New Gear Day (NGD) – John Russchen
It’s time for another fantastic NGD. Basically, if you have some new (or old) gear that you would like to share (could be a pedal, a guitar, or an amp etc) just send me an email with some photos, a description (also audio & video if you have it) and I’ll showcase it on this blog for everyone to see. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
Hi! I’m John Russchen. I play guitar in a Dutch thrash metalcore band, GOTTLIEB. We are currently unsigned and are just starting to build up our name in the Netherlands.
I’m a tone searcher / gear head, which means this is my current setup (April 2011) and most likely not my final setup (if that even exists).
I mostly play a Dean Razorback V255 with an EMG 81/60x combo and a 1982 Hamer USA Blitz (Explorer model) with the chrome EMG 81/60 pickups.
This is my pedal line:
Line6 Relay G30 Wireless System > Planet Waves Tuner > Dunlop Eddie van Halen Signature Wah > Carl Martin Combinator I [ DOD Tube FX53 > Ibanez TS9 Reissue > BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor > Blackstar HT-Drive > BOSS CE-5 Chorus Ensemble > MXR Carbon Copy Delay ] > DOD Stereo Turbo Chorus FX67 > MXR Phase 90 (Block)
I will attempt to explain why and how I use my pedals in chronological order.
Line6 Relay G30 Wireless System
Even though this technically is not a pedal, I have it on my board and think it’s worth mentioning. I have had this thing for more than a year and never had any problems. No tone sucking, no interference, no hissing or humming. The battery in the belt pack lasts forever and it’s almost funny they offer the possibility for some modulated tone suckage so your tone sounds like it’s running through a 6 meter cable (I’m European, so I just know the metric system).
Planet Waves Tuner
I could try and tell something cool about this pedal, but it is a tuner. It’s true bypass, has a big display, is accurate and it works well with down tuned guitars …
Dunlop Eddie van Halen Signature Wah
I’ve had an original Crybaby since forever, but wanted a true bypass solution to prevent my tone getting messed up in the beginning of my pedal line. When I started trying out different Wah-pedals, I realized the enormous difference in sound, warmth, depth, sweep, etc. The EVH signature is true bypass, has a nicely rounded sound to it, has a good focus on the mids and sounds really creamy. It’s actually quite subtle. The switch is very light opposite to most other Crybabies. Another plus are the two blinding blue LED’s. That won’t let you forget your wah is still on.
Carl Martin Combinator I
This is a programmable loop switcher. It offers 8 send and returns. There are even 2 stereo in- and outputs at the end of the line for your time based stereo effects. It works really simple. Insert 8 pedals in the right order (because you can’t program the pedal order). Tap the channel you want to program, select the pedals that should be in this channel by pushing the corresponding on/off switches, press store and you’re done. This pedal is a must for me, because I can’t tap-dance and play my parts at the same time. IT switched completely without popping or clicking. I isn’t perfect though. It sucks a bit of tone because it isn’t true bypass (unlike it’s younger brother the Octa-switch). This also results in it being allergic to high impedance pedals such as my MXR Phase 90. Another “downside” is that the channel engages on release of the switch instead of on the push of the switch. It takes some getting used to. I’m considering exchanging it for an Octa-switch, because that has a build in buffer and is true bypass. I have heard it does pop when switching to of from a high gain setting… If anybody had any experience with this, please let me know.
Here are the pedals that are linked to my Combinator:
DOD Tube FX53
This is an old pedal that I bought to make my Valvestate sound a bit more like a tube amp when I was 16 years old. I hadn’t used it for over 10 years and stumbled upon it a while back. I decided to put it in front of my Blackstar HT-Drive and see what it did. It was AWESOME!
My tone got a more saturated and more complex in a smooth way. I have the drive all the way down and put the tone completely open. I also have the TS9, but that thing cuts off my sustain and the DOD just sounds so much better for this purpose. I have this ON in all my high gain settings.
Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer Reissue
This pedal needs no introduction, I believe. I use it to boost and shape my sound during solos. It’s in between my DOD and my Blackstar. The DOD feeds it some extra frequencies and the TS9 kicks the Blackstar in the butt.
The Gain is on 50% the Tone is on 90% and the Level on 100%. It makes my solos slice right through the mix.
BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor
The NS-2 is not the best noise gate. The ISP probably is (in an affordable price range). The ISP is just hard to get in the Netherlands. The NS-2 kills the extreme hiss and hum being caused by the DOD and TS9 and believe me when I say you don’t want to amplify that with the Blackstar.
To me this is the ultimate overdrive pedal. It has a warm full tube overdrive and goes from a slight crunchy crisp sound to soaring high gain thrash metal lead, depending how you use the three controls. I put all controls on 50% to start searching for my sound, to find out that that is exactly the sound I love. This pedal is almost completely quiet when you’re not playing. So I keep the NS-2 before it in the pedal line to prevent losing any of the class A tone. If you don’t know it, try it and love it!!
BOSS CE-5 Chorus Ensemble
For my clean parts I love to have a bit of Chorus, just to make my tone a bit glassy and give it a bit of shimmer and sparkle. I used to have the Voodoo Lab Analog Chorus (the 1976 CE-1 replica). It was great to fool around with at home, but it was too lush and “phaser-like” to use it for the parts that I had in mind.
I’ve been in touch with Zakk Wylde several times (thanks to twitter) and he advised me to try out the CE-5 (this was before he had his own model at MXR, which is more or less a modded version of the CE-5). This pedal has great versatility and allows me to have just a subtle shimmer or a “no more tears” abyss of choral fun.
MXR Carbon Copy Delay
I actually wasn’t a big fan of delays, but I did want one for some clean parts. I’ve tried a few and thought my initial feelings concerning delays were justified, until I tried the Carbon Copy. The warm saturated echo, just adds so much more to your tone it’s freaking great. I recently discovered I’m using it more than I initially intended.
We are now leaving my Combinator
DOD Stereo Turbo Chorus FX67
This is an over the top Chorus. I sometimes use it during solo’s when I’m in the right redneck mood, which usually means I’ve had a bit too many beers…
MXR Phase 90 (Block)
Last but not least is the Phase 90. I use this in the most unsubtle way possible. It’s at the end of the line and it is the in your face block letter version. During short parts that I really want to emphasize I tap this thing and make the whole venue ask themselves if someone put something in their drink.
End of the line folks…
I run this all through a Carlsbro TOP 50, which is very comparable with an original Marshall Plexi. The Carlsbro is a vintage hand wired English amp with mostly Marshall and Hiwatt components. The serial number dates all the way back to 1974, so that’s a keeper!
The amp does not have an effects loop, but that doesn’t really matter, because all my gain based effects are on my pedal board.
I hope to see some of you at a gig some day. I love to meet fellow gear heads, so feel free to buy me a beer and have a semi-intellectual conversation on pedal order and the ultimate guitar tone.
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