I like to keep my gear simple. Less can go wrong that way. And I do 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 have loads of effects, but I do have valves 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.
Over the years I have owned many guitars: Steinbergers, Gibsons, Reverends, ESPs… the list goes on and on. But recently I got hold of what I think is the best guitar for me: a Charvel Pro Mod DK24. This one is in a wood called Oukume. It’s a beautiful thing. Aged ebony fretboard, compound radius up to 16, Floyd Rose, Seymour Duncans; all you could ask for in an axe.
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 !!
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!
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.
Underneath the rack, two 10″ cabs with the Celestion Tube 10 Speaker. An underrated speaker, very inexpensive, but fantastic; I have two of these for the stereo spread that I love. Here they are shown as a mini-stack – L on top, R on bottom.
I use an Alesis Q49 for all MIDI keys, and a 2009 MacBook Pro, running MOTU Digital Performer.