Often, I get asked about what equipment I like to use- my guitars, amps effects etc. Let’s be honest, which of us musicians doesn’t like discussing gear on some level?
So here is a list of the different things I use personally in my studio and on the stage. I do get paid for some of these product links- but not all of them- and there is nothing on here that I don’t use and recommend, myself!
On all my guitars, I use Elixir guitar strings (either gauge 9 or 10), because they have a special “nanoweb” coating, which stops them rusting so quicky. They are a little more expensive than other types of guitar strings, but they (and their tone) will last so long that you’ll easily save money in the long run.
Black Les Paul Studio
This guitar has been my main electric guitar for a while now. You’ve probably seen/heard it in some of my videos.
I bought this guitar when I started music college, because the guitar I was using as my main guitar had a floyd rose style bridge and was a pain to tune! Les Pauls have always been a favourite guitar of mine- I just love the look, feel and sound of them- and seeing as the studio model isn’t too expensive (and the fact that it has a fixed bridge!) I bought this as my very first (real) Les Paul guitar. You can see me holding it in the picture to the right.
Encore Dreadnought Acoustic
This guitar was bought for me as a Christmas present- and I still end up with mostly black guitars! This is my main acoustic that I’ll use to write songs, teach, or jam with. It’s not the best acoustic guitar in the world, but it’s been good enough for what I’ve needed. I’ve even gigged and recorded with it, using a separate pick-up that you place in the soundhole.
This guitar also features a lot in my YouTube videos, as it’s much easier to just pick up an acoustic, than to have to plug in and set up an electric! I use this guitar a lot, which is probably why it looks so worn nowadays!
I also have several custom, or customised guitars that you may see me use from time to time. For example, my Epiphone Les Paul Junior guitar was customised for me by my friend Keith Daisy.
There are several amps that I use, all for different occasions. When I’m teaching, I use smaller, 15 and 20 watt combo amps, but for gigs I’ll use my Behringer VT250fx.
I bought this amp because the previous amp I was using for gigs (a huge 300watt Randall Warhead X2) was really too big! I was fed up of being asked to turn it down to a level that I wasn’t comfortable with, so I bought the Behringer.
This amp is actually in stereo- the number in the name means 2 x 50 watt channels (as opposed to a single, 100watt channel). This means it’s small enough for smaller venues, but can also pack a punch at a larger gig (the two 50 watt channels do add up to 100 watts, after all!). There are also built in effects which can make this amp sound much bigger than it is, and it has the option of connecting to a separate speaker, to use the amp just as a head, too!
The amp also contains “virtube” technology- which emulates the sound and feel of a tube amp.
Here is my video review of this amp. To be honest, there is not much else out there that compares on price and quality! Although I suggest you find this out for yourself! I’m playing here through my Gibson Les Paul Studio through the Behringer Virtube 250fx.
You can also read my review here
As I said, this amp is plenty loud enough with a band! For the price it’s definitely something to check out as the sound quality is great! It actually sounds a little better in real life than it does with my tiny camera mic.
My main piece of equipment, when it comes to recording, is my line 6 pocket pod. It’s a great- pocket sized- little multi-effects and amp simulator.
Other than that, I’m a linux user, and so all my recording software is linux based. When recording, I use a program called “Qtractor” which works well with my linux operating system (it’s also completely free!). Unfortunately, there is no version for Windows or Mac, sorry about that!
When I’m practising, I like to use special Finger-Weights that increase the resistance on my fingers and thus help to strengthen them (read my review here). These really help with finger independence, note clarity and definition and- of course- overall playing speed.
I really don’t know where I’d be without this peice of software! Seriously! Forget your free programs like power tab editor, or tuxguitar- they can’t do nearly as many things as Guitar Pro. There is even a built in speed trainer, realistic sounds and you can write in standard notation, guitar tab, or rhythm slashes. Did I also mention that it has a pretty comprehensive chord finder, too?
Read my reveiw of Guitar Pro here