Bully was founded in 2013 by frontwoman Alicia Bognanno, alongside guitarist Clayton Parker and bassist Reece Lazarus. After the independent release of their debut album 'Feels Like' in 2015 to critical acclaim, the band was quickly snapped up by Sub Pop records - a label that once housed the legendary band Nirvana. The core of Bully's sound – a ferocious blend of '90s grunge and early noughties alt-rock – positively drips with nostalgia, rendering an almost instinctive comparison between the two bands. For this week’s Gear Rundown, we take a look at how Bognanno and co. achieve their gnarly sound.
BLUESMAN VINTAGE CUSTOM
Bognanno's number one is this extremely cool looking Bluesman Vintage custom-built guitar in surf green. It's a mish-mash of different parts, including a Squier '51 body, custom neck, a Telecaster-style single coil in the neck and a humbucker in the bridge. The bottom chrome knob actually functions as a three-way pickup selector - this guitar's tone is always on max.
Clayton Parker's main squeeze is this early 2000s Fender Jazzmaster. Parker bought this guitar used, its previous owner having swapped out the bridge soapbar for a humbucker. The addition of a wild-looking Mastery Offset Bridge was the only modification Parker installed in its long history of use.
FENDER PRECISION BASS DELUXE
Reece Lazarus' main bass guitar is this gorgeous American P-bass, finished in a stark olympic white. While this bass features both active and passive pickup modes, Lazarus mainly uses the passive mode on tour, with the tone controls wide open.
Bognanno plays through a 1971 Fender Bassman head, running through an old Marshall 2x12 cabinet with stock Celestion speakers. Bognanno almost never pushes this beast past 3, where it's teetering on the edge of breakup.
FENDER HOT ROD DEVILLE 4x10
Parker plays all of his lead lines through a tried and true classic: the DeVille 4x10. He chooses this amp for its excellent tone, reliability and ease of servicing. Parker even has an identical amp waiting in the wings as a backup.
Reece Lazarus plays through a retro-looking Gallien-Krueger 800RB head, with a massive Fender 8x10 cabinet stack. To further sweeten his tone, Lazarus often includes a light-up soft serve cone on top of his amp on most of their live shows.
Bognanno's board begins with a pair of Boss TU-3 Chromatic tuners; one used in the chain, and the other kept as a backup. For dirt, Bognanno uses a Greer Amps Little Samson Distortion, EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold, and a Stomp Under Foot Violet Menace for a backup fuzz. Her modulation stompboxes include a Rogue Analog Delay, and an EarthQuaker Devices Ghost Echo Reverb.
Similarly to Bognanno's chain, Parker's board includes a Boss TU-3 tuner, with only the MXR Super Badass Distortion and a humongous Electro-Harmonix Black Russian Big Muff Pi for heavier tones. Parker also includes a MRX Carbon Copy Analog Delay, EarthQuaker Devices Bows, MXR Phase 90, and an Electro-Harmonix Neo Clone Chorus for the rest of his chain.
Bully just can't seem to get enough of Boss tuners, which really says something about their accuracy and reliability. Reece Lazarus' board includes the famous ProCo RAT, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Bass Pi Distortion, EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job, and wraps it up with a Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI.