Here's a quick rundown of the gear in my small but deadly arsenal.
FLOOR EFFECTS PROCESSOR UNITS:
1996 Ibanez JS100 Joe Satriani signature model (translucent red)
(modifications: replaced stock neck position pickup with Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbucker)
1983 B.C. Rich Mockingbird (hot pink, and covered in decals to hide it's pink Poison-esque gay-ness)
VOX model V847 Wah-Wah pedal
BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone distortion pedal
Morley model PFV volume/phaser
DigiTech RP-6 multi-FX floorboard
Aphex 106 Easyrider 4-channel automatic compressor
Marshall JMP-1 tube preamp
DigiTech GSP2101 Studio Tube preamp/effects processor
Peavey Classic Series 120/120 dual mono tube poweramp
FLOOR EFFECTS PROCESSOR UNITS:
Here's a few details about each item:
I've played this guitar half to death. It's made with a basswood body. Body wood is very important to me, I'm very picky about that. Basswood is my favorite wood for a lead guitar. For a rhythm guitar, I prefer a mahogany body, like the Ibanez RG123. Maybe one day I'll get around to buying one if they don't stop producing them before I get the chance. Several years ago I managed to break the pickup mounts on the neck position pickup. Seeing as how the stock pickup was a coil-tap humbucker, I felt it necessary to replace it with another one capable of coil-tapping. I went with a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates. It has considerably less output than the original stock pickup, but it has a mellow warmth that creates some interesting sounds when used together with the bridge pickup. This guitar has a double locking tremelo bridge and nut. However, I never use the nut locks because of how it tends to decrease sustain and interfere with tuning operations. I never use the tremelo arm so I keep it off. I don't even know where I put it, it's somewhere around this place, who knows. I love everything about this guitar from it's reversed recessed input jack to it's smooth contoured body design. I especially love the neck shape of the JS models, nothing else is faster or more comfortable to play. Big chunky necks are hard on the hands, man. Why make it harder than it has to be!?!
B.C. Rich Mockingbird:
This was my very first electric guitar. I loved the body style,... and apparently so because I sure as hell never liked the color. That's why I've managed to cover much of it with various stupid little stickers. It plays like crap! The neck is fat as hell like a Gibson Les Paul or something. The back of the neck is also finished the same color as the guitar, adding to the necks size even more! The body style is pretty cool, like I said, and so is the headstock. This particular one has the classic mother-of-pearl "R" logo instead of the cursive BC Rich logo featured on most Mockingbirds with a one sided headstock. The headstock is so damn bulky that it weighs the neck down when you strap the guitar on, and consequently makes it impossible to play comfortably that way. Wanna play this guitar for more than 3 minutes? Better lay it across your knee. I've slapped some flatwound strings on it and now I use it as my bass track recording guitar. God knows it isn't good for much else!
VOX model V847 Wah-Wah pedal:
When I first began my search for a wah pedal, I knew exactly what sound I was looking for. I was looking for that same sound that Eric Clapton had going on in the Cream song "White Room". I tested out a few different Dunlop CryBaby wahs at a music store and didn't like them. They handled clean tones pretty well, but didn't do too well with a lot of distortion. I tried a few other brands and they were okay sounding, some were pretty close to what I was looking for, but they still didn't nail that sound that I wanted. I tested out a VOX wah and knew right then and there that I had found what I was looking for. I only have two complaints about it: First, it kinda deadens the signal in bypass mode. Unless I know I'm going to use it, I unplug it completely from the effects chain. Second, you have to lube the axle on the pedal with WD-40 or something else. After a while, it begins to squeak. The vibrations and noise from the squeaking can be heard in the signal which is quite annoying when you're trying to record a track. Other than that, it's the perfect wah pedal.
BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone distortion pedal:
When I started shopping for a distortion pedal, I didn't really NEED one. At the time, I was playing through an old Peavey Bravo 112 combo. It was one of the all-tube amps and it had more than enough saturated tube gain tone to make anyone happy. But I also wanted the option of having a tight solid-state distortion tone. I specifically wanted a metal distortion pedal. At first, I went with the DOD Death Metal distortion. I got it home and plugged it up and quickly learned that I hated it. It had WAY WAY too much signal boost. It made my amp squeal as if I was holding the guitar directly in front of the amp speaker. It just had too much distortion and it was completely uncontrolable. So i took it back. I tried out a much more expensive distortion pedal, the Metal Zone. I quickly saw why it was such a popular choice among metal guitarists. It has a very flexible EQ section, it sounds excellent, and it's built to withstand abuse. I swear, you can take a BOSS pedal and throw it against a brick wall and it will still work perfectly.
Morley model PFV volume/phaser:
My dad bought this particular pedal for me for my 16th birthday from a used music gear shop. I believe it was made in the 70's. It's power is provided by an undetachable two-prong AC cord. It has two switches on either side of the expression pedal. One switch is to toggle between volume and phaser function. The other switch toggles between manual and auto modes while the phaser is engaged. Manual mode allows you to control the phase with the pedal, the auto mode allows you to contol the speed of the auto-phaser with the pedal. It has three knobs on the side. The first knob is labelled "phase travel", which basically dials in the depth of the phase effect. The second knob is "center", which lets you adjust the point at which the peak of the phase occurs. The third knob is "harmonic emphasis", which adjusts in the amount of feedback. Years ago when I started college, I hocked this pedal at a used music store for stripper and beer money. I got a lousy 25 bucks for it. I hated myself for a long time for doing such a stupid thing. But a couple of years ago I went back to the store where I hocked it and found that they hadn't sold it. Lucky for me, they had taken the pedal and tucked it away in a storage drawer behind the counter and had never displayed it because they didn't have enough room in the display case. I bought it back for 50 bucks immediately. I was so happy I could've crapped my pants! This is a really cool pedal. If you tweak the knobs, you can get some pretty interesting sounds out of it. You can make some odd wah sounds, with the auto-phase mode you can create sounds like a rotating leslie speaker effect, or you can set the pedal to manual mode and set the expression pedal at a certain point and use the pedal as an EQ filter to get some weird outer-spacey tones.
DigiTech RP-6 multi-FX floorboard:
This pedalboard is really a piece of junk. Most of the effects on it sound pretty cheap. I bought it used and in pretty bad shape. Some of the footswitches don't work too well. I only use it if I want to add more of a particular effect that I'm already using into the signal, for example if I want to use two stereo choruses at the same time with two completely different speeds. I rarely use it all though.
Aphex 106 Easyrider 4-channel automatic compressor:
I never use this unit. It's pretty much just EXISTING in my rack. I don't need it. My rackmount effects processor already has a compressor effect built-in and does the job just fine. I don't even have the power cord for this unit anymore, I have no clue where it is.
Marshall JMP-1 tube preamp:
This is my baby. If my house was on fire and my mom and my JMP-1 were inside, I'd be going after my JMP-1 first and then going back for my mom afterwards. This unit is like having every amp that Marshall ever made right at your fingertips. It's expensive as a motherfucker too. You can buy a new Marshall JCM2000 100watt head for what you'll drop on a new JMP-1. When I started putting together my rack, I knew I wanted a good tube tone. I've always wanted a 100-watt Marshall JCM900 amp, but realized that I wanted a rackmount component amp system because of how you can use it in a live setting as well as a recording studio. At first I was just going to use my DigiTech GSP2101 as the preamp AND the processor. But after comparing my tone with other peoples tones, I realized that my tone was lacking that fuzzy warmth of a true tube amp. I tried a few different tube preamps like the Rocktron VooDoo Valve and Gainiac models. After comparing them side by side with the JMP-1, I liked the sound of the JMP-1 much better. After plugging my shiney new JMP-1 up to my system, I heard a HUGE difference. From then on out, if it's not a Marshall, I ain't gonna use it.
DigiTech GSP2101 Studio Tube preamp/effects processor:
I love this thing. It has almost every effect you can possibly think of on it. The tube distortion leaves a lot to be desired, which is why I got the Marshall JMP-1 preamp as I stated above. All the effects sound great on it. You can program effects chain algorithms in whatever order your sick mind can possibly conjure up. The effects are tweakable in ways that you'll never be able to tweak with other effects processors. It's the perfect rackmount multi-effects processor in my humble opinion. There isn't much room for improvement at all other than the fact that I wish there was more internal RAM and CPU capacity to utilize more effects at one time.
Peavey Classic Series 120/120 dual mono tube poweramp:
First of all, once you get this sucker mounted into your rack, don't expect to able to move your rack all by your little lonesome. And if you attempt to, take my advice, DON'T USE THE STAIRS! This motherfucker weighs a ton. It's loaded with 4 huge transformers that are lethally heavy and more than capable of causing you much back pain. It's loaded with 6L6 tubes. I tried a few other poweramps using EL34 tubes like what Marshall's have in the poweramp sections of their heads, but I liked the sound of the 6L6's a lot more. It's got 2 completely independent channels, both can throw out a massive 120watts to drive the living shit out of whatever cabinet you might use. It's even got handy "direct out" jacks for plugging it directly into whatever recording device you might be using.
Planet Waves Custom Series and Classic Series
Peavey triangle and Gibson triangle .73mm
Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9's
Cables: I've used all kinds of cables in my life. I hate cables, I really do. You know the ones with the threaded metal housing around the connection coming out of the insulation to the plug itself? Yeah, FUCKIN' HATE 'EM! I can't tell you how many times I've had to resolder the bastards back together no matter how carefully I handle them. I'm of the opinion that they are absolutely and definitely DESIGNED to break and be pieces of crap. I've found one particular brand of cable that I haven't been able to destroy yet is the Planet Waves Custom Series. They have gold-plated plugs which yeild a better signal than most nickel plated plugs normally do. The connectors are overmolded nice and thick to protect against strain, which is usually how I end up screwing up all my cables. You step on the cable while you're playing or unplug it from a jack using the cord portion, and "SNAP", there goes your cable connector, get out the soldering iron for the millionth time. I also use the Planet Waves Classic Series cables, but only to connect from rackmount unit to rackmount unit. The connectors aren't molded as thick and the plugs are nickel, but the Custom Series cables are pretty expensive so I try to cut the cost wherever I can.
Picks: I don't like a pick with a lot of flop to it. But I also don't want my pick to be completely unbendable. I typically use a smooth nylon .73mm gauge pick. I also like a big pick. I've used the typical teardop shaped ones and I can use them just fine, but I have a little more control and better grip with a triangular shaped pick. Also, if one side gets a nick in the edge of it, you can easily spin it to one of the other two points without having to retrieve another pick in mid-play.
Strings: On my Ibanez, I've tried several different gauges of strings. For a while I was using the GHS Zakk Wylde Custom guage strings because the low strings are thicker which lets you tune down pretty well. But After trying all kinds of guages and not liking how they handled on my guitar, I went back with what the guitar came from the factory with: .9's. I've been using roundwound Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9's on it ever since. On my B.C. Rich, I always equip it with flatwound stings. They sound pretty dark and muffled and they typically come in gauges like .12's or heavier. The strings I'm using now are Gibson Flat Wires medium guages (.12).
A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS...
Here's a schematic of my recording layout I drew up using my MicroSoft Paint program. I had lots of fun drawing it, and I hope you have just as much fun looking at it. Um...or something... whatever.