I just thought I’d share with you a little bit about the gear that I use and why/how I use it during the weeks at church, in the studio, on tour, and random events. I’ll try to provide pictures as much as I can, but you should get the general gist of it.
(edit) sorry for the “live” shots, it’s the best I could do…
Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus (2002)
This guitar I saw in the shop, and I wanted it immediately because it looked like the one Jimmy Page used. He’s hands down my all-time favorite guitarist. Got it brand new when I was still a teenager and it’s one of the few pieces of gear that I know for a fact I’ll never get rid of. It’s got Burstbucker Pro’s in it, which I feel capture the late 50’s Gibson tone really well. It’s one of those guitars that inspires me just from looking at it.
Fender ‘69 Telecaster reissue (MIJ)
This guitar has the biggest story. At the time when I got it, I was in a band in upstate NY, and all of the band members (except for me) worked in this guitar store. They had two ‘69 teles, one made in Mexico (that was previously owned by a family friend who takes great care of his instruments), and this one. This guitar was totally trashed. It looked awful, sounded even worse than it looked, and played horribly. I bought it because they gave it to me for extremely cheap, and I planned to use it as a “beater guitar”. Over time, with minor upgrades, it eventually became my main guitar. I traded a guy a vintage phaser for a new set of Lace Sensor pickups and they sound great!
Fender ‘72 Telecaster Deluxe reissue
This guitar I got because at the time, I was afraid to take my Les Paul on trips. Every time I’d fly with it, the neck would need adjusting and the intonation would get out of whack. So I wanted a humbucker guitar, that would be impossible to demolish. I debated between this guitar and the Fender Blacktop series Tele’s, but I settled on this one. I’ve always wanted to try a 70’s style deluxe after seeing a picture of Thom Yorke from Radiohead using one. It’s a great guitar, and the pickups actually sound near-identical to real 70’s wide-range humbuckers.
All of my guitar parts from the Desperation Band album, Center Of It All, were done with this guitar.
I’ve always wanted to try a Vox, but I never liked the sound of the Custom Classic series. But when I heard that they re-did their base line of amps, I became interested. It’s a great amp, has all that classic Vox “chime” to it. It’s got a Celestion Greenback in it, and I use JJ power tubes. I did the “bright cap” mod to the Top Boost channel which really opened up the tone of the amp. All of my overdubs on the New Life Worship record, You Hold It All, were done with this amp.
Fender Pro Jr
This amp has been with me a very long time. I had a ‘59 Bassman reissue that I loved, but it was just too big and loud. So I sold it and got the Pro Jr to replace it, and I love it. It’s probably been the amp I’ve recorded with the most.
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
These are the amps we have at the church as our “house amps”, and it’s the amp that I used to record with on Center Of It All. I typically set the controls as such:
(numbers on faceplate, not oclock)
Everything else off, and run through the clean channel. I get great results with these settings and it gives me just a great, basic Fender tone.
This is all subject to change, as it changes frequently. But here’s what I’m using (in order of signal path)…
Zvex Fuzz Factory.
I’ve used quite a few fuzz pedals, and probably the first ever boutique pedal I bought, was a fuzz pedal. Ever since I heard Hendrix for the first time, I had to have that sound. The Zvex is probably the most versatile out of any that I’ve used. It stacks really well too, meaning I can have my regular overdrive/distortion tone going, and turn the Fuzz Factory on top of that, and it works. Most fuzz pedals don’t play well with other pedals, but this one does.
Red Witch mini compressor.
I’ve never been a huge fan of compression. Most compressor’s that I’ve tried have completely squashed my dynamics and killed my tone. But this is the first one I’ve tried that keeps all my dynamics in tact, but yet still compresses everything. I don’t know how it does it, and frankly I don’t care, I’m just glad it works the way I want it to!
Kent Pedals Tranny boost.
This is my most recent pedal (as of yet) and one that I’m digging the most. I’ve always been a fan of boost pedals. I tend to run my amps pretty hot, and usually my Les Paul doesn’t like overdrive pedals, but a boost pedal with it sounds incredible. The thing I like most about it, is the presence (or sparkle) that it adds. Most boosts that I’ve tried just boost your volume, but then you have too much low end and you end up with a bit of a flubby tone. The Kent adds in some presence which really translates well at gigging volumes, and lets the amp distort in a very musical way. It’s been my main overdrive sound lately.
Ibanez TS9 (808 modded)
If you have a ts9, please get it modded to 808 specs. You get more volume, smoother gain, more gain, and better tone control. It’s great when I want that classic, midrangy, tubescreamer sound.
Paul Cochran Timmy
This is probably my favorite overdrive pedal ever. It’s transparent, in that it lets the natural sound of whatever guitar and amp you’re using, shine through. It doesn’t change the tone of anything, it just adds some gain to it. Definitely the most usable overdrive I’ve tried.
Been my faithful tuner for about 15 years now. Hasn’t broke once, and I don’t expect it to. If it ever does, I’ll probably get the TU3, but until then, it’s still kicking and keeping me in tune!
Line 6 M9
This is my workhorse of a pedal. As you probably know, it does so much. So I’m just going to tell you what I’m using it for at the moment.
First set of effects I use an expression pedal with. The Volume Pedal, and Pitch Glide (up 1 octave).
Second set of effects are my tap delays. Top is Digital Delay set to quarter note tap, and bottom is Digital Delay w/mod set to dotted eighth tap.
Third set of effects are various. Top is Analog Chorus, bottom is Opto Tremelo set to sixteenth tap tempo, and Octo Reverb (on another scene, all the other effects are the same).
This is kind of my secret weapon pedal. I don’t use any of the pitch shifting on it, but I use what’s called Mode 7. It’s a reverse delay, that’s a bit unique. Every other repeat is reversed, and I set the delay level slightly higher than my dry signal. It’s my main “ambience” pedal.
Pretty much just keep this on the Modulation setting. It just sounds so good!
Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man
This is my main pedal, the one I can’t live without. I’ve had to re-solder this I don’t know how many times. I never turn it off. If I don’t want any of the delay, I just turn the blend knob down so the repeats are not audible. The modulation is great, I keep it on the Vibrato setting usually. And the preamp in it rocks, my entire signal goes through all these pedals then hits the preamp of the DMM, and it adds some juice back to my signal.
I’m in love with Planet Waves. I used to not care about cables, but once I wired up my entire rig with Planet Waves, I got back a lot of clarity that I lost before. And over time, I noticed that not one of them broke! I used to have to buy a new cable every few months. These have lasted me over 2 years so far and not one has broke on me. I use the pedalboard kit, and the American Stage 30ft’s for my leads.
I’ve been a D’Addario user my entire life. I like the EXL116’s. They are 11’s but with a heavier bottom end on the wound strings. Give me a bit more chunk when I need it.
I’ve been using Pedaltrain pedalboards for the last few years, the Pedaltrain 2 to be exact. I find it to be the perfect balance in size and weight for me. I used a Pedaltrain Pro for a little while, but it was just too big. The design of the Pedaltrain is amazing, and the flightcase you get with it will hold up to anything.
I really like the Planet Waves large glass slides. They are the thickest you can get, which with glass, gives the most sustain I’ve found.
I’ve been using Dunlop .88mm nylon ones most of my life, and I just can’t seem to get away from them. I hold them sideways so the rounded part is what touches the strings. And I like the grip on them, not because I drop them, but because it “scrapes” the string. Kind of taking inspiration from The Edge on that one.
SKB has treated me great over the years. All of my guitars go in an SKB flightcase. When they get tossed around, the case absorbs all of the damage, leaving the guitar unscathed. For the pedalboard I really like the flightcase you get with Pedaltrain, it’s held up for over 3 years now.
Anyways, that’s about it. Feel free to leave any comments or questions that you might have.