Gear Rundown: Julien Baker

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Gear Rundown: Julien Baker

Julien Baker gear rundown guitar
Words by Mixdown Staff

A deep dive into the gear behind guitarist, singer-songwriter and creator of some of the most beautifully devastating songs of the past decade - Julien Baker.

Regardless of how one stumbles upon Julien Baker – be it via her stunningly melancholic, ambient, guitar-forward solo music, or through the wildly popular supergroup boygenius, of which she makes up one third alongside Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus – once you’re acquainted with the spine-tingling vocals and strikingly honest lyricism of the Tennessee born singer-songwriter, it’s likely you’ll be a fan for life.

Read up on all the latest features and columns here.

Today we’re diving into the rock-solid set up behind Julien Baker’s mesmeric sound. Popping on one of the featured live sets as you read through is highly advised – just don’t come running to us if you get misty eyed! You were warned!


Julien Baker Lake Placid Blue Telecaster

Long-time fans of Julien Baker will instantly recognise her iconic Lake Placid Blue Telecaster. Baker picked this guitar up from the used section in a Guitar Center, soldered in a set of Lollar pickups, and installed a wiring mod that allows both series and parallel pickup selections.This guitar was the main driving force behind Sprained Ankle, and still sees occasional stage time on her worldwide tours today.

Fender American Standard Telecaster

Baker’s love for the Telecaster stems from their “versatility, dependability, and ease of modding.” With this Butterscotch Blonde American Standard Tele, Baker has replaced the standard neck pickup in favour of a G&L ASAT neck pickup (with a soapbar cover), with a G&L MFD pickup in the bridge.

Fender Telecaster Thinline

While not particularly favouring one over the other, Baker uses her semi-hollow Thinline Telecaster for a different tonal flavour. She describes the Thinline’s sound as slightly thinner but more resonant, in comparison to the solid bodies’ “beefy” tone. Baker runs Ernie Ball Slinky 0.10 – 0.46 strings on all her guitars, and uses a .88mm Dunlop Nylon Standard as her guitar pick of choice.


Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue

fender blues deluxe reissue


On stage, Baker almost always performs with two amps – one of them being the trusty Fender 1 x 12 Blues Deluxe, set up to deliver a heavy emphasis on the midrange to complement her fingerpicked textures.

Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb

Julien Baker Fender '68 Custom Twin Reverb

When Baker performs with two amps, she doesn’t play in true stereo – rather preferring to “widen her stage sound”. Baker uses the beautiful top-end sparkle of the Twin Reverb to complement her Blues Deluxe in pertinent moments in her songs, achieving a gorgeous blend of the two amp tones.


Baker is an absolute pedal whisperer onstage with her unrivalled tap-dancing skills. This is reflected in her astounding pedalboard setup, packed from edge to edge with boutique brands and common names alike.

Julien Baker Pedalboard

The main bulk of Baker’s lush tone is derived from the middle of her tetris-like board: the Electro-Harmonix MEL9, a trio of Walrus Audio Pedals – the Fathom, Bellwether and Descent, a Strymon Blue Sky, and a pair of Old Blood Noise Endeavors pedals – the Dweller and Excess. All manner of gain is handled by the Emerson Custom Paramount Overdrive and the ZVEX Fuzz Factory. Baker employs a Boss RC-3 and RC-300 loopers to construct her multi-layered tracks, and a Morley George Lynch Tripler and Morley ABC 3-Button Switcher to direct segments of loops to different destinations – including separate amplifiers at times. Last but not least, a TC Electronic PolyTune 2 Mini keeps all her axes in tune.


Nord Stage 2 EX 76 Key Piano

Nord Stage 2 EX 76 Key Piano Julien Baker

When composing Turn Out the Lights, Baker was living in a space where she had frequent access to a piano. Understandably, her sophomore effort involved many more piano-based tracks in comparison to her debut, Sprained Ankle. For her live performances, Baker runs the Nord Stage 2 keyboard into the RC-300 to fashion piano loops on the fly.

Keep up to date with all things Julien Baker here.