Ortega RCE145LBK

 

This is a cheap-and-cheerful made in China acoustic I bought a few years back to round off my collection.

Aside from a few quality issues (dud frets, a tuning peg that disintegrated) it's a great guitar. It was used on "Didn't See It Coming" as well as "Telemundo". Blending the line-in and mic signal really makes this thing shine. Well worth the investment.

 

Fender US Standard Telecaster

 

When you go Fender, things don't usually end with a Strat - I had to figure out what the deal was with the Telecaster, a model which so many great players swear by.

I picked up mine off of eBay and it came with the original bridge pickup swapped out for a DiMarzio mini-humbucker of some sort - nothing I've ever felt the need to change since it really complements the guitar.

In short: this is probably the most fun guitar I own. The neck is super thick, and the sound that comes from the (stock!) neck pickup is divine. Sure it's low output which requires insane effort and concentration in order to coax crazy licks out of it, but the payoff is well worth it.

The Telecaster was used extensively for rhythm guitars on This Lousy T-Shirt owing to its fantastic twangy tone and tuning stability.

Modifications: DiMarzio mini-humbucker (Bridge)

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster

 

Every guitarist goes through a period where they feel its time to hang up the old 24-fret workhorses and "grow up" to the tinny sound of single coils. I'm no different, and I'm glad I picked this one up. There are times when nothing else will do the job like a Strat.

For reasons unknown I put some high output pickups into this thing to record rhythm and leads for "Them Apples". It got the job done though so I'm not going to complain.

Since then however the original noiseless pickups have been replaced and the high output pickups sold. Good riddance.

Modifications: SCN Pickups (Bridge & Neck), Straplocks.

 

Washburn MG44

 

This Washburn has got to be the weirdest shred guitar I've ever played. I found it in London (Denmark Street of course) back in 2008. After picking it up I knew I had to own it - the neck is like a baseball bat, but still 24 frets. The frets are the weirdest thing about it - they're low, and I mean really low. Like an old Jazz guitar from the 50's. It's truly a masochists guitar - tapping and legato on this thing require inhuman accuracy and it doesn't tolerate many mistakes.

I can't actually recall if it made any of the tracks on This Lousy T-Shirt but it was used extensively on the demo recordings. It's a really great guitar with the pickups switched out.

Modifications: DiMarzio Tone Zone (Bridge), DiMarzio Air Norton (Neck), Floyd Rose Original bridge.

 

 

Ibanez JS1200CA

 

When Rich Harris of IbanezRules sent me a mail sometime in 2009 that Ibanez were going to be doing a limited run of JS1200's I couldn't say no - lefties have typically been rather neglected by manufacturers, especially in terms of colours and exciting hardware options. Having a red guitar that had coil splits and a high-pass filter really ticked all the right boxes on paper.

Upon receiving the guitar I was a little underwhelmed. One of the Edge Pro saddles snapped while I was locking it after re-stringing (the metal literally shattered) leading me to believe that corners had been cut somewhere. After receiving a replacement from Rich (who is extremely helpful and informed me that there had been some known metallurgy issues) I quickly discovered that the bridge just wasn't that great elsewhere either - I've never managed to keep it in tune, and I've run dozens of Licensed Floyd copies over the year - not a single one, regardless of origin, caused me issues - they all fell before the combination of well lubricated knife edges and a locked down nut.

Since then it seems Ibanez have gone back to the Original Edge, which can't be retrofitted without some woodwork. Sometimes it's better to wait and see rather than jump at an opportunity.

Despite these problems the JS1200 had a relatively large role to play on This Lousy T-Shirt - mostly in part to those fantastic pickup combinations made possible by splits and filters. All leads on "Reality Check" were recorded with the JS as well as rhythm and leads on "Until I Sleep".  Slide leads and rhythm on "Peacock" were done using a combination of the whammy bar, slide and a volume pedal. If I recall correctly, the JS was also responsible for rhythm on "Let It Out" and rhythm guitars on "Telemundo".

Modifications: None.

 

Ibanez SA160QM

 

My go-to guitar for most tasks. Built sometime in the 2000's this thing is probably my favorite sounding axe when paired with the right pickups, or rather pickup; I'll be honest - I bought a DiMarzio Chopper for the neck position but I don't think I've ever used it since playing a US Telecaster neck pickup shortly afterwards. The DiMarzio Evolution/Mahogany body combination really carry this guitar which lets me forgive its many shortcomings. The hardware is generally quite shoddy and the electronics equally so, however, given the right setup - pickups, tuners, electronics and a new nut, I'd say it has a lot going for it.

The SA160 was used on all leads on "Let It Out", "Telemundo", "Twenty Six", "Marble Garden Zone", verse and solo leads on "Peacock" the second solo in "Didn't See It Coming". "Let It Out" was a particular pain in the ass as the chorus required dips with the tremolo - The SAT30 bridge is probably up to the task but the plastic nut kept catching strings requiring retuning between choruses.

Modifications: DiMarzio Evolution (Bridge), DiMarzio Chopper (Neck), Planet Waves Autotrim locking tuners

 

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