DJ’s Gear

I am a gear nerd/whore/snob/whatever. I’ve been selling high end guitars and basses since I was 16 and I’m thoroughly entrenched in the “guitar community.” I work for the company who makes my basses (in fact, I’m the General Manager for the USA). As a result, I have written a relatively exhaustive description of my rig. I’ve gone through a ton of gear over the years and this is what’s working for me. My bass is simple. My amp is simple. My pedalboard looks nuts, but it’s pretty simple.

Bass

Vigier Excess Series II 4 String

I own a shitload of instruments. I have worked in the guitar business for nearly a decade, which means I’ve been fortunate enough to play a TON of cool guitars and basses. Hands down, my favorite were always Vigier. I’m lucky enough to work for them at this point, so feel free to take whatever I say with a grain of salt, but the Excess is the best bass I’ve ever owned. For those that don’t know, take a minute and read through this to see why it never needs a set up and why it sustains better than anything else.

This thing cuts through the mix, but isn’t distracting. It gets really dirty, but it can be really mellow and pretty, too. It’s deceptively simple and built like a damn tank (next time you see us live, watch how I punish it vs. how often it goes out of tune. The 90/10 neck system is a thing of beauty.)

Personally, I prefer the Excess to the other bass lines because I’m the epitome of a ‘meat and potatoes’ player when it comes to my rig. In fact, if I have my way, I will be downsizing the amp section of this to something with fewer controls (and more… Orange.)

Effects Chain
(in order)

Pigtronix Philosopher’s Bass

I never really got why I needed a comp before I checked this out. It makes my bass sustain for days without totally squashing the tone. It gives the other effects (specifically the Mothership and the Disnortion) a MUCH better signal and makes them both sound way better.

Pigtronix Mothership

Honestly, this gets more use with my cover band than with DE, but it’s a totally sick effect. It’s an actual analog synth. Not a synth effect. Get my drift? You can choose between square and triangle waves, you can tune the pitch, you can put (and tune) a ring mod over the top. You can have it “glide” from one pitch to the next at whatever speed you want, or you can use the optional expression pedal to pitch shift. You can add sub bass. You can put it all through one output, or you can separate the sub, the wet and the clean. It is a magical pedal and once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy to use. I swear, like anything else, all those knobs and switches become second nature after a while!

Pigtronix Disnortion

This gets used on nearly every song we play live. It’s a godsend for bass players. For a lot of songs, I’ll just leave the Overdrive on (see pic for specific settings) and when I want to get filthy, I turn on the Fuzz on over the top of the OD. The coolest thing about the Fuzz pedal is the 6 different settings. Setting 4 is a high-pass filter, so when I add it on top of the OD, it really just adds some gnarly top end so I can cut through without completely altering my tone. It makes our “noise” sections incredibly noisy and my solos heavy as hell. It’s incredibly usable and organic sounding.

MXR Phase 90

If you don’t know what a Phase 90 is, I can’t believe you made it this far into this post. I only really use this on the intro to “Space Race” live. But it’s cool to have when we’re making noise.

Cry Baby Bass Wah

Classic Wah – the cool thing about this is that it’s got an auto on-off, so you just start using it when you want to. No need to click it on like a classic Cry Baby.

TC Electronic PolyTune

This is the best tuner ever. It’s super clear, even in sunlight and obviously the PolyTune mode is cool. What’s even cooler is the new update that allows you to change your stock PolyTune tuning to Drop D mode. So, I can do a quick check of all four strings in Drop B, which is fantastic when you know something’s out, but you can’t put your finger on it.

I put this so late in my chain so I can use it as a killswitch during silent parts. Between the single coils in the Excess and the insane amounts of fuzz I sometimes rock, it’s absolutely necessary to have one button kill it all.

Amp

Hartke 3500

When I was in high school I picked one of these up for my first ‘real’ amp. 12 years later and I’m back to square one. It’s built like a tank. It’s cheap and it’s easily replaceable. The tones it gets are perfect for what we do. Gutsy, simple. Loud. That is all. I have two of these powering…

Ampeg SVT810E 

You know what this is, don’t pretend you don’t.

SWR Goliath II & Goliath III

I snagged these before I got the 810. They are loud as hell and built to take a beating. I like the combination of the two different models because the II is rear ported, which gives it a mellower sound and the III is front ported which gives it some more punch. These are actually harder to move around as a pair than the 810, so the two stacks will only be brought out when absolutely necessary.

I’m currently looking for either a Peavey 215B loaded with Black Widows or an Ampeg SVT215E. I have big plans for this rig.

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