Fact: Musicians love gear. We dream about the newest (and oldest) guitars and amps, leaving our Visas melted and our significant others displeased. We can’t help it! In the seemingly endless search for the perfect tone, one cannot simply settle for what we have. We must have bigger and better and louder and cooler!
In the spirit of the constant quest for stuff, we thought it would be interesting to lay out our current rigs for your perusal. Plus, we need to use this website more; it’s starting to smell like grandma’s linen closet.
GER’S BASS RIG
Hey, Ger here. I figured I’d introduce myself to avoid typing in the third person.
My approach to the bass is pretty simple: live in the pocket, protect the groove and pound it out. Being a pick player, I play with a lot of attack and subtlety is probably something I’ll work on some day (probably not). I’m not terribly interested in playing walky, flowery bass lines or slap/pop acrobatics. It’s not that I don’t appreciate that type of playing; it’s just not my style or my interest.
Anyway, on to the gear!
I view my role in the band as the cement upon which everything else is laid. When I first introduced myself to the bass in 2006, I knew I wanted an instrument that would be suited to heavy attack and would cut through the mix. I needed to get that percussive clang I loved hearing so much from players like Steve Harris, Nikki Sixx and Duff McKagan.
I found exactly what I was looking for in the Thunderbird IV. This instrument is a pure rock bass: it’s heavy, some would say ugly and it’s big. I love everything about the T-Bird. There’s not many times in my life when I feel like a badass, but when I sling on the T-Bird, I get a little twinge of badassery.
My main bass currently is an Epiphone Thunderbird Classic-IV Pro in an alpine white finish. The Classic-IV Pro features Gibson TB-Plus humbuckers, a classic T-Bird 3-point bridge and neck-through construction. The pickups and neck allow this bass to sustain for days and growl like a beast. It truly is everything I need in an instrument and it didn’t break the bank. I’ve played Gibson Thunderbirds and to be quite honest, the Epi models more than hold their own.
My other bass is an Epiphone Thunderbird IV in a sunburst finish that I’ve had for several years. Some may recall my fiasco with the Epiphone Thunderbird Pro a few years ago. Long story short, the T-Bird Pro’s active electronics sucked big time, so I brought it back and replaced it with the same old passive T-Bird that I sold. I have this bass tuned up a half step to an F for “Even the Score” and “Heartbreaker”. The guitar is stock with Epiphone humbuckers and a bolt-on neck.
I use Rotosound RS66LD long scale Swing 66 strings, gauges 45-65-80-105. I find the Rotosounds give me the brightness and clang I’m looking for. Hey, if they’re good enough for Geddy, they’re good enough for me.
For years, I relied on my trusty Crate BT220 to bring the thunder and it did the job admirably, but weighing in at 83lbs, my lower back was starting to call me an arsehole. I searched for an amp that would be powerful enough to handle most bar gigs, yet light enough to schlep around with minimal effort.
The TC Electronic BG250 I currently use fit the bill perfectly! Not only is it 30W more powerful than the Crate, but it’s almost 50lbs lighter. I know what you’re thinking; what manner of WITCHCRAFT is this?
I don’t know and frankly don’t really care how they managed to pack such a wallop into such a light combo, AND the thing is packed with cool tech (see? Coolness search achieved). The BG250 is equipped with what TC calls Toneprints. Ok, get this: I load up the TC app on my iPad, bring up the effect I want (say, a compressor), hold the iPad to my pickup and it BEAMS a signal through the pickup to the amp and loads the effect into one of two Toneprint slots. I mean COME ON! That’s cool and it works flawlessly.
I’m not one for relying on many effects (again, not ragging on effects, but they just aren’t my thing). Currently, the Toneprints I lean on the most are a compressor which keeps everything nice n’ tidy and a chorus designed by Duff McKagan himself.
I’m currently using a Fender patch cord, but I really don’t have a preference with patches, so long as they’re silent and reliable. My Sennheiser e835 mic has been through the wars and I love it; it’s nothing fancy but it gets the job done. I still use these rock solid picks that my buddy Jeremy Stirling did up for our old band Rocket Lounge. Love those things, but they’re starting to dwindle. Should those fail, a 1mm Dunlop or purple Tortex does the trick.
That’s about it, folks. In a nutshell, my rig is T-Bird plugged into amp, with a little Toneprint english thrown in every now and then. Pretty simple stuff. Check back for our next installment of band gear reviews. Lauzon is dying to talk about drums. Lauzon is dying to talk…period!