Gear I Use and Abuse

Well here goes the 2nd time trying to post this. Let’s see if I can.

Since I don’t have an entry in this catagory yet, or have not really talked about this at all, I’ll share about what guitars and gear I use.

// Guitars //

1999 Takamine EG-334 – This is my first guitar. Ovankol backs and sides, spruce top, all laminated. It doesn’t sound that great unplugged, but plugged in it sounds pretty good (with good highs). It’s something about that takamine pickup. I’m actually surprised I still have this guitar after this long. I hardly use it anymore, other than when my Taylor may be at church or in San Francisco, and I may be selling it to my roommate soon (at the end of the summer).

2000 Taylor 810BCE – Ahhh, my bread and butter. Mmm, mmm, I love this guitar. It’s my workhorse, and I use it so often now. It has braziillian rosewood back and sides, and an englemann spruce top. It was a limited edition Taylor for that year, and only 100 were made. =) It sounds amazing both plugged-in and unplugged, but the intonation high on the neck needs some work. I may bring it in for a setup soon. In all the time that I’ve had it, it just has one ding that I didn’t even put in there. =(

2001 Baby Taylor 301 – This is my little travel guitar. It’s laminated of course, but it’s a fun little guitar that I take wherever I don’t want to take my nice guitars (beaches, campfires, stuff like that). I would like to eventually put a pickup in there, just for the ability to bring it places and still be able to plug it in and do worship with it (since the volume isn’t very loud).

1997 Chet Atkins SST – This is a solid bodied acoustic-electric guitar by Gibson. It’s a great guitar, and handles volume extremely well. I can crank it very, very loud with no feedback problems whatsoever. It has a nice cherry sunburst finish, though has quite a few dings since I bought it used. The tone is great, and for my style of playing, it fits nicely, though I haven’t been using it at all lately for worship. It’s being neglected as I’ve been using the Taylor more recently (which I’ll explain upon later).

Yahama SG Copy – This is a guitar I’m borrowing from my old youth leader Darrell Wong. It’s been around so much in the youth group already, but now I’m holding on to it till I have to teach Darrell’s son, Joshua, guitar (in about 6 years, he’ll be 10). It’s a basic SG, but probably not as good, which is ok, since I can’t really play electric guitar, atlest not proficiently). =)

// Strings //

I exclusively use Elixir Polyweb strings on my acoustic guitars. I love these for the feel and tone, and the longevity of the strings. I used to use Martin SP’s, but they killed my fingers, and sounded dull after a week (hence the Studio Performance name I guess). I have also tried the Nanowebs by Elixir, but didn’t like them as well.

For the SG, I’m using DG strings, either Light or Extra-Light depending on how I feel. I still have no idea why people woule use Heavy gauge strings on an electric, and it shall continue to be one of life’s mysteries…

// Cables //

Monster Cable – This is where it’s act. Monster Cable with the lifetime guarantee. If it breaks, I can just bring it back into Guitar Center and they’ll replace it for me free. Monster Cable Rocks! (oh, and now even better is that Kelvin works there, so I can get a discount! hehe, ROCK!)

// Tuners //

I just have some Korg tuner that’s black and has lights. I don’t know the technical name for it. I don’t think I’ll get one of those Boss tuners, since they’re about $100, and IMO, not worth the money. The Korg works well enough for me.

// Pedals | Stomp Boxes | Effects //

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal – I love this pedal, just because of the solid metal housing. It has two settings to control the swell of the pedal for volume. It also has one input, and one output, and a tuner output for silent tuning (still goes through the tuner output when the pedal is down). I mainly use this for when I can’t use my hand to change the volume, or when I’m playing electric and the volume varies a lot. I’ve also used it once or twice to switch guitars while on stage without having to ask the sound person to cut the volume upstiars in the soundroom.

Dan Electro Compressor – This is a little cheapy unit I bought one day after I heard about compressors and what they do (and that Shane Barnard uses one, haha). It’s not as good as the Boss ones at all, and I would recommend spending more money than I did, and getting a better one. This basically makes the sound uniform. Meaning that if a sound was too soft, it’ll bring the volume up to your setting. If the sound was too loud, it’ll bring it down to your setting. It’s really good for going from finger-picking to loud strumming, as you won’t have to adjust the volume at all going from one to the other. The finger-picking can get a little loud that way though.

Behringer V-Amp 2.0 – This is the unit for my electric guitar. I bought this after I borrowed that SG Copy. This basically acts as a big effects processor. It has 16 main affects, 24 effects all together, and 32 Amp settings. The Amp settings work as it’ll simulate how the particular amp sounds. The effects range from flanger to chorus, to just general reverb. I only mainly use about 15 patches total on this machine, though 125 can be programmed. (I need to use this unit more and find some better patches, heh. I use weird airy ones most of the time).

// Direct Input (D.I.) Boxes //

Whirlwind Director Deluxe – This is a DI box that basically converts a line level signal (from a guitar or an amp) to a low impedence mic level signal. How it does that, I have no idea. I just plug in my guitar and plug an XLR in to the other end. The neat thing about this DI is that I can plug in a seperate amp as it has another 1/4″ output, so I use this for my electric guitar into an amp for a personal monitor (without having my electric in the main monitor mix and driving the singers crazy).

Avalon U5 – Ahhh, the cream of the crop DI. This one not only converts the line level signal to a mic level, but it also shapes the tone some. It cleans the sound of the line level and gives it a distinct tone that sounds amazing. I usually use settings 1 or 3. Shane Barnard and many studios use this DI for recordings and live use because of the great tone is produces. =)

// Mics //

Shure SM-58 – The industry standard. I use this mic as a backup mic, or at a plac e where they don’t have phantom power. It’s a good mic, has an okay pickup range, but the frequency response is pretty low. It can sure take a beating though.

Shure Beta 87a – This is one spectacular mic. The frequency response that it picks up is great for my range, and since it’s a condesor mic (requiring 48V of phantom power) the sound quality out of it is excellent.

// Amps //

Marshall ASR 50 – This is my 400 watt acoustic amp. It’s a pretty basical amp, with a good clean sound (I like most of my mix clean and clear, I hate chorus). It has two inputs, one that takes just a 1/4″ input, and one that takes either 1/4″, XLR, or RCA inputs. The amp also has reverb and chorus settings, as well as a notch filter and phase. I picked this amp over a few others because of the good, clean tone it provided. I really, really disliked the effects on that Fender SFX Acoustisonic series, they sounded so fake and airy. Marshall can make some good amps.

Fender 15w – Heh, I bought this one as just an amp to play through in my freshman year of college. It’s a little electric amp that’s been through a lot, and may be on it’s last legs (though I still use it with my electric now). It doesn’t sound great, and doesn’t have a lot of volume, but it gets it’s job done.

That’s about it. If you’ve read this far, you must really be interested in all this weird stuff I use. For odd lil tidbits, I’ll post those below…

– I use Clayton Teardrop Picks, .38 mm thickness (really small picks, and really, really thin. Elisa Yi uses .50 and got me hooked on them)

– I use Levi’s guitar straps on all my guitars (well 3 mainly, I just switch them around). It’s a certain strap where it’s a nice black leather on both sides.

– I use Kyser capos. Love them to death. They’re easy to grip and move and use with one hand and you can turn them backwards on the neck to do the Foote tuning. Great stuff. I have 4 total, haha. (3 gold, one black that’s cut)

– My Taylor case has a hydrometer in it (which measures the humidity) along with a thermometer with highs and lows.

– The Taylor case is also the last year to have the nice crush velvet interior. The year after, Taylor got cheap and started to make cashes in mexico and used “monkey-butt hair” for the inside. Yeck.

– My Chet Atkins has a grey sticker on the side of it that says “Jedidiah”. Find out what it means and get a prize. Find out why I did it, and get a better prize. =)

– My guitars have no “names” as many guitars do. I just chose not to name them.