Pat Metheny once remarked that he had worried, when on a date where he had to play on someone else’s gear, that he wouldn’t have ‘his sound’. What would he do without all his technology, and his own amp and guitar etc.? However, during the gig he found to his amazement that he sounded exactly like himself. Clearly then, your ‘sound’ is in your fingers, so all that’s needed is an instrument that will facilitate your technique in the most positive way possible. There are, however, certain demands that need to be met in order for this to happen. Here are mine…

  1. I find that I prefer a guitar with an action that is very low, almost to the point where there is none at all.
  2. The guitar also has to have a tremolo system.
  3. It must have impeccable tuning.

I really like Charvel guitars. They tick all the boxes for me – particularly with the compound radius which goes from 12-16″. So this is what I currently use: a Charvel Pro Mod San Dimas Style-2 HH FR in Trans Black Burst and Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH FR in Metallic Black.

I don’t use many effects, I guess I fall more in the jazz camp than the rock on that front. In fact I only use one multi-effects processor and that’s the Yamaha DG Stomp.


It’s quite an old piece of kit – 1990s. But it was developed with Allan Holdsworth and Frank Gambale, so it has got that stamp of credibility, but never mind that, it’s the best modeller I’ve heard.

I get my ‘synth-like’ guitar sound from the BOSS PS-6 Harmonist (blue pedal), set one 8ve up with a tiny amount of concert pitch and a massive amount of mids, it sounds very powerful – not like those horrible pitch-shift devices that try to imitate 12 strings. This has a wonderful sound that makes soloing much more fun; trumpet-like, more about the tone than the notes. Also below is the standard Boss TU-3 tuner and a Fender FVP-1 volume pedal, nice and sturdy.

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For recording, I use an Alesis Q49 for all MIDI keys, and a 2018 iMac, running MOTU Digital Performer 10.

More to come…