Electric Guitar Talk

I’ve been reconsidering my setup for the last two years or so and have made a number of changes. First and foremost, I’ve expanded the number of effects I use (though my sound is less electric than in my old prog/fusion days).

Of course, it makes sense to attach the little boxes to a pedalboard of some sort. After investigating commercial units (many of which were impressive), it was a conversation with guitarist Scott Henderson that inspired me to assemble this latest incarnation:

Matt's pedalboard (12/12/12)

Matt’s pedalboard (12/12/12)

This is modular, with the pedals fixed via velcro to two small narrow wooden boards that can be arranged relative to one another for convenience. This is the setup used for a single amp (usually the Lab L5) and has a BBE Boosta Grande in spot #1. For the two amp setup a Boss A/B switcher replaces the BBE.

Distortion / overdrive comes from an Arion Tubulator (a Screamer clone which I purchased for $24 new). Then it goes to the Boss volume pedal (which I use for volume control and volume swells), the Roto Choir, the Boss DD2 delay and the Boss RV-2 reverb. I use the reverb only for volume swells, usually along with the DD2 to expand the ambiance. The Roto Choir is mostly for chord work and swells — I am still sorting out my sound with this. The split board also travels really well, fitting into a suitcase along with cables and other gear, it doesn’t need a special case to fit just the board. I can also leave the smaller of the two boards at home home when I play straight-ahead jazz gigs without distortion (or amp switching).

Amps are as follows:

Matt's Lab amps

Lab (made by Moog, marketed by Gibson/ Norlin in 70s) are my standard. The small L3 is 60W, 1X12; the L5 (both on the bottom) are 100W+, 2X12. The L3 has been seeing a lot of duty, especially with smaller clubs and venues that mic the amps. These are transistor amps (not even one small tube) but they work and sound like a great tube amp — turn the channel vol up and master down and you got gain.  And the guitar is a 1975 Hagstrom Swede.

Strings are John Pearse nickel electrics, .010 set; picks are usually Dunlop Gator Grip 2.0mm; cables are by Noctumusic.

This is the basic setup — things can/do change. I’ll be bringing in an Option 5 Destination Overdrive II to see how that works. In a two-amp setup amp #1 has some gain/grind and gets a push from the Tubulator when needed. The amp #2 line goes to the volume pedal and continues thru the pedal sequence to a clean amp #2. Even with both L5s in tow, I no longer play at ear-wrenching volumes. Just enough to get the sound….

I hope this has answered some inquiries. One of these days I’ll discuss the old prog/fusion setup (10 classic pedals, Leslie, etc.).

See you next time!



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