Gear

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I believe that 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. I don’t use loads of effects, there’s too much coloration to the tone down that route. If the guitar is built well, with decent pickups, then you’re going to have a good tone. Effects can just get in the way of making a good sound with the hands.

I guess I go for more of a jazz tone at the end of the day; that ethos of plug in and play; let the fingers do the talking.

That said, I do like to have valves/tubes in the preamp stage and power amp stages of my setup. These are important to my sound. I like a glacial, clean, chorused tone with a small amount of gain to break things up a bit and the valves give it a coloration that I like.

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My current guitar (and I’ve owned a few…) is a Charvel Pro Mod DK24 in Okoume. I have no qualms about saying it is the best guitar I have ever owned. I love the natural wood finish, though it does pick up marks and dings like a small child. The neck is ebony and the whole build reeks of class and care.

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The Yamaha DG Stomp, below, in the rack case on the left. Developed by Allan Holdsworth w/ Yamaha, this is the main source of my sound. Great chorus effect and loads of EQ possiblities. I have the chorus depth on 10 but the rate on 0.3 !!

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I really like the  Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor (right of the DG Stomp) – used purely for the single 12ax7 valve coloration before running into the DG. A fantastic pedal. I use the Koch ATR-4502 all tube power amp (bottom of the rack). The best on the market and I have tried ALL of them!

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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.

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For monitoring the Charvel I have a pair of 10″ cabs that house the underrated Celestion Tube 10 speaker. A great little cone that suits my sound much better than the Vintage 30s et al… The Tube 10s are very similar in tone to the Celestion V-Type.

For recording the John Irvine Band albums, I use the compact and bijou Alesis Q49 for all MIDI keys, and a 2009 MacBook Pro, running the latest MOTU Digital Performer 9.

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