Know Your Tone: Bobby Heilman of Frameworks

“Know Your Tone” is a feature that spotlights the intricacies and processes musicians go through, to develop their unique sounds. 


Bobby Heilman – Guitar

Amp Set-up:

Matchless Clubman 35, Avatar 4×12 w/ 2 Greenback Speakers and 2 Vintage 30 speakers

Describe the thought process and journey it took to find your unique sound:

 My set up is very minimal by design. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to make a guitar going straight into an amplifier sound good on it’s own. Now that sounds like such a simple concept, but the truth is that a lot of players rely heavily on pedals to make their sound. If you plug straight into an amp, there’s nothing to mask your performance. You have to really learn how to play. I started doing a lot more switching between pickups, utilizing tone knobs, and just really learning and exploring the guitar. I’ve since then added 2 pedals to my set up (not including tuner) and I’m still trying to explore them in this same fashion by pushing their limits. 

Pedal Board Set-up:

Keeley Caverns Reverb and Delay, Clone of a Klon Centaur, Boss Chromatic Tuner

What is your thought process behind your pedal board and what does it do for your sound?

My thought process is Keep It Simple Stupid. Less is usually more. 

Your favorite piece of gear you own:

Matchless Clubman hands down is my favorite piece of gear I own. The inside of that thing is a piece of art. It’s built like a tank and always sounds amazing. I do have to give an honorable mention to my beloved Fender Toronado that has been to hell and back with me. No matter how much I beat it up and alter it’s guts, it’s always done me right. 

Your favorite piece of gear you don’t own YET:

I’d really love to have a guitar from Electrical Guitar Company. The aluminum neck’s sound really nice and can take a beating. They weigh a million pounds but you can’t argue with the results. 

On your new record Smother, there are so many solid overdriven areas that really punch you in the gut, what did you guys do to really get that gritty sound? 

A good portion of the record is mostly using the onboard gain/overdrive from a few different amps, but for the really gritty parts we used this old Ibanez Tube Screamer that Cory (other guitar player) owns. It’s pretty temperamental, but gets some crazy tone. 

Obviously you guys have gotten plenty of experience over the years really delving into your sound but what has been a mainstay of your sound that you don’t see ever changing too much?

I think a big part of Frameworks is that despite being branded as a few specific genres, we are not afraid to keep exploring ideas outside of those genres. We all listen to a lot of different music and bringing those influences together helps us constantly make each other step out of our comfort zones and explore new territory. Being open to new ideas is crucial to longevity and will always be a constant. 

Pick up a copy of their new album, “Smother” out now via Deathwish Inc. Available on CD, 12″ LP, Digital, and cassette.

Check out our review of their new album here. Hands down one of our favorite releases of 2016!

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