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 Iâ€™ll showcase it on this blog for everyone to see. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
Hi! Iâ€™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.
Iâ€™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 itâ€™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 itâ€™s almost funny they offer the possibility for some modulated tone suckage so your tone sounds like itâ€™s running through a 6 meter cable (Iâ€™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. Itâ€™s true bypass, has a big display, is accurate and it works well with down tuned guitars â€¦
Dunlop Eddie van Halen Signature Wah
Iâ€™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. Itâ€™s actually quite subtle. The switch is very light opposite to most other Crybabies. Another plus are the two blinding blue LEDâ€™s. That wonâ€™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 canâ€™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 youâ€™re done. This pedal is a must for me, because I canâ€™t tap-dance and play my parts at the same time. IT switched completely without popping or clicking. I isnâ€™t perfect though. It sucks a bit of tone because it isnâ€™t true bypass (unlike itâ€™s younger brother the Octa-switch). This also results in it being allergic to high impedance pedals such as my MXR Phase 90. Another â€śdownsideâ€ť is that the channel engages on release of the switch instead of on the push of the switch. It takes some getting used to. Iâ€™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 settingâ€¦ 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 hadnâ€™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. Itâ€™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 donâ€™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 youâ€™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 donâ€™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 â€śphaser-likeâ€ť to use it for the parts that I had in mind.
Iâ€™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 â€śno more tearsâ€ť abyss of choral fun.
MXR Carbon Copy Delay
I actually wasnâ€™t a big fan of delays, but I did want one for some clean parts. Iâ€™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 itâ€™s freaking great. I recently discovered Iâ€™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 soloâ€™s when Iâ€™m in the right redneck mood, which usually means Iâ€™ve had a bit too many beersâ€¦
MXR Phase 90 (Block)
Last but not least is the Phase 90. I use this in the most unsubtle way possible. Itâ€™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 folksâ€¦
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 thatâ€™s a keeper!
The amp does not have an effects loop, but that doesnâ€™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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