Ed's Live Rig
I'm now using Martin guitars on tour exclusively for several reasons (I still love my Santa Cruz' in the studio). First, they sound consistently fantastic, balanced and classic. Second, they are very stable in all weather and environments. Third, if anything happens to one of my guitars I know it's easily replaceable and the new Martin will sound pretty damn close if not exact. This is really valuable for a touring musician as anything can happen in transit (and will).The model I'm currently using is the DCPA4 with Siris with a 1 3/4" neck (the DCPA4 comes standard with a 1 3/4 neck). This neck width is the most comfortable for me as I play a lot of fingerstyle but also do some standard strumming. In the past it's been hard to track down guitars with this neck width without paying extra so kudos to Martin for their foresight on the DCPA4. I also bought a Tanglewood dreadnought a few years ago (with a stock 1 3/4" neck!) and love that guitar. It was a factory second, for some reason, and while I've had a little work done on the neck it sounds and plays beautifully. Very comfortable and it will go out on the road. The Tanglewood has an LR Baggs ribbon pickup and the DCPA4 the new A1 system. Both sound superb with the Fishman Aura Spectrum DI I just purchased. It is easily the best sounding and most realistic emulation unit I've ever heard and could very well be used in studio applications as well. Because the Aura Spectrum also has EQ plus a built in tuner gives me a ton of control over my signal and greatly reduces bulk in my rig on the road. (If I could bring anything I want I'd bring a tuner, delay, maybe a subtle compressor but most especially my custom Coil EQ box-see elsewhere on this site under gearheads) but most touring musicians will tell you that's not practical, especially overseas. I still use Everly star picks, both yellow mediums and green medium-heavy's (blue 1.0mm and purple 1.2mm on electric guitar), G7th and Shubb capos and Martin light/medium model strings on all my acoustic guitars (sometimes I use D'Aquisto Tony Rice model nickel medium strings while I can find some still around since the D'Aquisto factory closed. These strings are great on open tunings and have a somewhat "vintage" sound since they don't contain Phosphor Bronze). For electric on the road I'm now using a Novelli Black Hole model in cherry red with Lindy Fralin P-90 pickups (I just got Steve Novelli to make me a JM-style offset with Warmoth Strat neck that is amazing too!!). That is strung with John Pearse Jazz 12's or Martin jazz 12's. I try to use as few pedals as possible and interact as directly with the amp as possible when playing roots rock but I sometimes use a Bearfoot Sea Blue EQ, a Bearfoot Pale Green compressor, (or sometimes Empress compressor) Model G OD, maybe one fuzz, a Strymon El Capistan delay and TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb (my avant jazz rig is far more expansive and constantly evolving but that's another looooong, obsessive story). I love Bearfoot Pedals (kudos to Donner Rusk and Bjorn), Trutone Effects and power supplies, Empress, Monsterpiece, Paul Trombetta and TC gear. Can't get enough of them. My tuners are always Sabine. My straps are made for me by Long Hollow Leather in Franklin Tennessee and frankly they are the best and great people to boot. Lately I've been playing a bit of piano onstage and in the States I use a Roland 900 and in Europe a Korg Trinity V3 Pro X.
I use a Heil PR-35 mic exclusively on the road and Evidence Audio cables from guitar to DI (or amp). Love, love, LOVE the Evidence guitar cables. I A/B'd them to a lot of other cables and they won by far. The most clear and open without messing with your tone. I use Lava cables for all my pedal boards including my avant jazz rig. Lava's are the most reliable, best sounding and sturdy that I've found for that purpose. The Heil is the best sounding hi-fidelity mic for my voice and captures all the nuance without losing the character. I've even started using the Heil in the recording studio because it sounds most like "me" and that's against much more costlier and storied mics. I use Mono cases for my guitars and pedalboard on the road. They are fantastically designed and superb at protecting my stuff while still being light and portable.
If I've missed anything or you have any questions please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail and I'll try to answer your query as quickly as possible.
GEARHEADS ARTICLES - TABLE OF CONTENTS
The following gear reviews by Ed have appeared in Tape Op Magazine, except where noted: