Vernon Reid

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 foot controller 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 neck and an ebony fretboard. It also has EMG X pickups—an 81X in the bridge and two 81 SAX single-coils 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.