TitleThumb-01 Logo

Home Bio Photos Gigs Contact Info

Gear & Setup

Black_Strat 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 two Fender 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 Squier has 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.
Cream Strat

PRS Torero

Guitars run through an Audio Technics wireless system into a BOSS GT-6 effects unit.  This runs out to my backline which is 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. 


The 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 MDX4400 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 stereo 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 12s.
Vocals run from a Shure SM58 into an ART Studio V3 preamp, through compressor then into the desk which feeds a Digitech Studio Quad 4 multi effects unit, returning effected sound via a channel on the XRF. Monitoring is a Torque powered wedge monitor.


Backing Band

My '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 I wish 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 regardless of what I’m doing. 

This makes things like extra audience sing-a-long choruses impossible to put in on the fly but it can be done with some prearrangement. I have several versions of some songs with various additional choruses and lead sections so I can pick which version I perform depending on how the gig is going.

Wedge Monitor

The main ‘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 dancing on foot pedals for me. In fact except for when I manually operate the wah-wah I 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 that are changed up to 14 or 15 times. All via MIDI and exactly when I want them.

The Quad 4 is set up for MIDI control in much the same way - I can add delays, reverbs, choruses, and other effects as I need them again without manually switching anything. For example in Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' I pick 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 me. 

I hope that gives you a little insight into my set-up.


Document made with Nvu Karl Rose, 2009