What Guitar Does Billy Strings Play

What Guitar Does Billy Strings Play?

William Apostol AKA Billy Strings, is a bluegrass musician with heavy rock and metal influences. He got the strings nickname when his aunt realised just how many bluegrass strings instruments he was capable of playing. He plays the banjo, guitar and mandolin to name just a few. 

Billy learned to appreciate the old masters of bluegrass due to his stepdad playing him all the records and his stepdad is a bluegrass musician himself playing in the Michigan bluegrass scene. Billy also listens to Def Leppard, The Grateful Dead, Black Sabbath, and he played in a heavy rock band and an indie band when he was a teenager.

In 2012 Don Julin asked Billy to accompany him on a paid gig, Billy accepted and they worked together for 4 years. Billy has co starred with pretty much every bluegrass star that’s still active. In 2017 Thompson presented Billy with a Billy Strings signature guitar.

What Kind Of Guitar Does Billy Strings Play?

Billy has a custom made electric guitar that his grandad built in prison, but as it never had a truss rod as soon as he put strings on it the neck bent. Many years later Billy took it to Carter Vintage and Dave Johnson renovated it completely for him.

Billy also has ;

  • A Roy Noble Dreadnought
  • Martin D-28(1948)
  • Preston Thompson D-MA
  • Martin D-93
  • Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster
  • Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster
  • Preston Thompson D-BA Custom

Billy is also seen on videos playing many other guitars in various guitar shops.

Listen To Billy Strings Songs

For a limited-time only, you can get unlimited access to Billy Strings songs, ad-free for 3 months when you sign up to Amazon Music Unlimited through this page.

Unlike other music streaming sites, Amazon Music Unlimited allows you to listen to Billy Strings both online and offline (so you could be listening to your favorite Billy Strings tracks from anywhere in the world, without worrying about data usage or having the songs cut out midway)

This offer is currently available when we last checked (September 1st 2023), but we can’t say for sure if they’ll still be offering it when you are reading this. The quickest way to find out is to click here.

What Strings Does Billy Strings Use?

Billy uses D’Addario EXP17 Phosphor Bronze medium acoustic guitar strings. He is quoted as saying, “13 through 56 medium gauge, they’re good for bluegrass because I play so hard”. He also uses D’Addario EJ17 Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings. With a relatively high action on the strings.

Billy said he used to have to carry at least 3 guitars to every gig until he changed to D’Addario strings. Because they don’t break, he used to break the G string every time he played a full show. But the D’Addario strings don’t break on him. Billy also uses a G7th Heritage capo.

What Amps Does Billy Strings Use?

Fender guitar amp

Billy uses an original issue Fender Deluxe Reverb coupled with a Grace Design BiX Acoustic Preamp, and for some songs he uses a Silverface Deluxe Reverb.

What Effects Pedals Does Billy Strings Use?

Billy uses various effects pedals and has been quoted as saying “ I look at pedals not as crutches, but creative, inspiring tools”. He uses;

  • Electro-Harmonix Micro POG
  • Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone MKII (During the psychedelic part of his shows)
  • DigiTech Polara
  • Strymon Lex
  • D’Addario PW-CT-20 Chromatic Pedal Tuner
  • Whirlwind Micmute PT
  • Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer
  • Chase Bliss Audio Brothers Analog Gainstage
  • Empress ParaEq
  • Barn3 Ox
  • Boss GE-7 Equalizer
  • Dunlop DVP3 Volume (X) Pedal
  • Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork
  • Source Audio One Series Nemesis Delay
  • Fender Smolder Acoustic OD
  • Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
  • Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer Multi-Effects Pedal
  • Boss ES-8 Effects Switching System

Billy uses a lot of effects for an acoustic guitarist and especially a bluegrass acoustic guitarist. He’s bringing bluegrass into the 21st century, one effect at a time.

What Pickups Does Billy Strings Use?

Billy uses a K&K Double Helix pickup coupled with a Audio-Technica ATM-350 lavalier mic and a K&K Pure Mini with 3 transducers.

What Pick Does Billy Strings Use?

Billy uses Blue Chip picks, in particular he uses;

  • Blue Chip Picks TD50
  • Blue Chip TD55
  • Blue Chip TP 48

What Kind Of Music Does Billy Strings Play?

Billy plays bluegrass. Rock, Americana, metal, country, folk and some psychedelic music too.

How To Play Guitar Like Billy Strings

Playing The Guitar

Billy Strings is a bluegrass picker specifically flatpicking and crosspicking. Some of Billy’s main bluegrass influences are people like;

  • Doc Watson
  • Tony Rice
  • Del McCoury
  • Bill Monroe
  • John Hartford
  • David Grisman
  • Earl Scruggs
  • Ralph Stanley
  • Larry Sparks

So if you want to play like Billy you’ll need to master the styles and techniques of these well established bluegrass performers. Then you’ll need to speed it up a notch or two to get anywhere near Billy’s level. Billy first started playing the guitar at the tender age of three years old, that’s a whole lot of experience right there, so it’ll take time to perfect his style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who made Billy strings guitar?

Billy’s signature guitar was made by Preston Thompson Guitars in Sisters, Oregon. He says it’s the only guitar he uses on stage right now.

What strings does Billy Strings use?

Billy uses D’Addario EXP17 Phosphor Bronze medium acoustic guitar strings 13 to 56 gauge.

Did Billy Strings play heavy metal?

When Billy was in high school he was in a heavy metal band playing the electric guitar.

What is the Bluegrass scale?

The most used keys in bluegrass are A, C, D, E, F and G. Bluegrass uses the pentatonic scale.

Are Molly Tuttle and Billy Strings friends?

Molly Tuttle and Billy Strings are old friends and at one point, they were roommates.

Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review.

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