Friday, April 23, 2010

Manchester Orchestra/O Brother tour update (Updated 6/16)

Hey guys, it's been a while. I guess it's been relatively quiet in the Thrice world, but I've got some minor gear updates after catching the Cincinnati show a couple nights ago.

As far as guitars go, they've switched things up quite a bit:
Teppei has 3 guitars, his Gibson Es-335 (it is definitely a 335), the Baritone Jaguar and his Nash Tele. At the Cincinnati show he didn't use the Tele at all, and stuck with the Gibson on all but 2 songs: Firebreather and the Messenger. Apparently the Tele is only getting used for songs in standard or D tuning now. I can't say for sure what those songs are (At the Last? Daedalus?) because like I said, he didn't use the guitar at the show I saw. His Les Paul was apparently acting up before the tour, so he didn't bring it. (Note: The Les Paul is back in the rotation for the Summer tour)

Dustin is using 2 Variax'd guitars: a Maya Les Paul copy and his black Tele Deluxe. The Maya is a Japanese guitar he bought not long ago. It had a very warm, vintage sound. The Tele is the same except the neck pickup has been switched to a Charlie Christian pickup. These pickups were made for jazz initially, but obviously aren't limited to it. They are somewhat similar in sound to a P90 pickup- with more lows than a single coil, more high end than a humbucker and lots of sustain. Thanks to an anonymous commenter (is that a word?) for the tip. Here's a picture of one:

Eddie's main Grabber was also acting up before the tour, so he only had his 2 other Grabbers for this tour. He mostly used the one he built himself for this show. Before the Cincinnati show he bought a Rickenbacker bass at one of Cincy's best guitar shops, Mike's Music, which is next door to Bogarts, the venue they played. Who knows if this will actually get used with Thrice, but it'd definitely be interesting if it did.

Amp-wise, Teppei is using his usual AC30 combo and a Marshall JCM800 head paired with the cab he used with the Supro clone he made himself. The Supro died before the tour and he borrowed the Marshall. His sound is mostly the AC30. The sound guy only adds the Marshall into the mix to "add balls" when needed.

Dustin is using his AC30, which is similar in color to the new handwired series. It is most likely a European model from the late 90s/early 200s though.

Eddie used his Ampeg head with an 8x10 cab. No stereo setup this time around. If I'm not mistaken, every band's bassist used that amp.

Eddie and Dustin's pedalboards are mostly the same, with everyone using M13s heavily. I didn't see Teppei's board. Eddie is using a distortion pedal he bought on the road, which has no writing on it and is just in a silver enclosure (with a pink smiley face sticker, haha).

Teppei's keyboard is a Nord Electro. I'm not sure of the exact model.

I'm going to look for some recent pictures, especially to figure out what neck pickup Dustin is using.

This show was the first Thrice show I've seen since 2008, so I feel obligated to give a review. First off- no stage monitors for Thrice. All they're hearing from the stage is through headphones. I talked to the O Brother guys, who sat on the side of the stage for Thrice's set. They were blown away by how good the sound was from the side of the stage. By all accounts it should've sounded terrible, but they kept talking about how good the mix still sounded. I thought it was cool that they're such big Thrice fans. They played first and were really, really solid. They're a bit Thricey, but I'd describe their sound as psychedelic, but modern and heavy. They had 3 guitars on stage, which was cool. The singer would be playing open chords in a kind of singer-songwriter sort of way, and the other 2 guitarists would do lead/rhythm stuff. It was cool how the guitars blended. Really interesting textures.

Manchester Orchestra played next, and after that show I never want to hear them ever again. Their singer didn't say anything to the crowd except insults (even calling someone a "dumbass"). I'm pretty sure he was really trashed. He was even rude to their guitarist when he mentioned the Invisible Children booth. When they were done playing I was in a bad mood just from watching and listening to them. O Brother set the show up so well and MO just destroyed the good vibe.

Anyway, Thrice came on and opened with 2 Vheissu tunes: For Miles and Of Dust and Nations, which was totally unexpected. I figured they'd play them, but I thought they'd open with something from Beggars. The crowd had less of the obnoxious Deadbolt shouters compared to 2008, but they were still there. I'm assuming they won't be back next time, since Thrice only played 2 pre-Vheissu songs: The Artist in the Ambulance and Silhouette. Dustin's tone on Artist was weird- it sounded like he was using the neck pickup and a clean tone for the palm-muted intro part. I had no complaints about the lack of early stuff- we got a killer version of A Song For Milly Michaelson, a completely unexpected Atlantic and great versions of Firebreather and The Messenger. The Beggars stuff was really great though. They did All The World Is Mad, The Weight, In Exile, Doublespeak, the title track and Circles. Some things to point about those songs: Teppei played keys on all of Doublespeak and Circles- I was a little surprised that the solo at the end of Circles was Dustin, but he nailed it. Beggars was even more epic than The Earth Will Shake, and that's saying something. They only played 14 songs, which was a small letdown since they probably won't play Cincinnati for another 2 years, but what they did play was really, really good. They're so tight and clean live, without sounding sterile and bland. They're just great musicians and it shows. They keep getting better and better.

My thoughts are with the members of Thrice in this difficult time. In light of all this, just be grateful for what and who you have- no matter how little or how few.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teppei's Guitars: Song By Song

I'm going to start looking through videos to see which guitar Teppei uses live for each song. I doubt I'll find every song, and I'm not even going to attempt Identity Crisis, but I'm going to keep updating this over time. I won't go into elaborate detail about the guitars, as I've done that already in past articles. If you've got anything to add, please do!

Note about 2009: Teppei seems to be using his ES-335 for everything that he used to play the Les Paul on.

Kill Me Quickly- Gibson Les Paul
A Subtle Dagger-
See You In The Shallows- Gibson Les Paul
Betrayal Is A Symptom- Gibson Les Paul
Deadbolt- Gibson Les Paul(2002-2009)
In Years To Come-
The Red Death- Gibson Les Paul
A Living Dance Upon Dead Minds-
Where Idols Once Stood-
Trust- Nash Telecaster (2008)
To Awake and Avenge the Dead- Gibson Les Paul
So Strange I Remember You- Gibson Les Paul
The Beltsville Crucible-

Cold Cash and Colder Hearts- Fender Amer. Deluxe Tele (03-04)/Nash Tele (05-present)
Under A Killing Moon- Gibson Les Paul
All That's Left- Gibson Les Paul/Nash Tele (2008)
Sillhouette- Gibson Les Paul
Stare At The Sun- Fender Amer. Deluxe Tele (03-04)/Nash Tele (05-present)
Paper Tigers- Gibson Les Paul
Hoods On Peregrine-
The Melting Point Of Wax- Fender Amer. Deluxe Tele (03-04)/Nash Tele (2008)
Blood Clots and Black Holes- Gibson Les Paul
The Artist In The Ambulance- Gibson Les Paul (03-07)/Nash Tele (08-present)
The Abolition Of Man-
Don't Tell and We Won't Ask- Gibson Les Paul

Image Of The Invisible- Nash Tele (2005)
Between The End and Where We Lie-
The Earth Will Shake- Gibson Les Paul
Atlantic- Gibson Les Paul
For Miles- Gibson Les Paul
Hold Fast Hope- Nash Tele (2008)
Like Moths To Flame-
Music Box-
Of Dust and Nations- Gibson Les Paul
Stand and Feel Your Worth- Gibson Les Paul
Red Sky- Gibson Les Paul (2005)/Nash Tele (2007-present)
The Flags Of Dawn- Nash Tele

Firebreather- Fender Baritone Jaguar
The Messenger- Fender Baritone Jaguar
Backdraft- Fender Baritone Jaguar
The Arsonist- Fender Baritone Jaguar
Burn The Fleet- Fender Baritone Jaguar
The Flame Deluge-

Digital Sea- no guitar
Open Water- no guitar
Lost Continent- no guitar
Night Diving-
The Whaler- no guitar
Kings Upon the Main-

Broken Lungs- Nash Tele
The Sky Is Falling- Nash Tele
A Song For Milly Michaelson- ES-335
Daedalus- Nash Tele
As The Crow Flies-
Silver Wings- Taylor (only played acoustic)

Moving Mountains- Taylor
Digging My Own Grave-
The Earth Isn't Humming- Nash Tele
The Lion and the Wolf- no guitar
Come All You Weary- Nash Tele
Child Of Dust- Taylor (when played acoustic. No guitar in the album version.)

All The World Is Mad- Gibson ES-335
The Weight- Gibson ES-335
Circles- no guitar
Doublespeak- Gibson ES-335
In Exile- Gibson ES-335
At The Last- Nash Tele
Wood & Wire-
Talking Through Glass-
The Great Exchange-
Beggars- Gibson ES-335
Helter Skelter- Gibson ES-335

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Okay, so I decided not to listen to the leak or buy the album on iTunes and wait for the physical CD release of the new album. There's something about coming home with a new CD on its release date, so today I finally got to hear Beggars.

Analyzing the tones on The Alchemy Index was pretty difficult with all the studio trickery and effects. This time it's a bit different. The tones are straightforward- and no less amazing than anything before it.

There are certain ingrediants that really create the vibe of the guitars on this album:
#1- Vox AC30s. Teppei has relied heavily on this amp for years, but this time the tone is pure Vox. Dustin bought an AC30 and has been using it live also. It sounds like both guitars on this album are going through these amps. Teppei has a stock AC30 from the 90s, and Dustin uses one of the Handwired AC30s, which are still in production.

Basically the trick to getting the Thrice AC30 tone is volume. They crank these things. If you want to get this sound but aren't playing big venues I suggest getting an AC15. Half the volume, and you can still get the sound.

The use of distortion/overdrive pedals on this album is pretty nonexistant. Teppei uses a homemade Tube Screamer clone for boosting- but he uses this not for the tone of the pedal, but to get more drive from the amp. It's just a tool to get more from the AC30.

#2- Line 6 delay. They've been using these for a long time. At least since The Artist In The Ambulance. Rather than using the DL4s they've been using the M13 multi-effects as of late, but it's the same thing essentially. Teppei almost exclusively uses the analog delay, digital delay and auto volume echo as his presets. I think it's mostly the analog delay heard on this album.

#3- Humbucker guitars. I think Teppei used his new Gibson on most of this album. I believe it's an ES-339... it's one of those darn ES's. The humbuckers help with getting more grit from the amp for overdriven tones. The Tele can be heard on the more chimey sounding tones (At The Last and Circles). It looks like Dustin has been sticking with his black Nash Tele.

Combining the British rock tone of the Vox amps and the ambiance of the delay results in the Beggars sound. There is certainly some post-production reverb on a lot of the guitar tracks too.

As far as bass goes, it sounds like Eddie is using his typical setup. His overdrive came mostly from the Tube Drive setting on the Line 6 M13. He's been running a stereo setup with 2 amps live recently, but I don't think that's how he was recorded for the album.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Warped '09 Gear!

Looks like Warped '09 has brought a few equipment changes. Dustin is no longer using Line 6 amps, and has switched to a handwired Vox AC30. He's still using his black Nash Tele. Teppei is still using his AC30 also, which is stock and from the 90s.

In the videos of the new songs being played on this tour, The Weight and All The World Is Mad, Teppei is using his semi-hollow Gibson (possibly a replacement for his Epiphone Casino?)g, which appears to be an ES-335 (sunburst color). He mentioned using this in the studio too, so it looks like we may be hearing this guitar more than his old stand-bys, the Les Paul and Tele on the Beggars album. Alvin Lee, BB King and Rich Robinson would be proud.

I found pics on this blog. There are some good shots of Teppei's Gibson. Apparently, this guitar is being used in place of his Les Paul on Of Dust and Nations and Deadbolt. It looks like the LP isn't even being used on this tour. Teppei is still using his Tele and Jaguar on the other songs.

Sorry for the lack of updates, there just hasn't been much to talk about lately! Teppei has been getting pretty in-depth over at, which is awesome- and also leaves me at a loss for things to write about, haha. Thanks for reading as always, and if you notice anything I didn't then point it out!


Friday, April 24, 2009

A Small (Self-Indulgent) Aside

I've decided that I'm not cool enough to break free from the crowd... I now have a Twitter. I suppose I'll be using this to talk about the blog, my music, and also to give me a new dumb thing to amuse myself with.

I'm also beginning to think that I should finally give in and make this blog a real website. It'd be nice to have some navigation... this page is definitely getting cluttered and becoming harder to browse through. Also, I'd like to sort of divide things up into sections (by album most likely), since Thrice have used pretty different equipment on each album and people seem to be interested in each.

Something for the near (maybe) future, I suppose.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Updated Look At Things

I thought about going back and revamping old articles like I used to do, but I decided to keep them the way they are for people looking for that sound. Anyway, despite Thrice's decrease in touring, there has not been a decrease in stuff for me to write about here...

I just haven't, because I suck at updating. Anyway, here's what I've got:

I've always credited Teppei's live distortion sounds to his Turbo Rat, however even when I was right about that I was totally wrong about how he used it. Teppei likes to use pedals to just push his amp transparently (rather than creating the distortion tone). This is how he used his Rat, a pedal which has now been sidelined by a homemade modified clone of a Tube Screamer, which Teppei says is his favorite distortion pedal. We can credit most of his sound to his amp- which most of the time is a Vox AC30.

Teppei also has invested in a Line 6 M13 multi-effect pedal to replace his DL4s, which have apparently given the band tons of problems on the road. The DL4s (and other Line 6 Modeler pedals) lose reliability because of their build: the switches are mounted directly to the PCB. If you've got a Line 6 Modeler, there are lots of people online who will mod your pedal for more reliability.

As far as amps on the new recording: it looks like the AC30 and Supro clone are getting use, as well as a vintage blonde Fender Bassman- different from Teppei's tweed Bassman that was used at times in 2008.

Eddie seems to be using a new M13 also, through his Ampeg setup. Despite the M13, he still has a DL4 and expression pedal on his board.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some Things Confirmed By The New DVD (and a few other things)

I guess this article is basically just a little update on... everything. I should put these things in the amp and effect articles, but I haven't updated them in so long I'd be afraid the updates would go unnoticed. In the Q&A part of the (really, really good) House Of Blues DVD the guys go into some detail about their gear. Here's some info about the last tour's setup:

Teppei used 2 amps: his AC30 (though the Bassman was used on Conan) and a clone he built of a Supro amp from the 60s. These amps have been largely forgotten, and specific models seem to not be cared about anymore- but they had their own sound. Teppei mentions on the DVD that Jimmy Page used a Supro on Led Zeppelin's first album, so this amp will certainly give you that dirty 70s rock sound.

Dustin mentioned his all Line 6 setup, confirming that his newest Tele has Variax guts too. The interesting part though, was the look into his vocal processing setup. He's using a CB mic on live versions of Digital Sea, and for the crazy effect he uses a Korg KAOSS Pad. I won't go into detail about what the KAOSS pad does, because I'd just be reiterating info from this page. He is also using a MicroKorg keyboard, which can be heard clearly on The Whaler from the live album.

Eddie mentioned that his P-Bass is actually a Nash, like Teppei and Dustin's newer Telecasters. As for his picks, they are, in his words: "blue". They're blue Dunlop Tortex picks (1mm).
His pedalboard includes a Line 6 delay, 2 Line 6 distortion pedals, a Boss Reverb (which I believe is the old Reverb/Delay), and the Zvez Fuzz Factory, which Dustin appropriately described as "crazy".

Riley uses a Roland SPDS Pad to trigger little samples and segues between songs (to avoid total silence as Eddie and Teppei tune between songs). Some songs have click tracks when needed (to sync up with pre-recorded sound effects, etc.), or songs that are just very tempo-sensitive.

Lastly, as you probably know by now, Teppei is selling some stuff on Ebay. His username is theraindogg if you want to check it out. These auctions have confirmed a few things about past tones:
  • The guitar sound from The Illusion Of Safety and The Artist In The Ambulance albums was Teppei's Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and Mesa cab. This is now up for sale.
  • Teppei almost had a signature Gordon Smith guitar, nearly exactly like this one, which was apparently based on his design. His GS is going up on Ebay soon. Check .CAK's comment on my last post out to see Teppei talk further about that guitar.
  • Teppei used a wine red PRS CE24 to record a lot of Identity Crisis.
  • His black '99 Gibson SG (with an EMG 81 pickup in the bridge position) was used on some of the Illusion Of Safety (notably the Red Death guitar solo), and possibly on The Artist In The Ambulance as well.
  • His candy apple red '85 Fender Telecaster Custom '61 Reissue was used on a bit of Vheissu, though he can't really remember where.
  • A (slightly out of tune) Yamaha CP70 baby grand piano was used to record Lost Continent. This makes me think that the Rhodes pianos used on Vheissu were probably owned by the studio, and not Thrice.

Bottom line: Check out Teppei's Ebay auctions, and if you haven't yet- BUY THE DAMN LIVE ALBUM! I believe it's still on sale at FYE, I got mine for $15. Quite a deal for 2 CDs and a DVD!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm not dead!

Does anyone still come here? I can't believe I haven't updated this blog since August 8th! I have some excuses...
  • Life decided to kick me in the face repeatedly starting near the end of August.
  • I started college in September.
  • and uh... I forgot the password to my Blogspot account. Oops.

Howeverrrrrr! I'm here now, and I grabbed the new CD/DVD yesterday. It's pretty phenomenal. Some good info was tossed out during the interview portion, and through watching the show. I'll have a little compilation of that stuff up here soon.

Another thing, since I obviously can't update this page like I used to- I'd like to "pass on the torch", at least partially, to someone who wants it. If you feel like writing an article or some articles here, I'd be glad to give you the login information. Just leave a comment or something and I'll get back to you. I'd really like to see this blog continue, but I'm not really in a position to do it myself anymore.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Elemental Analysis Part II- Air and Earth

In some ways it's easier to capture the Earth and Air tones, but in some ways it's harder. For example, Earth is stripped down but the production and recording techniques play a huge role in the sound. Air uses less modulation and ambient background effects, but has a slick production and lots of reverb (which isn't smart to use in a live situation).

Air and Water are probably the 2 most similar elements in the Index in their use of ambiance and effects. The difference, as Teppei has pointed out is that Water uses lots of modulation to achieve ambiance, while the Air tone is dripping with delay and reverb.

The tones are for the most part clean, with one wobbly, fuzz-laden exception: the end of Broken Lungs. Since the beginning, I've been thinking that the crazy fuzztone used there is Dustin's Zvex Fuzz Factory and at this point I'm 99% sure. Listening to the recent Myspace Transmissions release, Teppei plays the E and C chord booming fuzz part but it doesn't sound much like the album version. It's simple why... Teppei doesn't use a Fuzz Factory and if you've played a Fuzz Factory you'll know that it's pretty damn near impossible to nail some of the tones with other pedals.

The typical clean tones on the rest of the album are very sparkly and chiming and, as I said, are given an airy ambiance with healthy doses of delay and reverb. As you know from reading the pedalboard articles, each member was using a Line 6 DL-4 pedal for the album (with Eddie and Teppei still using them now) and these seem to be on nearly all the time gently adding to the tone. Lots of reverb was used on the album, but it isn't wise to use in a live situation as it muddies the tone quite a bit due to the room's natural reverb. In live shows, this reverb has been replaced with more prominent delay.

If you are looking for Air tones, I'd recommend a single coil guitar through an amp with nice treble and a bit of sparkle (I'm pretty sure Teppei used an AC30 for most of the EP, while the Bassman is getting use for these songs now). Effects wise, I'll stress again that for Thrice tones from Vheissu onward you must get a delay pedal. While they use digital delay, I think they use mostly analog simulation, and my MXR Carbon Copy works very well in adding the right delay ambience. Like I said, reverb is a bad idea in most live situations, but if you're at home it can help your tone. Lots of amps already have good sounding reverb, but if yours doesn't and you really want a reverb drenched air tone (and delay doesn't do the trick) I'd say go for an EHX Holy Grail pedal.

Earth, in theory is the easiest EP to nail with your own tone since it's mostly acoustic, but there's a warm, at-home feeling from the stripped-down production that is impossible to totally recreate live (maybe you can get close if you play in a bathroom or something, haha). The production on this EP is really cool (including the burying of a microphone in a "coffin" for Child Of Dust, which is maybe the most powerful studio technique I've ever heard. There's a picture of that (from Thrice's blog) below. The electric guitar comes into play only once, during Teppei's leads for Come All You Weary. This tone is pure Vox AC30 and Telecaster twang. In live settings, Teppei plays his Tele and Fender Bassman amp for this (neck pickup), and adds a bit of delay for a spacy feel that helps capture the album's vibe.

For the rest of the album, just grab your acoustic, throw some wood in the campfire and sing the night away!

To wrap things up, here's a quick summary of how to get the great tones from the Alchemy Index:
  • Use a single coil equipped guitar!
  • A good, clean tube amp would help greatly.
  • For fiery JCM800 type distortion, check out the MI Audio Crunch Box.
  • A phaser or flanger coupled with delay and a clean amp will get you a great watery tone.
  • If you can't get enough of the bomb-like fuzz in Broken Lungs (or just want a killer, versatile fuzz to mess with), grab a ZVEX Fuzz Factory.
  • For playing at home, reverb can help with Water and Air's spacy ambience, but it's a big no-no for live playing. Delay is perfect for live use (as well as home use).
  • For earth tones, play acoustic guitar and sing around a campfire (preferably during the night and with good friends). Turn the "Kumbaya knob" up to 11! (I stole that last line from Thrice's blog, haha)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Elemental Analysis Part I: Fire and Water

Well, now that I've reeled you in with my scientific title, I'm going to bore you with another article. This is a 2 part-er where I'm going to analyze the production techniques and the equipment that went into recording (and the subsequent live playing of) the songs.

The "Fire Sound" you hear on the album is mostly edge-of-chaos-and-bursting-into-feedback Marshall JCM800s being played through with Teppei's baritone Jaguar, Dustin's old Variax Tele tuned low and Eddie's 5 string basses. Yes, even the bass was given the cranked Marshall overdrive treatment. There's a picture from Thrice's blog from the Fire jam sessions below that shows Eddie playing a Fender 5-string with humbuckers that I've never seen before.

Effects-wise, this EP is the most stripped down except for the Earth disc. The sound you hear is mostly just cranked amps, sometimes with reverb added in the production. Backdraft's verses are an exception. They feature low tuned, slightly dissonant acoustic guitar. Clearly though, they were produced to be fiery. The guitars are distinctly less pure, and this can be achieved by overloading the microphone during recording. This may have been what Thrice did, or the guitar may have been tinkered with by adding overdrive/boost in production. Either way, it's been EQ'd to Hell and back, boosting the mids for less clarity and more of a "guitar cutting through the flames" sound.

If you want this sound for yourself, but don't have the cash for a Marshall JCM800 there is a pedal that comes close to the fiery goodness: the Crunch Box by M.I. Audio. A guitar that isn't voiced too modern will give you a definitely fiery tone when combined with a cranked Crunch Box.

The Water sound is a bit harder to obtain, as each song uses various modulation effects to add ambiance and make the recording, well, wet. Even the vocals contain effects, like the vocoder in Digital Sea. Each instrument is filled with delay, and reverb was added to everything later on. The delay adds an open, spacy feel. It takes your guitar from the land to the seashore where the waves are crashing. This almost gets you the water sound, but your tone doesn't really dive in until it's drenched in flanger/phaser.

The flanging can be heard in the background in Night Diving, and that ambience would be pretty impossible to recreate live. The clean guitar tone can be though. There's definitely a bit of chorus on top of the delay and reverb. Phasing or flanging (depending on the song) add the wet "warble" to the tone, and can be picked out through listening pretty easily. Teppei may have used his Line 6 Filter Modeler on the recording, too. The "drowning" sounds (listen to the end of Night Diving) are another production technique where the EQ is tinkered with, pretty much just leaving the mid-frequencies. This is another thing that can't really be duplicated live.

The overdriven tones (Night Diving's main riff) can be achieved most easily through a single-coil equipped guitar with a bit of delay added. The tones aren't nearly as close-to-the-edge as on the fire album, and can be achieved with something rich in mids, like a Tube Screamer (or a Digitech Bad Monkey for a really good, wallet friendly alternative). The guitars on the recording are drenched in reverb, but generally using reverb in a live situation is a no-no. The delay will help get you that ambience. If there's one pedal essential to the Thrice tone from Vheissu onward besides gain pedals, it's delay.

For the modulation tones, I recommend an Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress (avoid the Stereo model) for flange and an Electro-Harmonix Nano Small Stone (avoid the non-Nano models, as they have a volume drop) or an MXR '74 Script Phase 90 reissue (avoid the block logo models) for phasing. You'll also need an amp with strong clean tones and pickups that aren't too thick and high-output.

Part 2 is coming soon!

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Acoustic Guitars

Thrice are mostly known for their electric guitars, but in the last few years especially, acoustic guitars have really made their mark in the Thrice sound.

The most notable example of acoustic playing with Thrice is Dustin's solo album, "Please Come Home". This album was assumedly recorded mostly with Dustin's Taylor GS acoustic guitar. This guitar was sold last summer, when Dustin decided it was time for a change. This is a $2100 acoustic guitar, and the Taylor name alone guarantees quality. This guitar was used for Dustin's solo shows (pre-summer '07) under the name Ursus Veritas, and as Dustin Kensrue. It's hard to tell whether this guitar is the model with a maple back and sides and a sitka spruce top or if it has a red cedar top and Indian rosewood back and sides. I can't be certain, but judging by the tone of the guitar pictures I've seen, I believe it's the maple/spruce version. The picture above shows Dustin playing a solo show with this guitar.

Dustin currently has switched to a Gibson Southern Jumbo True Vintage acoustic guitar. This was seen on the last Thrice tour (a switch from the Say Anything tour where he used Variax modeling to simulate acoustic sounds on songs like Come All You Weary). This guitar has a great sunburst finish and runs for nearly $3000 new. It has a sitka spruce top, mahogany neck, back and sides and a Madagascar rosewood fingerboard.

He's also been seen (most notably in the photo session for Please Come Home) with another Taylor guitar. It is easily distinguishable from the Taylor GS because it has a tortoiseshell pickguard. I have very little information on this guitar as nearly all Taylor's look very similar and with the pictures available it's hard to see anything "special" that would make it easy to tell what the model is.

Dustin is also seen in pictures (see below) playing a harmonica. I'm pretty sure it's a Lee Oskar harp in the pic, and I'd assume that's what he uses mainly. Lee Oskar have a lot of interesting tunings for their harps, but I'd say it's most likely just a standard diatonic harmonica. He's also wearing a Lee Oskar harp holder (I feel like I'm reporting for a fashion magazine now...). I use a Lee Oskar holder too, and let me tell you, it's a demon when it comes to putting a harp in it! There are ways to make it a tad easier, but it's almost weightlifting trying to fit the harp in. The picture below shows Dusin with his harmonica and old Taylor GS.

Teppei also has a Taylor acoustic that was used most notably in Thrice's acoustic shows promoting The Alchemy Index. Like the last guitar I mentioned of Dustin's, little is known about it. This guitar has a tortoiseshell pickguard like Dustin's "other" Taylor, but is different in that it has a cutaway body for high fret access. Maybe someone (and I'm looking at you, Russell, you guitar guru!! Hahaha.) has more information on these 2 guitars? There's a picture of Teppei's Taylor below.

Oh, and a happy 4th to the American visitors! Happy Friday to everyone else!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hey Everyone

I just wanted to thank everyone that's come here so far. I've been really pleased to hear that there are people besides myself that are interested in this stuff and are glad that there's a place for it.

Thanks to everyone that's commented with a suggestion so far. I've made a few mistakes, but thankfully they've been fixed (I hope!). If you see anything that's wrong, that confuses you (I'm known to lose all sense sometimes, sorry about that) or if you just have a general gear question don't hesitate to leave a comment. I always do my best to answer questions (usually followed by lots of blabbering), and if you see something that might be wrong- you're probably right! I'll definitely look further and make corrections (giving you credit of course). I just reupdated the article about Dustin's pedalboard because I was initially totally wrong in what he's using now!

But mostly, thanks for reading. As always, I hope I've helped you a tiny little bit!

I think an article about Dustin and Teppei's acoustic guitars is next on the bill now that we've tackled electric guitars/basses, amps and pedalboards. I'll get working on that ASAP, I promise. I've got some info on them saved on my computer already, so it shouldn't take too long.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Amps

Thrice have switched amps up quite a lot through their career, and we can almost see the progression of them as musicians through their amps. The Mesa Dual Rectifier days of old have ended (think "Illusion Of Safety"), and for the band, so has that scooped mid, generic metal sound we've heard thousands of times before (though the songs were never quite so nice from anyone else). Thrice look elsewhere for their "heavy" tones now: The fire EP was recorded (even the bass) mostly through Marshall JCM800 amps. These are powerhouse, fiery amps but they're a different kind of "heavy". Distinctly more clear, and more about power, tone and midrange than a Rectifier.

For main amps, Thrice have settled on other things. Teppei added a Fender '59 Bassman reissue to his setup not too long ago and apparently is loving it for the way it has its own character. Regardless of the guitar being played, you can tell for sure that it's a Bassman. This seems to be what Teppei is using the most now, and it was the only amp he had on the Conan set when they played Come All You Weary. For a stripped down Tele/Bassman demo check out the video of that performance. The result is one of my favorite tones I've heard from Thrice. Teppei has also been a fan of the classic Vox AC30s for the past couple years. These are also an unconventional amp for a band like Thrice. They were the choice amps for many rock guitarists in the 60s and 70s (notably the Beatles and Brian May), and have warm clean tones and the tubes will overdrive beautifully for creamy, tasteful drive. I imagine when he needs to go over the top live, his Turbo RAT will do the job. Notice how downsized this setup is from the stacks of Marshalls, Bogner Uberschalls and Mesas. The bottom line with tube amps is that you don't need a million watts in a live situation. Where 100 watts solid state would be just enough for a decent size gig, 100 watts of tube power would blow the house down. With the sound also being filtered through the PA- this really isn't needed.

In the summer of 2007, Dustin sold his JCM800 2205, Mesa Dual Rectifier and Mesa Boogie cabs, stating that it was time for a change. This change was his drifting further toward modeling equipment, namely Line 6. Currently (fitting in with the shift toward smaller amps) he is using 2 Line 6 Vetta II amps with 2 12" speakers. The Line 6 amps work perfectly with his Variax modded Nash Tele and new Line 6 pedalboard, allowing for more convincing modeling.

Eddie is, and has pretty much always been an Ampeg user. His powerful low end punch comes from an Ampeg SVT Classic Anniversary head paired with an SVT 8x10 cabinet. Maybe the 8x10 doesn't fit with the "less is more" approach of Teppei and Dustin, but bass is a different world and in a live situation a general rule is that the bass amps should have twice the wattage of the guitar amps.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Updated Articles

Hey, this is just a little notification that the articles on Dustin's guitars and pedals have been updated with new information about his setup during the most recent tour. The second I got all the old information together he switched everything up!! I've also edited the articles on Eddie's basses and Teppei's guitars.

Check back soon for the amp article.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Eddie's Basses- Updated 6/12

Edit 6/12- Added some info on Eddie's other basses and uploaded a new, bigger pic of the red Grabber. That stuff is toward the bottom of the article.Eddie's main live (and studio too, I'm assuming) basses are Gibson Grabbers. These basses were Gibson's answer to Fender and the import companies that ran the bass world in the early 70s. The series began in 1973 and was discontinued in 1982. These were Gibson's cheapest guitars at the time, and weren't made with the best materials. They were made to be assembled fast and cheap: There is only one pickup, a Fender-esque bridge dissimilar to a typical Gibson bass of the time, and the neck is a bolt-on and made of maple.

Still, there were some innovations with this bass. The big one is that the pickup is capable of being slid up or down to wherever the player wants it- allowing for bridge and neck-like tones (and whatever between) with just a single pickup and a "grab"... get it? The Grabbers were Gibson's first bolt-on neck bass, and the maple neck and Fender-like construction give the bass a tone that's closer to a Fender bass than a Gibson (possibly deliberately). Despite being cheap and built quickly, these basses became Gibson's best selling bass ever.

Eddie's main Grabber is one that he likely assembled himself. It's got a blonde body and a Grabber or G-3 (G-3s are the Grabber design in a 3 single coil pickup, no grabbing involved configuration) neck whose beginnings/model are unknown. He also has a wine red Grabber that's seen less action as of late. There's a pic below.

Eddie has actually been playing guitar on a couple songs on the 2007-08 tours: Open Water and The Earth Isn't Humming. There is little known about this guitar besides that it's an Epiphone something (looks like an ES-350?). It may have some Variax/similar modeling in it because it's tuned down quite low for the Earth Isn't Humming and sounds very full. This could also mean that it's got a baritone neck. Of course, maybe he just uses really, really big strings (he is a bassist, after all).

6/12 Edit: Eddie's got a few other basses, most notably two Fender Precision (P-Bass) basses. The first is an American P-Bass that he's had since the band's beginnings. He's also got another Precision bass: a 5 string American Deluxe. These basses went along for the last tour, apparently mainly as backups for the Grabbers. He's also got a G&L bass, apparently an L-2000. The L-2000s have a slightly Fender-ish construction, but use humbucking pickups.

There's more to come soon. We've tackled pedals and guitars now, and logically the amps are next. There are plenty of other things in store that I won't mention yet, too. I don't want to shoot everything off quickly and then run out of things to post! That shouldn't be a problem though. Thanks for reading, and as always, if you find something that's wrong or that I've left out please let me know!