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.