Jeff & Jaime Hanna Guitar Gear from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Arrival with one of the first country-rock families.


The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American music legend, a Grammy-winning group that has also been inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. In the case of this group, what becomes most a legend still works as hard as when Jeff Hanna co-founded the NGBD in 1966.

So when PGJohn Bohlinger recently recorded with Hanna and his guitarist son, Jaime Hanna. They were rehearsing at the SIR in Nashville for an ambitious spring and summer tour of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band supporting a new album, Dirt makes Dylanwhich will be released on May 20. The Hannas showed us around their touring gear and gave us a look at some of the guitars Jeff had been playing on from the start.

[Brought to you by D’Addario XS Electric Strings.]

the original

This 1960 Les Paul, owned and long played by Jeff Hanna, was the inspiration for the reissue of the Gibson Custom Shop’s Collector’s Choice #33 Jeff Hanna 1960 Les Paul Standard, which retails for just $10,299. (Yikes!) It’s strung with D’Addario EXL-125s (.009–.046). Hanna has a great story about how he got this guitar, but for that you’ll have to watch the Rig Rundown!

The reproduction

And here is this Gibson Custom Shop reproduction – a Jeff Hanna Les Paul #33 made in 2017 with Ron Ellis PAF pickups. As its inspiration, the guitar carries a set of D’Addario EXL-125.

Light, in white

Jeff does a little less lifting onstage with his reissue 1962 Fender Stratocaster in Olympic White. It sports the neck from an earlier 1962 reissue he owned, made in 1989, and has samarium-cobalt magnet pickups. The Hipshot Key Xtender is set up to bring its low E string to D. And it wears D’Addario EXL-125s.

A workhorse

No country-rock band is complete without a Gibson Jumbo. This long-running 1955 J185 is just a little smaller than an SL-200, and has a Sitka spruce top and maple back and sides. Jeff strung it with D’Addario EJ-16s (.012–.053).

Open D for Dan-o

This 1990s Danelectro U2 reissue, based on the model that debuted in 1956, stays tuned to open D and strung with D’Addario EXL-125s. With its lipstick pickups and hardboard/plywood body, this thing is a mid-range machine.

He has the bump

After years of using his beloved 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb, Jeff switched to a SoHo 65 Amp with a matching 2×12 cab, although Jeff usually only uses one speaker. This amp has a secret weapon: a “bump” function that allows you to switch from classic American sound to British sound.

advice to perform

Jeff runs his acoustic through a Fishman Aura Spectrum DI and a Boss TU-3 chromatic tuner. The electric side of his board includes another Boss TU-3, a Paul Cochrane Tim overdrive, a Keeley Katana Clean Boost, a J. Rockett GTO, a Keeley Modified Boss TR-2 Tremolo, and a Keeley Mag Echo.

the veteran

Jaime’s #1 acoustic is his 1964 Martin D-28 with Brazilian rosewood sides and back. It has been aesthetically modified, with a bound headstock and delicate inlay work on the fretboard. This D-28 appeared on the self-titled debut of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1967. Although this guitar has been in rehearsal, it is no longer hitting the road.

The Flattop Tour

While touring with Gary Allan in Canada, bad weather and a faulty stage ruined several of Jaime’s guitars. So now he leaves the 1964 D-28 at home and brings his new Martin 2021 D-18 Standard with an LR Baggs Anthem SL rosette pickup on tour.

Wide range twang

This 1973 Fender Telecaster Custom offers all the twang of an old vintage Tele in the bridge pickup, but opens up big with a Seth Lover Wide Range humbucker. He remains chained with D’Addario EXL140 (.010–.052).

TV winner

This 2009 Gretsch G6128T-1957 Duo Jet with Alamo neck inlays has TV Jones Classic humbuckers and a Bigsby, and stays tight with D’Addario EXL140s. It’s the sticker of Jaime’s brother, Chris, on the body.

Paul prototype

This is the prototype of the Jeff Hanna Gibson Collectors Choice #33 1960 Les Paul Standard. These reissues come with custom Buckers, but Jaime put PAFs in this guitar to approximate the vintage sound.

Pedals Of The Day

Like his father, Jaime combines his acoustic and electric pedals on one board. The acoustic side includes a Fishman Aura Spectrum DI, a Boss TU-3 chromatic tuner and a backup Radial JDI DI box. For the electric, there’s an Ernie ball volume pedal that feeds a TC Electronic tuner. Main output hits Mesa/Boogie Stowaway Class A input pad, Keeley compressor, Paul Cochrane Tim, J. Rockett Archer boost/overdrive pedal, MXR Super Badass distortion, Boss GE-7 EQ modified by XTS and a Line 6 M-9 multi-effects pedal. A Truetone 1 SPOT PRO CS12 provides the juice.

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