Setting Up For The Show - Quickly
I play in the band called Peak City Sound, which is a cover band that plays a wide variety of music including soul, rock, pop, and beach music (Carolina style.) I need to cover a lot of guitar styles. But the band is bigger than most, with 14 members, including a five piece horn section and four main singers. So space is always at a premium. There is no way I could do a stereo amp setup with a massive pedalboard and a rack of guitars. Which would be justifiable with the amount of styles I need to cover (justifiable, yes, affordable or practical, no.) And since I don’t have a crew of roadies or a guitar tech handling all the setup and tear down (it’s all me), I have whittled my rig down to the smallest possible number of items and size for ease of setup and tear down - and hauling to the car.
The above photo is from the gig I played at an outdoor venue right before sound check. I plan to do a full rig run down in a future post (hopefully with video) but for now I will give you the highlights of what I have in the photo.
I have decided to get most of my tone from my amp so I got a the versatile Mesa Engineering Express 5:25+ which has four amp channels (Clean, Crunch, Blues, Burn.) Each channel has a little more gain than the previous one and sounds a little darker. It is sort of like two American and two British sounding channels in one amp. It covers most of my amp tones. It has a four switch pedal with channel select, reverb, EQ, and solo. I usually have it on 15 watt mode during practice and we mic the amps live, so it is plenty loud.
I don’t need a lot of effects in this band since we are playing mainly 60s and 70s music. All I really I need is phaser, tremolo, chorus, reverb, slap-back delay, and the occasional analog drive for modern high gain tones and some solos. These all come from my Nova System by TC Electronic. I know multi-effects often get a bad rap, and the Nova System is not exactly intuitive, but I have found if you take the time to set up good sounding patches it is very versatile and convenient (and sounds great.) I use it in hybrid mode. I have three “pedalboard” patches setup. Each with six different effects that I can switch on and off individually as needed. I have a three switch pedal that allows me to instantly switch between the three “pedalboard” patches I use for this band giving me easy access to 18 effects in a very small package. And I need a wah. I use a separate Dunlop Crybaby 95Q wah pedal.
I am currently using a Telecaster as my only guitar for the entire gig. I give the tone and volume controls a continual workout. But I have used a Strat in the past with equally good results thanks to the five pickup tones. I can go either way. I do have to continually fight the urge to bring a Les Paul for a couple of songs, but that is just one more thing to carry and keep track of so I don’t.
Versatility is the key for this band. Getting the most tones out of the least amount of gear is my goal. So that’s it. It covers all my needs. I can set up the rig in a couple of minutes and be ready to go.