Hey Premier Guitarist, thanks for tuning in for another installment of Intense Guitar! After Carvin ran a full page ad on the back cover of the June issue of Premier Guitar, I received a whole slew of readers wanting to know what gear I’m using. After all, it is a “gearhead” magazine isn’t it? Thankfully I’m lucky enough to have endorsements with all the companies whose products I use.
Let’s start with the guitar. I’m using what I consider to be among the best guitars made – Carvin. I use several custom-made DC747 and DC727 7-string guitars. The guitars are outfitted with Graphtech saddles on all bridges, both trem and non-trem. The tremolos are Original Floyd Roses that aren’t usually stock on 7-string guitars. The non-trem bridges are TonePros, which are known for amazing tone and sustain.
I use DiMarzio pickups in all of my guitars. When I’m searching for a particular tone or sound, all I have to do is reach for another guitar, knowing it will still have the same basic feel. That consistency is very important to me. I use every model they make, including The Blaze, Evolution 7, Tone Zone 7, PAF 7, Air Norton 7, D Sonic 7 and several that are custom wound as well. Also, all of my guitars are equipped with DiMarzio Straplocks.
For strings I use Ernie Balls, gauged .010- .056. On guitars that are tuned down or use alternate tunings I use .011-.058. I find these strings to have the best tone and they seem to sound new for days, even with practicing seven or more hours a day. I use red Dunlop Jazz III XL picks, although I may switch to the black ones on John Petrucci’s advice. He likes them better so I’ll have to investigate.
Next we have cables. I use Spectraflex cables exclusively. I’ve used just about every cable available, and I have found Spectraflex to have the best tone. Since I use the braided cable, I am also able to colorcode my rig. For example: I use a red cable from my guitar to my pedal board. My pedals are connected with 6” green cables. From there, another red cable goes to the input of my Carvin V3 amps. For the first effects loop of the V3 I use a purple cable from the effects send to the input of one of my Eventide units, which goes back to the effects return via another purple cable. The second effects loop goes to still more Eventide units, this time using yellow cables for both the send and return. This color coding makes life easier by being able to tell at a glance which cables go where – a guitar tech’s dream come true!
On my pedalboard I use Morley’s Bad Horsie wah, Little Alligator volume pedal and two A/B switches; one that allows me to alternate guitars without unplugging, and the other for switching my tuner in and out of my effects chain when in doubt of my tuning. I also use several Robert Keeley pedals – my secret weapons – along with some Digitech pedals that are just great.
I plug everything into my Carvin V3s. I use three of them with three Legacy 4X12 cabinets. They’re wired so that the two outside cabinets are run wet, while the center cabinet is run dry. I use the Legacy cabinets instead of the usual V3 VT cabs, mostly because I think they look cooler. I get them loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s, which are also available in the VT cabinets.
In addition to the V3s, I use a Tech 21 Sans Amp PSA-1 preamp, which goes directly to the P.A. I then blend it with the sound of my Carvin V3s to add some “in your face” attack to my sound. I got this idea from friends in the band Rammstein, as both Paul and Richard blend tube and solid state amps.
To mic the cabs I go with Audix D3 and D4 microphones, and use an Audix OM7 for vocals. All mic cables are again Spectraflex.
After covering all of all the gear I use I’d like to thank Cliff Castle and Phil Garfinkel at Audix; Mark Kiesel and Carson Kiesel, Jeff Kiesel, Bob Chini at Carvin; Paul Muniz at Digitech; Larry DiMarzio and Steve Blucher from DiMarzio; Jim Dunlop, Jasmin Dunlop-Powell, and Jimmy Dunlop at Dunlop; Sterling Ball, and Derek Brooks with Ernie Ball/MusicMan; everybody at Eventide; Floyd Rose and Adam Reiver at Floyd Rose; Dave and Tarina at Graphtech; Randy Wright and Bill Wenzloff at Morley; Ovation; Dave Russell at Spectraflex; B. Andrew Barta, Dale Krevens, Lloyd Schwartz, and Tyme Rogers at Tech 21 NYC; and Dwight J. Devereaux and Brian “Wookie” Wolk at TonePros.
That does it for my gear rundown! If you have questions about anything, or would like me to cover anything in particular, please feel free to contact me at intseguitr@ aol.com or Toshi@TOSHIISEDA.com. For those of you using MySpace, go to myspace.com/toshiiseda. I look forward to hearing from you! As always and forever, “Who dares wins!”
Toshi Iseda is an Alumnus of the prestigeous Berklee College of Music and the American Conservatory of Music. He has been featured in Guitar Player, Guitar World and Guitar/Guitar One Magazines, and is a former instructor at the National Guitar Workshop and former instructor at the American Institute of Guitar.