The silky-smooth R&B artist and in-demand sideman gives us the low-down on his economical road rig.
Guitarist and singer-songwriter David Ryan Harris rose to prominence as a key part of John Mayer’s band between 2004 and 2012, and he’s backed everyone from Santana to Dave Matthews to Nick Jonas. But as a solo artist and bandleader, Harris has been spinning gorgeous R&B, blues, and funk for decades. Harris took PG's John Bohlinger through his current touring rig before a stop with Scary Pockets at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl on October 5.
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Harris travels light, with just one guitar: his Frank Brothers Ultra Light in Pelham blue. It features a mahogany body, maple top, and Mullinax “Oh, Salvation” P-90 pickups. It stays strung with D’Addario XL Chromes (.012-.052), with a plain .020 G-string.
Harris packs a compact, two-tier pedal board, with his Strymon Zuma and Strymon Iridium hidden beneath the top level. He runs his Ultra Light into a TC Electronic PolyTune, and from there the signal whips through the rest of his board in order: a Jackson Audio PRISM, Cooper FX Outward, custom Browne Amplification “Dual Blue,” JHS Artificial Blonde, Strymon Flint and Iridium, TC Electronic Ditto, and a BOSS OC-3 Super Octave.
On a normal day, Harris cranks up either his Two-Rock Studio Signature or his Two-Rock Burnside combo, with a 1x12 cab. But for his Brooklyn Bowl gig, Harris settled for the backline: a Fender '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb.
The legendary guitarist keeps things simple with his signature PRS guitar, a few pedals, and some lustworthy amps.
On April 23, 2014, Premier Guitar met with Carlos Santana’s guitar tech, Ed Adair, before a show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Adair walked us through Santana’s collection of custom PRS guitars, a Pete Cornish- and Teese-stocked pedalboard, and a collection of holy grail amps.
GuitarsSantana tours with a rack full of his signature PRS models. Although he has a lot of backups, Santana tends to play the same guitar all night. At the moment, “Salmon” and “Son of Salmon” are in heavy rotation. According to Adair, each guitar has a few modifications: “The locking saddles are the third generation of a design that Paul Reed Smith and his team came up with. Paul had a design drawing within a few days and we had them installed on the ‘Salmon’ a short time after.” When Santana wants to bust out some old-school Spanish guitar, he goes to his Jazz Electric Nylon model built by luthier Toru Nittono.
After being retired from use for some time, Santana’s original, snakeskin-covered 100-watt Mesa/Boogie is back onstage with the master. Santana also plays through a pair of Dumble Overdrive Reverbs and a pair of Bludotone Universal Tone heads—one of which is a prototype. The amps drive a pair of paisley-covered PRS 4x12 cabs. One cab is loaded with four Celestion Vintage 30s, the other sports two Celestion Vintage 30s and two Celestion G12-65s.
EffectsSantana’s pedalboard is about as minimal as it gets. He starts with a 50' Canare GS-6 cable with Switchcraft and Neutrik connectors. This runs into a Pete Cornish LD1 line driver and then a Real McCoy Custom RMC4 Wah Pedal made by Geoffrey Teese. From there, the signal goes into a Pete Cornish AC Powered 3 Way Signal Splitter/Mute. The splitter works in conjunction with two custom 2X Amp Selector rack units made by John Suhr. Also in the rack, next to the Peterson Strobe Tuner, is a TC Electronic D-Two delay, which runs through the effects loops of the two Bludotone heads.
This tribute model is an exact replica of the amp Carlos Santana toured with in 1972 and 1973.
Petaluma, CA (December 10, 2013) -- Mesa/Boogie recently announced the limited-edition King Snake, designed in conjunction with Carlos Santana. Here are the details from their website.
The Compact 100 Watt 1x12 Combo, Tube Cascading High Gain Preamp (SUSTAIN), FOOTSWITCHING (Clean to Overdrive), Half Power Switch (100/60), Pull-Gain Boost, On-Board Graphic EQ, Slave Out, All World Export Transformer, Custom Hardwood Cabinetry and a Wicker Cane Grille were all innovations seen exclusively on the world’s first boutique amplifier by the world’s first boutique amp builder, Randall Smith and MESA Engineering.
The Limited Edition King Snake is legendary in both sound and story because it is the direct descendant of the original Boogie that stood alone at that intersection so long ago. That amp was the transitional link between the low gain single channel amps of yesteryear and today’s current high gain, multi-channel footswitching amplifiers. Before the Boogie’s appearance back then, players had to turn an amp all the way up to get overdrive and sustain and it occurred in the power section, which of course was LOUD. With the creation of the world’s first high gain tube preamp in 1970, found only in the little Boogie by MESA Engineering, players could achieve sustain and singing tube overdrive at any volume. Revolutionary! The rest is history – and while it is correct to say that the little high gain, high power 1x12 Boogie Combo changed guitar and popular music forever, the story doesn’t end there!
This tribute model is an exact replica of the amp Carlos Santana toured with in 1972/73 as he introduced the world to this new sound, right down to the unique chassis size and the aged Snake-embossed Lambskin covering. But it has also been updated to include all our most secret Tone discoveries uncovered throughout the 43 years since the original’s creation. These improvements, some visible and some hidden, increase the performance and versatility while recreating the original voice with full authenticity. They make the Snake more usable across a wider range of musical styles and power requirements and add exciting new possibilities for expression and enjoyment.
Watch the company's video demo:
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