My collection consists of a number of instruments that I have collected over the years. Every one has a story.
Ibanez AF95. Was poking around and saw this sitting on the floor of a guitar shop at a ridiculously low price since someone had stripped the hole that the strap pin attaches to, leaving a small hole in an out of the way place. Otherwise immaculate, had to bring it home. Such a full sound, tons of harmonics that create some really cool feedback, and gobs of sustain. Strung with semi- flats, great for bluesy, jazzy melodic stuff.
Ibanez EWC30. Spalted maple, abalone trim. We were in Las Vegas on my birthday in 2008 and were debating which of the top restaurants to try for dinner. Walked into the Guitar Center that afternoon and saw this lovely creature sitting in the corner. Dropped the dinner money on this instead and ate at the buffet in the hotel for $25. Plays like a dream, great sound acoustically and plugged in as well. I use this for most acoustic guitar in recordings.
70’s Yamaha FG-210 12 string. Picked this up in Grade 8 for $60 second hand. Never play it enough, but great around a campfire.
Hamer Sunburst Quilttop. Quilted maple top, mahogany body, all abalone inlay. Made in China but beautifully put together and lovely to play. An eBay find, picked it up brand new in 2006.
1986 Kramer Baretta. After losing my first good guitar to thieves, I spent the insurance money and the rest of my life savings on this beauty brand new! EVH was promoting these at the time as “simply the best guitar money can buy” off the shelf. My main axe for 26 years, I’m inclined to agree. No muss, no fuss, perfectly intonated and always in tune!
1986 Kramer Pacer Deluxe. When I bought my Baretta I was torn between it and the Pacer, essentially the same body and neck but the first of the real “super strats”. Was fortunate to find this one a few years ago, which plays exactly like the Baretta but with more tonal options. Currently has 4 Seymour Duncan mini humbuckers (hot and cool rails) in it, but I have the stock pickups as well, and am planning on returning it to original.
ESP LTD MH-53. Picked this up so I’d have something with a maple neck and single coils, but added a Roland gk2a midi pickup and use it as a guitar synth now. HUGE frets, neck a tiny bit chunky for my taste, but a decent player overall.
Hot Rod #1. Started its life as a kit guitar my brother Brian gave me for my birthday. 4 cans of spray paint, $100 in upgraded electronics, and the neck off a Squier strat later, it’s a fun beater that plays pretty well. 3 mini humbuckers, great clean sounds, and a whole lotta mojo!
OLP MM5 5-string bass. Boxing Day score, $150 on sale. Classic stingray bright sound, narrow neck for a 5-string, which is nice to play. Good utility bass for recording, if I was using it live I’d probably upgrade the electronics to something with active EQ.
Hot Rod #2. A couple of years ago I spotted a 20th anniversary Squier affinity strat on Craigslist for 40 bucks, and couldn’t resist as the starting point for another project. Decided to go with the ’67 Camaro as an inspiration, and stripped it right down. Used gloss auto spray paint for the body and pick guard, stripped the neck down to natural finish. Found matching DiMarzio pickups, Air Norton in the neck, Fast Track 1 in the middle, Tone Zone in the bridge. Tons of fun to play, great tones for a shredfest!
Live I run a custom built head inspired by a classic wood panelled station wagon (“woody”) to hold my rack gear, which consists of a Carvin Quad-X (a great 4 channel tube preamp), a Rane SM26 Line mixer, and a Marshall 8008 Valvestate power amp.
This runs into a set of 4 single 12 inch speaker cabinets using 2 vintage early 60’s Jensens and 2 80’s Eminence that all came from old Fender cabs.
I add effects and midi control for channel switching with a Boss Gt-8 floorboard. All in all it’s a very solid sounding rig live with all the flexibility I need in terms of sound ranges.
At home I have a 1979 Roland JC-120 for when I’m not recording direct and just want to make a bit of noise.
For home recording hardware, I run through Behringer V-Amp Pro and Bass V-Amp Pro rack gear into Rane SM26 line mixers and a MOTU 2408 mk2, into a PC, and record with Cubase (currently running version 5).
Keyboard tracks I input via my old Korg M1 in midi, quantize to make up for my imperfect keyboarding, and then convert to audio back though the M1 hardware or a variety of VST softsynths.
Drums are either input using the M1 or an Alesis Control Pad, or using VST drum synths.
I also have one of my guitars set up with a Roland GK2 midi pickup for use with a GR-20 guitar synth.