ALEX CHADWICK - CME GENERAL MANAGER
Gretsch Broadkaster & Carstens Black Flag, ohh my!!! CME General Manager, Alex "100 Riffs" Chadwick talks about a few of his favorite things in this episode of CME Staff Picks!
Gretsch 6609TG Broadkaster
Why? Sexy tortoise pickguard, beefy Fulltron pickups, flawlessly stable tune-o-matic bridge, silky Bigsby trem... the list goes on for days. This thing bridges my gap between Strat and Les Paul perfectly, with just the right amount of controllable feedback when I need it. Plus for a slightly heavier guy having a bigger guitar is always a good look; its the guitar equivalent of wearing a heavy coat. Thanks Gretsch!
Carstens Black Flag
Why? It fucking rules! That and my 1971 Marshall 1959 are my two main amps, but the Black Flag gets all the love these days and not just because its smaller and I'm older (and lazier). It sounds massive, the tone is punchy and complex with plenty of bite when you need it, and it breaks up at just the right time. It doesn't hurt that Brian Carstens is a lovely human being and the amp is 100% handmade by the man himself. Let that long hair fly, baby!
Zvex Double Rock
Why? The OG Box Of Rock is my favorite distortion pedal, and the Double Rock is just two of them together at last! You can set either switch to function as a boost or a distortion which is tremendously useful, but more than that it just sounds really damn good. None of that "transparent", "buttery", "low-fat" nonsense, this is some full-fat Greek yogurt right here. This box will set your hair on edge and your amp on fire, its a ballsy rawk machine that doesn't get anywhere near the kudos it deserves (that goes for the original BofR as well).
Universal Audio Apollo Twin
Why? Because getting this interface completely changed my approach to music. The Unison preamps are legit world-class pre's; you can absolutely make a "real" recording with this box that costs less than $1k, and you can do it at home in your underwear (or no underwear if that's your thing, no judgement). UA's software suite is unparalleled and they give you a "greatest hits" bundled with the Twin, which is the perfect place to start your recording journey. For us guitar-bound David Gilmour wannabe's the greatest thing about the Twin is the ability to go direct into the guitar input and run the Unison preamp into their insanely accurate recreations of classic amps (Marshall, Fender, Ampeg, and even more modern offerings like Friedman) and they all sound amazing. I grew up in the 90's when modelers were just coming out and each new release was a buzz of excitement followed immediately by crushing disappointment (looking at you Fender Cyber Twin and every Line 6 amp from my childhood), so I tried this thing with let's say "healthy skepticism", and I'll be damned if it didn't blow my mind how incredibly accurate it sounds. The Plexi in particular is astonishingly good, I use it all the time for recording and just to play through at home because why not? The Twin is also expandable through ADAT for 8 more inputs so you can do full band recording if you want to, its a fantastic unit all around and is the center of my home rig.
Chicken Picks Badazz 2.0mm
Why, just why? Everyone starts naturally with a guitar, then an amp, pedals, pickups, strings, straps, leather pants, band managers, lighting rigs, etc., and somewhere twelve or thirteen more steps down the ladder you'll find "picks". Its often overlooked but the choice of pick is crucial to the tonality of your instrument; I would say at least as important as your choice of string but possibly as important as the pickups themselves. Once I discovered this magical pick by chance at a certain trade show in Anaheim, CA (thanks California Cannabis Conference) it has been the only thing I use, and I've never looked back. Similar to how a bone nut (and bone saddle on an acoustic) will make a guitar sound and feel more "solid" and have more ring and sustain these picks will give your strike a more solid attack, making each note feel bigger and more powerful. It brings out harmonics I could never achieve with other brands, and even though 2mm is pretty thick the striking edge is perfectly beveled for just the right attack. Worth every penny! (endorsement please!)