Vernon Reid and Living Colour vocalist Corey Glover rocked a high-energy
rendition of “Power of Soul.” Glover’s vigorous stage persona and
Reid’s articulate style were a highlight of the night. The band also played on
“Crosstown Traffic,” “Third Stone from the Sun,” “Foxey Lady,” and “All
Along the Watchtower.”
If there’s one word to describe Vernon Reid’s playing, it would have to be “eclectic.”
The man has a masterful ability to meld musical genres, some of them polar opposites,
and end up with a sound that is uniquely Reid. That’s why it’s so fitting that he and
his groundbreaking band, Living Colour, were on the Experience Hendrix tour paying
tribute to another legendary guitarist who had the same talent and critical ear. For this
tour, Reid kept his rig simple. “I’m using a Roland VG99
with an FC300
that has a bunch of custom programs. It’s a device that has kind of a cult following.”
His axe was a Parker DF824VR Signature Dragonfly. It’s based on the DF824 Dragonfly
but the company modified to fit Reid’s wild playing style. “It’s notable because it’s a
big change in the Parker design,” he explained. “They changed the headstock and the
body style, and my signature model is the first Parker with a Floyd Rose. The thing about
Parkers is that they have kind of an angularity to their design, and there’s a delicacy there
that I like.” Parker based his Dragonfly on his old Hamer, giving it a shallow V-shaped
and an ebony fretboard. It also has EMG X pickups—an 81X in the bridge and two 81 SAX
for the middle and neck positions—along with a Roland hex pickup.
As for amps, Reid was the only performer on the tour that wasn’t using a Fender or
Marshall. He opted instead for a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier halfstack.
The only other
effect he used was an Eventide PitchFactor.
Since he’s been on the tour, Reid has noticed the effect that Hendrix’s music has had
on his fellow tour mates both in terms of playing and gear. “It’s very interesting seeing
all of these players together, and how they make their sound. Some are more intricate,
others less, but we’re all brought together for the love of one cat. That’s what has always
happened because of Hendrix. Whether you’re Robin Trower, Eddie Hazel, Ernie Isley, or
Stevie Ray Vaughan, they’ve all had his influence and their own respective sounds.”
Reid’s guitar rig had a much more modern vibe than the other
players on the tour. In addition to his signature Parker guitar and Roland
processor, it featured a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier with a matching 4x12
loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s and mic’d with Sennheiser e906 (left) and
a Shure SM57 (right).
Reid’s Roland VG-99 V-Guitar System interface, which is fed by
the Roland GK pickup on his signature Parker Dragonfly.
An over-the-shoulder view of Reid controlling his VG-99 with
a Roland FC-300 MIDI Foot Controller. Also pictured is an Eventide
PitchFactor and a Roland expression pedal.