Posted by: worshipguitarguy | August 21, 2006

My Live Setup

I’ve had requests lately for info on my live setup, so here goes…  These pics were taken late last year… the only changes I’ve made were minor so I’ll explain them along the way.

guitars-with-amp.jpg

Guitars:
Shown are my three primary guitars, a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, a Fender American Telecaster, and Fender American Stratocaster.  The Gibson and Tele are stock, but the Strat’s gone through a major overhaul with new pickups and electronics.  As of late I find myself playing the Tele 70-80% of the time.  I’ve had a few problems with the Strat, so I’m a little hesitant to use it live.  And the Les Paul does go out once in a while, but I’m more of a Fender guy at heart. 

The Acoustic in back was a Martin DCX-1E, which I’ve since replaced by a D16 Acoustic/Electric.  I play acoustic only once in a blue moon, so it doesn’t leave the house much… 

Amps:
The Amp in the pic is my Korg RI Vox AC-15.  I picked it up on ebay a few years ago, and it’s become my workhorse.  I also have an Orange AD-15, which is in dire need of repairs… (I don’t know of any Orange techs in my area who service them.)  One thought… I was once told that an amp makes up about 75% of your tone as an electric player.  If you’re investing in gear, place a quality amp high on your list.  A solid amp makes the average guitar sound good, but a cheap amp will destroy the tone of any guitar. 

Also, I run low wattage amps… The reason is I can crank them to saturation without killing everyone in the room.  Plus, 15 watt amps generally weigh less than 50 lbs., while 30 watters can weigh upwards of 90-100 lbs.  Since I haul my stuff all over the place, (in a Honda Civic 😉 ) it makes life a ton easier. 

Pedalboard:

pboardsm.jpg

My signal chain runs as follows:

Guitar > Fulltone Fatboost > Dunlop Crybaby Classic > Fulltone FD2 > Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive > Line 6 MM4 > Line 6 Tap Tremolo > Line 6 DL4 > Electro Harmonix Holy Grail > Ernie Ball Volume Pedal > Amp 

A couple of changes I’ve made since this pic… First, I installed a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 underneath the riser on the board.  (In the pic, I was running a Visual Sound 1-spot and other power supplies.  I replaced the 1-Spot because of power sag problems with the Line 6 pedals.)  The Pedal Power 2 powers everything but the Tap Trem, which I use a separate power supply for.  (Line 6 pedals are power hogs, most power supplys can’t run more than 2 of them.)  Also, the whole board is wired with George L’s cables now. 

My board starts with a Fulltone Fatboost, which is a clean boost that gives my tone more presence.  (I leave it on about 90% of the time.)  Next comes the Dunlop Crybaby Classic.  I bought it soon after it was released, and am very happy with it.  It’s true bypass so it doesn’t sap tone like many wah pedals do.  And with the Fasel Inductor, it produces unique harmonic overtones, making it perfect for ambient eq style effects.  (I run my wah on the left side of my board, because I’m left-footed.)

Next are the overdrives.  I bought the Fulltone FD2 about 2 years ago… and it’s a great pedal, but my tone was still missing something.  So about a year ago I remembered something Stu G. from Delirious had done…  He ran two identical overdrive pedals on his board, both with different settings.

So I took this page from his book.  I bought the Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive because it was a blend pedal… meaning I could blend the tone from it between a clean boost and a traditional overdrive.  I configured the SD to be a higher sustain but lower gain OD, and the FD2 to be my gritty OD…

Well, I took the principle one step further… and here’s where things get interesting.  Through experimentation, I found some amazing overdriven tones by layering the two pedals on top of each other.  (As a note, I use the flat mids OD on the FD2)  For lead tones I engage the boost on the FD2 to add additional sustain.  Another thing I use is the blend knob on the SD (with both pedals engaged.) It takes my signal back and forth across the feedback threshold… creating a nice ambient feedback effect.

I also have a EH Big Muff and a Visual Sound Route 66.  They’re off my board at the moment. 

Next is the modulation section.  I run a Line 6 MM4 and a Tone Core Tap Trem.  I don’t use much modulation when I play.  At most, I’ll use a slight touch of chorus, or a little trem.  I bought the Tap Trem so I can sync with the beat of a song.  (Both my Vox Amp and the MM4 have tremolo, but sync’ing them can be a chore.)  In the next few months, I might explore more mod effects…

The next pedal is my bread and butter, the Line 6 DL4.  My first preset is usually programmed to a Roland Space Echo Model, (the Multihead), which is the basis for many of my slower song delays.  I think I run about a second and a half worth of delays on it, but the repeat mix isn’t that strong.  I’ll also set a preset on a digital delay setting which I use for rhytmic parts.  The third preset will change from week to week to whatever I need. 

I’m thinking of adding a Echo Park or Boss DD20 at some point, because I want the dotted eighth note setting for rhythmic delays.  (It adds a ton of depth and texture to your playing.)

Following the DL4, I have an Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb, and my Ernie Ball Volume Pedal.  I’ve run a cheap Korg tuner from tuner out setting on the volume pedal for obvious reasons. 

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Responses

  1. Wow! Nice gear. This is a really awesome website. Keep it up and God bless.

  2. Thanks for the comment eric!

  3. Love the gear, it’s not everyday you find someone who knows what their doing, and how to use their gear. Keep it up man. You need to invest in a Boss TU-2 Stomp tuner. Best investment i’ve made to my bass rig! 😉

  4. Just a note about the Line 6 DL4. You can achieve a dotted 8th note delay on it using the tap and rhythmic delay. Although it does not have a specific dotted 8th note preset, here is how you do it.

    In Rhythm delay, set the delay time to apprx. 10 pm. You want to set it so it selects the 8th note triplets. Once it is set to that, then you must tap using the tap delay on beat 1 and then again on beat 4. Then you end up with dotted 8th notes! It’s a little tricky, but if you really like the DL4, then it works well.

    The DD20 does work better for this function though. It has many more tempos to pick from, and one is dotted 8th note. So it is much easier to tap in dotted 8th notes on this box.

    colin

  5. Sorry, I made a mistake in my previous post, I meant to say 16th note triplets rather than 8th note triplets for the DL4 setting.

    colin

  6. Great website! This has been such a blessing to check out. Now all we need next are P&W tab books. Thanks for the resource!

  7. No problem Matt, thanks for stopping by!

  8. 2 recommendations: send your DL4 in to robert keeley to have it modded. i’ve done this with mine and the outcome is fantastic. replaces a lot of the ic chips with burr-brown chips and does over a dozen other sound/tone improving mods. most noticeably is that he gets rid of that annoying volume drop that occurs when you engage the pedal. that frustrated me to no end…but never again!

    next, i recently have been placing my volume after the drives but before the delays/modulation pedals. it’s recommended by a few other pros out there. give it a whirl!

  9. Thanks for the great website! Can you compare your ad-15 to the ac-15? I’m very curious to know why you prefer the Vox over the Orange for regular use (or is it just because the Orange is broken?). I’m guessing the Orange doesn’t have much clean headroom and is more of a drive amp than a clean amp like the Vox.

  10. Hey Austin, the only reason I’m not using the AD-15 right now is it’s broke, and I’ve been too poor to get it fixed. 😦

    Comparing the two, the Vox definitely has a more clean sound to it. The Orange is unique, the best way I can describe it is the tone is almost a hybrid between a Vox and a vintage Marshall combo. The tone has color to it (even clean) but it still has a chime to it. As it overdrives, it does so with a colored warmness. The Orange is definitely the louder of the two amps, I’m surprised by how much volume you can push out of it as a 15 W amp. The big downside with the Orange is I’ve experienced some big reliability issues with the AD-15. I’ve had it repaired 3 times in the time I’ve owned it. Voxes aren’t known for reliability but surprisingly (knock on wood) in the time I’ve owned it, I’ve not had major problems.

    Right now, I’d love to be able to run the two of them side by side in certain settings… They are a great compliment for each other.

  11. Would you please please please explain how to place your effects in order… which ones should go before which…? I understand how whatever is first goes into the second one, therefore the second effect with be processing both the first and the itself… I guess what I’m most concerned with where to put the distortion/overdrive and the wah in with the chain, I have a DD20 Giga Delay by boss, a boss flanger, a vintage ibanez stereo chorus (like the old old TS with the really small metal switch on top, sweet find 🙂 ) an ibanez tube screamer turbo, a boss metalzone, and a dunlop orginal crybaby and i’m getting an ernie ball volume pedal. I play through a Vox AC30 with a Les Paul Classic and a Strat. Thank you very much for your help, this is an awesome worship guitar site and has helped me alot.

  12. Hey Marc, how about I make your question my next Mail Call post next week?

  13. That would be AMAZING!!! Thank you very much.

  14. Oh and if its not too much, and if you haven’t already included it, could you included built in amplifier effects loop, my ac30 custom classic has one built in, i’ve been considering using it, especially for the delay. Thank you so much, your awesome 🙂

  15. Hi. First off, great resources here.

    Marc,

    I take my DL-4 delay and my compression through my effects loop in my AC30 CC. I go from guitar for my volume, distortion/overdrive (jekyll & hyde) to my amp input. After reading up, it was recommended that if you have an effects loop, to put your dynamics through the effects loop (modulation, delays, compression etc…). However, it’s really up to you, and how you like the sound and feel better. I haven’t tried one chain for everything since I got the AC30, but I did do one chain when I used my HotRod DeVille. I don’t think I really prefer one over the other.

  16. With all of the effects being used today, how important is the amp for your sound? And what are some good guidlines for people (like myself) looking to get a new amp that can be used for shows and services and whatnot?

  17. I have an ac-15 however I run it simultaneously with a Fender blues junior 15W, check it out at http://www.thegigrigusa.com.

  18. Before a big worship event this past October (http://www.worshipunderthestars.com), I decided to run my ’62 Strat thru 5 Line 6 Tone Core pedals in the following order: Constrictor, Dr. Distorto, Crunchtone, Space Chorus and Echo Park. I plugged the chain into my AC30CCH and the tone was amazing with one glaring flaw…I got an oscillation worse than any ground loop I’ve faced.

    This happened in 4 different venues with 3 different guitars and 2 different amps, with and without ground cancelers, with batteries and with a power conditioner, plus being chained in every possible combination under the sun. I even tried changing my usual brand of jeans, shoes, shirts, mouthwash and hair products, to no avail.

    Line 6 considered the problem unique but I decided to sell the pedals rather than deal with it. Anybody else seen that problem?

    Moved to the DL4 plus the Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic (a must have, methinks) and all is well.

    I’m lacking chorus. Would you recommend the Holy Grail over a Boss Chorus? Now that I’ve typed that, it sounds like an idiotic question, but so many players swear by Boss that I’m willing to give it a shot.

  19. Hey Jay, were you thinking the Holy Grail or the EH Small Clone Chorus? The Holy Grail is really a reverb pedal, although it does have a reverb with modulation setting on it. (Although I’m really not that impressed with that setting.)

    With me I don’t have a ton of experience with chorus, except for using a little modulation with delay. I’d think the Boss should be a pretty decent pedal, if you’re not looking into the boutique realm.

    Also, I’m just about to add the Echo Park to my board which brings my tone core pedal total to two. So far I haven’t experienced the problems you have, but I’ll keep a close ear on my sound and give ya some feedback on what I hear. Man, it would have been a bummer if changing your pants would’ve solved the problem… 😉

  20. Good call: Small Clone, not Holy Grail. My mistake. The Vox has reverb to spare so I’ll have to a/b the chorus pedals now.

    Speaking of pants, I’m a big fan of Diesel, and I’ve gone through a dozen pair (think ebay, not Nordstrom!). However, who ever started the rumor that they are a worship leader staple? Is there some “worship leader discount” that I haven’t been privy to? Let me know if there is one, people, cause otherwise, it’s gotta be Levi’s for this poor guy.

  21. What speakers do you have on your AC15?

  22. I have the Blue Alnico… it’s phenomenal.

  23. Dustin-

    Even with the use of effects, ultimately it is the almost always the voicing of the amp that shines through. Something like 75% of your tone is from your amp, and then the last 25% is split between your effects, your pickups on your guitar, the wood of your guitar, and your cables.

    I tend to to think of amps as the paper that we draw on and our effects as the ink with the guitars as the brush or pen. If you want a sweeeeet tone, than you need a good amp, just like if you want to make a fancy / sweet wedding invitation you would use high quality pens and ink on cruddy orange construction paper.

    When I play look for an amp, I look for something that I love the sound of without any effects- something sweet and the right balance of sparkle and responsiveness. Also, if you’re doing worship gigs you need something responsibly low powered: 15-30watts is usually ideal for most applications if you’re looking at a tube amp, my two cents lately is to recomend an Orange Tiny Terror- its switchable between 15/7watts and sounds amazing for worship. but the best bang for your buck in the worship world is a Vox AC-15.

  24. you have a great effects can you submit a photo of that effects in my e mail add

  25. have you tried 2 boss dd-5s together one on a shorter and one on a longer delay, with you drive it would be awesome, great for free worship, similar to joe satriani’s set up of dd-2 and dd-3, gives a reverb type analog sound with layers, pretty cool. get the jap boss delays as the new ones era not that good.
    wayne
    eastgate church byron bay australia

  26. Hi Worship guitar guy. Thanks for showing what gear you have. It’s really helpful. Just wondering if you could help me. I am looking for a new overdrive. Which one do you think does the better job the SD or the FD2? Thanks.

  27. wow, what an incredible thread! My question for folks is this: for the past two years I’ve played almost exclusively acoustic guitar in our worship band (Taylor W14 through L.R. Baggs DI). However, recently I purchased a T5 and have been playing more lead lines. Our church is big, but our stage is small so I’m completely in-ear with my monitor and the sound guy freaks at the notion of bringing an amp on stage. I really like the tone of the mesa boogie lonestar but don’t want to shell out the $$$ for something I can’t use on a Sunday. What are my options?

  28. Ahh, the million dollar question… I’m curious Ben but you didn’t mention what your sound crew’s biggest issue is with having an amp onstage, is it a volume issue or an “appearance” or “space” issue?

    If it’s a volume issue and you’re seriously looking at a newer Lonestar, you may be able to bake your sound crew some pretty good chocolate chip cookies and tell them there is a power limiter switch on the amp that will keep it at only 10 watts. If you promise you’ll be careful and keep the volume level reasonable on it, they might grudgingly give in.

    If not, your next option would be to go the POD XT/X3 Live route. They do generate good tone in places where you can’t have an amp. Of course that doesn’t do anything to put a live speaker next to you, but it does give you tone options…

  29. Hey WGG,
    Thanks for all your help!
    I was wondering how long you’ve had that ernie ball volume pedal and whether you’ve had to change the pots yet? I’ve heard they are not very durable? What’s your experiences with them?

  30. Weren’t you in David’s Heart?

  31. Hey Theo, I haven’t had any problem with my EB Volume pedal, but I’m looking at a friend’s right now and I think the pots are going on his.

    Hey Jeremy, no I wasn’t in a band called David’s Heart…

  32. Yes, I was in a band called David’s Heart back in High School/ College.

  33. holygrail, dd3(jap),dd5,modded c-2, modded bf-2,1989 rat, sparkle drive, 535q wah, 1986 strat with paf dimarzio in neck seymour duncan f spaced?both humbuckers.
    Wayne McTeare

  34. Church is the best gig in town, check it out these guys really now how to play..Eastgate community church Byron Bay NSW Australia.


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