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Many of you are in pursuit of perfect tone because instead of success, riches, or a year supply of assorted jams and preserves, the only thing that fills that aching void in your soul is growling distortion, sparkling cleans, and sustain for days... or if you're me – the sound of a cement truck getting hit by a tornado.
I run two amps currently. The first is a late 80’s Fender Super 60 that I found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It had been cracked open a few times and was loaded with some NOS tubes and some funky red tolex. All in all, it seems like Fender was going through some dark times and decided to make a Mesa-esque amp. They did not succeed. So, I got the amp for cheap. To be fair, it has a ton of low end. This amp handles my octave signals (EHX Micro POG) and the majority of the dirt. It's not a “classic fender” sound but it for some reason creates the type of ruckus I like.
Amp number 2 is a 70’s Fender Twin. This silver-faced sweetheart is one that I borrowed from my drummer (and now I pray he forgets he owns it). Great highs and mids with that beautiful chime that it's known for and, oh yeah, gorgeous reverb. I keep this channel relatively clean, and it houses my delays and echoes. The bright switch is usually on and, though this does have the master volume “pop out” function, I don’t use it.
This is the least consistent part of my rig, but currently here's the mix up – I start with a Boss TU2 then a Micro POG and the signal is divided from there. The Super 60 Chain goes this way:
1. EHX MicroPOG. This I use 1 of 2 ways – the first is like an organ (sub octave and high octave a bit cranked), and the second is stacked with fuzz because it adds a lot of meat to simple riffs and helps the fill the space.
2. EHX Big Muff Pi. Big chassis, it's massive sustain and velvety chaos. I keep this one set for my wide range in my tele. The tone knob is pushed a bit more so it will cut better.
3. Wren and Cuff Tall Font Russian. This thing is awesome – versatile and powerful – a great rendition of the classic big green Russian muffs I have this with the volume cranked for the bridge of my tele (when my bass player hasn’t stolen it).
4. EHX Soul Food. I use this as a treble boost to help my fuzz cut when necessary and to regulate possible volume drops from my fuzzes. I keep the dirt dialed back, the treble and volume cranked.
5. Keeley Modded Boss TR2. I like mods. Keeley does a fine job with this one – especially the volume boost. It brings that chain to a tremo-licious end.
The Twin Reverb Chain is a bit more fun. It goes to from the dry out of the EHX POG so no additional octaves make it that way and the yellow brick road begins to my silver-faced Oz:
1. JHS Superbolt. Add this marvelous lo-fi Supro-y goodness to my bright signal when necessary.
2. Modded Way Huge Aqua Puss. For that analog-y warm delay. I had an expression jack added and a non-latching footswitch made from a tangerine candle (not kidding, it smells great). Basically when you push the button it instantly causes the pedal to self-oscillate as long as the button is held down.
3. Boss Space Echo. I mean there's not much to say – a lush echoey wash of goodness...really it's just a fun pedal to mess with.
4. EHX LPB1. I like having a volume boost at the end of my chain particularly because it can add just a bit more when I see fit. It's also very helpful if I’m switching pickups on my Tele and yes, yes I did color on it with a sharpie like a child. I’m not proud, but what’s done is done. For cabling, I use assorted Lava patches, a red Vox coiled cable and a sea foam green Lava coiled cable.
I use two guitars, both of them strong independent women:
1. AUNT B. She is a Telecaster Custom style I put together with an Allparts “baseball bat” 50’s style neck that is unfinished, vintage style tuners, and a Kluson bridge with brass saddles. For pickups I have a powerful Lollar Regal “wide range” pickup in the neck and some weirdly hot ceramic cheapo pick up in the bridge I don’t know why it just sounds good. Being a bit out of control on stage and being a bit of a wiley strummer I had the 3-way switch moved down to what was the hole for the bridge tone knob then had the controls changed to Neck Vol, Bridge Vol, Master tone. She’s dressed in a natural finish and strung up with 11’s.
2. DEBBIE HARRY. Yes, I know this one’s not blonde but the name has been given and it would be weird to go back and change it. This sweetheart is a 97’ Epiphone Riviera in Carbon sparkle with a Frequensator bridge and vintage style tuners. Something about this guitar is just great, very vibey and resonant. Sometimes you just get a guitar that feels great and this one just does. Debbie is going under the knife soon and is getting some new pickups installed – a Lollar El Rayo in the neck and and a Lollar Imperial Low Wind in the bridge. She’s also set up with 11’s.
For picks, I’m particularly fond of purple gators and the green tortex picks. Now you know what to get me for the holidays. You can hear this rig (or at least a version of it) with my cheapo rock band Kinda Good. We’re not great but we sure are loud. If you made it to the end I’m impressed...it took me a couple tries to read this myself. Most of all, Thanks.
Chicago Music Exchange
Silas is a Customer Service representative at Chicago Music Exchange and plays in the band Kinda Good. Check them out on Bandcamp at http://kindagood.bandcamp.com/
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