Darrel Higham Guitar Gear

Darrel Higham

Darrel Higham is known as one of the best Rockabilly guitarist alive today – if not of all time. If you haven’t heard him, there are loads of clips on YouTube. He’s also constantly touring.


I couldn’t find that much about what Darrel is using guitar-wise. So, that’s why I’ve put this together. While his rig may be simple, his playing style is anything but!




I discovered Darrel in around 2006 when I read an interview with him about his then signature guitar theĀ Peavey Rockingham. I later acquired one and it’s a really great inexpensive guitar. He still has a few Rockingham guitars in his collection.


Among his guitar collection is a Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster guitar with 3 P90 pickups, a Gretsch White Falcon guitar, and a Gibson ES-295.


He also has a Gretsch 6120, which is the same model that Eddie Cochran used. Eddie is one of his key influences.


In general, Darrel likes changed the pick-ups for to a P-90 pickup in the neck position, a DeArmond pickup in the bridge, and a fixed arm Bigsby.




Live, the pedalboard only has three pedals on it. There are two Zoom G2, both are set up with the same presets, which includes a reverb sound and a tremolo sound. He only uses one, with the other being a backup. Also, he uses the tuner on the G2.


The third pedal is a Danelectro Reel Echo, which is used for a little slapback delay on a few numbers. The three pedals are powered by T-rex Fuel Tank.


Lastly, on top of the amp is a Electro Harmonix Hum Debugger, which keeps hum to a minimum.




Darrel has used a Peavey Delta Blues amp with a 15-inch speaker for many years. The 15-inch speaker brings the life out of the DeArmond and P-90 pickups a bit more – especially the DeArmond, which can be quite bright.


He also has a new reissue Watkins Dominator in custom red and white, as opposed to the traditional blue and white. An original Marshall Bluesbreaker distortion pedal is used to drive the Watkins into a slightly overdriven tone.




For strings, Ernie Ball 10-46 with a wound 18 on the third string and the usual 2nd string is replaced with a 12. It looks like Darrel uses custom printed medium picks.



Get that Darrel Higham guitar sound

I would describe his tone as slightly broken up tube sound which fairly bright with a dash of reverb.


For you to achieve the tone, you’ll need a semi-hollow body guitar. An amp which is set fairly clean with a hint of breakup but not full on distortion. You’ll then want to add some reverb and have a tremolo pedal ready for slower tunes.


The other big component of his sound is hybrid picking, which Darrel does in an interesting way. He uses a flat pick rather than a thumb pick and fingers.


Lastly, you’ll need to work on using a Bigsby to accent notes and chords. Its all may sound simple, but all in all, Darrel Higham is a complex player with tones to match.

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