Yes, it’s the first entry on the blog and, yes, that’s me, the founder of Everyday Guitar Gear. I play guitar in an Oxford-based instrumental rock band called Tigerline. I don’t want people thinking this is all about self-promotion though; this is merely to give an idea of what kind of content EGG is going to offer. Other interviews will be written a bit differently since I didn’t really want to pen a third-person bio, you know, of myself. I’m not quite that egotistical… yet. Anyway, on with the questions…
What’s your current guitar of choice?
I’m rocking a Cort G290 and nothing else. It’s an incredibly versatile guitar thanks to the EMG singlecoils and split-humbucker in the bridge so I can get a lot of different tones for recording and live performance from that one guitar. I’ve modified it with GraphTech String Saver saddles to decrease the chance of string snappage and increase tuning stability.
Just the Laney LC30, although I replaced the stock speaker with a Celestion Century G12 (the discontinued model). As a clean amp, it’s very articulate, which works well for me since I use pedals for dirt, as you’ll see below. I bought this in my first year of university thinking that it would be quiet enough for hall-room usage. This may have been a slight error of judgement since I never need to turn the amp above 4 even at gig levels; do not underestimate the power of valve watts!
Pedalboard – what’s on there and why?
This could take a while. That said, I run everything into the front of the amp so it’s all fairly simple. My basic tones come from the Danelectro Transparent Overdrive, which is always on. There’s something about the touch-sensitivity it provides that just makes the rest of my gear absolutely sing. It really helps to provide presence and definition to my drives, the MI Audio Crunch Box and a hand-made triangle-era Big Muff clone (the sparkly blue one). The Big Muff also has a Dan Armstrong Green Ringer circuit running after it which gives some absolutely killer octave fuzz tones; you can hear this on the solo in Massive Wave (6:10 onwards) below. The pedal is made by a guy in Cardiff who I met up with when I bought it; he’s a really nice fella and did an incredible job with this as it’s the best Muff I’ve heard.
The rest of the pedalboard is, in fact, deceptively simple, with the obligatory Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby wah, Digitech Whammy and the Korg Pitchblack tuner all running before the dirt section. In terms of modulation, I’ve got three Electro-Harmonix pedals for phasing, chorusing and freezing. The Freeze holds one note or chord for an indefinite amount of time so tends to get the most use live as I attempt to replicate multiple overdubs onstage. One sound I’m particularly proud of is the Whammy on an octave up harmony setting, combined with the Electro-Harmonix Neo Clone, as heard in This Is Tetris (5:30 onwards) below. Someone once described it as sounding like rain and I can always appreciate analogies like that.
Delays are the Marshall Echohead, set for short times, and the Boss DD-7 which is equipped with an external tap tempo for longer, or rhythmic, delays. Finally there’s a Behringer RV600 (Line 6 Verbzilla clone) used mainly for shimmer, which you can hear, again in conjunction with the EHX Neo Clone, on King of the North (1:10). The Danelectro Fish and Chips EQ is used mainly as a volume boost for live shows but also gets some action as an AM radio simulator from time to time.
Do you write songs with or without gear?
I write most songs on acoustic then transfer to electric to work out the various sounds and tones, using the DD-7’s looper to work on melodies and arrangements. From there it hits the rehearsal room, at which point anything could happen.
Got any gig horror stories?
Aside from a number of string-snapping occasions some time in the past, my most recent tale of woe involved a guitar strap completely snapping, leaving me unable to finish the lengthy guitar solo in the final song of the set. To remedy this I decided to sit on my amp which then promptly cut out, leaving just bass and drums to provide the big finale. Feeling thoroughly disheartened, I stood up to begin packing up my gear when the amp suddenly sprung back to life, right in the middle of that awkward silence after the applause has died down. I later discovered that one of the amp’s valves was loose and the sheer size and weight of my behind had caused it to temporarily disconnect itself from the tube sockets. Perhaps the most valuable lesson to learn from this rig rundown is to avoid sitting on a valve combo at a gig; it’s never going to end well.
Tigerline have an EP, which you can hear above, and regularly gig in Oxford when they’re all back from university. For more information see their Facebook page.