Apr 26, 2013
Hi guys! My band Saving Grace is currently on tour in America for a month and I thought it would be fun to share our experience and show you some cool things we have been doing.
We’ve been extremely fortunate to have support from some great companies and brands, so I thought first off it would be fun to go through the back line and gear we picked up when we arrived in L.A.
My main touring guitar has been a gold top B.C Rich Mockingbird. Its neck thru, 24 frets, ebony fretboard and loaded with chrome EMGpickups. The guys at BC Rich sent one to our label for me to pick up upon arrival. It looks and sounds amazing! And extremely comfortable to play. The neck profile is exactly the same as my warlock. Not too fat and really comfortable. Its a dream to play.
My 2nd guitar is a custom Moniker telecaster. Now these guys are really interesting! Their website has a guitar builder website that is really fun to use. You can customize pretty much everything you want and they have an incredible 4 week turnaround on all builds! I opted for a tele style body, with a maple fretboard and Seymour Duncan pickups (Hot Rails in the neck and SH6 in the neck) and a red stain with a black burst.
The guys have been really lovely to deal with and the order was processed extremely quickly and smoothly. They were even able to offer a custom artwork design on the pick guard. Very cool!
The Moniker is really nice to play. It looks like a Tele and plays and feels like a Les Paul. It’s nicely weighted and the neck profile is nice and round. I’d say its a really nice middle ground between a LP and a Tele. It sounds huge with the high gain pickups we put in it. They were also able to install a coil split switch for me which I am really excited to experiment with when I get home and start recording. It gives me the versatility of a high gain metal guitar and a single coil tele!
Now back home I use an HD500 and an L3M powered monitor. Obviously I couldn’t fit that on my carry on luggage so I had a look around at some options and went with a small, easy to travel with option.
My touring rig for this tour is a Randall RG13 preamp, a Line 6 M5 effects pedal and a Line 6 G50 wireless.
The RG13 is really cool. Its a solid state preamp which nods its head slightly to the earlier RG100 heads, but with some more modern twists. It also has a lot of cool functionality; it has a 1w power amp for a low volume output into a speaker, an effects loop and a D.I output with a 4×12 cab and mic emulation. Gives me plenty of options each night!
The M5 gives me the M series effects I’m used to on the HD500 and a global noise gate and tuner. I’m using it for a basic tube screamer boost before the preamp. Nice and compact and a smaller floor area than separate gate/tuner/screamer.
And the G50 is a G50. Completely reliable and dependable digital wireless. Since it’s digital I haven’t had to worry about different frequencies.
I also picked up a Nady PEM1000 in ear system while I am here. I have Ultimate Ears UE18pros and I wanted to have an IEM option if the venues could accommodate it. I’ve become really used to using IEMs now and I didn’t want to go a whole month without them!
Fortunately our back line on this tour has been great. I can choose from a Riveria Knucklehead, a bias nodded 5150 and a basson 4×12 each night. This ensures I have plenty of tone options each night!
Our home away from home on this tour is Ford Econline 15 passenger E350 and a trailer. We are on tour with two other bands; Arc Of The Covenant and Those Who Fear. Both bands have similar vans and we have been splitting up between the two.
I’ve got a new found respect for ANY band who tours america fulltime. Touring is hard. Very hard. Our first drive after the LA shows was California to Kansas. 31 hours. Non stop. Oh and before we even got out of California we hit a dust storm in the californian desert and had to stop for an hour because of zero visibility. It was pretty insane. The guy in those whose fear have their home away from home sorted though. Blacked out windows, everyone has their own bench, each row has power outlets and they even have a TV and a PlayStation in the front bench! They have done everything they can to make it more comfy, which is very cool. But its gruelling, for the first week all we did was drive through the night, go straight to venues, load in, play, load out and drive through the night again. We traveled over half of america in just a handful of days.
The two highlights of my guitar nerdery I wanted to highlight with this post is three visits we were lucky to make, one to the schecter head office/custom shop, one to the fender AR office and one to BC rich HQ!
Our other guitarist is a Schecter endorsee, so we made a visit as soon as we landed in LA. Their setup is seriously very impressive. They have two huge buildings, one for the offices and one for the custom shop. They even have their own professional recording studio for any of the employees to use and their own photo studio! We got to meet the president of schecter and were given a sneak preview of their new amp range. The cabinets are all built and good to go and were were shown three current prototypes of their amp range.
The custom shop was incredible. I tried to take as many photos as possible but it was a huge honour to be where they cut, assemble and paint their customs. I got to see a sneak preview of the new Gary Holt signature models which look very very metal! It was also very cool to see the that every single guitar that passes through this warehouse (including all factory builds) receives a final inspection from a very large and skilled inspection team. To be honest it looked like a dream job haha. They play brand new guitars all day!
Jackson Guitars Arizona
Our bassist signed an endorsement deal with Jackson guitars so we went and visited their artist relations office to pick up his new JC3 concert bass. The artist relations office is situated in a building that holds AR offices for premier, PRS, Boss, Fender and many more. While we were there we passed Tony Royster Jr, who currently drums for Jay-Z!
This office was small but had some beautiful guitars and gear on the walls! We weren’t there for long but I tried to get as many photos as possible.
BC Rich HQ
Last but not least my favorite visit was to BC Rich. The company that owns BC Rich also own a large number of other products, such as Kustom amps and Spector basses. Straight off the bat we got to see and touch Johnny Cash’s personal PA system. It was very cool and oozing with mojo!
Being able to visit this HQ was a childhood dream come true for me! I was shown some beautiful hand made BC rich models and also was able to hold a hand made Kerry king signature that was waiting to be shipped out to him. They have their wood work done out in Hypseria California and then final assembly is done at the HQ.
We were also shown were all the Kustom amps are hand wired and assembled. It was a very cool setup!
This post is now probably very picture heavy and long so I’ll leave it at that for now. I’ll post more about our american culture experience and review some fast food joints with my next post haha. Hope you enjoy the photos!
(more pics in here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/92030427@N04/page10/)