What every studio needs: Gear!
About My Gear
Any modern musician is a gear freak, to one degree or another. I have guitars and amps, and studio gear. I like to find it and keep it. If it works well, I’m done searching. I have to spend my time making music, on guitar, not tweaking knobs and forever looking for that holy grail of tone. I think the holy grail is in the fingers anyway, not in a piece of gear. I mean that’s very true up to a point. That said you have to find the best gear possible to express yourself as best you can!
So I will separate the list into a few different categories. For a more detailed list of gear for the studio specifically click this link.
For my studios, the heart of them, is Metric Halos ULN-8. They can replace most mic pres and functionality of multiple other boxes. Just running signal through them brings high end to the music. ULN-8 is very high end and cutting edge.
Fractal Audio Systems introduced the Axe Fx II in 2011. I can’t say enough about it. Both live and in the studio, it affords me great flexibility.
I use the Fractal FC-12 for the Axe Fx III. I augment this with 4 pedals: two Boss FV-500Ls a Mission SP-1 and an old Ernie Ball Volume pedal I’m using as an expression pedal for volume. The Liquid Foot LF+12+ foot controller is being used to control the not often used Ableton Live. For simple jazz gigs, rehearsals or distance touring gigs I use the Fractal AX8 two EV-1 pedals and the XiTone 1-12 cabs.
My DAW of choice is Digital Performer. But I also have and use Pro Tools, Logic Audio when I have to.
In terms of amps I still have my Deluxe Reverb (the actual 1965 model). It was suped up by Wade Stewart of Stewart Electronics. My beloved Seymour Duncan Convertible is never far from me. I love this thing. It has great tone and variability. But I like to leave it installed in the studio. Truthfully I haven’t plugged my guitars into any of those amps since I got the Axe Fx II.
With my guitars I have two main instruments, but since I do a lot of studio work I need the proper colors of instruments to give me what I need.
My primary jazz guitar is a Gibson ES-355. It’s not your typical or traditional jazz guitar, but when have I ever been traditional?
My favorite rockin’ fusion-ish guitar is my seafoam green Strat Plus. It has the Eric Clapton circuitry. It was given to me by Fender when I had an endorsement deal with them. I was told that there was a name for this model, but at the time it was one of two prototypes anywhere in the world. I have to thank the incomparable Steve Voudouris for that guitar. Where ever you are Steve thank you and I love you!
One of my very best guitars is my Les Paul 25/50 Anniversary. It’s an incredible instrument. I don’t play it that much though. But when I do it’s the absolute best tool for the job. It really sings. But it’s probably the heaviest Les Paul Gibson ever made.
There’s a 1967 Epiphone Broadway there. That’s the white fat bodied guitar pictured with my collection. Funny story about that. I used to play that as my main guitar in The Runners and even Sparrow. One day, in the early 80s, coming back from the movie theater where we watched “Being There,” with Peter Sellers, the apartment had been broken in to. All 7 of my guitars were stolen, as well as my stereo. It was a great stereo I had brought back with me from Germany. ALL of my music was gone. This was a terrible time. The Broadway was one of them.
Over the next week I kept getting phone calls of sightings. That’s a very hard guitar to not know. It just stands out, and no one else played anything that looked like it in the area. Larry Gosch at the Vox Room called me and said some guy came in to the store with my guitar. Larry said, “Hey, that’s Henry’s guitar!” He didn’t even know it had been stolen. Jazz guitarist Steve Homan called me and said his downstairs neighbor wanted to show him his new guitar and Steve told him, “Hey, that’s Henry’s guitar!” So I eventually got a phone call from the guy. I had to buy it back. He wasn’t the thief. He bought it from a couple of junkies who were eventually caught. But nothing else was retrieved. I bought it back for $300, gladly.
Tommie Shorter, this up to now, little known guitar luthier, has made me some remarkable guitars. The first I call Tuesday, because that was the first thing I did with it. He loaned it to me and I played this song I was writing. You can hear the results on my soundcloud page – Maybe Tuesday.
The next, the gold guitar above, I had him re-work on old Strat neck I had. I just had the neck and he built the guitar around it. In truth I just wanted a kick around guitar I could leave at the studio or any place and not worry too much. I still need a kick around guitar because Tommie made this one too well.
And the last guitar Tommie built for me, above, was made to order. This is a wonderful Telecaster style guitar. I love it.
I have two Taylor acoustics: 414CE and an Anniversary Dreadnought.
This is another interesting story, before I bore everyone to tears. I bought my first Taylor from a friend, who bought it from a friend who worked for Taylor guitars. It was a special deal for employees only. They saved the choicest cuts of woods to make their anniversary model. So cut to a couple of years later, I was working with a guy for a couple of weeks, out of town. Not musical stuff. Over the course of some time our conversation led us to guitars, casually, and then we’d leave it and let the conversation go somewhere else again. Finally at some point he says, “I own a guitar company. We make acoustic guitars. I own half of it actually.” I stopped in my tracks. Weirder things have happened but not too often. I asked, “Do you know Michael —?” He said he did. “Do you own TAYLOR guitars??” LOL. I don’t know how this stuff happens to me sometimes. I told him the story and we cracked up. How small the world appears at times. Like magic.
I have another Stratocaster assembled by Valley Arts and Mike McGuire. It’s my synth guitar. I put on Roland GK-2 pickups and use it with the Axon AX-50 when I write music in the studio.