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!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dustin's Guitars- Updated 6/10!

Check out the area in bold at the bottom for my new update about his new main axe, the black Nash Tele.
Hey everyone (well, there are at least 2 of you!). It's been a while since my last post, partly because I've been kind of scared to delve into this particular post. This article will get touched up in the future I'm sure. Aaaaanyway... Dustin's guitars...
Dustin's main guitar is a black/blonde Nash Telecaster Deluxe (resembling the Fender '72 model). It's got a maple neck, and 2 humbuckers like all Deluxe Tele's. Of course off the bat, this is a contrast from Teppei's Tele, which has single coils. What makes this guitar confusing is that apparently it's not a Nash guitar at all on the inside. It's got the guts of a Line 6 Variax guitar. Variax guitars are modeling guitars, specializing in... everything, really. The idea behind them is that they allow you to have any sound you want in a single guitar, to avoid switching on stage between songs (Teppei style!). I suppose this is why on the Say Anything tour (and maybe the tour before), Dustin played just this guitar, ditching his old axes for the show entirely (even playing Come All You Weary, and the solo Stare At The Sun on the Tele instead of an acoustic guitar). With his Variax/Tele hybrid, Dustin can play everything from acoustic songs to Deadbolt without changing axes.

Since I mentioned Dustin's old guitars I suppose I should explain them a bit, also. He (along with Teppei) seemed to be a Gibson man early on- though he differed from Teppei by preferring SG's over Les Paul's. He played a red '66 Gibson SG Jr. with a humbucker in the bridge and the tone knob removed, as well as a Sunburst SG. Dustin sold the SG Jr. on Ebay in the Summer of 2007, along with a JCM800 head, Mesa Dual Rectifier and cabs, a Gretsch clipper and a Taylor acoustic (I'll delve further into acoustics later on).
The guitar below is listed on The Alchemy Index blog as a "new guitar" that Dustin tried out during the jam sessions for the Fire EP. It's a Line 6 Variax 300- also pointing to Dustin's shift toward modeling guitars (though on the Circa Survive tour, acoustics made their comeback).

Here's a post-Circa Survive tour update, as Dustin changed his main guitar for this tour:
On the Circa Survive tour, Dustin began using a different Nash Telecaster (a T-Series Timewarp guitar). Not much is known about this guitar, but here are the basics: it's got a P-90 pickup in the neck position(bigger sized single coil, also seen in Teppei's Epiphone Casino) and a single-coil in the bridge. This guitar is closer to Teppei's Tele than his old main guitar, the blonde Tele. Maybe Teppei's single-coil love is contagious.

These tonal differences aren't that big of a deal however, as this guitar is almost surely modded with Variax guts like his old guitar. This isn't for sure, but as Dustin is using a Line 6 pedalboard (see the update in his pedalboard article for more info) and Line 6 amps (which all help the Variax modeling technology sound better), it is pretty positive. This guitar has completely replaced the blonde Tele, and was his electric of choice for the whole tour.

Take a look at the picture of Dustin that I've got in the article about his pedals for a shot of this new Tele.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Teppei's Current Guitars- Updated 6/14

6/14 Edit- Added info about the bridge pickup changes in the Les Pauls.

Teppei has used many different guitars for live and recording, but recently has settled on these for live shows: his black 1985 Gibson Les Paul Custom, Blonde Nash T-Series Timewarp ('51 Telecaster/Broadcaster) and his Fender Jaguar Baritone. In the past, his black Les Paul was his main axe of choice (with his wine red 1977 Les Paul standard being used in the studio) but now it seems as if his Telecaster has become the most used.

The Les Paul is still used on songs like Deadbolt, Red Sky and Of Dust and Nations but the last couple of tours have seen the LP being used less. He used to string this LP with Ernie Ball 11-52s, but it is unknown if this remains true. Teppei replaced the stock bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan. His studio Les Paul custom has a Dimarzio Super Distortion pickup in the bridge position.

The Telecaster has stepped up and become the main axe, and is used on Trust, The Artist In The Ambulance, Come All You Weary, Broken Lungs, For Miles, Hold Fast Hope, The Flags Of Dawn, Cold Cash and Colder Hearts and others. In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, he commented on his move toward his Telecaster with single coils for the more heavy material. This is uncommon in the rock world, and even in Thrice's past (the Les Paul was used much more on past tours). The Tele can still be driven hard, but leaves the articulation and clarity that is so key in the Thrice tone. As a little aside, this move toward Fender (he seems to be really liking his new '59 Fender Bassman reissue amp) really pleases me as I'm a Strat player who plans on buying an old silverface Twin Reverb and then becoming poor (and toneful) this Summer.

Teppei's baritone Fender Jaguar was used pretty much exclusively in recording the Fire EP, and naturally that is where it is used live. Its sound is naturally deep and heavy, but is another single coil guitar which again leaves more chime and clarity and is less boomy than a Les Paul or other humbucker-equipped guitar.

Teppei also keeps his P-90 equipped Epiphone Casino with him. This guitar doesn't seem to be getting as much use as the aforementioned guitars, but is still one which Teppei really likes due to the hollow body and natural tone of the P-90s. P-90 pickups are famous for being used in the early Gibson guitars, and were popular before humbuckers. They are single-coil pickups, but in a bigger package and have a bigger and warmer sound. This also causes a bit more noise, since they don't cancel noise like humbuckers and are stronger than single coils. The combination of the warm P-90s and the natural hollowbody tone is what keeps this guitar on the road. This guitar was played when I saw Thrice in February, but I can't remember when.

Stay tuned for a look at Dustin and Eddie's guitars too. If there's anyone out there reading this, feel free to comment with your comments, concerns, questions, ideas, gripes, etc.. I just set it to where there is no registering necessary to comment (just like on the Alchemy Index blog). Hopefully there's a few of you out there on the interwebs reading this stuff!

Edit 6/2- Thanks to Russell for pointing out some crucial things about Teppei's Nash Tele!

Eddie's Pedalboard

Rarely do you see a bass player with as many pedals as the guitarists. Here's a look at the exception:

Line 6 Distortion Modeler- Much like Teppei's Line 6 modeling pedals, this one models a number of classic distortions, fuzzes and overdrives. Things like the Big Muff, Fuzz Face, Tube Screamer, Tube Driver and Tone Bender. Again, there are 4 programmable presets. I'm pretty sure this pedal is what you hear on the fire stuff when it's played live (we know he played through a JCM800 for the recording).

Line 6 Delay Modeler w/ Expression Pedal- This may solve the mystery of the black pedal, now that I think about it. Eddie is using an expression pedal for his Delay Modeler for extra control, which I'm pretty sure means that the mysterious black expression pedal on Teppei and Dustin's boards is a delay expression pedal. Woot... now I feel like I've learned something today. Thanks to Christian for the comment on the article about Teppei's pedals! This pretty much has confirmed my thoughts on what the black expression pedal is for.

Boss Digital Delay/Pitch Shifter- Check out Teppei's article for more info on this one. It's interesting to see a bass player who has 2 delay units in his rig. This proves that the Thrice tone comes from all members, and that Eddie's tone is a key part. I stood in the front right by Eddie when I saw Thrice in february, and I must say that it's quite cool to see a bassist who does so much tonally. Most bassists just stand and look cool, but Eddie adds quite a bit more to the overall sound than just the low end (and he does look pretty cool on top of that). Eddie's pedalboard shows that.

ZVEX Fuzz Factory- It's interesting to see Eddie using one of these things. Check out Dustin's rig article for more info on this pedal. I can't really remember any instances of extreme fuzz from the show I was at, but I can't say I was looking. Does anyone know of any bootleg shows floating around from this year? I'd like to get one to find out where each pedal is used live and I really have nothing to go on except memory.

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal- Basic volume pedal. Move the expression pedal with your foot... volume goes up and down. Yay. Don't get me wrong, this is a key part of a live setup, it's just not too interesting to talk about, haha.

Boss TU-2- Yep, Eddie's got the pedal tuner too.

I guess this concludes the pedalboard articles. Here are some concluding points to think about:

Besides distortion, delay is definitely the most important ingrediant in the Thrice tone from Vheissu onward. It creates the spacy textures and thick clean tones they have become known for in the last few years.

In designing your own live rig- don't forget the volume pedal and tuner! I, myself am currently guilty of this due to buying the more interesting pedals first. The volume pedal especially will really free you up and get your band sounding great. When you're stuck on one volume all the time, it can be a problem. Sure, you can set your pedals for a volume boost but that isn't always wise. If you need a boost for a solo, adjust the volume pedal and when you're done put it back down. You'll sound tighter and more professional.

More than one source of gain is a must. Don't be the band with 2 sounds- clean and distorted. Sure, a minimalist approach can be good, but if you ask me, versatility is much better. As you can see, Thrice have numerous sources of gain and you can hear them all in different places. They are all crucial. You wouldn't want to use the same pedal for Red Sky as you would for Firebreather, or the same pedal for The Artist In The Ambulance as for the outro to Broken Lungs. I'll delve further into this in future articles.

There's more to come! I've just got to do my research and and write it up all nice and such. Check back soon.

Dustin's Pedals- Re-Updated 7/1/08!

This is old news... scroll down a bit to the next bold area for info on what he used on the Circa Survive tour.
I don't have a good picture of his pedalboard, but I've gathered this info from various pics and sources. His rig is similar to Teppei's, but with a couple exceptions. Here's what he's using live:

Line 6 Delay Modeler
Line 6 Modulation Modeler
Boss Delay/Pitch Shifter
Boss TU-2
(check out the post below on Teppei's pedals for a more in-depth description of those)

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal- This leads me to believe that what the mysterious pedal on Teppei's board isn't a volume pedal, since Dustin has that pedal in his rig too.

ZVEX Fuzz Factory- This is a chaotic fuzz pedal- not an overdrive or distortion. I've never played one of these, but I know fuzz pedals and after reading many reviews and descriptions I think this is the crazy tone heard in the end of "Broken Lungs". These pedals are made to sound like a classic fuzz pedal pushed to the edge, and with many tonal options. Those who own these praise their versatility.

Now here's the edited part... forget everything I just said, because he doesn't use that board anymore!

Well folks, I was wrong about the X3. Thanks to Patrick for pointing it out. I don't really know how I missed this... but it's pretty obvious that it isn't the X3 when you look at the back of his pedalboard in the picture above and see the lack of 1/4" jacks. It's almost certainly the FBV foot controller for his Line 6 Vetta amp. These foot controllers are an add-on to most Line 6 amps (even those awful Spiders), and they allow the effects in the amp to be used much like a multi-effect unit at your feet. The FBV gives Dustin an expression pedal for volume/wah and tuner along with the tons and tons of effects and amp simulators (as well as guitar simulators for his Variax modded Telecasters) and lots of other little gadgets like a tap-tempo switch. I've heard it even has a toaster oven and is powered by a small hamster running on a wheel. In theory, it eliminates the need for lugging around a big pedalboard full of cords that need to be set up at every show. It's pure "plug-and-play".

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Teppei's Pedals- Updated 8/9

Here's a list of pedals Teppei has in his pedalboard, with some background information on each:

Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler- Teppei seems to like the Line 6 pedals quite a bit. The delay modeler features 16 different delay models, mostly emulating vintage units (Deluxe Memory Man, Roland Space Echo, Ibanez AD9, etc.) but with a few other options like reverse delay and a 16 second loop sampler. The pedal allows 3 presets and has a tap tempo feature, which makes the pedal versatile and especially good for live performances. Delay is a big part of Teppei's spacy, airy clean tones. Listen to the Air album and "Of Dust and Nations" from Vheissu for delay magic.

Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler- This is another of those big Line 6 pedals. This one emulates numerous guitar synths and filters. It allows four presets and emulates the Moog, Arp, Korg and Roland synths as well as a few others. I'm slightly stumped as to where this is used. I can only assume it was used for more far-out Water sounds.

Line 6 MM4 Modulation Modeler- The last of his Line 6 pedals emulates tons of classic modulation pedals, like the Uni-Vibe, Phase 90, Boss CE-1, MXR Flanger, and many others. Teppei isn't typically a modulation fan, and usually opts for delays instead- for the Water album, however, there are TONS of modulated sounds. The best way to describe most of these sounds is "wet", so it's quite fitting. This one also features 4 presets, again helping for live performances.

ProCo Turbo RAT Distortion Pedal- The RAT distortion pedals are among the most versatile of their kind. While most pedals are limited to one trademark sound, the RATs seem to be able to sound great with a number of different settings. It's hard to say where this pedal is used, as Teppei has amp distortion as well in live settings and it can be assumed that that is what is used most of the time as far as recording (we know he used Marshall JCM800s for the Fire album's, well, fiery tone. The Turbo Rat is known for it's high gain tones that don't extinguish (no Fire related pun intended) harmonics and clarity.

Digitech Whammy IV- The Digitech Whammy pedal is used for pitch shifting. By using the expression pedal with your foot (like a wah), you can shift the pitch of the note you are playing up or down. The Whammy line also has a "dive bomb" effect, simulating a Floyd Rose tremolo system. The Whammy has a number of harmony effects for making your guitar sound like more than one instrument.

Boss Pitch Shifter/Delay- This is another digital delay pedal (further proving Teppei's love for delay). These pedals are similar to the more popular Boss DD series, but with some more interesting features. It has 2 seconds of delay and a chorus feature. The chorus can be dialed in to be quite thick and sounds nice. The Pitch Shifting is slightly off at times, but by no means unusable. The pedal is a nice, versatile delay with some noise-making capabilities. The Whammy is a much more precise pitch shifter though.

Boss TU-2 Tuner- Simply a Boss pedal tuner. It's always smart to have a tuner in your rig in a live situation.

Edit 8/9:
This was figured out a while ago and put in another post, but I'll put it here too so it's easier to find. The mysterious expression pedal is used with his DL-4 for even more control over his delay. It also looks like Teppei has began using an Ernie Ball volume pedal, and possibly added/switched other things too. I'll be searching for more recent pics to confirm this.

I guess it's time for an introductory statement.

Well, I'm Mike. I've been a huge Thrice fan since The Artist In The Ambulance came out, and my appreciation for the band has only grown with each album.

I'm also a huge guitar equipment geek and a Pink Floyd-obsessed loser. There are many resources online for finding out every little thing that has to do with David Gilmour's tone (,,, etc.), but no good resources for Thrice's gear. Sure, this may be because Thrice isn't a "classic" act (yet), but I figured I'd make this blog anyway. I'm sure there are a few gear geeks out there that are Thrice fans, curious and lazy... and this is for you. I've done a bit of digging through interviews and pictures through the years and saved the good info on my computer. Here's what I've got- when I find out more I'll update.