Premier Guitar met with Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger, and Ryan Stasik of Umphrey’s McGee on February 6, 2015, shortly before their set at The Ryman in Nashville to see how they fuel their “improg” with multiple amps and a boatload of effects that yield a huge array of tones.
Brendan Bayliss' GearGuitars
Brendan Bayliss has been playing PRS guitars for 20. His current No. 1 is Lucy, a lovely single-cut built to replicate Bayliss’ former No. 1, Felicia. The guitars are basically Mark Tremonti Signature guitars in disguise. Lucy and Felicia are stock, with the exception of the whammy bars, which have been replaced with a “Jake Blade”—a custom, ergonomic palm plate made from a piece of metal taken from a Harley-Davidson fuel tank).
When Bayliss goes acoustic, he plays a Babicz Spider.
Bayliss’ uses two pedalboards. The 1/4"cable from his guitar first hits a Sarno Music Solutions Steel Guitar Black Box tube-driven buffer/impedance matcher. From there, it goes to a Boss TU-3 tuner.
Then his signal jumps to the second board and hits a loop switcher that controls Stigtronics Compressor and Delay stomps, a Morley Steve Vai Bad Horsie Wah, Mesa/Boogie Grid Slammer and Tone-Burst pedals, Cusack Screamer and Tap-a-Whirl pedals, three Boss units—a DD-20 Giga Delay, an OC-3 Super Octave, and a CE-3 Chorus Ensemble—and two MXRs, a Flanger and a Phase 90. From the loop switcher, Bayliss’ signal hits an A/B box that switches between an Oldfield amp and a Stigtronics Overdrive that’s feeding a Mesa/Boogie Electra Dyne head.
Bayliss tours with two Oldfield combos he describes as “like a [Fender] Twin, only way sexier.” One is the canvas for most of his tones, and the other is a backup.
Bayliss also uses a Mesa/Boogie Electra Dyne that’s set for dirty sounds. The Boogie runs into a 2x12 Hard Truckers cabinet with Electro-Voice speakers.
Jake Cinninger’s GearGuitars
Jake Cinninger’s No. 1 guitar—a G&L S500 with two EMG humbuckers and a swamp-ash body—is affectionately dubbed “Swamp Ass.” Like Bayliss, Cinninger outfits it with the “Jake Blade” tremolo plate he commissioned.
Cinninger’s pedalboard has been 10 years in the making. His signal hits it via 1/4" cable and immediately goes into a Steel Guitar Black Box buffer like Bayliss’. From there it goes to a Boss TU-3 tuner, then an A/B box. One side of the switcher feeds a Mesa/Boogie Five-Band Graphic EQ pedal driving a Fuchs Plush Drive going into the Oldfield amp, while the other routes the signal to a loop switcher that Cinninger purchased from pedalboards.com 11 years ago.
The switcher controls a Fuchs Royal Plush compressor, a Morley Steve Vai Bad Horsie Wah, a Radial Engineering Tonebone Classic, a Marion Henry Electric Fuzz Bucket, a Moogerfooger MF-104M analog delay, a BBE MB-2 Mind Bender vibrato/chorus, Boss PS-5 Super Shifter and PH-3 Phase Shifter pedals, a Source Audio Soundblox 2 Orbital Modulator, a Malekko Omicron Fuzz, a Guyatone MD2 Micro Digital Delay, and a Banzai Cold Fusion Overdrive that he compares to a Klon Centaur and says is key to his sound.
Cinninger’s multi-amp setup consists of a custom Fuchs Overdrive Supreme 100-watt head driving a Hard Truckers cabinet loaded with Celestion G12-65 speakers. (He also has a backup 50-watt Fuchs amp.)
His other amp is a custom Oldfield JC100 with the aesthetic of a ’57 Chevy. The Oldfield runs into a proprietary cabinet loaded with two 12" Electro-Voice speakers.
Ryan Stasik’s GearBasses
Ryan Stasik’s No. 1 is a custom F Bass 5-string with a chestnut top, ash body, maple neck, and Hipshot B-style bridge. The pickups are stacked, hum-cancelling single-coils controlled by a 3-band EQ.
Like his bandmates, Stasik goes big on his pedalboard. His signal enters the board through a Boss TU-3 tuner, then hits a loop switcher controlling a Moogerfooger MF-1-1 Lowpass Filter (controlled by a Moog EP-3 expression pedal), 3Leaf Audio Wonderlove envelope filter and You’re Doom fuzz pedals, an Xotic effects Bass BB Preamp, a Boss OC-3 Super Octave, a DigiTech Bass Synth Wah, and an Electro-Harmonix Frequency Analyzer ring modulator.
To really bring the bottom end, Stasik also sometimes plays his organ-style Moog Taurus 3 bass pedals.
Stasik’s amp rig changed quite a bit over the last year. His main amp is a Gallien-Krueger 2001RB driving an Ampeg 4x10. He also takes an output from the G-K and routes it to a QSC CX702 power amp, then a Bag End ELF-M2 Low Frequency Integrator, and then into a Bag End 518-E cabinet with a single 18" speaker. For backup, Stasik also keeps an Ampeg SVT Classic head onstage.