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June 27, 2014

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CME Rig Review: Matt Kashuda

My goal with my current rig is just to create a dynamic, articulate wall of sound, whether I am running it with a ton of fuzz or sparkling clean.

The first part of my rig is the amplifiers: I run a dual amplifier setup, a Dr Z. Mazerati and and a Dr Z. Maz 18 Reverb, with both heads running into a custom 2x12 cabinet and routed to each speaker. I have both amps engaged at all times and this creates some really nice textures and gives me a gigantic sound that covers a lot of ground. I love the Mazerati for brighter tones, and it really helps to cut through the mix, while the Maz 18 gives me a rounder, fatter sound for the midrange and low end. Combined together, I get a very warm, full spectrum of sound that just sounds massive and very 3D.


I love Dr Z amps first for the sound quality, from sparkling glassy clean to huge thick syrupy overdriven tones, these can do everything. I also love how versatile they are, especially when playing with pedals. I have my pedalboard routed straight into the front of both amps via a Radial ABY box, and each pedal sounds like it is a part of the amplifiers. I can cover just about every bit of ground with my Zs, from classic rock covers, modern indie sounds, to crushing walls of gain with the original band that I play in. We play some very heavy, textural music and my Zs pull it all together to allow every detail to shine through.


My pedalboard consists of a few delays, reverbs, overdrives, fuzz, and the Digitech Whammy 5. My signal starts off with the Korg Pitchblack tuner, which is a total workhorse, bonehead simple tuner that handles low tunings really well. After the tuner, I use a variety of gain stages for different sounds, but my main drive sounds come from my Earthquaker Devices Hoof fuzz. This fuzz is my favorite because of how responsive the "shift" and "tone" knobs are. You can dial it in to create a huge, muffy vintage type sound, or a tighter, bass heavy distortion type sound. I mostly have this dialed in for a round, slightly tighter distortion type sound, but still has plenty of low end and harmonic content and really stands out in the mix, especially compared to a lot of other fuzzes that just get buried in with the bass and drums. For an extra edge and attack, I have my Electro Harmonix Soul Food, which is a super affordable way to get into the elusive Klon range of sounds. This pedal is really uncanny in how close it gets to the original design, which i've compared directly side by side. I have mine set as a slightly bright boost, that adds extra attack and volume to my already dirty signal, or also just to add a little grit to my clean passages. I also run the Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret mk III, mostly as an "always on" preamp to shape and thicken up my sound when i'm using my Tele. This pedal is amazing in how amp-like it is and the three band EQ is such a great feature to fine tune your sound.

After my gain stages, I run a variety of delays and reverbs, including a few Strymons that I picked up used on My favorite out of this section is my Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master, which combines a great delay and a great reverb into one pedal. I have it set moderately low, but it provides a great ambience and depth to my clean sound, or for more washy space sounds. Rounding out my pedalboard is my secret weapon, the Xotic EP Booster. This is another "always on" pedal that I have set to about 10 o'clock and just really warms up my signal and gives it an extra "oomph", really just beefing up my signal. I can't live without it.

For my guitars, my number one is a Gibson Les Paul Traditional gold top. This guitar is like wooden thunder. It has a massive amount of low end and midrange and just really sings, clean or dirty. There is just enough top end sparkle too, for added articulation. I'm a Les Paul guy all the way and I coudlnt' live without this guitar. It's bone stock and sounds incredible for my sound. My number 2 is a custom Tele set up Esquire style. This thing is beat to hell and just sounds awesome. It's one of the most resonant and lively guitars I've ever played, and I knew it was for me the first time I picked it up. This has got a Lollar pickup in the bridge and brass saddles.

Rounding out my rundown, I use Dunlop Tortex Jazz 1mm picks, and D'addario strings, nickel wound 11s on my Les Paul and pure nickel 10s on my Tele. As far as cables, I've got my pedalboard exclusively wired with Lava cables, and Divine Noise instrument and speaker cables. I can't recommend Lava and Divine Noise enough, as they are dead silent and I don't lose any tone or volume over longer lengths of cable.

Thanks for checking out my rig review!

Matt Kashuda
Matt Kashuda