Wayne here! So I’ve never been much of a gear head, despite having always had technical jobs that should push me into total gear head mode. I guess I just can’t mix my professional and personal lives! I do have a minor case of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) but having two kids in university mostly keeps the G.A.S. urges in check. Anyway, the gear I use is laid out in the pictures. First is my 2000 LP Standard, 2001 RainSong WS1000 (from the dates you can tell when I started to have money again after my kids were born), 2010 Epiphone Les Paul Junior, 2012 American Strat, Fender Squire Bass (vintage unknown), For amplification I use a Line6 AX2 212, and connecting everything is a Line6 Relay G50 wireless system.
My main guitar is the LP and I’ve always been a big Gibby believer (Gibbeliever?). The pick hand position and the neck shape has always just felt ‘right’. When I was a kid, I had a L6 Deluxe (think baby LP) and a black LP Custom (that guitar I would kill to have again – I bought it off a friend of mine who would also kill to have it again. It would be an interesting death match if someone threw the Custom in between us and said “Winner gets to keep it”. (There’s an off chance that my friend will read this so in case he does, this is for him: “Howie, you already have tons of guitars including another Custom so just let me keep the black one if it ever does show up and someone throws it between us and says “Winner gets to keep it”!)
Anyway, on with the guitars. The LP is stock except that I removed the pickguard. No particular reason for that, I just thought it looked better without it. I love my LP and can’t think of another kind of guitar that would replace it as my main instrument. I love the humbucker sound, the way the guitar hangs, the shape of the neck – everything about LP’s. The only thing that bugs me about this particular LP is that the finish is too tough. I’ve played this guitar more than any other I’ve ever owned and there’s hardly any finish wear too it at all. It’s distressing to have put so much time onto an instrument and still have it look pretty much brand new! I think Gibby has gone back to nitrocellulose finishes in the past couple of years so newer guitars are going to get that nice ‘used’ look/feel but the finish stuff they were using in the late 90’s and early 00’s is pretty much indestructible.
The coolest guitar that I use is the RainSong acoustic. It’s entirely carbon fiber. It’s got a really bright tone due to the absence of braces in the sound board, the kind of tone that wood guitars only seem to show up when you’re looking at really high end wood guitars. The braces aren’t required as they would be for a wood guitar because the carbon fiber is strong enough to support the string tension without them. This allows for a really, rich bright tone, similar to a *really* high end Taylor or Martin. In fact, when I tested out the guitar, I was A/B’ing it against a Martin OM-28 (which retails for almost exactly 2x what the RaingSong was) and I thought the RainSong blew the Martin away. The RainSong also has the benefit of being more or less completely impervious to weather changes, moisture or any of the other things that kill a really nice wood guitar. How many people do you know would bring a $5K guitar (the Martin) out to a hunt camp and sit by a fire in late October with moisture condensing onto the sound board or sit on the deck of a cottage in July, covered in sunscreen playing guitar? I’ve done those things with my RainSong and had absolutely no problems!
The Strat is my most recent guitar. It was a birthday present from my wife, who bought it for me for my 50th B-day, after I’d whined to her for 20 years that I’d never owned a Strat. Almost unnaturally, she bought exactly the guitar I would have bought: American sunburst with a maple neck and trem. Scary! I use the Strat on a bunch of songs where that single coil sound is core to the song. It’s a beautiful instrument but honestly, when you’ve played LP’s for so long and are used to the back breaking weight of an LP, picking up any other guitar, even one as nice as the Strat just feels like handling a toy. Still really enjoy playing it as a change though and there are just certain sounds you need a single coil to get right.
I also have an Epiphone LP Junior that I use for altered tunings or slide (it’s setup pretty high) and a Squire bass. I have the bass ’cause every guitar player thinks they can play bass (they can’t, but they think they can). Actually, truth be told, bass was the first instrument that I played way back in Grade 7 so I bought the bass one day when I was feeling nostalgic. I don’t use it much but if I ever start recording at home, it’ll be nice to have. It plays surprisingly well.
For amplification, I use a Line6 AX2 modeling amp which I think is 100 watts but may be 150, I can’t remember. Does the job for loud so doesn’t really matter after that. For the kind of music that I enjoy playing, which is all over the guitar sound map (everything from AirSupply to Metallica to ZZ Top), I find the modeling amp to be ideal. I can dial in a patch with just about any combination of amp/cabinet/effect sound I want. Couple that with having both types of sound generators (humbuckers and single coils) on my guitars and there’s pretty much no sound I can’t get out of my rig. That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to have a tube amp and 1906A / 1960B stack to play around with, but for gigging and having to move stuff around, you can’t beat a 2×12 combo – enough bottom end to sound great and light enough not to kill your back or make you have to hire roadies (eats into the vast amount of money I make from playing).
For connecting everything, I use a Line 6 Relay wireless system with 3 transmitters and one receiver which means I don’t have to keep plugging and unplugging cables, just turn the selector switch to the right position on the receive when I change guitars.
For picks, I mostly use Dunlop Tortex 0.73mm (yellow) triangle or sometime 0.85 (green) on my electrics and acoustic guitars. I like the heavier picks but not to the point of using something like a metal pick, which I find just digs in too much. I like the Dunlop Tortex because unlike cellulose picks, they don’t seem to ever wear out, even if you’re doing lots of pick scrapes and stuff like that. They just seem to be indestructible. I also use some really floppy 0.043 nylon picks for hard strumming, like on Hearts “Crazy on You”.
For strings I use D’Addario Light Top, Heavy Bottom on the LP (0.010 – 0.052), standard super light’s on the Strat (0.009 – 0.042) and Elixir Nanoweb standard lights (0.011 – 0.053) on the acoustic and whatever I have lying around on the Epiphone.
Straps are all Levy’s with a couple of different kinds of strap lock in play (after you’ve had a guitar come off a strap and break things, you spend the extra $5-10 bucks on a strap lock!).
That’s about it for now, when I add more stuff, I’ll be sure to let you know!