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[I was lucky enough to chat with Elder’s Nick DiSalvo for a SoundDiego interview recently (you can read that here) but while I was at it, he was kind enough to answer a few gear-related questions for a G&L feature. Be sure to check out Elder’s albums at the links above if you haven’t already. ~ Dustin]
1. Take me through your live rig? What are you playing these days at shows? Is there anything you leave at home that you wish you could bring on the road with you?
Depending on where are are touring I use different gear but the sound is about the same. In the US I’ve been using my trusty Sound City 120, modded to sound like a hot-rodded Hiwatt DR103 with a master volume. I’ve been using that amplifier for years and years and still love it. In Europe I have an actual Hiwatt DR504 that I’m using on tours. I’ve got a really amazing sounding early 70’s Marshall JMP, I forget the build year but it must be right after the Plexi era because I’ve never heard another amp sound like it. Unfortunately it’s been the problem child and I haven’t had it properly fixed yet, so I haven’t had the chance to bring it out live.
2. I’m obsessed with the fuzz/distorted tone you get on especially Lore and Reflections of a Floating World — it’s super thick but defined. Are you using any pedals or is that mainly from amp & guitar?
The heavy guitars in that album were all done with the JMP mentioned above! The base crunch sound is just the amp and the more saturated fuzz sounds came from stacking pedals on top of it. I use a Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh for my rhythm fuzz sound and am always switching out other pedals for lead sounds.
3. Did you have any go-to gear in the studio, or did you mainly use your live equipment?
We use all our own live equipment and want the records to sound like the live shows!
(Photo from DasViken Guitars’ Facebook page)
4. If you were to have a custom fuzz pedal created for you (like a signature model) — what would you call it and would it have any specific features?
Actually, I am so lucky that I have a custom fuzz made just for me by DasViken Guitars from France. It’s a switchable germanium/LED diode pedal that sounds absolutely gnarly. I have too many fuzz pedals by now though — I don’t even know what the hell I’d look for if I needed another one…
5. If money was no object and you could buy any piece of guitar gear on the planet, what would you get?
I would love to own an original Marshall Plexi!
6. What’s the worst piece of equipment you’ve owned, or conversely, what’s the best — and why?
Anything I played with when I was a kid just getting into music. I had a Digitech multi-effects pedal I bought when I was 14 that I thought was the best thing ever but really sounded terrible — I used it for all of my 4-track home recordings. The best piece of equipment I’ve ever owned is probably my Sound City head: when you tour a lot, the most important thing in equipment is reliability, and that thing has never faltered or failed me ever, besides having some of the most unique tone I’ve ever heard in a guitar amp.
Elder plays Brick By Brick on Monday, August 20th with Red Fang and DVNE.