Gear Rundown: Boygenius

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Gear Rundown: Boygenius

Words by Isabella Venutti

After the acclaimed release of their LP The Record, we're diving into some of the gear behind boygenius, one of indie's most beloved supergroups.

There are few contemporary supergroups with the power to incite fervent fan frenzy quite like boygenius do. 

First formed in 2018, the trio is comprised of three of the biggest names in indie rock of the Sad Girl persuasion – Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus.


Coming together first as friends, who could commiserate about constantly being reductively compared to one another as “women in rock” despite their considerably different music styles, the three went on to write, record, and self-produce their Boygenius EP in four days on a co-headline tour, with the process involving almost exclusively women. 

Read up on all the latest interviews here.

The band has developed a cult following, with the lush interplay of their velvety vocals, and a satisfying combination of chugging driven guitars and reverbed finger picking defining their highly emotive sound. 

boygenius The Record

Following the momentous release of boygenius’ debut LP The Record, we’re taking a closer look at some of the gear that each of these three remarkable women use to produce the music that has made so many people feel so. Damn. Much. 

Julien Baker


Fender Telecaster

Julien bought her very first blue Telecaster from a Guitar Centre used section, immediately falling in love with the Fender classic for its versatility, and considering she’s a major gear head with an audio engineering background, how easily it can be modified. In an interview  with Premier Guitar, Julien mentioned that she customised her blue Tele with “a wiring mod where you could run the two pickup series or parallel, and that broadened the frequency spectrum to where it could be super tinny and plucky, a very country classic Tele sound, or it could be very warm and damp.”

Julien has also modified the Butterscotch Tele she plays live with boygenius:

“It came with coil tap capability and I took it out – we just put regular, straight forward wiring in it and we put this G&L set of pickups in there.”

Fender Twin Reverb & Fender Blues Deluxe

Julien plays with two amps, a Fender Twin Reverb and Fender Blues Deluxe, yet she told Premier Guitar that she doesn’t necessarily use a stereo effect “to create panned delays or anything like that”, but rather as a means of widening stage sound, using both amps complimentarily with one another.

“I feel like Deluxe’s are just generally middy and warm and thick, and the Reverb is the predominantly sparkly, scooped tone.”

Walrus Audio Descent Pedal

Julien’s favourite pedal on her board is the Walrus Audio Descent, particularly because “you can manipulate the frequencies of your dry signal coming in as well as your wet signal coming out… I almost use it like a POG noise that just sits underneath my guitar like a pad.” The pedal has three presets to interchange between, which increase in bottom end and decay, allowing her to create a wide range of sounds, from subtle sparkles to titanic swirls. 

Phoebe Bridgers


Danelectro Baritone BMF

Although Phoebe plays a fairly broad range of acoustic and electric guitars when touring and recording her own music, the electric she’s seen playing most frequently with boygenius is the Danelectro Baritone in the Black Metal Flake finish. It’s also the guitar she prefers to write on – in an interview with GuitarWorld, Phoebe said:

“I have it plugged in at my house,” she says. “I don’t even use a pedalboard, because it’s kind of hard on pedals. I just plug it into my amp and write. There’s something about the key of it, it makes everything darker and less Americana. I can write a folk song on it and it sounds nothing like a folk song. If I’m covering a song and want it to sound like my version, all I have to do is plug in a baritone.”

Waterloo WL-14

Phoebe’s acoustic of choice for performing with boygenius is the Waterloo WL-14. Indie-folk devotees might be delighted to hear this tidbit of trivia: it was a gift from close friend and Better oblivion Community Centre bandmate Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes). In 2020, Bridgers told GuitarWorld:

“Conor Oberst got me a totally murdered-out Waterloo guitar a couple of years ago for my birthday and that’s my prized possession now. Even the tuning pegs are black, the pickguard is black. Collings makes them and I feel like Collings are my favourite new guitars, by far.

“I just love them. I used to play this Epiphone Frontier from like 1968, with the lassoes on it, but it snapped, like in-half, on tour. It was already going that way, but I learned my lesson about vintage guitars. Then I was like, ‘But I don’t want to play new guitars’ and I discovered Collings and that was it.”

Catalinbread Echorec & EHX Mel9

In a performance live streamed to YouTube, Phoebe mentioned that her two favourite effects pedals are Catalinbread Echorec and EHX Mel9. 

“I have one of those Mellotron pedals that’s supposed to sound like a choir and an orchestra [an Electro-Harmonix MEL9]. It sounds kind of fucked. It’s supposed to sound like clarinets but it makes this screeching horrible noise if you put too much through and I kind of love that,” Phoebe told Guitarworld.

Lucy Dacus


Fender American Pro Telecaster

While Lucy doesn’t often tend to play guitar live in boygenius in a majority of the live videos available online (come to Australia – don’t make me beg!) commanding the mic with her rich, feathery vocals el solo, just like bandmate Julien, it’s common knowledge that she’s partial to a Fender Telecaster, an American Pro to be specific, having told

“I love it because it’s just a straight-up guitar – just a hunk of wood with strings that sounds good and is really malleable.”

Lucy has also been seen playing Phoebe’s beloved Waterloo live a handful of times. Evidently for the boygenius gang, sharing – not only of songwriting and recording responsibilities, but of your instruments themselves – is caring!

Keep up to date with all things boygenius here.