I am at heart a Fender guy. Strats and Tele's get the job done. I much prefer the tone of single coil pickups
because to me they have a "sound". A strat sounds like a strat - a tele sounds like a tele. I love the twangy brightness and presence.
I have a PRS SE which plays great and offer incredible value for money compounded by the fact that I got it insanely cheap on eBay. But the humbuckers (indeed any humbucker) sounds a tad bland
for my taste.
This is an exciting time in guitar world. Manufacturers can make very, very good guitars quite cheaply thanks to CNC wood routers. Fenders prices are very reasonable.
Gibson prices are crazy. You are paying money to have a name on the headstock. No more than that. I tend to use as cheap and effective guitars as I can
get away with because I beat the hell out of them and even lose them from time to time. I do not want to be carrying around a family heirloom
on some of the gigs that I do! But that does not mean I have to compromise on playability, looks or sound. So - here is my guitar list in order of priorty.
1. My main black Stratocaster. - This is a Fender Floyd Rose Mexican Strat. I have replaced the scratchplate so as to remove the humbucker and upgrade the wiring. I am constantly
changing pickups. At time of writing I am using some pickups from Russian pickup maker Pribora - The Voodoo set which for some reason are very inexpensive but sound great.
I have swapped them for far more expensive pickup sets and to my ears they sound great. Important to get the right pickup height though.
I love Floyd Rose. You can do stuff on legato notes that you just cannot do on a standard bridge. This guitar is my workhorse. LINK
2. Black Telecaster. - I love Teles. I use this on the bridge pickup for jazz gigs. By far the best jazz sound I have ever come across.
On this particular example the finish was really poor and all the edges have chipped. I patched them up "badly" with nail polish. Other than replacing the scratchplate
for a cooler cream colour (original was brilliant white) this guitar is stock. LINK
3. Taylor 314ce acoustic. - I have a love-hate relationship with this guitar. This is by far the most expensive guitar I own. I use this guitar every day.
The thing with Taylors is that the play really fast. Almost like an electric guitar. You can fly about and play things that other acoustics put the brakes on and that
is fun. When I bought it I did not know much about acoustic guitars (or good ones at least) so this one was a shot in the dark. After a while I realised that the
tone was out of balance. The bass strings where much louder that the top strings. Not much you can do about that. However, since that time (a few years ago now) the sound of this guitar has changed.
It is definitely "played in" and the balance is better. I have had to replace the troublesome pickup system which was frustratingly expensive. UK service
at the time was beyond bad. Do not know what it is like now. LINK
4.Squier Vintage Modified Bass VI. - Oh how I love this guitar. I use it for bass guitar on jazz gigs. Love it - love it - love it!! A joy to solo on.
Cannot understand why you don't see more people playing these. LINK
5. My second black Stratocaster. - This is a Roland Ready Strat. Mexican build. This guitar has the best sounding Strat pickups I have ever heard. Various guitar
techs have agreed with that position. As a result I will not touch the electrics on this guitar in case I screw it up. After the Floyd Rose, the bridge tremolo feels primitive.
Would like to upgrade to a better standard bridge. Have had various Roland Synth floor units but never used one on a gig. This is my main spare guitar if
Strat one goes down! LINK
6. PRS Santana SE (Black). - My token humbucker guitar. Plays lovely. Just not keen on those humbuckers. Its a Drudy thing! LINK
7. Washburn HB36K. - A recent aquisition. I used to own a sunburst 335 which I bought NEW in LA in 1982 for $600. It went out of the back of a van on a gig in Spain.
It looks stunning and plays lovely. Went up a gauge on the strings. An eBay purchase. Second hand value on these guitars is not great - which is bonkers considering
the price of a Gibson 335. I would stick my neck out and say that this guitar is every bit as good. Despite the humbuckers. I look forward to taking it out on some jazz gigs.
8. Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass - My studio bass. Never done a gig on this but would love to. Perfectly servicable studio bass. Sounds great and looks nice. A more discerning bass player
might say different but it works for me. LINK
9. Ovation nylon strung guitar. - Gorgeous. Bought new in 1982. Top is slightly cracked but sounds lovely. I have done so many sessions on this
guitar because it sounds so great. Pickup sounds a bit noisey now. Would like to sort it out. Will never ever sell this guitar. LINK
At heart I am a Marshall and Fender guy! I mean, virtually 100% of all the greatest guitar music was recorded or played on those two brands.
So it works for me. Having said that, on a recent trip to Dubai, the company hired in a Boogie Mk5 and I was completely blown away. So maybe
when I can find a few grand to spare, I might well add one of those to the collection. But for now...
1. Marshall TSL 100 heads. - These amps work fine for me. The three channels are very versatile and the clean channel is every bit as good as my Fender Twin.
I have two of these. Being valve amps, I always carry a spare. They have a good reverb and the effects loop works well. It is slightly toppier than I would like
but that is not a deal breaker. I use it with a Marshall 1935 2x12. I have swapped out the Celestion 75 watt speakers for a pair of 100 watt Celestions.
This is because I have noticed the bottom end dropping off slightly at high volume. My awesome amp repair guy Mike Still, has replaced many of the components on the main board
with military grade components and every time I get it back from him it sounds just that little bit better. I beat the hell out of these amps! LINK
2. Fender Pro Tube Twin. - Love Twins. Clean sound is great. Filth channel is fine for my purposes (I never use loads of gain). Oh, and it is super heavy. I mean SUPER heavy.
Use this on general purpose gigs and jazz gigs. Loads of headroom. LINK
3. Roland AC60. - A general purpose acoustic amp. Great for solo and low volume jazz gigs. The thing I like about this amp is the fact that it is so
well thought out. Inputs and outputs make it a very flexible little amp. It also is very light and portable. This amp gets alot of use. LINK
4. Fender Red Knob Evil Twin. - Love Twins. This one is killer! However, after thousands of gigs it is kind of falling apart. The cabinet
is about to turn to saw dust and the rexine is shot. But AMAZING clean sound. I don't take it on gigs any more as it is too fragile. Has an annoying
problem of the jack sockets being PCB mounted and directly screwed to the front panel. Soldered joints need nearly constant repair. Best sounding amp
I have ever owned. LINK
5. Mesa Boogie Mk5. - A small and undescribably loud valve amp. It would take a lifetime to fully understand the full functionality of this amp. Its not like a Twin, where it almost does not
matter where the controls are set, it sounds great. You have to work with this amp to get the best out of it, but when it does, holy smokes! It is incredibly heavy and with its flight case its a monster. But I love it.
1. Boss CS3 Compressor. - I am a compressor junky. I have been through SO many compressors and always come back to the CS3.
The purpose of a compressor is to limit dynamic range, a by product of that is that it also creates sustain. It gives you notes "length".
That is why I use a compressor to create long notes with a clean sound. No other compressor I have found does that as well as the CS3.
It adds a glassy sheen to the sound which you either like or you don't. I like it as it gives the sound a sort of "presence". My lead gain sounds
consist on the TSL 100 on channel 2 with low gain using the CS3 to create the desired legato sustain. To creat similar amounts of sustain you
would have to crank the gain right up and then your sound goes out the window. For Steely Dan type lead sounds it is perfect. For me, this pedal is priceless.
Love it. LINK
2. TC Electronic Repeater . - This is a lovely clear sounding delay pedal with an all important tap tempo switch. It runs at a higher voltage (12v) than a normal pedal so
needs an appropriate power supply. Annoyingly there are some buttons (killdry, spillover) quite close to the bypass button
which somtimes get hit with my big boots. Other than that, nice. LINK
3. T-Rex Fuel Tank Classic. - Great flexible power supply providing different voltages if necassary. LINK
4. BOSS TE-2 Tera Echo. - My secret weopen. Makes everything sound massive. Use this all the time. Crazy sound, you would not think it would work - but it does. Way way my favourite effects pedal
5. BOSS ME 80. Multi effects box. Love it. I use if for fly gigs when I cant take my effects board. Even has the Tera Echo on it! Conveniently works off batteries for emergencies.
this pedal is like a Swiss Army Knife. It has one of everything on it. I also use it as a preamp for my bass rig. My ME 80 gets alot of use. LINK
6. BOSS SY 300. - Guitar Synth. Carzy good. I will try to use this more and more. You don't need a pickup to use it. I cannot understand why everyone isn't using this.
You can transform your guitar into wonderful new sounds. Wildly enthusiastic about it. Watch this space! LINK
7. Biyang X Drive. - The best sounding overdrive pedal I have come across. Not that I use them much. It sits on my pedal board in case a hire amp has no gain channel. Picked it up on eBay for virtualy nothing.
Its cheap and chips and sound great! LINK