Guitars & Basses
Back row L to R:
1986 Steinberger XM2, 1995 Carvin LB76F fretless, 1995 Carvin LB76 doubleneck 6 string fretless/fretted, 1998 Carvin LB76 fretted, 2012 Ibanez AEB5FEBKN acoustic fretless.
Front row L to R
Custom Fender Stratocaster (Eric Johnson signature pickups, under construction), custom Ibanez RG6, 1998 Ibanez Universe UV777BK, custom 2001 Ibanez RG7321, 1992 Rickenbacker 620, 1980 Guild D-35.
Guitar Amplification & Effects
My live guitar rig has always been in rotation of gear, with one solid constant since 1997, and that's the Mesa/Boogie Mark III. The Mesa started out as a 1x12 combo that I soon rackmounted. There have been various incarnations of my rack setup, but what you see here has been pretty stable since about 2007.
The Mesa/Boogie Mark III is a Simul-Class "Blue Stripe." I know the amp is a late '80s model, but I'm uncertain as to the exact year. It is extremely conservatively rated at 75 watts. Let's just say that if there was an extra zero at the end of that power rating, you'd still believe it!
The current rackmount kit was custom constructed by Jim Ferretti. It has a distinct advantage over the stock rackmount kit in that it has a complete back panel with the fan mounted blowing directly across the tubes, and the front is a grill, so the air actually moves through it. I also was easily able to make a hole for the front footswitch cable to run to the back of the rack.
The amp is currently loaded with a complete set of JJs tubes (courtesy of EuroTubes) with KT88s in place of the EL34s for a little extra edge.
If the Mesa is the braun of the operation, the T.C. Electronics G-Major is the brain. It does all of my signal processing, plus, it's dual relays switch the Mesa's amp channels. I use everything the G-Major has to offer in my presets. I use the gate for all my distortion sounds, I use the EQ to dial in my tones, and I use all the digital effects where they are called for. I only wish it had an intelligent harmonizer function, and maybe a wah. But I'm not a big wah guy, so no big loss there. I absolutely love it's lush chorus effect (I'm a big chorus guy), and the ease of programmability. (I felt like I needed a degree to program the Lexicon MPX-1 in comparison!)
The Samson PowerBrite is a basic power conditioner, nothing fancy there. The rack is a custom built 6 space by Pearson Cases. I love that the rack is sturdy and wooden, yet lightweight. It's also a shallow rack. I didn't like the idea of a rack case that was half empty and half hanging off the edge of the cabinet. It's a formula for a falling rack. This rack fits perfectly on top of a 4x12 with little hangover, and it looks damn good too :)
In my live setup, I use a 1990's Ampeg V412C cabinet, loaded with Celestion G12T-75s. These are my favorite speakers to use with my amp. They just add this creamy midrange thing that just makes my amp sing. This setup coupled with a 2nd 4x12 with Celestion Vintage 30s is pure heaven. But I don't like the sound of the Vintage 30s by themself with my amp. The 75s sound better alone. This is ultimately the Ampeg version of a Marshall 1960 lead cabinet. I likey :)
I also use a Behringer FCB1010 when playing live. It's my standalone midi controller to control all of my presets at the touch of a button. I also use the dual expression pedals for parameter control of different effects. I like being able to use one pedal, the other, or both depending on the song. Lots of variations there.
My live bass rig is sort of always under construction. The current incarnation is subject to change, but I am running an MXR Micro Amp as a boost to even out the passive basses with the active ones. From there it goes to a JHS Pedals splitter.
One side of the split signal is for a clean sound, and is currently running through the Rocktron Chameleon for it's extensive Parametric EQ.
The other signal path is for dirty sound, and it is currently alternating between a Keeley modified Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer, and Rockbox Electronics Boiling Point and Baby Blues pedals. From there it goes to a Behringer Acoustic DI for EQ, notably sweepable mids.
From there both signals are merged into a Behringer Line Mixer. From there it is going back into the Hartke for power and final EQ sections (10 band graphic and low and high pass controls)
For my cabinets, I'm currently using classic Mesa/Boogie Diesel 2x10 & 1x15 cabinets. They have been rebuilt and customized to have white baffles, burgundy handles and corners, and all brass screws.They weigh a ton, but sound amazing! Currently the 2x10 is stock with freshly reconed Eden 150w drivers. The 1x15 is loaded with an Eminence Kappalite 3015.
Bass Amplification & Effects
I am proud to be endorsed by Kiesel/Carvin basses. I have played them off and on for over 20 years, and have been playing them exclusively since joining forces with Angel Vivaldi in 2007. I currently have the 3 Carvins shown above, and I'm in the works for some new fresh ideas and instruments. I am excited to be working with them, as they have drastically stepped up their already amazing options and workmanship. If you are looking to build your dream instrument, click the logo above and look no further. You will be as amazed as I am!