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Gear Post #1: What I Use and Why

11/26/2011

So although I haven’t posted in a while, there’s been a lot on my mind, or fingertips if you will. I’ve been pretty unmotivated, though, because my computer broke a while ago. So even the last few posts have been via iTouch or friends’ computers. More on the computer fiasco soon. Until then..

Ever since I started playing electric guitar, I’ve always been intrigued by the gear involved. I particularly enjoy seeing what sounds other guitarists can get and what they use to get those sounds– and I know this is a somewhat common thing amongst musicians. So mostly for fun, here’s a rundown of what I use and why (I play worship music almost exclusively):


GUITARS

1997 Fender American Deluxe Telecaster
My ‘go-to’ guitar right now. Great classic tele sounds out of it. It’s technically a ‘Plus Deluxe’ or something, which, in terms of date precedes the American Deluxe I claim it to be. I don’t know. I just play it, it sounds nice and it’s got the features of an American Deluxe. the original owner put Fender Custom Shop cloth wound pickups in it and changed the pickguard to a tortoise shell. It’s a 3-tone burst, so that gives it a very unique look. Love it. And sounds like how a tele should sound.


2008 Gibson Les Paul Studio

My first electric guitar. One of my best friends is a Les Paul junkie, and so he easily convinced me to go for one when I was contemplating an electric guitar. I actually like that it’s got the worn cherry finish, both for looks and for the fact that it’s a really light guitar (especially for an LP). I swapped out all of the electronics a year or so back, and the guitar sounds much much better. I also popped in some High Order PAF pickups. Super clear for a Les Paul, nice even sound. It’s actually a very good sounding guitar now, it’s a shame I don’t play it more!

2007 Gibson ES-333
Got this one recently. Basically a 335 stripped down and with a matte finish. Great sounding hollowbody, with a nice gritty tone if you want but real smooth if you want. Really versatile. I’m definitely still trying to figure this one out, though. It’s got a big neck and frets, so still trying to get comfortable with it. I’ve thought about selling it a few times, but we’ll have to see about that.

2008 Gibson J-45 The end of my search for an awesome acoustic guitar. was always thrilled with the idea of someday owning a Taylor, but not until playing some Martins and Gibsons did I realize the tone I like. J-45’s are some of the better sounding guitars for acoustic-only type situations. They also have a great sound for the band setting too, as Taylors can be a bit overwhelming with the kind of music I play. Don’t get me wrong, Taylors are great guitars– that’s why they’re so popular! Anyways, wish I had a super-rad vintage J-45, but I’m quite happy to be hacking away on my newish one.

Fender DG-20CE
My first guitar. I still remember going to Guitar Center with my dad and getting this guy. The same exact guitar my brother already had. I’m so unoriginal sometimes. Ok fine, I’m a copycat. Anyways, it’s a pretty nice guitar for what my skillages were back then. Wow. Story of my life(see guitars above).

Fender FM-52E
Mandolin. Still learning this one.

 

 

MISC

Strings: all D’addario’s up and down. Electric 10’s I’ve found best fit my style and liking, and acoustics I go with 12’s. Just regular old strings. Change my strings quite a bit, depending on how much I’m playing. Some people swear by coated strings and what have you.. That’s nice..
Capos: Kyser.
Cables: Lava guitars and George L’s on the board.
Picks: Dunlop Nylon .60 for acoustic, and Snarling Dogs Brain Picks for electric.. .73…. Thin of me I know.
Slide: Dunlop glass medium.
Board: Pedaltrain PT-2 with a Voodoo Labs PP2+
Mic: Shure Sm-57

 

 

AMPS

Vox AC15TBX
Favorite amp I’ve ever owned. Was fortunate enough to run across a British-made one, which is what the TB line is all about(even though the AC15 doesn’t have a top boost feature). Clarity and breakup-wise, this amp is night and day with the Chinese-made AC15CC1 I used to own. The reverb is also a huge improvement. Anyways, running an Alnico Blue speaker in it.. what else?! Sounds great paired with my tele and good with the humbuggies for sure. And overall, gotta love the Vox chime and such.

Fender Pro Junior
Not much to say about this guy. Great little amp, got it for super cheap from Craig. Volume knob and tone knob. Done. It’s a little beast.

 

 

PEDALBOARD
(in order of chain)

JHS Count Wah-Cula
A wah pedal, but in more typical stompbox form– which is a worship player’s dream come true because you can get ‘fixed wah’ sounds and take up way less real estate. This is the second such wahs I’ve had, and let’s just say this one’s working out well. You can find Josh and the JHS guys at www.jhspedals.com.

Boss TU-2
Keeps me in tune. Insta-mute too. Insta-mute-and-tune too (lifesaver).

Ibanez TS-9(w/ JHS Strong-Mod)
Great classic tubescreamer tones but with more punch and clarity. tubescreamers get bashed a lot nowadays because they’re not transparent enough and so on, but there’s a reason why they’re the tried and true overdrive sound!

This1smyne Touch Drive
As much as I said what I just said, I’ve got this. One of the better ‘transparent’ overdrives out there from what I’ve played. Always gritty with lots of clarity, and lots of dynamics. Versatile drive for sure. Find Dan and his incredible work at www.this1smyne.com.

JHS Klone
Can’t say enough about this pedal. Great great great drive. The base of my sound, really. I use mainly low-gain sounds and stack the other two on top to give me my various rhythm and lead sounds. Hard to see this going anywhere anytime soon!

Ernie Ball Volume
Nothing too complicated here. Mainly use it for volume swells.

MXR Carbon Copy
Great analog delay. Version 2. I’ll probably spend the rest of my life giving various Deluxe Memory Man’s a try, but the CC will always be a great ‘fallback’, if it’s even that. Analog delays are a must for me now, which is funny because about a year ago I couldn’t understand their practical use at all. In reality, there’s a lot they can be used for. I use the CC sometimes for rhythmic/percussive delays if I know the exact timing, but otherwise for untimed delays that fill space. Also, it’s an always-on pedal for volume swells.

My absolute favorite setting is an untimed (although 85-90 BPM’s seems to be a really good place to be) delay medium-low on the mix and with a decent amount of repeats. This gives you a really nice wash behind picking chords and doesn’t get in the way even when you strum big chords for a chorus or something. Maybe the best part is sliding between chords and getting the delay effect on that. Nice.

Boss DD-20
Perhaps my favorite pedal. Definitely way overlooked in the world of ridiculously cool $500 delays nowadays. Great sounding delay with an all-analog dry signal path and a decent feature set (presets, decent tweakability, BPM readout, external tap, etc.). I run an external tap on this.

Right now, I have a quarter note tape delay setting, a quarter note reverse delay, a dotted eighth analog setting, a dotted eighth mod setting (my favorite), and the necessary dotted eighth digital setting. I probably use delay too much. Oh well.

TC Electronic Hall of Fame
Recent acquisition for me. I had this one before and didn’t give it a fair go, but have it back now and giving it a whirl with the RV-5 to try out stacking reverbs. I’m loving it so far– some really neat sounds. I like the Hall of Fame for its bigger sounds: the ‘church’ setting and the ‘hall’ are good, and the “Toneprint” feature is innovative to say the least. Sweet.

Boss RV-5
My favorite reverb. I keep it on the modulate setting, which is absolutely precious. That sounds weird. But oh well, it’s precious. Anyways, my go-to reverb sound. ‘Time’ is dimed, ‘tone’ all the way down’ and ‘mix’ varies according to need. This, the DD-5, and the DD-20 are some of Boss’ finest pedals.

Phewph. Believe it or not, that was the ‘quick’ run-down version. In future posts, we’ll explore more about pedal chains, thinking behind which effects (effectology!), and some “steps” to skip in getting gear so you don’t have to waste your time and money. And a lot more. There’s always a lot with this gear stuff.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 12/26/2011 3:11 pm

    Love my Klon Klone! Good folks over there. Not to plug myself but check out the artwork on mine if you have a second.

  2. 12/26/2011 3:16 pm

    Also, we are both asian worship leaders. Shout out!

  3. 02/01/2013 8:06 pm

    Glad your loving the stuff!

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