Sin City Presents Magazine August 2016 Volume 3 Issue 8 - Page 39

K- I dig the pedal board. Very clean. Everything is under the foam. Nice man. Where did U get it?

MB- The pedal board is my own design. I stuck with classic equipment. All of the tone you need for Hard Rock music is in those vintage guitars, amps. So, in the mid 90’s I had an idea for a ‘plug and play’ pedal board, my idea was to build it into a road case so you can just pop the lid off, plug in power and cables and bingo; yet tough enough for the rigors of the road. So, I designed the board on a slant so that the pedals would be at a more advantageous angle. I ran all power and interconnects beneath the board to clean it up and protect everything, then went to a road case company in Toronto and worked with them to build it out.

K - It is a sharp looking board man. What toys are on it and why those pedals?

MB - Thank you sir. Let us kick off with my 1970’s MXR Ten Band Graphic Equalizer because old Marshall amps had very limited tonal adjustments, and this rock-solid 10-band graphic EQ offered just the right amount of additional frequency tweaking. Next up is my BOSS Super Over Drive SD-1. Early Japanese made, which are the sought after ones now. It offers everything I need in kicker. My BOSS DD-3 Digital Delay is also from the Japan years, it’s simple and clean. I never liked guitar tones that were overly processed. My vintage Crybaby wha wha wore out. Dirty shame, it was an early 70’s, but it served me well. I now have a modern Crybaby in the board and it has a setting that gets close to vintage sound. Rounding out my pedal board is a Whirlwind A/B Selector (great pedal, totally silent switching when running two amps), and after years of being a cord elitist, I finally caved when I heard about the X2 Wireless years back. The X2 is almost as good as a cable. I bought three belt packs at the time so I can have three guitars on the go at any given gig and just switch between them easily.

K - Nice set up. Let’s dig in deep with the largest guitar collection to make its way in Guitar Porn shall we?

MB - Here we go

K - I’m ready. I’m just gonna let you bash through. And… begin.

MB - I believe that every guitarist has that one, ‘desert island guitar’ as I call it, meaning if you were forced to choose only one to keep… For me, that is my Fender Stratocaster. This is the oldest guitar that I still own, and its’ story begins in 1980 when I saw a Strat neck hanging on a wall in a luthier’s shop in Halifax, NS where I grew up. The guy at the shop told me it was a 1970 neck. We agreed on $50 and I bought it on the spot. From there I bought a Schecter swamp ash Strat body, and completed the build with a vintage Fender tailpiece, DiMarzio brass saddles and a Bill Lawrence L-500 in the bridge position. The guitar is the same wood combo and specs as EVH’s early Strats; maple neck and a swamp ash body, and to this day it is my hands down #1 wood combo for tone, and has always been my go-to and best sounding guitar. This is my indispensable guitar, it’s been everywhere with me for almost my entire musical journey.

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K: So, personality wise, how do these bad motor scooters differ?

TS: Well, the Engl is meant to do metal correctly. Its high gain setting is tight-tight-tight. It has a built-in noise gate that only operates on the higher gain channel, so it’s great for sudden stops. Where the Tone King feels like you’re lightly dipping your fingertips into caramel syrup, the Engl (on the high gain setting) feels like you’re cutting sheet metal with a band saw. Wow…what a metaphor, huh? Like I said, its power section is a lot like a Mesa, like a Dual Rec. The whole amp is like a Dual Rec, but darker.

K: What about the clean sound?

TS: I have to say that the Engl’s clean sound is fantastic. The reason this amp, or for that matter any Engl amp, failed to really catch on in the States is because they marketed their amps as metal machines. That, and they’re too expensive, because of the import expense from Germany. But like the Dual Rec, it has an excellent clean channel. Modern-Fender, with just a hint of Vox, I would say. I mean, the clean channel has not one, but TWO bright switches, so you can overdose on sparkle if you want.