Guitar Gear

I do quite a bit of playing. Roughly 50 gigs or more each year. And I have been playing for about forty years which means a lot of gigs and a lot of gear.

So, click an area of interest to see my current gear list.

Guitars

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2011 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster Pro

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My number one guitar right now is a 2011 Stratocaster Pro made by the folks at the Fender Custom Shop. The guitar is fashioned from 100-year-old pine and finished with nitrocellulose lacquer over a copper colour. The neck is quartersawn maple with a large “C” back. The maple fingerboard holds 22 frets with a 9.5 inch radius and 6100 frets. Sound is produced through Master Design pickups with 5-way switching and no-load middle/bridge tone control. It is a wonderful instrument to play.

2012 Fender Select Telecaster

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I also spend a fair amount of time with my 2012 Fender Select Telecaster. This guitar has a Violin burst gloss lacquer finish on a resonant honeycomb-chambered ash body with a solid flame maple top. It also features a “C” shaped birdseye maple neck with a 9.5 inch compound radius birdseye maple fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets. The pickups are specific to this model and offer three-way switching with a no-load tone control on the bridge pickup. Another wonderful instrument to play.

2010 Collings CL Deluxe

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I go back and forth with humbuckers. Right now I am playing single coils. That said, I have a few humbuckers. My favourite is this 2010 Bill Collings CL Deluxe.

2008 Tom Anderson Droptop

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The Tom Anderson used to be my first instrument on stage. A very versatile guitar and a delight to play.

2012 Collings D2H

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What a sound! This is an incredible acoustic guitar. I get goosebumps whenever I play it.

1972 Guild D-40

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This was my first good quality acoustic guitar. I named her Elizabeth. I do not know why. I bought her from Steve’s Music in Montreal. I was all of 16 years of age. I spent $400 on that guitar which was a culmination of two years of money made from my paper routes. She gets a lot of playing time with my oldest son. I believe he has now adopted her.

1976 Les Paul Standard

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This was my first good quality electric guitar. I bought it second hand for $300. It was played hard back then as I was actively touring and recording all around Canada and the United States. Despite the work on the road and 36 years of service, the guitar looks almost mint. This guitar does get played from time to time but only at home.

1984 Ibanez AS 200

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I really, really wanted a Gibson ES-335 guitar. My guitar hero at the time, Larry Carlton, played one. That was reason enough for me to begin my search. However, Gibson in the 1980s was not producing really great guitars. I could not find one that would sing. My local guitar shop suggested that I try the new Ibanez Artist Series guitar. Nice instrument. It too, is retired from the stage.

1994 Paul Reed Smith Custom 22

After I finished touring I sought to establish a new career in business and technology. When I became an executive at a large financial services organization, I rewarded myself with my first “boutique” guitar: a Paul Reed Smith Custom 22. I have a few friends who think that this guitar is the best one of my collection. However, for me, it is a nice guitar but not a great guitar. It does the job but rarely goes out on stage anymore. It is in the collection but does not get much play time.

2001 Taylor 314CE

I was getting asked to sub in on acoustic guitar from time to time and I decided I needed an acoustic with a built-in pickup system. My 1972 Guild D-40 was not engineered for the stage. The Taylor is a bright and willing acoustic and does its job well. I might use it on stage once every couple of months. It has the feel of a mass-produced instrument — certainly functional but it seems to lack the soul of some of the other guitars that I own.

2004 Fender American Fat Strat

I picked this guitar up to use as a club guitar for stage work where I wouldn’t care if it got knocked over or bashed around. It really needs a proper setup but I have not had the time or inclination to get around to it. I should really sell this one.

2009 Fender Squier

This Classic Vibe Telecaster guitar is quite surprising for a $400 instrument. Made in China, it plays well and certainly qualifies for those high risk, outdoor festivals. If it got lost, stolen or broken, I would not be too concerned.

Other Guitars

Also in the studio are a couple of bass guitars: a 2002 Fender American Jazz 5-string and an early 1990s Peavey bass. The story on the latter? I was doing a gig which required me to play bass and I went to my local guitar shop to rent one. They gave me a new one to rent from the store shelf with only one condition: if I scratched it, I had to buy it. Well, the instrument was left on stage and someone knocked it over. Big nick. At least two inches or so. I had to buy it. Fortunately, it was not very expensive.

For almost a ten-year period I was doing a lot of bass guitar work. I quite enjoy playing bass but I do not get much time on the low-end anymore. Pretty much always playing guitar these days.

Amps

In Use

The Swart AST Mk II pictured above gets a lot of playing time. It is an amp made by Michael Swart expressly for studio work. That said, I have also enjoyed the amp on stage. My backline is always mic’d these days so I do not need much horsepower from the amp.

That is also one reason why I find myself gigging more frequently with a 57 Fender Tweed. I love the sound that comes from this amp. A little vintage amp goes a long way.

The other amps in my collection include a Morgan AC20 Deluxe. Terrific Vox-style tones from this rig. Helps me to find my inner “Edge”. It finds its way on stage quite frequently.

I also have a few other amps. A Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special, a Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue, a Fender Super Champ, an Ampeg SVT-3 rig for the bass and a Fender acoustic guitar amp.

Pedals

I am constantly changing up my pedals and my pedalboards. I have three pedalboards: small, mid-sized and back-breaking. I tend to gig with the small board whenever I can.

Typically I play with at least two overdrives, a delay and a tuner. However, going minimalist with a pedalboard always seems to be too difficult to maintain. I have to stop reading the Gear Page.

Far too many pedals to list but I will share a few photos of the pedalboards used on the stage over the past few years.

Accessories

I use Dunlop Ultex Sharp 2.0mm picks. I buy them in bulk.
I play D’Addario strings. 010s on the single coil guitars and 011s on the humbucker guitars. I also buy the strings in bulk.
I use Lava cables for the pedalboard with soldered Switchcraft connectors.
I use Evidence Audio instrument cables.
I still use a Shure 57 to mic up the guitar cab.
I use Pedaltrain pedalboards (PT Pro, PT 2, PT Jr).
I use Voodoo Labs Pedal Power boxes to power the boards. I should buy them in bulk.
I now use an iPad for my charts. I guess I am not too old school after all.

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