Post that’ll be boring to non-musicians…sorry!

People ask me about my guitar stuff occasionally…so here are a few notes on some of my stuff… This is pretty much just a teaser for something I’ll be putting on my website sooner or later…mostly I’m just still awake, and I felt like blogging. I wanted to post pictures, but for some reason, they keep making the post look weird…so none of that for now.

Most used guitars:

I use this one just about the most. It’s the staple of my Blue Tattoo sound. It has a slight twang to it under the right circumstances, but for the most part, in the “rock” mode, it just provides a HUGE crunch. I kind of want to buy another Gretsch, just to have a backup for the “signature” sound they provide…but that seems a little wasteful, unless I can buy one of the really cool ones–like the Rev. Horton Heat signature one. πŸ™‚

Fender Strat:
I use this one for its incredible sustain. Nothing sings like a strat. I bought this one from a guy at Ferguson Church, back when I worked there (about a year before my departure). I was told he needed money and was selling a couple guitars he’d never used. This was one of two (the other was an acoustic that I didn’t want for one reason or another). I’m thinking he didn’t need money THAT badly, though, since he was telling people he wanted $800 for it, but sold it to me for $600. (I didn’t haggle…he just said that was all he’d take from me.) So, I’m really not sure if that story was true or not. Anyway…it’s a great guitar.

Schecter RAF:
Bought this one having only seen a picture of it. I’m a big fan of British imagery–particularly British war imagery. This was perfect (if there were a picture, you’d know what I mean…but it’s painted to look like a British RAF Spitfire from the “Battle for Britain,” and it’s totally awesome). Got it home, plugged it in, and it blew me away. This thing’s a freaking BEAST. HUGE tone, and deep growl to it. I use it when I need a harder edge to what I’m playing. Shows up in some of the background power-chords and solos on the “Things I Meant to Say” record that I put out in 2006. Great guitar…I should really play it more.

Martin D-15:
Bought this one because it was an AFFORDABLE all-wood Martin. It’s awesome. Nice, full tone. I installed a pickup in it. That was dangerous. I had to drill a hole in it…which could have really screwed up the guitar, but I did a decent job, so it’s all good. I play this a LOT.

1930 Gibson:
My Grandfather died in 1999, and I got his guitar. It’s amazing. It had a brilliant tone, and a nice jangle to it. It also has a resonance that most of my other guitars just don’t have…and there’s a pretty cool story attached to it, but I’m going to have a guitar gallery on my website (whenever that reopens) and I’ll save it for there.

1972 Alvarez:
I bought this one from my brother’s store. (Oddly, they’re a coin and jewelry place that occasionally gets instruments as well.) I thought it’d be a cheap, useless guitar I could take to hotels and parties and not worry too much about it getting trashed…but it’s actually really nice! I like playing it. It’s nice and crisp, and it feels pretty good in my hands. I’m using it for demos and writing at the moment, but I could definitely see taking it out on the town.


Amps Presently Used:

Fender DynaTouch Stage 1000:
Bought this one because I needed something big and loud. It does that. It sounds like a typical solid-state Fender amp, though. It’s got a bunch of bells and whistles…coolest thing on it is the “model” setting that lets me choose several different tone-colors for my sound. Personally, I choose the “Deep” setting most of the time. Not the best amp, but it does the job. I want to buy me one of them all-tube “Blues Jr.” amps…maybe around the time I get my tax-refund back from Mr. Bush, assuming he doesn’t get confused and think it’s toilet-paper, which he seems to think about most of the money the middle-class brings in. (Sorry…sorry…it’s just…he sucks so much…)

Hughes and Kettner Blue:
Bought this because I wanted something smaller and lighter for practices and going to jam sessions. It’s pretty loud and clean, though. I’ve been really impressed with this one. The guys in the band haven’t heard me play through it yet, as I’m…well…too lazy to move my amps around…but I think I may plug it in at the next rehearsal and see how it holds up in a loud setting.


Effects Board:
So…the floorboard (a powered Furman board) is pretty much what I use to get the majority of “my” sound…even though I’m mostly just ripping off the tones of others! πŸ™‚ I’ve spent a lot of time and money to get a board that I can plug in to pretty much any amp and get my tone out of it. I think I’m pretty much there…but I’ve said that a million times… πŸ™‚ Anyway… This is the stuff I use… (This is also the order in which I have them chained, if you’re curious.)

Dunlop Cry Baby Wah – Makes those “porn noises” you hear in funk music. Not used too much in my rig…but it’s there when I need it.

DOD Ice Box Chorus – It’s a really cool chorus that I wish they still made as I’m sure I’ll want to buy another one when this one craps out on me…hopefully that won’t be for a while. It’s got a really cool shimmer to it, and it actually sounds icy. They named it well.

Digitech Eric Clapton Crossroads – I mainly use whatever model #2 is and the acoustic model. It’s pretty good. Provides a nice warm distortion, and the acoustic setting (modeled on the “Unplugged” version of “Layla”) is really clean and crisp. I keep this one on a lot.

Boss Blues Driver – Provides a fuzzier, grittier distortion sound than the “Crossroads” pedal–in my rig, anyway. Most guys use this for warm blues solos, but I use it for deep, gritty distortion.

Digitech Fender Bassman – Models the Fender Bassman amps really well. Next best thing to owning one. Since the amps cost a couple-grand and the pedal only costs about $150, I think I made the right call in buying this one. πŸ™‚ I keep it turned on all the time.

Boss Distortion – Just their run of the mill distortion (the orange one). I use it for solos…that’s pretty much it. I just kick it in when I want a nice, loud, dirty solo.

Line 6 DL-4 Delay Modeler – This provides all my echo noises. I kick it in a lot on solos and leads and it provides some cool studio effects that I wouldn’t dare try live. I kind of model my delay settings after David Gilmour and/or The Edge, depending on the riff.

BBE Boosta Grande – Makes whatever I’m playing a little louder. I kick it in when I want to keep whatever tone I’m using (ie – I don’t want MORE distortion) but it needs to go louder. Pretty handy. Pretty much, if I want to play a solo with a CLEAN setting, I’ll kick this on, so it’ll be clean, but audible.

BBE Sonic StompEVERYONE’S RIG SHOULD HAVE THIS. It really makes a difference. Imagine a compressor that doesn’t alter your volume, but DOES even out the tones. It pretty much insures that my treble and bass both have the same volume-level and clarity when the sound comes out of the amp. I know that probably doesn’t sound like much…but it’s a night and day difference. If you’re a serious player, buy this pedal. Turn it on, dial it in and LEAVE it on. You’ll never want to be without it.

Fishman Dreadnought Pedal – I use this to round out the sound of my acoustics. It’s pretty good…don’t really know how to explain it…but most of the time, if you’re recording an acoustic, you’ll want to mic it to pick up the full resonance of the guitar. With a pedal like this one, though, you don’t really need to. You can plug in, but SOUND like you put a mic on it. This one’s a “live” pedal for me, as I still prefer mics in the studio, so you can hear the pick and the fingers scraping on the strings…but this little gem’s as close as you can get without actually buying a microphone and telling people to shut up while you’re playing.


I loves me some D’Addarios. I used Elixirs, briefly…but they seemed to break more frequently than the D’Addarios. I’d rather have them last longer without snapping than have them supposedly “sound” newer longer. I’ll never know if the Elixirs outlast the D’Addarios in how long they sound new…they never seemed to last that long without breaking. (I also have no idea how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop…I never made it without biting… Anyone get that reference???)


I mostly use Claytons. I’m using some custom-made ones by the Clayton company right now that have the Blue Tattoo logo on them. Occasionally, though, I’ll switch over to a more plastic one (guitarists will know what I mean), and at the moment, when I switch to those, I have been using some that are stamped with The Who’s logo that I bought from their website. πŸ™‚

Check out my website (eventually) for the detailed version that also includes my basses and whatnot.

Sorry to those who were relentlessly bored by this post. I’ll be interesting again soon. πŸ™‚


Current Listening:

  1. Gutter Twins…don’t remember the name of the record, but it’s their only one…and it’s awesome. Buy it. Mark Lanegan’s a freaking genius.
  2. Also, still some Elvis.

2 thoughts on “Post that’ll be boring to non-musicians…sorry!”

  1. Hey Derek-
    It’s roger neeb, I went to SLCC a couple years ago, I married Casey who sold you the Ovation guitar, remember? Do you still have it by the way?

    Your gear makes me completely envious, I wish I had half the gear you did. I did just get a very nice Fender Powerhouse Strat, probably the most solid guitar I’ve ever played.

    I also just got the new Fender Super Champ XD, it’s a hyprid tube/modeling amp, but it has amazing Fender tone and some really good vintage overdrive tones. I really like it. It’s only 15 watts and only like 22 lbs, I haven’t played it live yet, so we’ll see if 15 watts is enough…

    Would love to see some pics of the gear, keep on rocking in the free world…

  2. Hey Roger! Good to hear from you.

    Yeah, I’ve still got the Ovation, and I play it now and again, when I feel like having something different. Actually, it’s got one of the better-feeling necks of the guitars I have for playing rhythm. Has a chip out of the headstock from one night when the guitar-strap fell off and I dropped it…but otherwise, it’s still just fine.

    I like the Super Champs…but I’m just kind of a sucker for the Blues Jrs. I’m also kind of looking at the Blues Deluxe, but it’s a little bulky…I’m thinking the Jr is my next amp…it’d be nice to have something all-tube.

    Hoping to have the site up and running this week, and the gear-gallery should be coming either then or shortly thereafter.

    Thanks for reading!

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