PG's Chris Kies is on location in Tinley Park, IL, where he catches up with Incubus' bassist Ben Kenney who talks about his current touring rig that includes Lakland Basses, Mesa/Boogie Amplifiers, and effects pedals from companies like Boss, Ernie Ball, and Fulltone.
Guitars and Basses
Mike uses exclusively Ernie Ball/Music Man Albert Lee model guitars on the road. He says that he chose those models about a year and a half ago because it's comfortable to play night after night, is well-made, and stays in tune. He had carpal tunnel syndrome and surgery on his left hand, so playability was a major concern when choosing a current touring guitar. He played 13s for a long time on his guitars, but gradually moved down to .009s to lighten up on his hand and wrist. Some guitars are strung to Drop D and one is capo'd on the second fret for "If Not Now, When" and one capo'd on the first fret for "Isador." He uses small Tortex picks because he plays with his picks and fingers. He also has a Chinese 4-string lute called the Pipa (far right) that was a gift from Steve Vai.
Ben uses custom Lakland basses. His go-to bass (not pictured) is a 34" scale with a Lakland body with a one-piece mahogany body, Joe Barden Jazz pickups, and gold hardware. His other main basses are also Lakland in different configurations: a blue 35"-scale, a 35" scale 5-string with roundwound strings, and a 30" scale J-style bass (pictured) with two single-coil Lakland pickups and a small neck with flatwounds.
Mke's using Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Trem-o-Verb amp combos (pictured) on the road because they're versatile for all of their music. The amps are set with one relatively clean and one overdriven. Most of his overdriven tones come from the high gain setting of the amps. Ben uses Mesa/Boogie WalkAbout amps. They're 12" 300-watt combos, and he uses three of them with three 1x12 extension cabinets.
Mike's enormous pedalboard, which he actively tweaks during the show, has an Electro-Harmonix Memory Man, Danelectro Reel Echo (his favorite pedal), a Dunlop Cry Baby, a Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere, two Boss PH-2 Super Phasers (one set traditional phaser, the other more extreme, almost flanger-like), a DOD Gonkulator Ring Mod, Boss RV-3 Digital Reverb/Delay (which he considers his most important pedal), DOD Envelope Filter, Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer, Electro-Harmonix Nano Holy Grail Reverb, DigiTech Stereo Chorus, MXR EVH Phase 90, DigiTech Tone Driver, Electro-Harmonix Micro POG, and Boss OC-2 Octave. The massive board is powered by Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus units.
Ben's pedalboard has an Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, Fulltone Bass-Drive, Boss OC-2 Octave, Ibanez CS-9 Chorus, and either an Emma TrasMORGrifier (pictured) or Aguilar TLC compressor, and a Boss TU-3 tuner. He keeps the compressor on most of the time and brings in the other effects as needed.