The hit songwriter/guitarist talks about the pickups he stole from Jeff Beck, his Marshall reject amps, and the Bradshaw rig he hardly knows how to use.

On March 31, 2014, Premier Guitar’s John Bohlinger met with guitar great Neil “Spyder” Giraldo before a gig with his wife, Pat Benatar. Giraldo walked us through his epic career odyssey and answered questions from fans on our Facebook page. Here, guitar tech Jason Stockwell dishes tech details on the rig.


Giraldo’s current favorite axe is a ’68 Guild Starfire dubbed “Pain.” It sports two custom-wound Seymour Duncan pickups, and Giraldo stuffed foam through the F-holes to cut down on feedback. He also has newer, similarly appointed Starfires, including one he keeps tuned to D. When he wants a bit more flash, Giraldo grabs his custom GMP Roxy, which—like his other touring guitars—also features custom Duncans and a Bigsby.

Two Gibson ES-135s are also on hand as backups. For acoustics, Giraldo switches between an Alvarez DY-88 12-string and an Alvarez DY88BKN 6-string.


Onstage, Giraldo uses a mix of old Marshall gear—JMP 100-watt 2104 Master Volume 2x12 combos (circa 1979–’81) and JCM900 Dual Reverb 100-watt heads driving Marshall 4x12 cabs modified with “half-back” panels to allow for greater sound dispersion and rear miking techniques that can address phasing issues. The 4x12s are loaded with 30-watt Celestion G12H speakers, and the combos are stocked with Electro-Voice EVM12L speakers. He also routes a JCM900 to a Leslie 302c cabinet for the rotary-speaker effects on “We Belong.” Each of Giraldo’s acoustic guitars goes through three signal paths: into a Radial Engineering JDI Passive direct box that feeds the board, into one of his old JMP combos that’s also driving a 4x12, and into a JCM900 (set to the crunch channel) feeding the Leslie cabinet.


Although Giraldo doesn’t use a lot of effects, he still has a rather sophisticated rig. His rack system was designed and built by Custom Audio Electronics/Bob Bradshaw, though it’s quite modest compared to most Bradshaw rigs. It controls Eventide TimeFactor and PitchFactor pedals, a Line 6 MM4 Modulation Modeler, a G-Labs Dual Reverb, a Fulltone Supa-Trem, and an Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. His rig also contains a couple of vintage rackmount units—a rare Ibanez AD-230 Analog Delay/Multi-Flanger and a Lexicon PCM 42 digital delay. Onstage, Giraldo has a CAE RS controller and a Dunlop Cry Baby wah at his feet.


Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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