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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

Local musicians give thanks

A tip of the hat to guitars, amps, synths and more

By Peter Holslin
Kaossilator Room E’s Kaossilator
- Photo by Dan Harumi

If it weren’t for fans, friends and sympathetic bosses, lots of great musicians probably wouldn’t be where they are today. But what about all that gear that makes music happen in the first place? In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’ve asked some locals about the instruments and equipment they’re thankful for: 

Michael Farmer, Dream Buddies: “Peavey Super Festival Series guitar head! 400 watts. Bought that thing when I was 17 from Freedom Guitars for $200 and I’ve had it ever since. The only time it’s given me any type of issue was when it caused the power ca- ble to explode and it caught fire, fucking awesome!!!” 

Ian de Cerbo, Hezus / Dirty Drums: “My wife and I are thankful for our heap of no-name, off-brand, knock-off drums, guitars, percussion and keys. I’ve heard stuff made on purely vintage, four- and five- figure-priced gear that sounds like shiny, plastic noise, rubbed onto a CD with a mink coat and surgical gloves. Ultimately, I’d say it’s more dependent on the musician behind the gear and way you record the music.”

Justin Pearson, Retox: “I love my Ampeg Dan Armstrong ADA-4 bass, of course. It’s a prototype, so it’s odd and rare compared to factory standards. I also am thankful for my Ampeg SVT bass head. It’s like the Ferrari of bass amps. However, I am really grateful for my vocal cords and my slang dictionary to assist with vocal duties in Retox.”

Mike Hayden, Sleep Lady: “My Epiphone Les Paul is my only guitar. It’s falling apart and isn’t really a particularly nice guitar, but it’s been everywhere with me. I’ve had it for about 12 years and know all of its flaws and quirks like they are my own personality problems. I’m thankful that it has never let me down in terms of tone even in the face of ‘nicer’ guitars.”

Room E: “My Korg Kaossilator synth.It’s a little square gizmo that I play by running my thumbs across its flat surface, which triggers its synth sounds. I got it the day before one of my first shows, and brought it on stage with me to fool around with. People were surprisingly impressed; since then, it’s always the thing that people ask about. My friend overheard someone say that I built it myself, which I thought was funny.” 

Tim Lowman, Low Volts: “My black ’61 Silver- tone archtop guitar. I had Fred at The Repair Zone install a P90 pickup and controls in it, and it has be- come my signature ‘dirty-demonic’ sound. I fear for its life and mine if anything were to happen to it.” 

Email or follow him on Twitter at @peterholslin.