Crushing Krisis began to feature recordings of my original music just weeks after its launch. At the time I was playing live takes on a no-name guitar into a tiny pin-hole microphone directly into Real Producer.
These days I play live takes on a variety of mid-range guitars into a digital multi-track recording interface, which I then obsessively mix down to mp3s.
I’m extremely happy with my current equipment setup, but I’m also proud to have pushed each prior iteration to the limit before upgrading my gear. I learned a lot about do-it-yourself recording, and I’m happy to share that knowledge with other aspiring musicians on the net.
My current setup is as follows:
- I record through a PreSonus FirePod firewire recording interface into Cubase LE. The FirePod can record up to eight simultaneous tracks.
- For waveform editing and audio mastering I have always used a registered copy of a fantastic program called Goldwave, which I strongly endorse and throw money towards. For MP3 tagging and management I use a tiny workhorse called MP3 Tag Tools.
- I primarily play a Breedlove AD25/SR Electric-Acoustic, which is the best sub-$2k guitar I have found to match my style.
- I play exclusively on D’Addario EXP Coated strings, which don’t sound too shimmery and hardly ever break. Lately I have been using the Bluegrass set because it has heavier bottom strings that are good for drop tunings.
- On Arcati Crisis recordings Gina primarily plays an antique 70s Yamaha guitar with a recently installed under-bridge pickup that has made both of our lives much easier.
- Videos of me playing bass with Filmstar feature a Schecter Omen 4-string bass with active pickups. I don’t unequivocably endorse it, as it took four basses before I found a decent one – and even then I had to have the neck leveled. Mostly I like it because it’s pretty. If you hear me playing bass on a pre-2010 recording I’m on a late-1960s Kent hollow-body.
- I acquired a long-since out of production Alvarez Joe Veillette / Michael Tobias Baritone guitar, which you can sometimes hear on my pop covers. A similar version was offered by MusicYo.
- Both Gina and I occasionally play an Epiphone Dot Deluxe Hollow-Body Electric, as well as a Yamaha 12-String Electric/Acoustic with a cutaway.
- All of my assorted projects are performed through an assortment of Shure and Behringer microphones – lead vocals are primary on a Sure 58s or Beta 58a.
- When my guitar is not recorded direct-in I’m amplified through an UltraSound Acoustic Amplifier. The amp is absolutely terrific at cleanly amplifying acoustic and hollow-body guitars, and I highly recommended it to other acoustic musicians.
- On bass, I so far heartily endorse the Tech 21 CS-VT SansAmp Character Series, VT Bass pedal. It rounds out my bass sound without requiring me to be playing on an amp turned up to 8. I also make use of a Boss Bass Equalizer on both bass and acoustic guitar, mostly to drop out woofy 125-hz frequencies while maintaining sub-100 low-end.
Previous eras of my music have featured different assortments of instruments and gear, detailed below in chronological order:
1997 – 2001: Trio Season 1, 1-13.
I played an Ashland acoustic guitar recorded through pinhole microphones in Compaq and HP computer monitors directly into some variation on Windows Sound Recorder, or RealProducer. Ashland is an incredibly shitty brand of guitar. Don’t buy one.
I was often accompanied by Gina on an assortment of guitars, primarily an acoustic Washburn.
2001 – 2002: Trio Season 1, 14-20, & Trio Season 2.
Washburn electric/acoustic guitar recorded through pinhole microphone in HP computer monitor directly into some variation on Windows Sound Recorder, or RealProducer. I was sometimes amplified by an old 55 watt Dean Markley amp, occasionally with and old Premier hollow-body electric guitar.
Recordings from this period include Gina on a similar model Washburn and an old Yamaha acoustic. I also recorded a studio album in this period, using lots of expensive professional gear that I only halfway understood how to use.
2002 – 2003: Trio Season 3.
Washburn electric/acoustic guitar and Premier hollow-body electric guitar, amplified by an assortment of cheap microphones and a Dean Markley amp, and mixed through a Behringer Eurorack MX 802A through the 1/8″ input on my computer.
This period includes many guest appearances on a variety of instruments, including Gina on the above, Lindsay on a Seagull concert-sized acoustic, and Anthony on a Larrivee acoustic/electric.
2003 – 2004: Trio Season 4.
Same as above, but with multi-track digital mixing in N-Track Studio.
Occasional borrowing of the famous Dragon electric from Gina, and electronic keyboard from Karen. Also, percussion on shakers, maracas, talking drum, and djembe.
2004 – 2006: Trio Season 5.
Same as above, but the Premier Hollow-Body was retired in favor of an Epiphone Dot hollow-body electric guitar (which does not appear on Trio). I also make use of a Boss Distortion pedal and hardware compression through a Alesis SmashUp unit.