Hello again, local music lovers! Mitchel Fulcer here with another look through the “Gear View Mirror”. This week, I have quite the gauntlet of gear to take you through as we delve into the methods and madness of my good friend and bandmate, Gary Vandenberg. With influences in the post-rock genre, as well as being a lifelong metalhead, Gary has embarked on a journey through sound after sound and pedal after pedal, creating a fat, unique tone that surrounds you in an ambient soundscape unlike anything you have ever experienced.
Let’s begin with guitars this week. Gary uses two six-string Gibsons: a gloss black Les Paul Explorer (left) and a silverburst Les Paul Studio (right). He plays through a single JB pickup in both guitars to create the highly touch-sensitive response needed for his unique style.
To create a more impressionable swell within his music, Gary introduces a silver Boss volume pedal (far left) with black grip tape.
You may have noticed many guitarists split their signals across the stage by using a channel selector. This setup takes full advantage of that ability with the Electro-Harmonix Switchblade+.
To the left of the Switchblade+ is an Electro-Harmonix 360 nano looper. This allows Gary to lay multiple riffs within one measure, and he uses this tool in the same manner a painter would his brush. Each layer contributes to the bigger picture.
Unlike the guitar rigs I usually see, this particular pedaltrain ran into a Diezel Vh4 pre-amp pedal.
To eliminate unwanted sound or feedback, Gary uses a Hush noise reducer, which is followed closely by a rack-mounted RockTron power amp.
Down the more exploratory side of Mr. Vandenberg’s pedaltrain, things get crazy with a Digitech Freqout pedal. This insanely touch-sensitive masterpiece builds natural feedback under any sustained notes.
In some songs, the riffs are split by an Electro Harmonix Pitch Fork pedal for those wild harmonies and dual lead sounds.
Three different Mooer pedals are splashed in the mix:
In between the Slow Engine and the Ensemble King, one can find an american staple in the Wampler Mesa Triple Wreck distortion pedal.
Delays and echos are a must have for the foundation of such a vast tone.
Belle Epoch tape echo:
Bringing in the caboose is another Hush noise reducer, followed by a BBE Sonic Maximiser and yet another RockTron power amp.
After explaining the purpose for each pedal to help us understand why he uses such an extensive set up, he looks me in the eye to deliver his conclusion:
“I use a normal distorted tone with looper pedals to act as my “rhythm guitar”. Otherwise, I let my notes decay into feedback, growing in intensity as they are repeated through stacked delays. Finally, as everything hits the reverb, the notes wash into each other, creating a sustained cascade.” – Gary Vandenberg
Honestly, I couldn’t agree more with what he said. As a guitarist (and music lover in general), I was extremely excited to not only learn about the various effects you can have at the tap of your foot, but see them in action!
Thank you all for reading, and if you enjoy what you see feel free to contact me on Facebook and give any constructive criticism. If you think you have something crazy to add to the local table I’d love to pick your brain and show the world how you get weird.
Next week we get to look at the on stage rack and gear of Jonathan “Icelander” Nicewander. With a Name like “The Ragnarok” this nine piece demon has a lot to break down with the cymbal package to match.
See you next time Gearheads and music lovers! Until then thrash fast, and headbang hard!!!