Updated March 13, 2016
I play through a 1961 Fender Twin Amp which has been refurbished by the renowned amplifier designer and manufacturer John McIntyre. For effects I use a Dod Overdrive Pedal, a Boss PW-10 wah pedal, an Ibanez UE405 multi-effects rack and an Alesis Midiverb II. I've been using GHS strings forever - GBCL-B Guitar Boomers - 009-011-016-026-036-046.
Non-guitar gear: Casio PX-130 digital piano, Roland TD-4 electronic drum kit, Yamaha DX7 synth, Zoom H4n digital recorder, Adobe Audition PC recording/editing software (Windows)
These days when I go to a jam session such as Mikey's Juke Joint I'll choose one of these units and just the Dod pedal. I'll use whatever amp is available.
1962 Fender Esquire. When I bought it (used - in '69) it had a P90 copy neck pickup installed which sounded horrible. I replaced it with one of the mini humbuckers from a Gibson Firebird III I used to own which I bought in 1964 from The Kingsmen's lead guitarist at the time, Darrel Partlow, and also replaced the stock bridge with a brass Badass unit. Somewhere along the line I installed a Tele pickup in the middle and 2 micro-switches so that I could get all 7 combinations. Then I moved the stock bridge pup to the middle position and replaced it with a custom built Seymour Duncan unit which had a coil tap adding a few more tone variations. I then replaced the bridge and middle pickups with Bill Lawrence L-290TLE and L-290SL pups. I built a new pickguard to accommodate this configuration which included a split-coil humbucker from a Series A guitar in the neck position (the weak link in the chain but still not bad). With the four microswitches I had installed there were 27 different tone combinations available! In late 2006 I decided to put the guitar back to as much of it's stock configuration that I could with the original parts kicking around including the heads, single pickup, bridge and wiring. I had to substitute a few components including the toggle switch. I have the original but it's hooped. I never did have the original pickguard so I built one myself.
Sometime last year (2010) I installed a Tele style pickup and then replaced that with a damaged Bill Lawrence Strat pickup (only one coil but still sounds great). Had to take the plastic cover off so that it would fit. I also rewired the controls to Tele spec.
This unit sings. A 1959 Les Paul SG Special. I got this one around '67. Originally with a cherry red finish, somewhere around 1968 I sawed off the 'horns' to give it a Vox teardrop-like shape!!!! A few years later I had Ed Rohner, then with Fury Guitars in Saskatoon, re-attach the pieces and refinish it with black lacquer. He added a nice personal touch in the red fret markers on new wood binding. I added a microswitch to phase-reverse one of the pups to get that gronky out-of -phase sound.
Almost totally modified 1952 Les Paul Model Gold Top! Again, forgive me collectors! I've always considered function over form when it comes to my guitars - to a fault as I do realize it would be worth a mint if it were stock. I traded a Mosrite Ventures model guitar and some cash for it in 1970. I put it through several changes including installing a pair of Yamaha SG1500 dual-sound humbuckers and one of the mini-humbuckers from the Firebird III. The Firebird got the original P90's. (I recently saw Mike Campbell playing that exact configuration at a Tom Petty concert. Hmm.) This has been a very versatile axe. Once while playing with Crowcuss at The Savoy in Vancouver, a fellow approached me after a set and told me he couldn't believe my setup. The previous night he had heard a live FM broadcast from the club and thought I was playing a Stratocaster through a Marshall. I was in fact playing this Les Paul through a Roland JC120! I have recently replaced the pair of mini-humbuckers at the bridge and neck positions with Mitey-Mite P90s and I replaced the Tele neck pickup in the middle with a Bill Lawrence Strat PU. I have it set up with a master volume and tone and a pair of push-on push-off controls for the middle pickup and reverse phase. It still has the original control knobs and a stop tailpiece (initially incorrectly positioned) with a tune-o-matic bridge.
I call this my Telestrat Assembled in 2007, I put this together as a substitute the modified Esquire which I have reverted to stock (almost), to get most of those sounds again. I bought the body (Charvel Strat copy) and the neck (Peavey Predator) on Ebay and used the parts that I pulled off the Esquire. That's the Bill Lawrence L-290TLE at the bridge, a 1968 Tele bridge pickup in the middle and the custom Seymour Duncan at the neck. The pickups are all slightly staggered. I built a custom pickguard to accommodate. The tone control is push-pull so I use it as a coil tap for the SD. It has a standard 5-way Strat pickup switch and 2 micro-switches, one a phase reversal switch and the other a direct on switch for the TLE. Lots a tone variations, feels and and plays great. She rocks!
Modified Series A A 'Cash Converters' special. I removed the Floyd Rose tremolo, etc, blocked in the cavity and installed a Strat bridge. Since this picture was taken it has been disassembled. I'll be mating the neck and hardware with another body yet to be determined. What can I say? It's a hobby :)
The 'Moon Unit' (with apologies to Ms Zappa) New picture coming up soon. My designed and constructed pickguard. Bill Lawrence pickups: bridge - L290, middle and neck - L280. Jimi Hendrix played a right-handed Stratocaster upside down but with the conventional lefty string orientation. I thought I would try this reverse bridge pickup orientation. Works pretty good. This one has been stage tested and it plays very well and sounds great, again with the micro-switches. I went to the Experience Music Project in Seattle this past summer and among other great exhibits was the Strat Hendrix played at Woodstock!! He did NOT play an unaltered right handed guitar upside down like Doyle Bramhall II or Albert King!
Modified Fender Squire Stratocaster New picture and data coming up soon
Gibson B-25 acoustic. A lovely sounding little unit.
Gibson Epiphone FT79N Texan. Very similar to the J50. This is the same model acoustic Paul McCartney used on The Beatles' 'Yesterday' recording. Hmmm!
1968 Fender Precision Bass with stock finish replaced by Swedish oil. Back pickup is a DiMarzio. I designed the pick guard. The strings are tuned as if it were a five or six string bass - without the 1st or 2nd strings - (low to high) B-E-A-D