For 23 years (and counting), Bob Minner has held the acoustic chair in Tim McGraw’s touring band. “What I do on acoustic guitar in country music is actually becoming the way of the dinosaur,” he says. “A dedicated acoustic guitar is a rarity in [live] country music today.” Onstage with McGraw, Minner plays acoustic guitar, resonator guitar and banjo.
In this video, filmed backstage before a McGraw concert, Minner plays his own tune, “Sulphur Dell,” on two guitars: A recent J-35 interpretation from luthier Ken Hooper and the 1942 Gibson J-45 we wrote about in The Fretboard Journal #34 (itself a fascinating story; an instrument Minner sold to and eventually purchased back from Vince Gill).
Vintage lovers: Don’t worry, Minner does not typically tour with the J-45. In fact, McGraw’s demanding touring schedule requires that the guitarist has two performance rigs, in case he needs to jump to a cross-country gig quickly. One touring rig contains guitars by Rod Schenk and a Bourgeois Slope D. The other rig has a pair of new Gibsons and the Hooper shown here. Beyond the guitars, Minner is a fan of LR Baggs products and uses Baggs Anthem pickups in his instruments. “It’s pretty bare bones, from the wire, to a volume pedal, to a tuner… and that goes into a D.I.,” he says of his touring setup. “The pre-amps and effects on the console are way better than anything I could put on the floor.”