was the first proper vintage guitar that Parker purchased, and has become synonymous with the band’s image and sound. In an interview with Premier Guitar, Parker said “I’ve written so many of what I think are my best songs on that guitar, and it’s been involved in everything I’ve done.”
Fender Roadhouse Stratocaster
A Strat can make all the difference to a band’s sound, and its little surprise that Statocasters feature on many of the all-time great records. This guitar was a gift to Parker, a ‘mongrel’, as he calls it, with a Mexican body and an American neck.
Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster
Many of the synth sounds on Tame Impala’s latest record Currents are actually coming from this guitar, weirdly enough. This Jazzmaster is fitted with a Roland synth pickup, which Parker built patches for to create synth parts on the guitar. “I’ve always been obsessed with tricking people into thinking that a guitar is actually a synth… So when I started getting into guitar synths, it made it all too easy,” says Parker.
Like many professionals who prefer combo amps, Parker has been a long time user of the Vox AC30 range. The handwired AC30H2 is one of the amps that Parker has used. The range is highly regarded among artists, with guitarists including Brian May (Queen) and Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) also using them.
Dunlop JDF2 Fuzz Face
As is customary in psychedelic music, fuzz plays a really important role in the sound of Tame Impala. Parker uses a Fuzz Face pedal to achieve the really chunky fuzz on songs like Elephant, from 2012’s Lonerism, and Disciples on Currents.
Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal
If fuzz is important in Tame Impala’s sound, then reverb is indispensible. The reverb from this Electro-Harmonix pedal can be heard on almost every track on Currents.
Roland Juno-106 Synthesiser
To break down Kevin Parker’s gear and not mention synths would be an oversight, so important to his sound they have become. The Juno-106 synth is a staple of electronic music, and Parker has been using it since Lonerism.
Moog Sub Phatty 25-Key Analog Synthesiser
In the teaser trailer for Currents, this synth can be seen on his keyboard stand, and is no doubt where many of the synth sounds come from on the album.
All of this gear is pretty cool, but Kevin Parker's most impressive instrument can be seen in the video below. Marvel at the beauty of the Casio DG-20 Digital Guitar...