I wanted to write a sort of gear genealogy – a short (well…) history of how my gear habit has evolved over the years. Most of it will be from memory, and without pics – people didn’t take pics of their gear as much way back, before the age of digital cameras and computers. It seems to be the case with me, at least. But if any of my friends who see this page happens to have any old pics, feel free to e-mail them to me on andreas (at) stinkfoot.se 🙂
My first electric guitar was actually one I built myself in 6th grade (around 1982-83). I bought a cheapo japanese guitar and gutted it, using the neck and hardware. I then built a body in woodworking class at school, using plywood (yup!) that I cut to shape (mimicking a Washburn A20, as pictured to the right). I even routed the body out for the pickup and controls, before capping the whole guitar with a thin sheet of plywood and spraying it metallic blue. I don’t have the guitar anymore – sadly I threw it out in a move back when I was 15 🙁
My second guitar was another one I built, this time in 8th grade woodworking class. Again, I gutted a cheapo mailorder guitar and built a body for it. This time I used a big slab of alder, cutting it to a Jackson Randy Rhoads V sort of shape. Rather than route it for the pickups, I drilled the whole area underneath the pickguard out, smoothing things out with a chisel… It was then painted black with red stripes (EVH-style) in our shed. The body has survived the years, courtesy of my mother who kept it in my parent’s loft, and will be photographed eventually. Or not – it is now safely tucked away in a box somewhere in my loft 🙂
Guitar three was my first “real” guitar – in 1985 I sold my alto saxophone (sorry, mom and dad!) and bought a black Ibanez Roadstar II series RS430 (pic to the right lifted from the catalog). It had three single coil pickups (I later replaced the bridge p/u for a Mighty Mite humbucker that squealed something fierce!) and a locking tremolo. The guitar was fairly quickly replaced by a purple/pink (yes, those were the days! Check out the guitar on the “Twitch” by Aldo Nova album cover – that’s the colour) ESP parts-o-caster strat with two humbuckers, which I later fit an Ibanez Edge locking tremolo to and repainted in a friend’s garage. The former mod was a good move, while the latter… well, let’s not go there.
Around 1986-87 I bought a brand new Kramer Pacer Custom I in pearl white, with a Floyd Rose and Seymour Duncan pickups – a JB in the bridge position and two alnico single coils. By the time the photo was taken (probably around 1989) the single coils had given way to Ultrasonic Reference series pickups, which I actually still have somewhere. The guitar had three mini-switches for the pickups (on/off for the singles, split/off/series for the humbucker) with a fourth “blower” switch that turned the bridge humbucker on, whatever the setting on the other three switches. It had the 1986 logo and pointy head, and I had it customized with a cut down neck heel to help with upper fret access. I really liked that guitar, so much so that I later custom ordered the Wahlberg guitar to have the same feel. In 2011, I spotted a for sale ad for one just like it, and since they were kind of rare in that specific specification, I of course immediately asked the seller if it had the neck heel mod. Sadly it didn’t, so my old girl is still out there somewhere. But I ended up buying the Kramer anyway, just for kicks 🙂
Anyway, back to the history. Inexplicably – at least in hindsight – I sold the Kramer and bought an Ibanez ProLine PL2550. It had IBZ HSS pickups, and a funky preset pickup selector. The normal 5-way switch was there, along with a small row of on/off push switches which you could use to pre-set a pickup combination. One of the push switches activated the preset, so you could switch back and forth between that setting and the 5-way. As you might have guessed, the guitar didn’t last very long, though, as was the norm back then. Too bad, since it was actually a rather nice guitar – if a bit over-complicated in the pickup/switching department.
I traded the Ibanez – after having destroyed the resale value by matting the paint on the back of the neck 🙂 – for a black Valley Arts M-series: 7/8 size, Gibson scale, licensed Floyd Rose with HSS Select pickups. Naturally, I couldn’t leave it alone, so I stripped the paint off the back of the neck and replaced the pickups with real EMG’s (SA/SA/85 with an SPC presence control), and played the guitar until circa 1991, when I took delivery of the Wahlberg.
Which brings us up to date – I actually stopped selling guitars around that time, probably because I realized that I had let a couple of jems slip through my fingers along the way. So the ones I’ve had since then are on the “guitars” page.
Amps and effects etc
My first guitar amp was a Hagström 25w solid state affair. I still have it, actually 🙂 I used it with a no-name overdrive pedal I bought around the same time, and later (circa 1983) I bought an Ibanez Tube Screamer. A year or two later, I sold the TS-9 and bought an Ibanez UE-300 multi-fx unit and a Yamaha G50-II 1×12″ combo (picture to the right). That setup lasted a couple of years, and gave me some really good tones. I traded the Yamaha (and possibly the UE-300 as well) for a Music Man HD130 (or 410HD – don’t remember which) 4×10″ combo, which I used with a Yamaha REX50 digital effects unit. Digital distortion… oh well. At some point, I also used a Roland JC120, possibly with a Roland GP-8 (although I can’t remember if that one was mine or something I borrowed).
Around 1988-early 1989, the ADA MP-1 hit Sweden, and I jumped at it. My first rack rig had the MP-1 preamp, a Digitech DSP128 multi-effect and a LEM 2x70w power amp going into two Session 1×12″ cabinets. The cabs were soon replaced by two Marshall Silver Jubilee 2556A cabinets (2×12″), while the rack grew. I ditched the ADA and LEM power amp in favour of a Kitty Hawk Quattro preamp and tube power amp setup, using the Kitty Hawk midi patch bay as the basis for switching stuff in/out. Along the way, the Marshall cabs were replaced (another stupid move by me – those are really hard to find these days) with two Peavey 2×12″ cabs, which at the end were replaced by two ported 1×12″ cabs with Electro-Voice EVM12 speakers.
Sadly, I can’t seem to find any pictures of the rack rig, but in its heyday, the rack was 16 spaces, featuring a Kitty Hawk power amp, another Quattro preamp and another ADA MP-1, a 2×15 band graphic EQ (used in mono, one channel at a time), an Alesis Quadraverb (later replaced by a Rocktron Intellifex) effects unit, Rocktron Hush IIC and Korg rack tuner. Below you’ll find a short snippet of the rack, recorded in 1993. The whole guitar sound (reverb and all) was miked straight from the guitar speakers – see if you can spot any major influences… 🙂
Around 1996, I got tired of editing patches and also wanted to move away from the LA studio cat playing style a bit. I sold the majority of the rack gear and bought a 1978 Fender Twin Reverb, which I mainly played using an old Ibanez TS-9, going for some rawer tones. That amp was later replaced by a 2×10″ Mesa/Boogie Blue Angel combo, which in turn was replaced by the 1970 Fender Twin Reverb you can see on the amps page, again bringing us up to date.