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What strings and gauge do you use?
Frank: I use .011s, usually D'Addario or whatever is free. I'm not too picky about strings.
Greg: I've been playing D'Addarios. We don't have a string endorsement and since they cost so much money, I’ll usually use the cheapest I can find. When we’re recording I use .009s, and when we're playing live I like to use .011s.
You probably have to adjust your touch for such a drastic difference.
Greg: When we're practicing for a tour, we strum so hard and get so into it. Even though my fingers just get destroyed, I gotta have a bigger gauge so they don't break.
And straps and picks?
Frank: Most of the time, I just use picks I find on stage floors.
Greg: The strap for my Blackout is a stock strap with strap locks. But the strap that I use on my Thinline—I wish I could remember the name of it—was a gift from my girlfriend for my birthday. It's the same strap Bruce Springsteen has on the Born To Run cover—it was apparently really expensive.
What about pedals? I noticed that all of you, including your bassist Mitch, have the Line6 DL4.
Greg: We all play Line 6 DL4s.
Frank: I actually use it multiple times during particular songs. I know Greg will too.
Greg: In our genre of music, I feel like all you need for pedals is a delay, a reverb, and a distortion.
Early versions of the DL4s were notorious for breaking down. Have you had any problems?
Frank: So far no.
Dunn screams some vocals at a Vans Warped Tour Kick-Off Party in Brooklyn, NY, March 2011. Photo by Tim Hrycyshyn.
Greg: We don't but we probably should.
Frank: I've owned the DL4 for probably three or four years now and have never had a problem with it. I also loan it out to people since there have been many times I’ve borrowed stuff when I was in a pinch. We play with pretty nice people.
The tricky thing is that if you're done first, you can’t leave until their set is done.
Greg: Yeah—you always forget that. But you have to be like, "of course dude."
What other pedals do you have?
Frank: An Ernie Ball volume pedal, which really does a lot for me. But I've had two break on me—I’m on my third one.
Greg: The volume pedal is probably just as important as the delay, because it's tough to have one without the other. A lot of the swelling and playing with the delay is all done with the volume pedal.
If you had to, could you do the volume swells with your pinky?
Greg: We've had to in the past but it's tough.
Frank: With the volume pedal you can feel it and move your body. We use it a lot, so when mine would break, it would suck. For a while I was using the volume pedal to go to my “clean.” Since I was playing with distortion, I didn't really have a clean, and I would bring it back and get a softer fuzz.