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Player Spotlight - Jared James Nichols


When we think about an exciting guitar player what springs to  mind?

• It's got to be that killer sound right! - Check ✔️
• The incredible choice of notes - Check ✔️
• The amazing technique & fluidity - Check ✔️
• The outrageous bending & vibrato - Check ✔️
• The expressive and dynamic tone - Check ✔️
• The God like Sustain - Check ✔️
• The full body, mind and soul into the guitar - Check ✔️ 

We can only be talking about one ☝️ guy here, an absolute bonafide guitar hero of the modern generation. Straight from America’s 'Dairyland' Wisconsin (the home of Les Paul himself!) we give you the cat that got the cream 🥛… Mr J.J.N also known on planet Earth as Jared James Nichols. 🎸 

If you don't know, you're about to because this man is right up in the ranks of the guitar super hero!

“Two essential steps on this journey of self-actualisation were the discovery of the Gibson Les Paul and a return to playing with bare fingers – both of which proved vital in creating a personal and instantly recognisable sound.” -
JJN - Micheal Watts guitar.com


Before we discover how this truly exciting and exhilarating player came to be, let us first truly appreciate how special a player he really is in regards to ability and pure excitement of guitar playing.


Oh yeah, that just happened!

It's hard to put into words what is actually going on there. I remember when I first saw Jared, it was on an episode of Normans Rare Guitars many years ago and I was completely blown away by the tone and dynamic he was achieving without using a plectrum.

The sound he gets is one thing, but the sounds of makes is a whole other thing! A truly outstanding and standout player with his own identity from the first note to the last pinched harmonic.

“I’m left-handed and when I first started I was holding a right-handed guitar upside down and my teacher made me flip it over,” he recalls. “I was also playing with my thumb and he said, ‘If you’re going to be a real guitar player you have to use a pick!’ I didn’t know any better, so I said okay, but it never felt right to me. I’d squeeze too tight and my hand would hurt, and the pick would slip around, and I’d feel, ‘Man, this sucks…’ Then I heard players like [Jeff] Beck and Knopfler and I just put the pick down and left it there.” -
JJN - Micheal Watts guitar.com

Born in a rural area of Wisconsin, Jared recalls the live music scene being very active and part of the local culture. That first want for a guitar came through a movement and trend in surrounding friends, as he hit high school everyone who’s anyone just started getting guitars and beginning to jam out. 🎸 

Jared, not to be left behind of course, wanted to get involved as all teenagers do. He wanted to be a drummer initially (like all guitarists right 😉 ) but electric guitar it was, as per his parents (rational) persuasion. At 14-years-old Gerald struck up a symbolic relationship with the 6-string that would lead him down an extraordinary path to where he is today.

“When I received my first electric guitar and found out what distortion was, my life changed!! The first riff I ever learned was ‘Electric Funeral’ by Black Sabbath. I was hooked. Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Pete Townshend... Any classic rock with a guitar was heaven to me.” -
JJN - Interview by Ray McClelland -guitarguitar.co.uk

At a young age musical history embodied his surroundings, just a stones throw from the iconic Alpine Valley Music Theatre where Stevie Ray Vaughan played his final show and many iconic acts had performed throughout history.

Jared recalls seeing a lot of shows there between the age of 14 and 16 and, most notably his first show, which made a huge impact on him and became a massive influence; that show just so happened to be ZZ Top. 🎩

Photo Credit - guitarguitar.com


So as we discovered so far, Jared or JJN as we’re gonna start referring to him as it matches his epic coolness as a guitar hero. 🤘 

And a guitar hero he is of the modern day in every way, his presence is all over YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and anywhere else you'd like to find modern day guitar content. He's another perfect example of how the modern guitar hero involves in the new wave of technology and online content.

Let's check out his recent Rig Rundown to elaborate on just that. 👌 


Here we see the man John Bohlinger effortlessly get the best out of the artist as always.

This guy is an insane guitar player. Every piece of content I see him playing on I just feel like I wanna do the guitar face along with him simply because of the incredible excitement he is pinching out of the guitar!

Back in 2010, JJN won the Musicians Institute “Most Outstanding Player award” which is an incredible achievement and clearly thoroughly deserved; this guy is top of his game and has declared he was playing guitar 14-hours-a-day, super dedication, super commitment, and undisturbed belief.

“That was a pretty amazing honour to get! Just before and at that time, I was practicing guitar up to 14 hours a day. Completely obsessed. I felt that was the perfect path for me to go down. I knew what I wanted and where I wanted to go with music and guitar. MI helped me get there a lot quicker and stay completely inspired and driven along the way.” -JJN - Interview by Ray McClelland - guitarguitar.com



Humble beginnings have brought amazing things for our man of the hour here JJN. I recall seeing him sitting in the background on a few Normans Rare Guitars videos, one day he was featured and that day I was blown away! 💥 

Myself, along with many hundreds of thousands of viewers were just astounded at the sound he was getting, the excitement he was able to inject into the guitar, and the lack of plectrum.

He has spoken openly about how he put the plectrum down one day and learnt to get what he wanted from the guitar with his fingers and thumb. Subsequently he’s developed his own sound, tone, and signature delivery.


JJN has integrated into the industry perfectly and has ticked all the right boxes in regards to endorsement, custom shop guitar, custom amplifier, and of course a string endorsement.

Endorsed by Gibson/Epiphone, Seymour Duncan, Blackstar Amplification, and DR strings. Jared primarily plays his signature Les Paul nicknamed "Old Glory" fitted with a single Seymour Duncan P-90 in the bridge position. In January 2019, Nichols unveiled his signature Epiphone "Old Glory" Les Paul.

Nichols is known for his use of P90 pickups. He prefers vintage Gibson P90s, or new reproductions by Seymour Duncan.

In January 2019, Jared collaborated with British company Blackstar Amplification to develop a signature amplifier, the JJN20.

Photography - Eleanor Jane - guitar.com

This guy is an incredible example of how to do it right, and how extreme dedication, hard work, perseverance, and pure raw talent can turn dreams into realities.

He's played with all of his heroes over the years and continues to be one of the most sought-after and high-profile guitarist in the world of guitars at present.

His featured content on social media and across various platforms is awe-inspiring to watch and just so enjoyable because he's put so much into the guitar there's so much coming out.

His worked on some recordings with his own band who are incredible. What a track this is!


He's been fortunate enough to share the stage with his musical heroes ranging from Billy Gibbons, Slash, Peter Frampton, Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Vai, and Leslie West.

Again, rightfully so, he is such a great player, such an individual player and such an exciting talent to witness. To me personally he feels like a guitar cartoon that's come to life, his personality pops just like his tone! 🎸 

Jared James Nichols. Photo courtesy of the artist.


So now we come down to the key thing here especially for a player like JJN, more than most he is completely in touch with the strings with both left and right hand. 🤚 

His technique requires a string that's very strong, flexible, articulate and dynamic. He has mentioned his love of D'Addario in the past but in the last year he’s gone big on new technology… string technology.

For a player that's into the bare minimum in terms of Rig it's interesting that he is leaning towards new string technology.

“Honestly, as far as effects go I don’t really use them anymore,” he affirms. “I love coaxing out as many sounds as I can using just the guitar and the amp. A lot of players tell me they never use their tone knobs but I swear, even in the middle of phrases I am working the tone knob and the volume, too, it’s so important for me.I think it’s a beautiful thing to limit yourself to the bare minimum. You get to a point where you’re in survival mode and you have to make all these sounds on your own. I don’t even have a tuner” - JJN - Micheal Watts guitar.com


Here we see JJN really share his thoughts on why he’s switched over to DR Handmade VERITAS Quantum Nickel 10-52.


Jared James Nichols: "It’s official! I’m so happy to announce that I am now ‘EXCLUSIVELY BENDING’ DR Strings!!"

"A ton of my heroes have been a part of the DR Strings legacy. Guys like Johnny Winter, Dimebag Darrell, and Derek Trucks. It’s an honour to string up OLD GLORY w/ DR STRINGS!"


JJN - Facebook

This is a guy that needs a string that when he bends, it fights back in a good way. He needs a string that stays in tune, that won't break, and has a long life and can endure the punishment of his extreme heavy-handed playing. These strings do this for him and so much more! This new technology and very unique idea of a coated core but natural wrap is a serious statement in the market.

[Definitely a string we all need to try to find out for ourselves🤘 ]

Jared James Nichols says it all: 

"If you don’t know…I play ROUGH. And these strings…they didn’t break. They kept in tune…kept staying there…kept giving me FIVE STEP BENDS with ease and letting me hold a vibrato until the end of time. And by SHOW FIVE… I said: 'You know what? I have to change these. I’m starting to freak out because they’re lasting WAY longer than expected.'"

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