||Guitars & Amp
My main guitar is a Paul Reed Smith Torero, a lovely guitar
to play. Solid Mahogany body with a flamed maple top, a straight
through-the-body neck giving unfettered access to all 24 frets and
great sustain. Sounds fantastic as well courtesy of a pair EMG pickups.
A Floyd Rose locking tremelo keeps tuning under control. I also have
Stratocasters both 'MIJ'. The black one
is a “Squier” from '85 and the arctic white regular
strat is an '88. Both are now becoming collectors items due to the high
quality, in fact Dan Smith the then Director of Marketing for Fender
USA said about the Japanese made Fenders "Everybody
came up to inspect them and the guys almost cried,
because the Japanese product was so good - it was what we were having a
hell of a time trying to do." They are already
worth twice what I paid for them 20+ years ago!! The
twin humbuckers and a more solid body (less electronics cutaway) than
the regular Strat which increases sustain and sounds 'darker' making
it great for a dirty rock sound. The regular Strat has that
cleaner classic 'Strat' sound used by so many great guitarists.
Guitars run through an
Audio Technics wireless system into a
BOSS GT-6 effects unit. This runs out to my backline
a Marshall JCM600 head and a Marshall C410A cabinet. From the Marshall
head I take a pre-power amp DI with vintage speaker emulation and feed
a channel on the main mixer to give a little guitar out front. It helps
the guitar sit in the mix a little better.
The JCM is a relatively recent
addition to my line up. Prior to that I was using
a Laney Pro
Linebacker 100 watt head a very, very LOUD amp
- as in Spinal
Tap 'goes to 11' loud. Not to be confused with the original
'Linebacker' models which didn't have the DPC valve simulation
circuitry. I now use that as a spare.
The Marshall has a better
tone that you can only really get from valves, not to mention what is
probably the most famous of all names for guitar amps.
I use what is known as
the "4-cable method" for connection from the GT-6 to the Marshall. The
advantage with this method is that I can use the JCM preamp for some of
my sounds pre effects and then if I wish bypass it and run a simulated
preamp from the BOSS GT-6. I'd highly recommend any guitarists running
an effects unit with it's own effects loop to try this set up.
It really is versatile and relatively easy to set up.
mixer is a Peavey XR800F, this is actually a powered mixer but I
don't use the power amp, unless of course I have a main power amp
breakdown. The mixer outs go to a pair of channels on a Behringer
compressor and then on to a Behringer CX2310 Crossover unit. Bass
signal goes to a Warrior SB600 power amp, while the mids and highs are sent to aAlto Mac 2.3
power amp cabaple of 1000 Watts RMS per side.
Bass amp outputs to a pair of EV SB122 sub-woofers and the higher frequencies run to a pair of Wharedale Titan
from a Shure SM58 into an ART Studio V3 preamp, through compressor then into the desk which
Digitech Studio Quad 4 multi effects unit, returning effected sound via
a channel on the XRF. Monitoring is a Torque powered
'backing band' is a Roland Sonic Cell, a 128 voice hardware
synthesizer capable of MIDI file playback from a USB stick.
Songs are prearranged into set lists
ordered as required. It’s
possible to have up to 99 songs per stick arranged into as many sets as
and each song can be in multiple sets if desired. If 99 songs
isn’t enough then
I have to change USB sticks!!
There are pros
and cons of playing to MIDI files. The
biggest drawback is the fact that the song structure is rigid. If I
miss coming in
with vocals or come in too early there’s no changing anything
on the fly as
there is with a band, the chorus is coming in on bar 12 or wherever
of what I’m doing.
things like extra audience sing-a-long choruses
impossible to put in on the fly but it can be done with some
have several versions of some songs with various additional choruses
sections so I can pick which version I perform depending on how the gig
‘pro’ of using the MIDI files is the ability to
make full use of MIDI. Both the GT-6 and the Quad 4
are MIDI’ed into the Sonic
Cell so that I can start and stop songs via a footswitch but better
still I can
program patch changes for both processors when I want them. No more
foot pedals for me. In fact except for when I manually operate the
don’t touch my guitar effects processor at all, and I use
somewhere in the
region of 20 different patches in a set. Some songs have 4 or 5 sounds
changed up to 14 or 15 times. All via MIDI and exactly when I want them.
Quad 4 is set up for MIDI control in much the same way - I can add
reverbs, choruses, and other effects as I need them again without
anything. For example in Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb'
out the words that need repeats and add a delay which I then turn off
for the next line. All without touching a button, pedal or dial. That
makes a huge difference to the overall sound which without MIDI
would be impossible unless I had a sound engineer to switch them for
gives you a little insight into my set-up.
Karl Rose, 2009