Who are you and what do you do?
I’m mainly a guitarist but in my Tangled Limbs solo project I also play an electronic drum pad and do some vocals (mostly whooping and hollering; occasional attempts at something more melodic). I also play guitar with Bob Constant & The Goodbye Horses which is a three-piece band.
What do you use?
I play a Gretsch Electromatic guitar which I frickin’ love. I used to play an Epiphone SG and I really liked it so was looking to upgrade to something similar but better quality when a friend of mine, who knows his stuff way better than me, recommended a selection of guitars and threw in the curve ball of the Gretsch, which is nothing like an SG. I tried it out and knew very quickly that it was the one for me.
I use a lot of effects pedals. My current set up, which I’ve had for a little while now, is:
- Boss TU3 tuner
- Electro Harmonix Micro POG
- Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff fuzz pedal
- MXR Micro Amp booster
- Boss Tremolo TR2
- MXR Carbon Copy analogue delay
- Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300
- Strymon BlueSky reverb
- Boss DD7 digital delay.
I also use two Dunlop DC Bricks for power. That’s what’s on my pedal board and then I have a Boss RC 30 looper that I use with the band and a Boss RC 300 that I use for my solo stuff with Tangled Limbs along with an Alesis Performance Pad Pro drum pad. Amp-wise I have a Fender Blues Jr, which is simple and beautiful.
It may not sound like it given the list of pedals above, but I believe in not letting effects get in the way of playing or using them just for the sake of it. I love hearing new sounds on records, but only when they’re in good songs. My most extravagant purchase in terms of pedals is probably the Strymon Bluesky (approx £250), which is absolutely gorgeous and I highly recommend it. But also sitting quite happily on my board is the Behringer Vibrato which costs me about £15 and also does exactly what I need it to do. Both these pedals were great purchases. Pretty much the first thing I do when I get a pedal is turn all the knobs to the extremes (minumum and maximum) and then I’ll gradually find a couple of settings that I really like and, most commonly, I’ll stick with those for a good long while without messing with them too much. I suppose I’m limiting the amount of sounds I use by doing this but I definitely think there’s such a thing as too many options and if I’m constantly changing the settings on my pedals I feel like I’m not actually spending time creating music, which is obviously the whole point of all this gear.
I also use my phone a lot for recording ideas and this has become really essential for me, especially with Tangled Limbs as I have to remember how to play every single part of each song in quick succession so it can all loop together as seamlessly as possible. Being able to listen back easily to ideas when writing and rehearsing is a big part of my creative process.
What would be your dream set up?
Honestly, I’m pretty happy with the set up I’ve got but if I had the space and the money I would like a Fender Twin amp. They have such a beautiful clean sound and that’s really the foundation of it all for me. There’s always pedals that I’m curious about (the “Warped Vinyl” pedal looks like it’s worth a go) and my collection will definitely change over time but, right now, what I’ve got is doing the job pretty well.
The two things that would make the biggest difference to me would be to actually have a dedicated space of my own just for music so I could leave everything set up and write and record really easily and also to have a driver with a van to take me to gigs. I don’t imagine the latter will ever happen… At the moment I mostly use public transport and I physically can’t carry any more when doing Tangled Limbs shows but, really, I’d like to take a bass guitar and possibly a small synth.