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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tyrannovox Gear Secrets, Part 1

Ken here, with the inside scoop on the guitars and gear that Mike and I have used throughout the career of Tyrannovox.

When we first convened in early 2008, Mike and I had pretty similar set-ups: humbucker-equipped guitars, Digitech floor processors (GNX3 for me, GNX3000 for Mike), and solid state combo amplifiers.


My amp at the time was a Rogue RG120R--a hideous little piece of work, but it had two speakers and could struggle its way up to practice volume. Mike's amp was an Ibanez Toneblaster of some sort (the 150R, I think), which obliterated the Rogue in both volume and clarity. He eventually switched to a Fender solid state combo with similar features to the Ibanez.


My guitar back then was a Kramer plywood guitar--a black and orange Focus 111S that I was always tinkering with. It eventually ended up with a single Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickup running to a single volume knob, which was the combination it had by the time I was in Tyrannovox. It also had very nice locking Schaller tuning heads. I had another Kramer Focus, a black one, that I never really did anything with.

Mike had a worn cherry Gibson SG. Aside from accidentally snapping off the headstock, I don't think he ever made any special modifications to it. He also had a great-sounding yellow Strat that he built as a project guitar, dubbed the "Mike-o-caster." I'm not sure he's ever played outside of the practice room.


To get his sounds, Mike switches between presets on the GNX3000. He uses the "PHISHY" setting for clean tones, the "DOVER" setting for distorted tones, and a weird one--I think it's called "PDLSLIDE"--for the thing in the middle of "China Glass." He has tried playing a few times just using the amp's footswitch, but he always ends up going back to the GNX3000 to keep his tones consistent.

For my part, I don't like to switch between settings, so I set up one sound and leave it alone. I dial in a Van Halen-type sound on the GNX3, usually with a touch of big arena reverb and analog delay. I have the gain up most of the way, and use the volume knob on the guitar to suck out the distortion for clean parts.

I also have a Marshall Guv'nor Plus distortion pedal, which I didn't use with the dreadful Rogue amp. When I got a different amp (more on that next time), I went back to the Guv'nor and made good use of it. It's a great pedal if you're searching for a budget-minded alternative to the classic Marshall sound.

More gear secrets in the next update!

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