The Gear Blog – Part 1 – Andrew’s bit

It’s a little while since we last posted so I thought I’d put together a quick overview of my current set up. I was fortunate enough to become the proud owner of a Fender Telecaster (“Tele”) recently and in the main, I “wanted” one simply because I hadn’t got one and it’s an inescapable fact of life that the more guitars you have, the more you think you need. Up until the moratorium on gigs that was imposed on us by covid, I had mainly used either a Gibson Les Paul, a fabulous Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion or a Fender Stratocaster (“Strat”) and choosing between these for each gig largely depended on which was closest to hand when I was getting my gear ready to go to a gig. To be fair, I was gravitating toward my Strat a fair amount because to my ears, it seems to have a little more sonic variation that I find helps to enrich our sound.

I’d tried a few Telecasters over the years and a friend of mine, Alex Farran, who happens to be both a truly awesome guitarist and guitar teacher always raved about his Gibson ES 335 (damn it, I bought one of those too!) and his Tele but tried as I might, I just didn’t take to it. Despite not particularly liking a Tele, I had been saying to my wife that I wanted one and lo and behold, Christmas came and there it was. An absolute beauty from Fender’s custom shop in relic’d gold. I loved it from the moment it came out of the case, and I think I have used it pretty much for every gig since. It’s a great guitar and I now get why guitarists can sometimes see no further than this classic instrument.

 

Pedals. Now, pedals are a both blessing and a curse. A blessing because they add variation and colour to the music and a curse because as with guitars, you always want more of them. My pedalboard (which was put together by our lovely Mel whilst Jane and I sipped tea), is relatively straightforward and consists of individual pedals each of which does a specific job. It is perfectly possible to buy multi-effects units that you can program to do absolutely everything, but I find that I struggle with the technology, so I keep it simple. In the main, I use things like overdrive, delays, modulation (which includes effects like chorus, phaser and tremolo), reverb to create more ambient sounds and for one song and one song only, I use a Whammy pedal (New Killer Star). As we don’t have a keyboard player, I also use an EHX Mel9 pedal that enables me to add some synth/string-like sounds here and there. Two notable places where this pedal can be heard are the choruses to Life on Mars? and in the “I never done good things” section of Ashes to Ashes.

Amp-wise, I use either a Louis Electric Deltone or more recently, a Fender Twin Reverb. I’d been banging on about this particular amp to my wife (yes, just before Christmas again!) without doing my homework. Anyway, the boxed amp duly arrived and somewhat strangely sat in our sitting room like some sort of immovable object. Which in fact it was. Boy, this is one heavy amp and whilst it sounds great, I need a week to recover after lugging it around. That will teach me to look before I leap.

         

I hope that for any readers who are remotely interested in these things, the above is moderately interesting. We’re playing at the fabulous Lion pub in Basford on Saturday 4 June and its free entry so if you fancy a couple of hours of great Bowie music, we’d love to see you there.

We have other ‘gear-heads’ in the band, namely Mel & Phil and lately joined by Allan with his brand new Roland kit…..expect more gear based blogs in the near future