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Rig Rundown: The Afghan Whigs

The alt-rock pioneers show us the killer screen-printed Mesa/Boogies and piles of pedals they use to dish out both ethereal and rough-and-tumble tones.

The bassist runs his signal into a Mesa/Boogie Subway DI, sending the clean bass signal to FOH post EQ and post gain. Curley feels the 4001 signal off the pickup is harsh going straight into a standard DI. A TC Electronic PolyTune 2 runs between the bass and the DI so the FOH and amp signals are muted during tuning. After the DI, the signal hits an Electro-Harmonix POG2 for low octave stuff on “Toy Automatic,” “Matamoros,” and “Crazy.” Next in line is a Sub Buzz by Union Tube & Transistor. Next up is a Keeley Compressor Pro, which is capable of subtle compression at low ratios with great control over the attack and release. Curley says “It’s like having an 1176 on my pedalboard.” After that is the Wampler Pedals Low Blow, the heavy fuzz pedal used on “Copernicus.”

Last in the chain is the Keeley Bassist Limiter which usually doesn’t come into play unless Curley is really hammering the bass. The limiter also serves an overall gain control for the pedalboard. The net effect is that Curley’s tone can sound a lot louder without being that much louder, which keeps the FOH engineer and rest of the band happy. A DigiTech JamMan stereo pedal is used to store and trigger loops on the songs where Curley needs them. One side of the stereo image has the loop for FOH and monitors. The other side has drummer Patrick Keeler’s headphone loop that also has a click track.

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