Gear

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 find that I prefer a smaller bodied guitar and one that has medium size frets. The action needs to be very low, almost so there is none at all, and the guitar also has to have a tremolo system and impeccable tuning.

I have found that the best tremolo system for me is the Steinberger R-Trem. Double ball end strings make a massive difference and the fine tuners ratio on the bridge allow for very accurate adjustments. What I also like is the fact that, unlike a Floyd Rose system, you can adjust the individual string heights with the R-Trem. Why don’t all floating trems have this capabilty? I have largely used headless guitars over the years and that’s where I currently find myself.

So at the moment I’m using a Hohner ‘The Jack’ headless guitar in Black. This model comes with the first generation R-Trem that doesn’t have the arm tension screw behind the trem socket. As a result, the trem arm swings around freely. This means that if it’s not in your style of playing to have the arm ‘hang loose’ then you will need to upgrade the whole tremolo. Luckily, this is now a quick fix as HeadlessUSA.com sell their own J Custom tremolo. An exact replica of the R-Trem. You can see from the photo below that this is what I’ve installed on my guitar. Unlike the Hohner G3T, which is very similar in hardware and wiring etc. the body shape of The Jack is Strat-like. I find it much more comfortable to play than the G3T.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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