Rig Rundown: Highly Suspect
The DIY rockers take PG on a tour of their live tone toys.
Grammy-nominated rockers Highly Suspect, who hail from Cape Cod, are currently touring internationally in support of their latest album, MCID. Rich Meyer (above) and Johnny Stevens took a break before their gig at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works to hang with Premier Guitar’s John Bohlinger and reveal a few secrets about what powers their loud and large live show.
Rich Meyer tours with a bass he built himself. This Venice Guitars MCID-logo’d T-style features a swamp ash body with a birdseye maple neck. The bass is equipped with a Leo Quan Badass bridge and a Mudbucker pickup by Stonewall. Meyer is not particular about strings, but currently uses D’Addario sets, with neon yellow GripX picks by InTune. MCID, by the way, stands for My Crew Is Dope.
Meyer runs two amps and a DI. Amp No. 1 is an Orange AD200B MKIII upgraded with Svetlana tubes.
The AD200 runs into this Orange OBC810 bass cabinet.
Meyer's amp No. 2 is a Fender 2x12 Hot Rod Deville guitar amp.
Meyer’s signal’s first stop is a Boss TU-3. From there it hits his Aguilar Tone Hammer, and then goes on to a SansAmp Bass Driver DI that splits the signal to the front of house with an XLR cable and to the bass amp chain via a 1/4" cable. In front of the amps, there’s a Boss BB-1X Bass Driver and a Dunes by EarthQuaker Devices. Next, there’s an A/B box that allows him to run to the amps and blend or bypass them, or play using only the DI, or use both amps plus DI. Just for the Deville, there’s a Bows and a Tentacle, both by EarthQuaker. All pedals are powered by a Voodoo Lab Mondo.
Johnny Stevens was a longtime Fender guy until Rich Meyer began building instruments. Now, Stevens’ No. 1 is a Meyer-built Venice Guitars MCID green strat. This alder-body-guitar features a maple Warmoth neck with a matte finish, and for pickups it’s got a Highly Suspect signature humbucker along with a pair of single-coils, all by Stonewall. It’s strung with beefy-bottomed D’Addario NYXL .010—.052s. Johnny uses Dunlop Tortex .60 mm picks—the orange ones.
As a backup, Stevens has a lavender Venice Guitars MCID swamp-ash-bodied guitar with a roasted maple neck and a Highly Suspect signature humbucker alongside a lipstick pickup—again both by Stonewall. Meyer cut the body from a block of wood. It has a stacked volume control that runs both pickups, a master tone dial, and a 3-way switch. It also stays strung with D’Addario NYXL .010–.052s.
A clean-toned stock Fender Hot Rod Deluxe together at equal volume.
Stevens runs a stock Supro Thunderbolt for his crunch tone.
Stevens runs his signal through a Shure Axient wireless to a Boss TU-3, a Boss PS-5 Super Shifter, a Boss BD-2 Blues Driver, a Keely D&M Drive, an EarthQuaker Ghost Echo, a Keeley Caverns delay V2, an Ernie Ball 6165 Stereo Volume Pedal, an Eventide H9, and an A/B Box to send the signal to his two amps. A Voodoo Lab Mondo supplies the juice.
Click below to listen wherever you get your podcasts:
D'Addario XT Strings:https://www.daddario.com/XTRR