Benedetto Custom Benny
Mapson Lusso (strung 015-052)
Gibson L5 CES (fitted with PAF humbucker) I used to string this with heavy strings like the Mapson but recently tried flatwounds for first time in years.
Moriarty 16″ custom guitar – strung with a set of 13s on a low action
Raines Master Flamenco 7 string (High A – using fishing line a la Lenny Breau)
Raines Studio Classical (6 string)
Raines 335 style 7 string (High A – 25″ scale)
Yamaha ‘Silent’ Guitar (also a gift from the late George Mesterhazy)
Fender Vibralux Reissue with Handmade Weber Speakers
Acoustic Image Clarus (series 4) with the Chameleon Speaker (15″ cab but contains 10″ and 5″ speaker with a crossover). This speaker is designed lovingly by Master Luthier John Buscarino using the best of components/parts etc – top to bottom.
This speaker is a full range speaker with a crossover and I am staggered by how great it sounds in any register. Kudos to the Clarus as it seems the slightest adjustment to EQ makes a noticeable difference. On John’s advice I have added outboard Reverb – I am using the the TC Electronics Hall Of Fame pedal and while I am still getting to know it, I am particularly enjoying the settings you can download that have been created by various artists via the Toneprint feature. John Buscarino has taught me a lot about this equipment and IMO he’s a born teacher, he can answer the questions you are about to ask and breaks it down in a way I can always follow. With a full range 500w speaker power and clarity is not an issue, factor in the warmth of the tubes and I’m a happy camper.
I’ve been experimenting with considerable success with a number of tube preamps. I tried some solid state options Tech 21 SansAmp but mine is an older version that didn’t have the tube emulator – it helped a little. I tried the JOYO American Sound – great fro the price but still wasn’t quite doing it for me. James Lafferty of the Jazz Lobsters had given me a Presonus TubePre and lo and behold there was that little extra I was missing. By this time I’m back and forth with Master Luthier John Buscarino who designed the speaker and he noticed there was an updated version of the TubePre – the V2. A phonetical to Presonus and one of their techs was able to walk me through the upgrade and lo and behold he was right – I could hear the difference. The vast majority of reviews in Amazon suggested replacing the tube that came with it. I did and again, much warmer. I put in a Tungsol 12AX7 (Goldpin). I was not done yet. I received the Ethos Clean pedal and even a solid state sceptic like me has to admit, this is VERY close to tube warmth (I am still getting to know it). Finally on the way soon is a Frenzel Tube PreAmp that I am anxious to try.
Sibelius Software (notation and arranging/composition)
Logic (very rarely use it nowadays) although… I did update to the latest version on advice of a few friends.