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Rig Rundown: Teenage Wrist

Ensconced in chorus, Marshall Gallagher blends his Fenders with British bullies to create a cocktail that is equal parts jangly pop, shimmery shoegaze, and beefy grunge.

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Facing a mandatory shelter-in-place ordinance to limit the spread of COVID-19, PG enacted a hybrid approach to filming and producing Rig Rundowns. This is the 41st video in that format.

Teenage Wrist’s sound is (openly) descendent from My Bloody Valentine, Failure, Swervedriver, and the Smashing Pumpkins. Thankfully, TW isn’t in the tribute-band circuit.

The original core members bassist/singer Kamtin Mohager, drummer Anthony Salazar, and guitarist/singer Marshall Gallagher released two EPs—2015’s Dazed and 2019’s Counting Flies—sandwiched around their 2018 full-length debut Chrome Neon Jesus. All three collections furthered their polished shoegaze by also incorporating Cure-like melodies, Dinosaur Jr.’s placid-to-punishing dynamics, and 30 Seconds to Mars’ early emo leanings.

After Mohager left to focus on his indietronica project, The Chain Gang of 1974, guitarist Marshall Gallagher grabbed the wheel on 2021’s Earth Is a Black Hole. Now as a duo, Gallagher and Salazar continued broadening the band’s shimmering sound by incorporating synths, drum samples, and electronica.

Just before releasing the fresh, tight 10-song collection that vividly paints light and dark with a matching sound that soothes and soars—guitarist (and now full-time frontman) Marshall Gallagher virtually welcomed PG’s Perry Bean to his jam space.

In this episode, we find out why Gallagher needs a bridge humbucker, he explains going stereo with a hulky JCM 800 and a mid-focused Rockerverb, and gushes about the cult-classic chorus that helps create his signature swooshing snarl.

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Marshall Gallagher is typically seen onstage adorned with a classic Fender. Above he’s posing with his current main squeeze (and the heavy lifter on 2021’s Earth Is a Black Hole)—a Fender Ultra Stratocaster HSS. Gallagher mentions that the noiseless HSS setup may lack a bit of the Strat’s tonal hallmarks, but he really enjoys how quiet the guitar is even when plugged into a his two-amp setup.

To cover the all the material on their two LPs and two EPs, Gallagher says he employs several tunings—standard, drop D, D standard, and drop C. And for moments within Earth Is a Black Hole, he’d place a capo on the 2nd fret to unlock more inspiration.

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“This is my signature model,” jokes Gallagher. It’s actually a 1981 Ibanez Roadstar II that was a hand-me-down from his pops and the first electric Marshall ever owned. The stock bridge single-coil didn’t have enough gain for his teenage angst, so he dropped in a Seymour Duncan Invader.

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If you liked Teenage Wrist’s 2019 EP Counting Flies, then you’ll be familiar with this Fender Player Series Jaguar (read our review with video) that inspired much of the package’s three songs. During the Rundown, Gallagher jokes that “this time period was where I learned how to use a whammy bar [laughs] … that lives somewhere between Kevin Shields and EVH.”

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For recording Earth Is a Block Hole, the most-used amps were a ’70s Marshall Plexi and a Friedman BE-100. In order to approximate that Marshall heft on the road (plus keeping costs and worries lower), Gallagher landed this 1987 Marshall JCM 800 and matching 4x12 cab.

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To complement the JCM 800’s beef, Marshall is still relying on his trusty Orange Rockerverb 50 MkII for its strong, creamy midrange.

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Marshall Gallagher’s pedal playground keeps it simple and only has room for tone-changing stomps. The signal hits the Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner that then feeds into the Ernie Ball VPJR. He positions the volume pedal ahead of all the coloration so he can fully rein in the dynamics with the sweep of his foot. The fun begins when the VPJR goes into a trifecta of trouble—Xotic BB Preamp, Fuzzrocious Heliotropic, and Way Huge Swollen Pickle. The spacy, ethereal note bending occurs when he engages the Strymon blueSky and an ’80s DOD FX65 Stereo Chorus. Everything rests on an OG Pedaltrain PT-1 board and is juiced up by the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus.

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