Guitar Rigs: Thirty-plus years of gear

About my gear photos:
Presented on the following pages are snapshots in time of my home, stage and studio rigs. When I was a young man I always seemed to have a camera around. For whatever reason I liked to shoot photos when I bought new gear or reconfigured my setups. Sometimes I do miss some of this equipment, but most times, I am glad it's gone.

1986 Rig


This was my rig in 1986. It contained a Peavey 4 x 12 cabinet, 1971 Fender Twin Reverb (with 15" JBL), Bi-amp rack EQ, DOD rack analog delay, 1981 Ibanez UE-400 Rack system, 1980 Fender Bassman 135 head and 2 x 15" cab, 1982 Ibanez FL-9, 1981 Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff, Memphis Wah pedal, 1971 Univox Super Fuzz. A Hondo Les Paul copy and Mako Shark are on the right.

1987 Rig


The rig is basically the same as above, with the addition of a Boss Heavy Metal HM-2 and a Boss Noise Gate.

1987 Rig

Guitars 1987

The main upgrade for 1987 was this mint Gibson Flying V shown here. At the time I could not trace the serial number. I believe it was an early/mid '70s mahogany model a-la KK Downing. I bought it for $400 at the time with original HSC from a buddy who needed cash when he blew up his 1969 Chevelle SS. I traded it for a Honda Interceptor 500 about a year later. The 1982 Ibanez Roadstar II behind it was my first "real" guitar. I got it new in 1982, and still have it.

1991 Rig

1991 Studio Rig

Well, I needed a rig at my parents' house in Denver when I came home on leave to do some studio work. I pieced this setup together with spare "junk" I had down in the folks basement. It contained a Marshall 9000 pre-amp, an early '80s Yamaha 650 112a, half of a 1979 Fender Bassman Ten, and a Fender Strat. The Strat was an early 4-bolt 1971. The guitar played great but honestly didn't sound all that good. I eventually traded it for an '81 Hamer Special in 1995. This rig actually worked well in the studio and got the job done.

1993 Rig


Believe it or not, I had this rig in the barracks! Other soldiers complained to the First Sergeant about the noise. Luckily for me, TOP was a guitar player, and he cut me some serious slack. He let me jam but would comment on "those damn Marshalls" in my room from time to time. The complaints ended when I became the floor sergeant. This rig was versatile. I could get just about any sound out there by mixing and matching cabs and amps. I had a Champ for practice/recording, Marshall 9000 pre-amp/Digitech RDS 3.5 digital delay/Ibanez UE 400 in a rack, Marshall Jubillee 2 x 12 Cabinet, Fender 4 x 10 Cabinet, 1986 Marshall JTM 45 50-watt reissue head, 1986 Marshall basketweave 4 x 12 cabinet, 1980s Marshall JCM 900 4 x 12 bass cabinet, and a 1971 Fender Twin Reverb. I traded the rack system and Fender 4 x 10 cabinet for my '59 Reissue Bassman in 1995. I sold all of the Marshall gear and put the Twin Reverb in storage when I moved to Korea later that year.

1997 Rig


This was my go-to rig for two years. 1991 Fender '72 reissue Strat, '59 Fender reissue Bassman, '61 Fender reissue Reverb Unit. I added overdrive with a Sans-amp GT-2 and a 1982 Ibanez Sonic Distortion SD-9. Believe it or not more than 25-years later, I still have all of this gear.

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