Gear

People often ask me about the equipment I use, and I know I love to read this stuff about other people\‘s equipment. Any questions, do ask either on my Twitter feed or via the contact page.

Of course, the most important pieces of equipment are your ears and fingers, so be sure to look after those!

Guitars

These days I most often gravitate towards my Taylor GS Mini Mahogany – a really great value guitar. It feels good to play, is easy to carry around. The unplugged tone is fine if not super-exciting, but I’ve put in a Baggs Anthem pickup system, which really sounds great. I also have a lovely Northworthy Carsington – a handmade guitar that I’ve had for a few years now. Rosewood and Spruce.

I now have a separate “acoustic” pedalboard, which comprises of a Pedaltrain Jr with a Radial PZ Pre, with some delay, reverb and a Boss OC3 in the loop. (Jon Gomm put me onto the OC3, and it can subtly fatten the sound – like your own bass player travelling.) I also have a TC Ditto X2 as my looper. On this board, I also have an Eventide Mixing Link box, which allows me to run anything through the other side of the (stereo) TC Looper. I can use this to loop a mic, or some keys etc. Whatever I need to. Nice. Also, I’ve got a tuner.

I used to play a lot of electric and over the years have owned Gibsons, Teles, a Duesenberg, a G&L, a Patrick Eggle and a Line 6 Variax! At the moment, I have a Fender Nashville Tele (which always sounds great) and covers a lot of bases. I have an electric Pedalboard with some nice pedals on it. At the moment, I have a couple of drives – Timmy and Lovepedal Eternity. Xotic SP Compressor and EP Booster. I also have a Boost n Buff which I can kick in for solos. I’ve got a Micro Pog for jumping out with a higher octave occasionally. And I still use my Line 6 M9 for reverbs and delays.

Other key bits of guitar gear are my G7th Capo which I find doesn’t pull the strings out of tune, and my Ebow which is a really useful thing for creating non-guitar like noises.

I\‘m using Dunlop Nylon plectrums on acoustic these days, and their Orange Tortex picks on electric.

Live PA

I use a Bose L1 Model II PA system, with the Tonematch mixer. It’s great for setting up quickly, and always sounds great. Because I can set up in front of or next to it without much risk of feedback, it also serves as my monitor, so I hear a good sound too. It makes live gigs much more enjoyable.

I use a Neumann KMS105 for live vocals, which I find gives a really clear vocal sound. It helps the words to come across clearly. Pricey, but a really great mic. I also find Vocalzone can help keep my voice clear, especially if I\‘m feeling tired.

Keyboard

For a while I didn’t have a keyboard in the house, which was really not good. Then I started putting together a laptop rig with Ableton and a Novation controller, but it ended up being to complicated to take out live, and I never quite felt “connected” to the sounds.

I had a Nord Stage 2 for a while, which was great. I swapped it for a Nord Electro 5 HP – just a little smaller and lighter, but still has pretty much the same sounds I used on the stage. Great pianos, that really “feel” as well as sound right.

I also have an actual melodica, which always raises a smile. As a friend once observed, it’s the only keyboard with a spit hole.

Recording

When recording, I use a simple Pro Tools setup and have Rode and SE Mics, although for most of my albums, I’ll get help from someone more knowledgeable than me. The guys at dB Studios and weekweeksweeks come heartily recommended!