Guitar Gear

(last updated: 04/08/2017)

The Collection

Tom Anderson Cobra S  *New!

This is little beauty sounds as good as she looks. My first Anderson was a Cobra S that was built in 1999. I sold it back when I was a college student to help fund my wife’s engagement ring. It was definitely the right thing to do, and now I’m grateful that I have a new & improved Cobra. What’s cool about these guitars is they have a lot of Les Paul qualities, but plays like an Anderson. Spec wise it’s a solid, one-piece mahogany body &  mahogany neck with their “happy medium” profile. The finish is a silky smooth, natural satin on a gorgeous “non-thin” flame maple top. Heavy stainless steel frets sit on a rosewood fingerboard with the shorter 24 3/4″ scale. This one has vintage, lower output PAF style pickups. The default wiring brings six different sounds (push/pull tone pot splits the pickups in position 3 of the 5-way), and is surprisingly flexible for a 2-pickup guitar.

Tom Anderson Hollow Drop Top Classic

This is my main guitar. I had it built by Tom Anderson Guitarworks back in 2002. It’s got a big fat maple neck and a hollow alder body. The tone is fantastic and it doesn’t look bad either. In 2013, I replaced the stock pickups with Dimarzios (Air Classic Neck in the bridge, Area 67 middle, and Area 58 in the neck). Details are here. I really love this guitar and the serial number is 021902b, which was my 21st birthday and the ‘b’ is for Ben!

Klein Copy

This is a Klein kit I finished and assembled in the Spring of 2015. All of the hardware was upgraded from what was included in the kit. It sports Duncan ’59 & Jazz humbuckers (splitable with push/pull tone pot) and a Dimarzio Area 61 in the middle. The bridge is JCustom FXBridge and the headpiece is also JCustom. This was refretted with Jescar jumbo frets. The ergonomic design of the body makes this one of the most comfortable guitars to play and sounds incredible too.

Warmoth Strat

This is my third Warmoth piece. The body is chambered swamp ash with a Mary Kay finish. The neck is a one-piece, bird’s eye maple with a “fatback” contour. It sports 22 stainless steel 6155 frets, a satin finish, tusq nut, Gotoh locking tuners, and abalone inlays. The neck and middle pickups are Dimarzio’s hum canceling Area 58s and the bridge is the Area 61. I’ve tweaked the tone knobs so the bottom one is dedicated to the bridge pickup and the middle one controls the neck and middle pickups. The bridge is the Gotoh S510 six screw model; worth every penny. It’s a beautiful guitar and a blast to play.

Warmoth Tele

tele

This was my first Warmoth project. It has a one piece swamp ash body w/ a compound radius fingerboard. The neck and bridge pickups are old Dimarzio Twang Kings and the middle pickup is a Van Zandt Blues. It’s wired w/ a two-pole, 5-way switch which functions like a typical strat, except the middle position retains the traditional tele neck+bridge config. It also features locking tuners, graphite nut, and a satin finish.

Warmoth Deluxe 5 Bass

This is my second attempt at putting together a Warmoth guitar. I’m pretty pleased with it so far. It’s a 5-string P-bass body w/ Seymour Duncan J-bass pickups. The maple fingerboard sounds awesome, and is furthering my unhealthy obsession w/ maple in general.

Chris Carrington Classical

This is a fantastic classical built by local luthier and guitarist extraordinaire, Chris Carrington. This is guitar #110 that is still pictured on his site under the “sold” section. It has a couple cracks that have been repaired, but it really is a fantastic piece. If I had the cash I would order another one without hesitation.

Breedlove Focus

This guitar sounds and plays great, but my opinion of this quality is: meh. The finish has cracked on the top and the neck is warping. This shouldn’t happen to a guitar that’s been properly humidified that retails for $3,700. If you are considering purchasing one of these, I’d recommend getting a Taylor or something else altogether.

Kemper Profiling Amp (w/ power amp + Remote)

The Kemper is a truly amazing piece of gear. I use it almost exclusively for practicing, recording, and all low volume gigs. While the unit is best known for it’s amazing amps tones, the effects are really good too. I used to run my pedal board in front of it, but now that I have the foot controller (aka the Remote), the Kemper is pretty much all I use as it does everything well.

Naylor Duel 60 w/ 1×12 cab

This is my favorite amp. What I love most about it is it always sounds good regardless of where the knobs are set. That may sound silly, but once you get used to something that never sounds bad it’s tough to use another amp. In my experience most amps have “sweet spots” you have to dial in. That’s just not the case w/ the Naylors. If you haven’t heard or played one you’re missing out. I’ll never forget the reaction of the front of house engineer for one of my regular gigs the first time I brought this out. I played three quick chords on my strat and the guy freaked out (in a good way). His response was something like, “OMG!!! This thing has some BALLS!!!!”

1974 Fender Champ

champ champ_int

This amp used to belong to a long time family friend and it was given to me as a gift. Honestly some days absolutely nothing beats the simplicity of just running a tele into a Champ w/ the knobs cranked. I really this one.

Current Pedal Board

This board has been relatively static for the past few years. It’s built for versatility regardless of whether I’m running it into one of my amps or a back-line amp provided by a venue. I typically run the M9 through the effects loop on my amp (mostly for delays), but  I have a jumper cable that makes it easy to run it in-line if the 4-cable method isn’t an option. I also have four overdrive pedals and enjoy stacking them. With clean amps I tend to leave the LTD on most of the time. Depending on the gain I’m going for and the combination of guitar & amp will determine which other pedal I go to for gain.

The signal path is:

  • RMC3 Wah from Geoffrey Teese
  • Mini Bi-Comp by Analogman
  • TS-9 Ibanez Tube Screamer w/ Analogman Silver mod
  • Fulltone OCD
  • BB-5000 “The Bread Breaker” (Blues Breaker clone, name was inspired by it’s holy tone)blog entry 1.   entry 2.
  • Barber LTD SR ← the heart of my sound
  • Line 6 M9
  • All Cables are Canare and the plugs are Switchcraft

Outside the signal path:

  • Line 6 volume pedal (these are aweful, don’t purchase)
  • Pedaltrain 2 w/ Soft Case
  • Voodoo Lab Power Pedal 2 Plus

Other pedals laying around the house:

  • Johnson J-Station
  • BS-CM Cookie Monster (Blues Breaker clone) blog entry.
  • BS-MXR Micro BS Amp (microamp clone)
  • BS-9 Ben Screamer (The original w/ Langraff mod)
  • BS-808 Ben Screamer blog entry
  • BYOC Chorus
  • Korg DT-7 Tuner