Guitarist Tommy Thayer talks Les Pauls and philanthropy while Gene and Paul’s techs give us a peek behind the curtain and show us the gear behind the hottest band in the world.
Not many bands can claim as much influence on today's hard rock and metal scene as the makeup-wearing, blood-spitting, pyro-shooting foursome. PG caught up with current guitarist Tommy Thayer, along with techs Francis and Michael Berger, to dig into all the axes (in some cases, literally), effects, and amps that the band brought out on their 2014 tour with Def Leppard.
Tommy Thayer's Gear
Tommy Thayer is a longtime Les Paul man and brings several on the road with him. A Custom Shop '59 Standard with Seymour Duncan JB pickups sees most of the action.
Gibson had just delivered a new white Les Paul Custom that could see some considerable onstage time.
Thayer's black Les Paul Classic houses the classic Kiss pyro behind the headstock.
When he needs some midrange honk, he reaches for a Custom Shop Gibson Explorer decked out in silver sparkle.
For the past eight years, Thayer has been touring exclusively with a pair of his signature 100-watt Hughes & Kettner DuoTone heads (Thayer donates all the royalties from this amp to The Children's Hospital of Los Angeles). After an experiment where he switched cabinets with Paul Stanley, he discovered the Engl E412SG and has been using a pair of them ever since.
Thayer doesn't use any effects at all, except when "Christine Sixteen" shows up on the setlist. For that song he uses an Electro-Harmonix Micro POG. His rack houses a Furman power supply, four Shure U4D-UHF wireless units, a Tour Supply Multi Selector, and a Peterson VS-R StroboRack tuner.
Paul Stanley's Gear
Stanley's tech Fran Stueber posing with his action figure.
Paul Stanley tours with several of his signature Washburn PS12 Starfires.
Each one is outfitted with a Seymour Duncan Custom 5 in the bridge and Duncan '59 in the neck.
Stanley's contract with Washburn expires this year, so he's returning to his famous Ibanez PS10, which is planned to be released at next year's Winter NAMM show. Currently, Stanley is rocking the PS10 that he first used on the '95 reunion tour.
Stanley plugs into custom Engl heads that are loosely based on the R. Blackmore model, but powered with EL84s instead of the stock 5881s. He runs that into a pair of Marshall 4x12 cabs loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers.
Stanley doesn't use any effects, but his rack features a quartet of Shure U4D-UHF wireless receivers and a Radial JD-7 where the signal is split to the various amps and then is routed through a Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1. A Furman Power Conditioner supplies the juice.
Gene Simmons' Gear
Gene Simmons plays his signature line of basses exclusively. His iconic Axe bass features a mahogany body, maple neck, Indian rosewood fingerboard and EMG PJ active pickups.
Simmons' Punisher bass features neck-thru construction, mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and EMG PJ active pickups. The controls have been simplified to a single volume knob with the input jack routed through the front of the bass to accommodate Simmons' costume. Super fans can even buy the actual basses played on tour after the Demon himself bleeds, sweats, and spits on them. Maybe gross, maybe cool, but definitely profitable to Mr. Simmons with a starting price of $12,000 per bass.
The thunder starts with a Shure U4D-UHF into a Radial JD-7 Injector. From there it goes out to an Empress Compressor and one of two Tech 21 VT-Bass 1969 amps. A Strymon el Capistan is inserted in one of the loops of the JD-7 and is used during Simmons' blood-spitting solo.
The signal then hits one of two Tech 21 SansAmp PSA 1.1 preamps and is blended with the 1969 for Gene's in-ear mix. The amps run into one of two Ampeg SVT 810 E cabs.
A Furman PL-Plus C keeps the amps powered up while a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power Digital handles the pedals. A Peterson VS-R StroboRack tuner lives in the rack as well and keeps everything in tune.
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Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.