Guitars and equipment

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Pictures of Abraxas' music gear

Abraxas talks about his setup for recording. 

Basically my current setup is as follows:

Burns Brian May guitar (with Maxima or Optima 24kt gold strings, just like Bri uses), played with either a sixpence (Bri's preferred pick) or a Jim Dunlop 1.5mm alligator grip pick (Yngwie Malmsteen's plectrum of choice, for you trivia seekers). Generally I use the Dunlops, but occasionally if I've got a galloping guitar part or something that needs real definition like a rasp to it, I'll use the sixpence. Sometimes I use Quarters, too...

Feed that through a YJM DOD preamp overdrive pedal (occasionally) and a Digitech Genesis 1 amp modeller (if I'm looking for a specific sound, like an AC30 or a vintage Marshall, or whatever). Of course, if I need a Wah pedal or anything, I'll stick that in...

That all goes into usually my Fender JAM amp (although if my VOX was working, I'd use it as a preamp/ treble booster-- another thing I need to get. I want the Crispy Bream T.B.). If I'm looking for a more distorted sound, I'll use my Fender frontman Reverb amp, which is a cute little 38 watt 8-inch dealie.

These days I've gone wireless, but then I never was that picky about leads. Usually my setup is much simpler than that: guitar straight into the amp. But occasionally for a little oomph I use the previous setup. Random tangent, for anyone who cares or knows enough about guitars to slog through all that.

As for other stuff... Bass is almost always recorded as a DI (Direct input) so nothing special on that. I use a Fender Precision. It's purple. :-) Generally no pick, but again if i need more control like something on, say, the Who's "My Generation" I'll use the Dunlops or bass picks that are fuzzy on one side. Not sure why but they're fun... And I suppose if I stuck velcro hooks on my bass I wouldn't need a pickholder.

Piano/ synth stuff is all done on the keyboards... I wish I could record with an acoustic piano, as the feel is ALWAYS better, no matter how good the action is on a keyboard... But my engineer has an entire harddrive dedicated just to the keyboard, so I can get really authentic sounds. He has something like a 1.2 gig file for ONE piano sound. Something ridiculous like that. There are like 30,000 different synths too.

And all other instruments (violins and such) are just recorded straight... no trickery. Same with vocals, although some reverb is usually added after the fact. I like my vocals wet and my guitars dry... hehe

For doing covers, I prefer to play along to the original tracks as a reference, at least for the main backing track (one to two guitars or pianos). On this album I believe I've done 3 cover tracks without the reference (Let it Be, Save Me, and The River Runs Low). Originals, I've generally played straight out, no click if they're slow or mainly piano. I can keep a rhythm on beats under like 80, haha. The track Delusions of Grandeur is obviously done to a click, set at 130. I played it straight through once withouth the click and the rhythm was pretty wrecked so I had no other choice, really.

Also, of course, if I'm looking for a different guitar sound that I can't get with my Burns, or if I'm playing somehting that needs a different feel (for instance, if I'm doing a two-handed tapping solo or some more neoclassical type stuff where I need tighter action on the strings) I'll use a different guitar, like my Epi or a Stratocaster.

Most of the acoustic stuff has been done on the Gibson B-20 or occasionally a Fender if I need a bigger sound (although I prefer the sound and feel of the Gibson) but if I need a nylon part obviously I have to use a classical guitar. Guitars are recorded sans amp, with the mic right out front of the soundhole (with exception to the Fender, which is acoustic-electric).


Well, I think that's it-- off to watch "House. M.D." now. Have fun, folks!

Epiphone Special

"Gary Moore" fan- fretted guitar

Nylon- string acoustic guitar

Fender Precision Bass

Various amps

Burns Brian May signature guitar

Gibson B- 20