GUITARS

 

'Marquis By Harmony’ Flying V

 

Late seventies Japanese ‘lawsuit’ Flying V from Harmony. My primary electric, and the one I reach for when I need an all-around workhorse. This guitar absolutely crushes every other V I’ve ever played, including Gibsons, including the (also pretty stellar) Reverend Ron Asheton V I previously owned for years. The bevels also make it much cozier for seated playing than the average V. Affixed to one of the horns is a souvenir space shuttle with my name, ZACHARY, written along it - a little gift that Denny picked up for me from the Orlando airport gift shop while at a wedding in Florida. Recently, and lovingly, refinished by Kevin Ferner of Memphis Guitar Spa. The natural finish is pretty fetching. Currently needs an input jack repair, regrettably. Hopefully I'll get to that soon. 

 

Gibson Sonex 180 Deluxe 

 

This ‘resonwood’ Gibson belonged to a friend and fellow Memphis Quaker who passed away unexpectedly a few years back. I made sure to pick it up from the estate while I could. You don’t see very many with a green-burst finish. Although it was purchased for personal reasons, I find I'm playing it more and more lately. It's warm and dark without much bite to it, but that definitely has its place in our work.  

 

Fender Standard HSS Stratocaster

 

I never considered myself a Strat kinda player, but I picked this up on a whim from a distant Guitar Center and became immediately infatuated - it’s handy for tricky leads that require some dexterity. Early 2000s, made in Mexico. Covered in colorful stick-on star decals, like those your long-ago teachers stuck on test papers when you scored highly. I don’t play this one live usually - it’s more of a secret sonic weapon, available for very specific instances.

Vox Spitfire V235

Recently traded a Fender Lead III for this fella (facilitated illicitly via Reverb, shhh, don't tattle on me). Mid-60s Vox, built by Eko in Italy. The vibrato bar and pickups are definitely not original, and the stock tuners have been swapped out for Music Man tuners somewhere along the line, but it's in killer shape, and I love having a short-scale electric around. An interesting design, as well, for this one - Strat-inspired but very much an offset. Glad to have it around.

 

Custom Kraft Beat Blaster

 

Built at the Valco factory in Chicago, alongside Supro and Airline, for St. Louis Music Company. The name was too rad to resist, as was the ornate design, but it also sounds amazing. Physically, it’s something of a Burns Bison knock-off. Supposedly Ryan Adams owns one of these, but he’s not exactly the most popular belle of the ball these days…

 

DiPinto Orbital

 

The most budget-friendly of the DiPinto Galaxie family, a quirky product of the long-running, Philadelphia-based DiPinto company. Sounds incredible for the modest price, and I adore the color. The rainbow sticker was an Etsy addition. You'd think I'd own more offset electrics than I do, considering the usual cliches surrounding these genres of music, but the Orbital and the Videocaster are just about the closest guitars we own to that sorta traditional Fender offset shape. Stereotypes bore me, I guess. 

 

Eastwood Stormbird

 

The newest addition to the family. I owned a Gibson Non-Reverse Firebird a few years ago that I never quite connected with, but I dig that style enough to give this version a go. They almost never come up for sale anymore! And (again), as my Harmony V proved superior to any Gibson V I’ve tried, maybe I’ll luck out with this one, as well. Thurston Moore and Miki Berenyi always made them look super rad, and I’ve been meaning to give an Eastwood something or other a try for a minute now. We’ll see! I've always been fond of P-90s. 

 

Takamine GX100TB Explorer

 

Takamine is much better known for their fine acoustics, but they briefly offered high-quality electrics in the mid-80s (manufactured by Jackson, of all folks). Soon enough though, as was often the case in that era, Gibson bullied them via relentless litigation into abandoning their electric guitar production entirely. Thanks, Gibson. Again, the rainbow stripe decal was my own addition (Etsy!). This guitar’s a lot of fun - surprisingly jangly for such a metal-aligned beast.

 

Truetone (Kay) K300

 

Built by Kay for the old Western Auto chain of department stores. Mine has a Korg Monotron synth affixed to the body to be engaged between strums, much as I once kept a Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator synth affixed to my old Jaguar HH. For some reason, I just cannot part with this guitar…it resists every attempt I’ve made to part ways.

 

Saturn Videocaster 595

 

A four-pickup knob-and-switch bedecked offset from Guyatone, imported to the US under names like Kent and Saturn. Not desiring any further sunburst-finish electrics, I decided to have a go at painting this one myself, and it went…mostly okay? Acceptable? Turned out a sort of bluish-silver sparkle thing. Supermarket spraypaint + glitter from Dollar General. It’s still a bit messy to play because I don’t know what I’m doing re: painting guitars. Totally worth it.

 

Telestar (Teisco/Kawai) K-4

 

My one and only semi-hollow, in stunning shape other than some very light finish cracks. Sounds as great as it looks, a delightful jangle and chime. Feeds back very easily, as semi-hollows tend to do (microphonic pickups!), but that’s not exactly a negative when it comes to folks like us. These were built in Japan the mid-sixties by the Teisco/Kawai folks. I believe it's a 'K-4' model, but this is the only one I've ever seen with three pickups. The Bigsby-esque vibrato bar is pretty fantastic. Been turning to this one more and more lately.   

 

Kay/Univox Effector 

 

MIJ 70s copy of a Les Paul, but supplied with an array of primitive (and bizarre) onboard effects. Set the slider between an effect's 'on' and 'off ' settings and dark magick ensues. It’s very rare, so I’m told, to find one with any of the effects functioning, and in my case all of them function but one (can’t remember which one is the dead one at the moment). Purchased in 2017 or so from the wonderful Ms. Linda Heck, former bassist for Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, who now hides out in the woods near Chattanooga and makes eerie, shadow-dwelling noises. Linda tells me she’d found this Effector for something like $20 at a thrift store in Memphis many moons ago.

 

Lyle (Aria) SG copy 

 

The latest impulse purchase of note. Since I was knee high to a grasshopper I’ve longed for something SG-like, and somehow I’ve made it thirty years, and through endless guitars bought and sold, without making that happen. Until now! Unbranded, but I believe it’s a Lyle, a common MIJ SG that was built in the storied Matsumoku plant alongside brands like Univox and Aria. Wish I had the vibrato bar for it, however… 

 

Tonika EGS-650

 

Why this awesomely-shaped beast with its massive baseball bat neck is considered by some to be the ‘ugliest guitar ever made’ is beyond my comprehension. Built in the seventies in the USSR (by Sverdlovsk, who later rebranded their guitars under the 'Ural' name), it’s readily apparent that this instrument was conceived by folks with a) zero conception of how to build electric guitars and b) zero means to access any international knowledge of the process for reference. Still, such limitations resulted in something pretty special. This is actually my second of these guitars - I made the mistake of selling the first one, and I won’t repeat that mistake again. Despite the weird neck (which is pale but not quite maple pale?) and the puzzling bridge/vibrato system, it has a really singular tone - dark, dank, hollow, kind of creepy. The dark-green sparkle paired with gold sparkle headstock is killer. Pickups were clearly intended as goldfoil knockoffs but now might be called 'rustfoils'. Apropos.

 

Danelectro 59X-12

 

My twelve-string electric, and the best-sounding one I’ve yet found that isn’t an impossibly-overpriced Rickenbacker. Covered in lots of stickers, because I feel compelled to make instruments truly mine. I’ve owned a number of Danelectro guitars and pedals over the years - looking back, though, I somewhat regret buying this one new, now that I know the Danelectro folks’ political views are more than a little iffy. Regardless, owning a twelve-string is very handy.

 

Gretsch G5260 Electromatic Jet Baritone

 

Not being a competent bassist or owning a bass (my hands are just too small, my fingers too stubby), I usually have to seek out my low end elsewhere, and I’ve always been drawn to the murky dulcet tones of baritone electrics. Being a Gretsch, this guitar also sounds like a Gretsch, and there’s really no way to describe ‘that great Gretsch sound’ to someone who’s never heard and/or played one, so that’s kinda that. Gretsch electrics are very much recommended, though, as they’re fantastic and reliable guitars that aren’t exorbitantly-priced. They’re popular because they’re great.

 

Guild Westerly D-240E

 

My steel-string acoustic, the only Guild I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. Acoustic guitar is something I mostly play when writing at home, relying on it only for touches here and there in our recorded work. Still, I’d decided recently to move on from my trusty Recording King to something a little more tuning-stable, and began to poke around. When I visited the local big box guitar store, the staff were unable to track down the used Takamine I’d seen listed in their inventory online, so they knocked a little off the price of this new Guild for me. It gets the job done quite nicely.

 

Fender MC-1

 

A little 3/4” scale nylon-string acoustic that I also write on a great deal, and cart along on trips and outings and such. Its been used to record outdoors quite often, and once in awhile at abandoned locations. These little guys were like a hundred bucks new and they’re really fantastic playing/sounding. A shame that Fender doesn’t offer them anymore. 

 

Thundaburke ‘Christine’

 

A cigar-box tenor guitar that my older brother gifted me one Christmas not too long ago (he has a reputation for being the family’s ‘best’ gift-giver for a reason). Aware of my affection for the works of Stephen King, this ‘Christine’-themed unit made perfect sense that holiday, and it sounds rather fantastic on top of how alluring it looks.

 

Rogue RLS-1 lap steel

 

This is a ubiquitous and inexpensive Musicians’ Friend student lap steel, probably picked up with store credit. I’ve long ached to own, and learn, a full pedal steel, but they’re beyond expensive and notoriously difficult to master, so a lap steel must suffice. This one’s been through quite a lot, and our friend/frequent collaborator Blake from Droneroom even used it extensively on some of his own recordings, prior to his relocation from Louisville to Las Vegas.

 

Casio DG-1 

 

The early-80s Casio digital guitar synthesizer, which sounds bonkers-strange through pedals but is a whole lot of fun once you master the fretboard’s tricky tracking. Early Nonconnah improvisations with Kelley Anderson (Those Darlins, Crystal Shrine) endeared me to her similar model, so I jumped at the chance when one became available on eBay for next to nothing, and I’m glad that I did.

 

AMPLIFIERS

 

Sound City Concord

 

Sound City had a bit of early involvement with Hiwatt, but the Concord was built in the late sixties/early seventies by Dallas Arbiter, of Fuzz Face fame. Forty tube watts (2x12), an okay spring reverb, weird slider switches, and even (because why not?) a VU meter. It’s a finicky old UK-built amp, but it really shines when you finally dial everything in just right, especially with pedals (unbelievable cleans). Notoriously LOUD. The Sound City badge isn’t original - my Concord didn’t arrive with one, so I tracked down the one person online that creates reproduction badges for obscure amp brands, a solitary soul located deep in eastern Europe. A real backbreaker of an amp, but a real good one, too. I'm more a solid-state amp type, but it's nice to have a vintage tube amp around, and this one fits the bill nicely.

 

Gibson/Moog Lab Series L5 308A

A 2x12 100w solid-state combo from the late seventies, designed by Moog and marketed by Gibson. Some of the most sparkling, crystal-clear cleans you'll ever hear, drippy Accutronics spring reverb, and even a built-in optical compressor. Headroom for days. A recent Guitar Center acquisition, purchased with the goal of running it in stereo with the Sound City, though the cleans are so spectacular that it'll surely see plenty of use on its own. 

 

Silvertone 125XL (Sears)

 

Back in North Carolina, around 2011 or 2012, I purchased an amp off of Craigslist from a fella in Youngsville, north of Raleigh. This gentleman’s father had been a Sears salesman, and when the old man died, a treasure trove of old Sears stock was discovered in the family attic, including the amp I purchased that day, a solid-state Silvertone 40XL. This amp had just about the greatest tremolo setting I’d ever heard anywhere - be it in a pedal, an amp, or software - and I only sold it off just recently, finally swapping it out for its much rarer bigger brother, the massive 2x12 100w 125XL. It has the same great tremolo settings, and it’s a real powerful workhorse to boot.

 

Sunn (Fender) SB160 bass amp

 

I’ve always enjoyed running a guitar through a bass amp for extra low end (once obtained through a pretty-meh Ampeg combo), and this Sunn I picked up off of the Memphis Craigslist more than adequately handles such a task. It’s also my primary amp for practicing at home, as it's fairly compact. Breaks up if you so much as look at it the wrong way. It’s from the Fender-owned era of Sunn, a bit later than the Beta Lead and so forth.

 

Unicord (Univox) Stage 25

 

I once toured with a childhood friend who briefly dabbled in avant noise, and he channeled his circuit-bent setup through a Stage-branded ’75’ amp. I remember thinking that it had the most stereotypically-1970s design elements I’d ever seen. In any event, I recently snagged that amp’s kid brother, the Stage 25, which is still plenty toothsome despite its pretty compact size. It makes a nice snarl when recording certain tumultuous soundscapes.

 

Audition (Teisco/Zen-On) 

 

A little sky-blue 25W solid-state amp that came paired with a gold-foil Audition guitar I no longer own (prior to offering it for sale, it had been covered with stick-on googly eyes, with a few of them in the shape of an inverted cross on the headstock). Unearthed at Grandaddy’s Antique Mall in our former home-base of Burlington, NC. For awhile this amp just made terrifying laser sounds whenever it was powered on, but now it fuzzes out in a very ‘melty, overheated’ way with the settings dimed, and I absolutely love it for that. So it remains.

Kingston (Westheimer)

A fresh Reverb find, and kind of a mystery. Kingston amps were built in Japan in the 1960s and imported to the US by the Westheimer Corporation, who also imported guitars from Teisco to be sold under the 'Kingston' name. Not entirely sure the wattage on this solid-state combo, but it's likely a loud twenty watts or so. Has some nifty reverb and tremolo settings!

 

Spinlab Portasound 231

A seventies-era 'portable address system' that can be used as a guitar amp, built in Knoxville. Spinlab Utility Industries was spun off of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's notorious Manhattan Project (a crucial link in the chain that led to the two charming war crimes committed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and initially specialized in nuclear testing instrumentation; these days they focus on equipment for testing electrical systems. Our plan is to use this fella for smaller live shows - the foldout table in the back is ideal as a compact, ad hoc pedalboard. This unit also can be run off of batteries, opening up possibilities for use when recording at abandoned/natural spaces, or even small shows at said spaces.  

 

Yamaha B100-115 III

 

Gifted to us by a friend who wanted it gone. Huge eighties Yamaha bass combo.
 

PEDALS/EFFECTS

 

Fender Blender 

 

Insane and messy octave fuzz (that’s what you hear in that ridiculous bridge in the middle of ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’, y’know), though I despise (and am perpetually mystified by) the swapped ‘guitar’ and ‘amp’ input/outputs, which are more than a tad inconvenient in a pedalboard context. This pedal is a contemporary reissue, so it’s not like Fender didn’t have ample opportunity to correct this infuriating, counter-intuitive design flaw. Oh well.

 

Devi Ever Rocket Mangler 

 

Devi went through some personal stuff and (I believe) is no longer manufacturing pedals, and that’s a shame. This is one of her rarer offerings, a combination Soda Meiser and Vintage Fuzz Machine with ‘noise’ and ‘chaos’ switches and a joystick to control gain. I mostly use the SM side - its very Muffy, and thanks to an ongoing exposure to Billy Corgan during my adolescence, that’s how I prefer my fuzz 90% of the time.

 

Ibanez FZ7 ToneLok

 

I mostly use this dinky little 90s Ibanez fuzz for the ‘damage’ setting, which does ‘ripped speaker’ fuzz exceedingly well. This line of pedals is becoming increasingly popular with collectors, so prices will surely skyrocket, but I believe this unit cost me all of thirty dollars at the time of purchase. Sometimes it pays to stay ahead of the trends. 

 

Death By Audio Supersonic Fuzz Gun

 

The name somehow isn’t even the best part! This one is great for those screeching Sonic Youth noise-walls. Oliver’s churned out top-notch and interesting pedals for years and years, but you likely know this if you’re reading this.

 

Rainger FX MiniBar

 

You pour liquid into the chamber and the pedal ‘analyzes’ the ‘viscosity’ of said liquid and converts it into fuzz. What’s not to love? My favorite concoction so far? Not power steering fluid. Not lysergic acid. Not blood. Surprisingly, it’s hydrogen peroxide. Trust me, you have to hear how that ‘sounds’. What could’ve been a gimmick is anything but.

 

ProCo Turbo RAT

 

What’s even better than a RAT, the hands-down most reliable distortion pedal in the world? Well, the Turbo RAT.

 

DigiTech Whammy Ricochet

 

The classic Whammy pitch-bender in much more pedalboard-friendly form. Thankfully it’s still just as stompable. A long-ago Christmas gift from Denny, and one that I never plan to part with in a million years.

DigiTech DigiDelay

Solid older delay with some decent ‘tape’ and ‘modulation’ settings, but the real charm is in the looper, which can be used to create all sorts of glitch/stutter/freeze madness. I’ve had this one for awhile now, and I don’t use it as much as I used to, but it’s also not leaving my main board anytime soon.

 

Dwarfcraft Devices Wizard Of Pitch

 

This little thing glitches out with crazy cascading sparkly shimmery rainbow sounds on certain settings. Do you know anything about me as a person? If so, you’ll know that’s why I own this pedal, and why I keep it on that setting.

 

Strymon Mobius

 

I guess these things have become a cliche re: megachurch guitarists with massive pedalboards? Okay, fair. But when pedalboard real estate is as precious a commodity as ore, owning a box that supplies literally any modulation effect you could ever desire becomes the finest of jewels. I love you, Strymon Mobius, even though I don’t really love Jesus.

 

Boss PS3 Pitch-Shifter/Delay

 

I bought this one from the goodhearted Chris Rossi back in NC (Dusky Electronics). It’s a lot like an EQD Rainbow Machine, but with some added delay effects on top. Lots of weird stuff happening here. Mine’s Taiwanese-built, with the pink label. Stays on Mode 7, mostly (what some folks call the ‘Birds’ setting), but there’s so so so much more it can do.

 

Midfi Clari(not)

 

Our bud Doug Tuttle builds the Midfi pedals, and this one’s the best ‘warbly tape’ emulator I’ve heard out of the many, many pedals I’ve considered attempting the same thing. Additionally, as a nice added bonus, the delays are solid!

 

TC Electronic The Prophet

 

A cheap mainstream digital delay, but one that glitches in unpredictable and fun ways with the settings maxed out.

 

TC Electronic Echobrain

 

A cheap mainstream analog delay, but one that glitches in unpredictable and fun ways with the settings maxed out. 

 

Boss TE-2 Tera Echo

 

I fell in love with this modulated delay pedal when they first came out - tried one on tour in Chicago in the early 2010s and had to have one ASAP. I don’t use it all that much, but when I do, it has a certain magic I can’t help but adore. 

 

Boss RE-2 Space Echo

 

I just swapped out my trusty RE-20 for this new, more compact version. There's no real difference between the two, features-wise, and this opens up enough space for something else to move onto the primary board. The RE-20 was my primary delay/reverb when beginning a set, and I imagine the same will be true of this newer, smaller edition.

 

Empress Reverb

 

Remember I said above about the Mobius? How it offers every possible modulation effect one could ever want or need? Apply that to the Empress Reverb, which is perfectly named, as it’s the last word on the entire concept of reverb. And the ‘Beer’ setting even manages to throw all of that competence in a blender and ladle it back out much weirder.

 

Electro-Harmonix Superego+ 

 

I mostly use the Freeze functionality on this unit, but it’s a really splendid multi-effects that I should explore much more than I have. Having been a huge fan of the original Superego, I doubt this thing would disappoint me if I did delve deeper. 

 

CoPilot FX Arrow

 

By far the piece of music gear I’ve had the longest at this point - a simple output-only white noise generator I picked up back in 2009 or so. CoPilot is run out of the Dominican Republic, and their effects are both affordable and spectacular. For whatever reason, like that Truetone guitar, I just can’t part with this one. It sticks around while everything else stays in flux.

 

Ross 10-Band Graphic Equalizer

 

The classic blue box Ross EQ, with a two-prong cord and no other way to power it. I don’t fiddle with EQ too much, but I do like having one, and this guy came my way cheaply, through a friend of a friend. I dig it. I’m not a huge fan of Friends or anything, but one of the first things I did after grabbing this pedal was to track down a sticker of Ross Geller to apply to it.

 

Malekko Charlie Foxtrot 

 

Crazy and untamable granulator/stutter synth nightmare/fever dream, mostly used during the noise meltdowns in the ‘dying star’ moments of a winding-down Nonconnah set. Somewhat similar to the Red Panda Particle and the much-beloved but obnoxiously-rare and expensive Montreal Count To Five. I’m still unlocking all the possibilities this demon spawn has to offer.

Wraa Labs Katzenjammer

Fresh Etsy purchase. Wrra Labs is based in Manchester in the UK. This one's a little customizable looper with extreme speed/pitch variations, and from the demo, it looks like it can handle a lot of permutations. Hopefully this'll prove helpful in reproducing some of the lead bits from our recordings in a live setting. Excited to see if that's the case.

 

Earthquaker Devices Data Corrupter

 

Aforementioned pal/part-time Nonconnah kid Blake collects EQD pedals, edging closer and closer to catching them all, Pokemon style. We just have the one thus far, this rad bit-crushing kinda synth. Its pretty unruly, but that’s why we love it so. Some of our other synth-driven effects sound very clean and digital, but this one is just a mess of fried-arcade retro noise.

 

ElectroLobotomy Hadron Collider 

 

A little unadorned metal output-only synth box I grabbed off of Etsy and stuck on the auxiliary board, just because. It bleeps, it bloops, it whispers demonic and harrowing secrets in our ears, it fulfills all of our darkest fantasies. We belong to it. Soon you will know its disquiet.

 

Boss SY-1 Synthesizer

 

Okay, this is like the Empress and the Mobius, but for synth pedals. I briefly owned a Meris Enzo and grew quickly frustrated with its unforgiving learning curve and fickle nature. The SY-1 is much more my speed. Simple, versatile, packed with options. These pedals had quite the waiting list going when they first appeared, but the SY-1 proved well worth the agonizing delay.

 

Danelectro Fab Tone DD-1

 

The old 2000s metal Danelectro pedals were fantastic in quality and built like tanks - I still regret selling my beloved lavender Dan Echo all those years ago. Anyway, the chaotic and untamed Fab Tone is a bit notorious by now - Stuart from Mogwai really loves them, notably. I bought a beat-up one cheap. It really is pure chaos, and of the most beautiful kind. These’ll probably be spiking in value soon enough, just like those Ibanez ToneLok pedals. You’ve been forewarned.

 

Electro-Harmonix 22500

 

Dual looper/sampler, brimming with features, the best looper we’ve ever owned by miles and the very engine that drives our performances. I’ve also taken to improvising loops at home and feeding the files from the memory card into the DAW. The design of this thing is even incredible - it looks retro-futuristic as all get out, and that’s the kind of design elements we love.

 

Mooer Micro Looper 

 

A little bonus looper we stuck on the auxiliary board, picked up used from our buddy Malcolm (from Dinosauria). Does the job!

 

Saturnworks Stereo Pan Pedal

Picked up used off of Reverb, theoretically to pan between two amps in stereo during performances. Not a literal pedal-pan, unfortunately (those are insanely expensive), but a knob. I'll either have to become very adept at controlling this thing with my toes, or primarily just use it to pan loops back and forth.

 

Teisco Interface

 

Allows one to work DAW plugins on a computer into one's signal chain. Pretty rad idea. I'm considering experimenting with a live setup that uses the plugins on our MacBook rather than pedals, so we'll see.
 

Azor Pure Boost

 

For the fifteen bucks this little Chinese boost unit cost, it sounds surprisingly clean and effective. A secret weapon of sorts.

 

ISP Technologies Decimator II

 

Old gear, old houses. You know the ground hum struggle. This is the best beast to tame all the unwanted noise - full stop. 

 

Zoom MS50G MultiStomp

 

My buddy Julio (of A Season) recommended this series to me - I’d already been well-enamored with Zoom via the H2, which had become a gold standard for field recording in the 2010s for a reason. This is a super-versatile multi-effects that also boasts some very, very weird and intriguing settings. It’s on the auxiliary board for now. We have yet to tap its full potential. Soon…

 

Korg Kaossilator I

 

An old Kaossilator touch-synth (the yellow and silver one) that used to live on our pedal boards but has now been bumped off for space reasons. Back when Denny was playing live regularly, this was one of her primary inputs. It still sounds rad in the 2020s. 

Dementia Labs Circuit-Bent Optical Theremin Synth

Dementia Labs builds incredible and affordable circuit-bent noise machines, and chooses killer former toys to do so. Their work is highly recommended. This circuit-bent theremin is housed in an old Lite-Brite toy, and we'd lusted after something theremin-like for many moons, so this made perfect sense. Looks rad, sounds radder.  

 

Saturnworks A-B-Y buffered splitter

 

A necessity when you run multiple boards and amps in stereo. Cheap, easily-gettable, and also gorgeously hand-painted!

 

Digitech RP80

 

I don’t care for volume pedals or wah much, so this is the only unit we own with any kind of expression pedal (the Mobius handles auto-swell effects well enough). It’s a very inexpensive, very strange DigiTech multi-effects unit from the 2000s. It kinda haunts used gear shops the whole nation over. But because it can be battery-powered, we tend to keep it in the car and use it for nature and abandoned location recordings. 

 

Alesis Wedge 

 

An underrated and magical ‘desktop’ Alesis unit from the 90s, categorically dwelling somewhere between a rack unit and a pedal, and currently taking up way too much space on our auxiliary board. Billed as a reverb unit, yet has much, much more to offer the seeker. They’re easy to find for next to nothing online, but they aren’t built super well - we’ve been through four of them.

 

Yamaha FX500

 

The famous Slowdive rack effect unit. The on/off switch on ours is semi-busted, but it actually still kinda works! At least for now!

 

Roland GP-16

 

Another well-known shoegaze rack unit, eccentric and lush, highly recommended to me by Brandon Capps of Half String. 

 

Alesis Midifex 

 

In Durham, North Carolina, there’s a massive, award-winning reuse center called The Scrap Exchange, which over the years provided Lost Trail with many, many cassettes for sampling, as well as the occasional odd castoff machine (medical chart reader, timecard puncher, etc) with unruly noises to utilize. One day, in their discount electronics bin, I unearthed this little forgotten Alesis multi-effects unit from the 90s. I believe it cost me about fifty cents, and after cleanup it works just fine. 

 

Korg Volca Sample 2 

 

This machine has gradually replaced our trusty iPods as the primary trigger of our live dialogue samples and field recordings.

 

KEYS/SYNTHESIZERS

 

Baldwin ‘Designer Series’ console piano 

 

Gifted to us by Denny’s former employers when they upgraded…not quite as downmarket as a spinet. A convenient and managable size, but can’t compare with the crumbling old 1920s Hackley upright we owned back in the Lost Trail era. Sigh. This is the only musical item we own that lives outside of the home studio space - it’s too unwieldy to keep it in such tight quarters.

 

Casio SK-10

 

One of Casio’s early ‘sampling’ synths, as used by Kevin Shields for feedback manipulation on Loveless. I picked one up on tour from a Music Go Round (was it in St. Louis?) and haven’t used it nearly as much as I’d hoped I would. Waiting for the chance…

 

Korg MicroKORG XL 

 

I’d pined for a MicroKorg ever since a bandmate routinely used one way back in my college days of the halcyon mid-00s. Although I don’t use synth very often (and when I do its often virtual synth in the DAW), this is a killer all-around synth.

 

Yamaha DX11 

 

A stellar 80s Yamaha synth that I received from a good friend in trade (I believe for an amp I was unloading). Its missing the very lowest of its keys, but does anyone use those for anything but making scary thunder noises when you’re five or so? I doubt it.

 

Baldwin Interlude w/ Fun Machine

 

An old sixties dinosaur of an electric organ, replacing the Lowrey equivalent we owned but had to abandon back in NC. I think I picked this up for a whole sixty bucks off the Memphis Craigslist not long after we arrived here. Our old Lowrey had an early built-in tape recorder/player, but this Baldwin boasts the ‘Fun Machine’ a primitive early drum machine. Oh what fun it was.

 

Bontempi B1 chord organ

 

Who doesn’t love a dusty old chord organ, wheezing fan noise and sticky keys and all? Sadly, our hulking beast of a Magnus up and died on us, so we opted to replace it in compact form with this little 80s Italian import.

 

Panasonic ‘Do Re Mi’ 

 

A very obscure and confounding turntable/synthesizer combo briefly offered by Panasonic in the (I think?) 1960s. The synth end of the bargain is very Nintendo-sounding and quite unpredictably…slurry, is the word I believe I’m grasping for. Mine arrived with a good bit of the plastic housing shattered (thanks, USPS!), but still fully functional, which is lucky. Boy oh boy is this thing odd.

 

OTHER INSTRUMENTS

 

Marxophone

 

An early 1900s zither/autoharp combination, likely best known for its memorable appearance on The Doors’ ‘Alabama Song’. The player presses metal hammers which strike the strings, piano-style. This was a holiday gift from my mother, it was soon lovingly restored to its full playability by a professional piano tuning friend.

 

Pzen Isan acoustic-electric phin

 

A traditional Thai-Laotian mandolin-like instrument, stunningly beautiful in design. One of those late-night eBay purchases. It sounds absolutely haunting. They’re all equipped with a huge ornamental dragon headstock with red jewel eyes, no less. 

 

Suzuki Ran Peacock Soprano taishogoto 

 

An electric taishogoto, a traditional Japanese autoharp-like instrument, with numbered keys to strike the strings.

 

Aklot 16-string lyre harp 

 

A classic lyre harp that’s electrified through a decal-applied contact microphone. Another eBay impulse purchase.

 

Lakota hand-painted ‘medicine wheel’ drum

 

Buffalo skin! Gorgeously hand-painted! From the Lakota Nation. Via the awesome gift-giving older brother, of course.

 

Yerbonitsa 

 

Another traditional zither, this one Eastern European in origin, and a very thoughtful gift from my mother years ago.

 

Noiseboard

 

A handmade amplified instrument of impossible description gifted to us by mad Memphis inventor Wayne Todd.

 

Erhu

 

A Japanese cello, essentially. I’m not very skilled with it. Thankfully it’s a student model, so I can’t do much damage.

 

2 Ciftelias 

 

Small stringed instruments from the Balkans, smuggled home by the gift-giving brother after a long-ago Army service. 

Rogue mandolin

 

The mandolin equivalent of the lap steel I mentioned above. I’m not super-talented at mandolin, but I like having one.

 

Savannah 5-string banjo

 

I absolutely adore banjo, though my skill level is quite limited. A great gift from Denny’s stepmother some years ago.

 

Empress Accordion

 

Its German, its late 1800s, it wheezes amazingly, and I’m very glad that I purchased it. 

 

CB 6855 bell kit

 

This is apparently a school marching band-style glockenspiel, and it certainly carries that vibe, which is why I treasure it.

 

Yamaha RX-17 drum machine

 

An eighties Yamaha drum machine. Primitive. I don’t use it for much, but it has some amazing beats programmed into it.

 

RECORDING TOOLS

 

Samson MDA1 mono direct box

Monoprice 615810 10-channel audio mixer

Mackie CR3-XBT active studio monitors

Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones 

Sennheiser HD300 Pro headphones w/ Auray headphone holder

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X headphones

Sony MDR-ZX110 headphones

Zoom H2 digital recorder (2)

Sony pocket digital recorder

Apogee Jam 96K guitar interface

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd gen) interface

Blue Yeti blackout USB microphone

MXL 770 studio condenser microphone

ART Tube MP audio interface

Samson CO1U studio condenser microphone

Optimus 33-3022 omnidirectional boundary microphone

Blue Icicle XLR > USB interface 

Apple MacBook Pro (2011) w/ Garageband, Audacity, Reaper, Ableton

AU plugins - Airwindows, Izotope, Aberrant, Audiowish, Illformed, Baby Audio, Musical Entropy, Valhalla DSP, etc.

Virtual instruments - Spitfire Audio, AudioSpillage, Synsonic, Maizesoft, Mucoder, Flintpope, Kushview, MLVST, etc.

Korg and Cryptic Carousel contact microphones

Pyle Hum Destroyer 

XSPRO A-B-Y splitter 

Mattel ‘Barbie’ XLR microphone

Musician’s Source microphone suspension boom stand

 

ACCESSORIES/OTHER ITEMS

 

Strings - Ernie Ball Regular Slinky, usually 10’s 

Picks - Jim Dunlop USA Nylons 

Slide - Planet Waves chrome/brass

Tuners - Snark, Fender, Swiff  

Heet Sounds eBow 

Submarine Pickup

Wingman FX pedal knob adjuster

Fatfinger guitar sustain enhancer

Ryobi battery-powered drill

Various toy laser guns/ray guns

Kaito pocket shortwave radios (2)

Bendy Tubes (2)

Kyser capo

Topplan 4/4 cello bow + Jade rosin

‘Singing Machine’ karaoke machine

Baby monitors

Toymazing toy electric keyboard 

Answering machines

Flathead screwdriver 

Battery-powered mini-amplifiers - Boss Katana Mini, Danelectro Hodad, IK Multimedia iRig

Kinyo computer speaker (feedback loops)

Assorted cassette tapes (in a scrapped Delta Airlines flight attendant cart)

Pedaltrain Pro pedalboard & case

Pedaltrain Metro 20 pedalboard & bag 

One-Spot and Pig Hog power adapters

Donner DP-1 power units (3)

Cables - Monster, Fender, Hosa, Vox, EBS, Rockboard

Cassette/microcassette/reel to reel - Panasonic, Califone, Raleigh, RCA, Phillips, Sony, Realistic, Craig, Optimus, etc.

Califone bowed tape recorder (hand-built)

Kuyal and Proline guitar stands

Rarlight 60W soldering kit

Ernie Ball Musician’s Tool Kit

Roland RAS-S01 amp stand 

Fender, Stagg, World Tour gig bags 

Cablephyle gig organizer bag

Ernie Ball and Gibson guitar straps

GHS Fast Fret

GE power strips

Zildijan and Vic Firth mallets & drum sticks

Various hand percussion & shaker instruments

Various flute, melodica, and woodwind instruments 

Box dulcimer (mountain style)

Toy Dollar General pocket synthesizer 

McPhee ‘Emergency Goat Sounds’

Hohner GLH harmonica 

Unbranded student violin

Handmade African mbira 

Musical ruler

Customizable music box 

Tama tom drums + Zildijan cymbals 

A/V, VHS, Super 8mm, photography - Polaroid, Holga, Fuji, Pentax, Brother, Bauer, RCA, Canon, Kodak, Sony, etc.

Current Home Setup
Current Home Setup

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Current Primary Board
Current Primary Board

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Cassette Recorder Tower
Cassette Recorder Tower

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Current Home Setup
Current Home Setup

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