RIGGED: DEVILDRIVER’S MIKE SPREITZER
Devildriver are currently out on their MetalSucks-sponsored North American support run with Arch Enemy, also featuring Skeletonwitch and Chthonic (dates here). Devildriver guitarist Mike Spreitzer — who runs the recently re-launched guitar-centric site AllAxess.com with his DevilDriver axe cohort Jeff Kendrick — has taken some time out of his busy touring schedule to guide MetalSucks gearheads through a rundown of his live rig. Here’s Mike:
My live rig signal chain starts with my ESP MS-1 guitar loaded with EMG 81 pickups and Dunlop Strings (sizes 10-13-17-30-42-63). We usually tune to Drop-C except for a few songs that we play in D-Standard. We have two songs that were recorded with a 7-string guitar tuned to Drop-A, but we have never played them live. The body and neck of my guitar is made from mahogany and my fret board is made from ebony. From my experience I find mahogany is a good wood for metal guitarists and one of the most popular in the genre.
Next in the chain is an Electro-Voice wireless system that feeds my signal into my TC Electronic G-System, which I use for all my effects. I’ve been using the G-System for many years and absolutely love it, but as soon as I can get my hands on a Fractal Audio Axe FX II (which are backordered at the moment) I am going to switch over and use the Axe FX for all my effects. TC Electronic is a great company and makes great gear, but I’ve been noticing a few problems with the latest firmware of the G-System that TC Electronic has not fixed. The main issues being 1) a volume dip when changing patches, and 2) the newest version of the editor for Mac is very buggy and prone to crash.
Once my signal hits my G-System, the signal is fed out though Loop 1 of the G-System to either a Dunlop Zakk Wylde Overdrive or a Maxon OD808 pedal (depending on my mood) then back to a return in the G-System. The Wylde Overdrive and the Maxon OD808 are my two favorite overdrive pedals. They are fairly similar sounding but the Wylde has a tendency to kill a little less low-end than the OD808 while the OD808 has a better high-end scream. Loop 3 sends my signal to my Korg rack mount tuner.
One of the coolest features of the G-System is that you have the option to keep the brain of the unit either tucked away underneath the pedal board or you can detach it and place it in a rack unit. I’ve always preferred to keep it in my rack case with all my other gear. This way I only have two cables running from my pedal board across the stage to my rack case. The first cable is a CAT 5 cable (commonly known as an Ethernet cable) to attach my pedal board to the brain of the G-System and the second is a balanced ¼” cable to attach my expression pedal to my Dunlop Rackmount Wah (not pictured). My Dunlop Wah is connected to my G-System through Loop 4. I used to use a Boss expression pedal connected to my pedal board to control the Wah built into the G-System, but the expression pedal broke on me three times and I decided to incorporate the Dunlop wah instead. So far it’s been working out very well. The last edition of my pedal board is my Dunlop Volume pedal, which attaches directly to the G-System controller. I primary use my volume pedal to cut my signal to tune quietly and occasionally for volume swells.
From there, the signal is sent out of a send into Channel 1 of my ISP Decimator Noise Reduction unit and into the front of my Blackstar 1046L6 Amplifier Head. The signal is then sent out of the FX loop of the amplifier into Channel 2 of my Decimator and once again fed back into the G-System through its insert return, then out of the G-System’s main output and back into the return of the Blackstar’s FX loop return. After all this mess of inputs, outputs, sends, and returns, the signal is finally sent out of the amp’s speaker output into two different speaker cabinets both loaded with Celestion Vintage 30’s. The first cabinet is a Blackstar 4×12 cabinet. My other speaker cabinet is a 2×12 wedge made by Omega Custom Enclosures that I place at the front of the stage so that I don’t have to rely on the in-house monitor technician to dial in a guitar tone that I like.
As you can see, it’s quite simple.
– Mike Spreitzer / DevilDriver