Here’s a run-down on the guitar gear I used at C3 Church Monash:
My main guitar is a Gibson SG Standard, my other guitar for backup or more fancy work is an Ibanez JS100. I love playing the SG for any style of music, you will find them in any genre. I can get a full aggressive tone from the bridge pickup and a mellow but still clear and detailed tone from the neck. The pickups are standard Gibsons – Alnico II 490R in the neck position and a hotter Alnico V 498T in the bridge. Both are humbucking.
The Ibanez was my first good guitar and would really benefit from dropping some DiMarzio pickups in it (probably the PAF Pro and Fred like Satch) since the guitar itself is quite good. The standard Ibanez Axis pickups are okay but nothing special. But it does have a locked floating tremlo which is mad fun.
I have one main amp, a Laney VH100R and plug it into a Marshall 1922 2×12 cabinet. The Laney is an all-valve 100 watt head which is super versatile and super configurable. It has channels A and B with a separate eq for each.
Channel A is designed to stay clean as far as possible for maximum head room. Then you can switch over to the channel A drive mode which has control for preamp gain and poweramp volume. Very cool when you want some grit in your tone at lower volumes.
Channel B has drive and volume controls with enough gain for a saturated overdrive. Then you can switch to the drive mode which has a gain control for adding more gain to channel B. Here you have as much drive as anyone would want! You can get a nice compressed, sustaining lead tone.
The Marshall 1922 has 2 Celestion G12T-75 speakers which are really important in delivering the sound Im going for. The 1922 cabinet is a compact version of the 1936 which I have never heard, but apparently its even better than the 1922.
Firstly – the day I made the jump from using multi-effects processors such as my Boss ME-30 to individual high quality pedals, was a good one. I do love to use interesting effects such as harmonisers, phase, whammy, tremolo etc… and when I gave up the effects processor I gave up most of these effects (until I can buy them in pedal form anyway). But it was worth it for the tone. I never used them for overdrive or compression, I ran it through the effects loop in serial using the amp for overdrive. Even still, the difference is a much stronger, clearer, richer sound now that the main signal is all analogue and travels less distance.
Now I run just a few pedals which I am really happy with, and have plans for others in the future when I have the cash for them. For now I have the core sounds and finally have them all in a nice pedal case. After much designing to build and looking around for already-built solutions, I settled on a road case for a mixing desk! It was much cheaper than all the guitar-purposed stuff, was the right dimensions and is all the quality I was after.
George Dennis Wah
I bought this in ’97, its a Czech made optical wah which uses a light resistant diode instead of a potentiometer when rocking the pedal. This means there is never any scratchyness since there is no physical contact between the pedal and the electronics which is very cool. It’s more subtle than the proverbial cry baby wah sound which I like for high gain applications especially for some of those high notes that might normally take your head off in the treble position at high volumes.
I use this first in my signal chain because it is NOT true bypass. I usually run a fairly long lead from guitar to pedal board an so the buffer in the wah is a positive here to keep the signal strong.
Second in the signal chain is my Korg Pitchblack tuner, an excellent true-bypass tuner. In my opinion it is more accurate than the TC Electronics Polytune (and more reliable too) and is very visible on a bright or dark stage. Even the display is customisable. A great peace of gear.
Vox Duel Overdrive
There are some excellent guitar shops in Canberra. One of them, Davis Wheeler, let me play for hours at volume one day so I could find the right overdrive pedal. I’m a valve fan and tried a couple of valve pedals as well as some nice transistor pedals like the TS-9 an others. But none sounded like I wanted until I tried this discontinued pedal from Vox. It is a valve pedal with two separate channels which is perfect for what I wanted. And it sounds the business. Smooth, rich and versatile. If you get the chance to play one totally do it.
Stock standard distortion pedal which is pretty average. I usually have it unplugged, but sometimes use it for solos when I need lots of gain and the amp is not set up for it.
This is an amazing delay pedal. I was initially looking at Memory Man, Carbon Copy, Memory Lane etc… because these are all fantastic analogue pedals. But I decided on the TimeFactor for a few reasons – it has tap-tempo (very important), it has more than one programmable sound, can be midi controlled, has lots of different delay types, and sounds every bit as good as a true analogue pedal to my ears and to many other big name players. Im loving some of the sounds Im getting from the tape echo, and there’s heaps of parameters to get it sounding just the way you want. And being an Eventide product there’s plenty of weird and experimental things you can do with it, but it does straight up quality sounds brilliantly which is my preference. It is also step 1 in a grand plan to buy the Eventide ModFactor and PitchFactor pedals, a couple of expression pedals, and a midi controller to switch and set the tempo of all 3 pedals with one foot switch. Maybe even the Space pedal too.
I had a custom power supply made by Joseph Logsdon specifically to suit the Duel Drive and 3 Eventide Factor pedals as well as everything else that I have and will get in the future. At the time there weren’t really any power supply units on the market to support 3 Factor pedals. You plug a standard IEC cable into it and it works all over the world with the different voltages. He is a really cool guy and I recommend his work. A custom solution for cheaper than I could get from a shop. And you can get your own artwork on it if you send him a picture!
Check out the JS throught the rig: