It’s been almost two years since the last post running through all of my gear (which you can read here), and a lot has changed since then! Time for an update…
What’s the same?
First off, my blue/purple Strat is still my main weapon of choice (pictured, below).
My main Strat, with modded pickups. Seen here with my fave stomp boxes.
Known as the Standard Stratocaster HSS, this Mexican made beauty has been with me for sixteen years now. A few years ago, I upgraded the pickups to:
- Fender Vintage Noiseless (neck)
- Seymour Duncan Cool Rails (middle)
- Seymour Duncan ’59 humbucker (bridge)
I love the combination of these pickups, not to mention their individual tones. I’m buying a new ‘fat Strat’ soon (expect a review to follow) and should I find the standard pickups somewhat lacking in quality, I’ll be replacing them with the same choices mentioned above.
What else has remained the same?
My acoustics – the Taylor 314ce, Admira classical and Tanglewood electro acoustic – are the same as before. My ukulele is a standard concert model by Kauai.
Most of my pedals have remained the same but here’s a quick rundown of my main stompboxes:
- Joyo Vintage Overdrive (highly recommended!)
- HotOne Boost
- Boss OD3 (overdrive) & DS1 (distortion)
- Marshall Bluesbreaker overdrive
- Snarling Dogs Wah
- Joyo Digital Delay
I have a pedal board to house all of these. However, I often simply take two or three pedals out to a gig without the board. This changes from gig to gig, but looking back through the pics on my Twitter account, I find the Joyo Vintage OD (a top quality tubescreamer clone for a fraction of the price) usually makes an appearance.
So what’s new?
My current second Strat is a Chinese made Modern Player Stratocaster. Interestingly, it is short scale (24 inches instead of the usual 25.5). Apart from being a feet shorter on the neck (only twenty) you barely notice when playing, though the body is a little smaller. In terms of sound, the pickups on this are classic Strat and I love the Guild humbucker in the bridge – the chrome looks really cool against the scratch plate (see pic below, sun best guitar on the left)!
Modern Player short scale Strat, sunburst (left); Mexican HSS Strat, midnight blue (right); Fender Stage 100 solid state amp (rear).
Finally, I also own an Epiphone Les Paul plus top PRO. The main difference between this and the standard Epi LP is that both the top quality pickups are coil-tapped. They’re also uncovered, which looks very funky against the gold finish (see pic, below).
Epiphone Les Paul plus top PRO, gold with those beautiful uncovered ‘zebra’ humbuckers.
When I bought this guitar, I thought I’d be using it with bands in the heavier end of the rock spectrum. However, I’ve found myself using it more & more for blues & jazz gigs. It was my main guitar for my blues workshops at the Sage Gateshead this summer, and provided those early blues times perfectly.
I’ve finally bowed to the inevitable and invested in a digital amp. I’m glad I waited, because evidently Fender did too. The first wave of modelling amps were full of lags & bugs. By waiting, Fender’s first foray into the genre ensured they got it right first time. Even then, they were minor bugs, quickly improved in the line of amps released when I started looking – and now I’m a very happy owner of a Mustang III version 2 (pictured below).
Fender Mustang III v.2 digital amp, pictured here with my gold Epi LP.
This has every amp option you can think of, as well as every effect you’ll ever need. I prefer to keep my overdrive stompboxes, which frees up the amp to add modulation effects (such as phaser or their wonderful chorus choices). There’s room for a hundred saved channels, which is more than I need but useful to have. Also, their pitch-shift effect allows me to down tune the entire guitar without the need to, well, actually down tune the guitar! Very cool!
Well… I’ve just today ordered a Fender HSH Strat, so expect a review when that arrives. I’m also quite keen to look at a few more pedals from Joyo. Watch this space.
Until next time…