Just for Guitar Junkies and Equipment Nerds


After many years of trying to get it right, I finally love my musical  set up.

My main ax is a 1980 Yamaha SA 2000. It was designed to be a 335 killer, and it is. They actually got sued by Gibson, and I'm not sure if it was successful or not, but my SA 2000 is sweeter in every way than any 335 or 355 I've ever owned or played. It's got that thick sound of a jazzer, but can also bite. Plus, I love the wine red color. I think it's the only color for  a blues guitar. The construction, the neck, the weight---everything feels just right to me. Plus, it's cool to be playing what no one else plays.

 I also have a 1985 Strat. If you only own one guitar, it should be a Strat. It's been neglected lately because of the SA 2000, but it's always good to pick it up again and play it. The action is a little higher and combined with the jumbo frets, it makes bending a note and giving it some vibrato easy--easier than on my SA 2000. I've heard that because of the design of the head and the straight string pull, it stays in tune. I attest to that. 

I've also come to absolutely love an old '63 Dano (model not year) Danelectro  that I got on the down-low. I've been using it everyday. 

I have two Ovations acoustics for performance: a nice old Elite and my latest edition, a 12 string Adamas that I bought from a friend of mine 'cause he didn't particularly like it. I love it! His loss, my gain. I like the way the two look on stage together. Great electronics, and because they're both shallow bowls, they're easier for me to hold in my lap. I sometimes use a Taylor 414ce as well, but the Ovations are the best for live. 

I sometimes use a Line 6 Variax for drop bass stuff and open tunings. 

I recently bought a used Danelectro Baritone guitar. If you play guitar and have never tried the baritone, I suggest you give it a try. Throaty and deep, it really adds to the guitar tracks. Not a guitar, and not a bass. Great retro look, too. 

I'm using the Digitech SP 200 for effects. Very programmable ,  There are about 5 that I use the most. Great value.  I use a SWR bass amp for all my small needs, but for performances, I just run through the system. That's possible because of the Hot Spot monitors. Love 'em!

The Digitech Jamman Stereo is the thing that allows us to play with such a thick sound. It's my second guitarist. I record songs in either loops or phrases for performance, then play over them. It's a fantastic practice tool as well.

Lastly, my wonderful friend, Kelly Villeverde (the best musician I know), gave me his Roland GR 33 guitar synthesizer. Well, it was the perfect justification for my latest toy, a Godin aTXS in real Hawaiian Koa. It triggers the synth, and works as a great all around guitar. I love the absolute cornucopia of sounds the Roland gives me, and the Godin helps to manage it all. 

I suppose after I really learn the synth, that I may need less guitars on stage, but they all have such a different personality. The Strat rocks and is great for country, the Yamaha is simply the best playing guitar I've ever owned. The Ovation six string has a beautiful amplified sound, and so does the Ovation 12. Yes, there are gizmos designed to copy those feels, but the best tone comes from the guitar that had it originally.  

My latest acquisition is an Oscar Schmidt Resonator guitar that I bought at a garage sale for 7 dollars. It was missing the resonator, but Jessie found one and a guy to install for me. So thirty bucks for the cone, and 6 dollars for a missing tuning peg, and 30 bucks for a hard shell case I got at a pawn shop, and viola. Absolutely love sound of this guitar for slide of course, but also it's a pretty neat jazzy sounding thing. So far, it's cost me 71 dollars and three bottles of wine.

I don't bring amps with me to gigs 'cause I go through the system, but I have a lot of them in the Pod Palace. 

Vox AD30vt (my go-to amp)

Vox AD15vt (when I go to rehearse with the Sons of the Salt Fork 'cause it weighs nothing

Vox AD100vt (When I have to get really loud)

BlackStar HT Studio 20 

Then I have three amps from a guy who builds them in Georgetown out of his house. They're all unique one-offs. I found a 1937 Philco radio at a garage sale and he converted it into Fender Champ. 5 watts and all the funkiness you could want. It has a 4 inch speaker, the buttons on the front affect tone, and there's a speaker jack on the back for any kind of cabinet. 

The next is a 15 watt amp made from a Hammond Organ. This is the same idea that a company called Analog Outfitters uses, but they get 1500 bucks for their amp. Nothing but on/off, volume, bass and treble. Again, tons of mojo and vibe. 

Last is based on a Princeton Reverb. He used the Fender schematic to hand wire, point-to-point an old Black Face. It has 2 12' inch speakers and it's just a tone monster. Got a big spring reverb tank and real tremolo. Looks cool. He made the tongue-in-groove cab for it with just a burlap speaker grill.  

The PA that we're using is a Berringer Europower PMP 2000. I've owned two of these because they're cheap and effective. The speakers have been just fine for both the Pod and the bigger band that Johnny and I play in, the Sons of the Salt Fork.   I love the Bose 802's, but big bucks, and you need a big amp. Any suggestions of a better powered mixer? 

Danelectro Baritone

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