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Rig Rundown: Angie Swan

David Byrne’s 6-string counterpart discusses the tonal, aesthetic, and production particulars influencing her gear for Byrne's HBO and American Utopia Broadway shows.

Angie Swan RR2

Years ago, former Saturday Night Live guitarist (and Rig Rundown vet) Jared Scharff introduced Angie to luthier Dennis Fano at Fano’s NAMM booth. From the time she met Dennis until the time she was in the market for a new instrument, Fano had sold his namesake company and regrouped with a new brand: Novo Guitars, in Nashville. Some of the crucial specs she requested from Dennis on the above Serus J were Lollar Firebird pickups (she prefers humbuckers over single-coils, but feels these give her the best of both worlds), a contoured, lighter body for the long, nonstop American Utopia shows, and a black-and-grey color scheme that fit best with the suits that David Bryne and the musicians wear onstage. The guitar shipped with a chrome pickguard—like the portion under the control knobs—but stage management/production said it reflected lightning and colors too much. All of her guitars take D’Addario NYXL .010–.046 strings and are in standard tuning. (Although “I Dance Like This,” from the American Utopia album, is in drop D.) Her Knaggs Kenai sometimes takes a set of NYXL .10s, which have heavier bottoms.


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John Mayall in the late ’80s, in a promo shot for his Island Records years. During his carreer, he also recorded for the Decca (with the early Bluesbreakers lineups), Polydor, ABC, DJM, Silvertone, Eagle, and Forty Below labels.

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Donner andThird Man Hardware’s $99, three-in-one analog distortion, phaser, and delay honors Jack White’s budget gear roots.

Compact. Light. Fun. Dirt cheap. Many cool sounds that make this pedal a viable option for traveling pros.

Phaser level control not much use below 1 o’clock. Repeats are bright for an analog delay. Greater range of low-gain sounds would be nice.

$99

Donner X Third Man Triple Threat
thirdmanrecords.com

3.5
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A huge part of the early White Stripes mystique, sound, ethos, and identity was tied to guitars and amps that, at the time, you could luck into for cheap at a garage sale. These days, it’s harder to score a Crestwood Astral II, or Silvertone Twin Twelve with a part-time job in the ice cream shop. Back in the late ’90s, though, they were a source of raw, nasty sounds for less than a new, more generic guitar or amp.

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