G&L Featured Artist: Colt Prather

Colt Prather and his family of G&L ASATs

Colt Prather is a big dude, with a big voice, big talent and big love for G&L guitars. The hard-working country entertainer gigs (and does session work) with an ASAT Classic, an ASAT Classic S, and an ASAT Classic Bluesboy. (To refresh your memory, the S is a Classic with an S-500 middle pickup added and switching to give the neck/bridge combo, and the Bluesboy swaps in a PAF-style humbucker in the neck.) But you can find Colt playing other ASATs, including an all-black S-3, that sports three jumbo single-coil MFD pickups. Colt’s repertoire runs from classic country to rippin’ rock. He can shred – and he’s comfortable with an acoustic in his hands too. We recently caught up with this talented player and threw a few questions his way.

Let’s start at the beginning. Who are you and how’d you get here?

"I grew up on a ranch in New Mexico surrounded by family who all played instruments. That is how I got into music at an early age. After a brief stint in college, I started playing in bands touring all over the U.S. Spent many years traveling in a van with all our equipment on board and playing anywhere and everywhere. I love touring but I settled in Nashville in 1995 and decided to take a house gig at the Stockyard Club until it closed a few years later. I then moved over to a club called The Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar located on the famous Printer’s Alley area. That’s where I was introduced to Blake Chancey, who was the head of A&R for Sony Music Nashville. After listening to me play for an hour or so, he pulled me aside and signed me to a record deal that night. I’ve been doing my own thing since then, while at the same time getting to know who’s who in the Nashville music scene. "

How did you hook up with G&L?

"I first learned of G&L when I had my ’51 Fender Broadcaster stolen around 1990. After not being satisfied with most of the new Telecasters available at the time, I had a good friend of mine suggest trying out a G&L – which I’d never heard of. I went to a local store called Grandma’s Music in Albuquerque and tried one out. After plugging it in to a Fender Twin and playing it, I fell in love with it. You know when you first grab a guitar and play it and it feels like home to you? That’s what my first G&L ASAT Classic was like for me. A month later I returned to the store and bought a second ASAT Classic. But my initial professional contact with the G&L company was several years later, around 1997."

Which models are you using today?

"I’m now using the ASAT Classic S and Bluesboy as my main two instruments that were made for me in the early 2000s. The original Classic S in Cherryburst is still my go-to instrument. And I play my original Classic to this day. That’s how G&L guitars are; they’re always ready to play. You can line up 10 Teles and maybe find one that you fell you can go and gig with that night. On the other hand, you have 10 G&Ls and you can take any of them and play with it that night."

What is your go-to pickup position, or better yet, how do you achieve your favorite G&L tone?

"I live in the neck or the back pickup positions. I only use the in-between positions for texture type sounds when I’m comping with a band or doing rhythm work. If I’m recoding or playing with guys like [Nashville session giant] Brent Mason, I use those in-between positions to get the glassy sounds that are great for rhythm parts. To me, that is where that sound lives, at least in my world anyway. My live shows, on the other hand, I’m usually the only guitar player, so I need to rock it out. That’s where my favorite pickup positions come out."

Your three-pickup G&L guitars have Leo's expander switch to give you neck plus bridge: tell us why.

"I like using the neck-plus-bridge position to get that beefy ASAT front-and-back sound. There’s no other way of getting that sound. The same goes for the bell tone from a Strat bridge position, there’s no other way to get it to sound like that. The neck/bridge position has all the bite you need as well as the roundness – kinda like a cat’s meow."

What projects are you working on right now?

"I got a couple different trio things I’m currently working on. One where I’m singing, but we haven’t got a name yet. The second project is more aimed at creating viral content with these seasoned players – it’s not about radio play or anything like that. The guys are players who are used to making others sound incredible, if you know what I mean. We’re now doing our own thing and I can tell you that the vocals are scary good. I’m also working with Ira Dean of Trick Pony and an old label-mate of mine, Shelly Fairchild. This one is a high-energy rock-and-roll roadhouse trio where you just show up, plug in, turn up and go."

Hear Colt’s tones and talent on a cover of “You Can’t Get What You Want” on YouTube.

Hear Colt sing “Guilty” from the “GuitarTown” soundtrack, backed by Nashville phenom Daniel Donato: www.blackcrowmusicgroup.com

Follow Colt on Facebook.