Vintage pawn shop-type gear has become the sound of the Canadian punk duo.

Premier Guitar was allowed an in-depth look at the touring rig of Jesse Keeler, the bass player in Death From Above 1979. Keeler has inspired a devout following of bass players to take on a new role in punk, and his unique approach to gear has helped solidify DFA’s sound and propel them into cult status.


After being a longtime Rickenbacker user, Keeler is now very comfortable with a ’69 Dan Armstrong. He likes the short scale, 24-fret design, which better suits his playing style and approach than anything he’s ever played.
A ’71 tags along as a backup, and the only mod is a “permanent” bridge to keep his intonation constant.
Keeler also utilizes a vintage JUNO-60 keyboard which runs through his rig as well.


Keeler is running two very interesting and powerful amplifiers. He is using an early seventies Peavey Super Festival 800B that he purchased for $125. All of his distortion comes from the amp.
The second amp Keeler uses is the Acoustic 450B (which oddly enough is 600 watts), and his cabinets are vintage Traynor 8x10 cabs loaded with a mix of different speakers.


Keeler’s aggressive, distorted bass tone comes mostly from his amps. His pedals are relatively straightforward, and he uses them sparingly. (Interestingly, when he switches to synth during a show, he routes his Roland Juno-60 through many of the same pedals and into his bass amps.) The bass signal hits the pedalboard via a Dunlop wah, then goes into an MXR M80 Bass D.I.+ that sends only sub frequencies to the venue’s front-of-house engineer. From there, the signal goes to an MXR 10-Band EQ (to add guitar-like midrange), an MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay, and then a Morley A/B switcher that selects between the bass signal coming from the Carbon Copy or direct feed from the Juno-60 synth inputs. Whichever instrument is being fed into the Morley is then sent to an Ibanez CS9 Stereo Chorus, which sends a feed to each of Keeler’s amps. The CS9’s left (mono) output feeds his Peavey head, while the right output sends the signal to an Electro-Harmonix Micro POG, a Dunlop Kerry King KFK Q Zone, and finally the Acoustic head.


Multiple modulation modes and malleable voices cement a venerable pedal’s classic status.

Huge range of mellow to immersive modulation sounds. Easy to use. Stereo output. Useful input gain control.

Can sound thin compared to many analog chorus and flange classics.


TC Electronic SCF Gold


When you consider stompboxes that have achieved ubiquity and longevity, images of Tube Screamers, Big Muffs, or Boss’ DD series delays probably flash before your eyes. It’s less likely that TC Electronic’s Stereo Chorus Flanger comes to mind. But when you consider that its fundamental architecture has remained essentially unchanged since 1976 and that it has consistently satisfied persnickety tone hounds like Eric Johnson, it’s hard to not be dazzled by its staying power—or wonder what makes it such an indispensable staple for so many players.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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