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Rigged: Luc Lemay of Gorguts

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Photo credit: Éric Geoffroy
Photo credit: Éric Geoffroy

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always love musical instruments for their beauty, the way they’re crafted and of course for the comfort they provide when you play them. Back when I started, my first electric guitar was a Vantage “ironbird”-like shape, army color! I bought this first weapon when I was in 9th grade. I was soooooo proud of that guitar! I remember making myself a strap with an inverted cross and putting all kinds of stickers on the guitar… good memories!

Times have changed! No more inverted cross… and no more stickers. My taste goes towards natural woods for guitars and “less is more” for amplifiers.

“Less is more” in the way that I don’t feel like carrying heavy tube amps on the road and I don’t like the maintenance of a tube amp. I have never been a tube amp purist. As long as it sounds good and HEAVY that works for me. As a matter of fact, I still have my old Ampeg VH-140 through which we recorded Erosion of Sanity. Don’t get me wrong, as far as recording an album tubes are my first and only choice. But in a live context, valves work just fine for me.

So first thing’s first, the picks that I use are Tortex .88mm. I’ve been using them since the beginning, although I switched to the Tortex 1mm for the Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate periods and then I came back to the.88mm. I just love them; they feel just right for my playing.

luc_hand

I’m using guitars entirely hand-built by: Marc Chicoine. Marc and I have been friends for over 25 years now; I met him back in 1988 just before I formed Gorguts. Back then Marc was starting to build his own guitars, and since then Marc has been pretty much the only person working on my instruments. He’s been doing all the tune-ups since the beginning.

When Gorguts started playing shows again I wanted a new 6-string with minimal features on it. I’ve always hated guitars with tone knobs and switches and neck pickups. You’ll see what I mean when we get to my 7-string guitars.

So here’s the one he built for me in 2010.  It has a swamp ash body and a maple bolt-on neck with an ebony fret board and extra jumbo nickel frets. The neck has a double-action rod which keeps it very stable. I really like these Sperzel locking tuner keys. They stay in tune so well. The head stock is finished with an ebony plate along with a logo in pearl inlay… just beautiful! The bridge is a Schaller tune-o-matic with fine tuners. Love this bridge; it’s steady like a Gibson bridge but you have the fine tuning of a Floyd Rose. Last but not least: a Bare Knuckle Aftermath! These pickups sound like a ton of bricks! Lots of mid range and plenty of definition even at a low tuning.

Luc Lemay Gorguts guitar2 guitar3 guitar4

Here’s my second weapon, built by Marc in 2012. When I got the announcement that Gorguts was going to be part of the Death to All tour in tribute to Chuck Schuldiner, I immediately got the idea for this new guitar. Since Chuck was the one that got me started on playing death metal I wanted to pay him tribute by having a Stealth-shape guitar built by Marc. This guitar is a beauty and it plays wonderfully!

Luc Lemay Gorguts

This is a neck through guitar entirely built from genuine mahogany, including the wings. It has a drop top of ziricote and the whole guitar is finished with tung oil.  It has an ebony fret board with 24 frets. The scale is 25.5″ and it’s dressed up with Jescar 57 x 110 stainless steel jumbo frets. I love the feel of those frets. It’s the first instrument that I have with stainless frets and I was sold right away; they feel wonderful for bending strings. The neck has a double action rod with 2 KTS reinforcement bars. The head stock is finished with an ebony plate along with the logo in pearl inlays. I got the Sperzel locking tuning keys on this one as well. For the bridge, we tried the Schaller tune-o-matic but it didn’t look right, so Marc decided to use the Gotoh bridge with a string-through set up. For the pickup, again, I went for the Bare Knuckle Aftermath.

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guitar7

If you didn’t know, Colored Sands is the first record on which I used a 7-string guitar in every song. It doesn’t sound obvious because Kevin is playing a 6-string on the top of it tuned C-G-Eb-Bb-F-C (top to bottom). I’m tuned the same way on the 7-string but I have a lower G at the very bottom. For strings I use DR Strings, .13 to .74. Colored Sands was recorded with this long time friend: the Ibanez S.

Luc Lemay Gorguts guitar9

As mentioned earlier, you can see that the neck pickups have been removed, and the switch and tone knob have been removed as well. This is from the very first production of the S series from Ibanez. It dates from the ’90s or so. When I first got this guitar I barely used it; it stayed in the case for years. Then when I joined Negativa in the early 2000s It was my instrument of choice since I didn’t wanted to write on the 6-string anymore. I got the tremolo blocked with a piece of wood so the bridge can be used like a Schaller tune-o-matic. I don’t have to mess with locks and springs. This is the guitar I used when we recorded Colored Sands.

I’m having a Stealth-shaped 7-string guitar built by Marc as I write this! I can’t wait to get this new beast!

Cabinet wise, I’ve decided to build my own. A few years ago I needed a cabinet and I didn’t really have the money to buy one… but I had the tools to make one. Being a woodworker myself it was an easy thing to do. I decided to build a 4×12 out of solid poplar. This wood sound great! I got myself a good dovetail jig and it was done. For speakers, I used 16 ohms Emminence Texas Heat. For the front grill, I drew the design on paper, then I sent it to a friend of mine who was able to re-draw it in Illustrator. From there I was able to save the format in a way that allowed me to have the grill laser cut out of a 1/8” steel plate. Then I got the whole thing powder coated. This way it’s super-resistant and it looks cool as hell.

Luc Lemay Cabinets

I drew myself a logo since I’ve had a few friends order cabinets from me. LLC for Luc Lemay Cabinets. This was laser cut out of aluminum, polished with cotton and a compound. Funny enough, I noticed after it was all done that the logo looked like the “Ohms” symbol.

cabinetdesign

Amplifier wise, I’m using a Matrix GT1000FX as a power amp and the Line 6 POD HD5000 as a pre amp. I really like this set up cause I have everything I need to recreate the ambiance that’s on the record with only one click. Since I sing and play guitar I can’t tap dance by using five or six stomp boxes to have the same results. The POD acts as my footswitch as well, so it’s a quick set up, and a very compact rig for fly-in gigs.

poweramp preamp

To stay in tune, I use the Planet Waves chromatic tuner. I like this because it cuts the sound while I get in tune. No more tuning through the PA.

footswitch

And last but not least, here’s a 2×12 cabinet that I’ve built out of mahogany scrap and leftovers. This cabinet was built so I could practice at my workshop office. Since my 4×12 would stay at the rehearsing spot I got bored of jamming with headphones through an old Behringer pod. So one day I went through all the pieces of mahogany which were too short to build a piece of furniture with and luckily I had just enough. I finished it with linseed oil and put 2 Emminence Texas Heat speakers in it. Perfect set up for practice!

cabinet2

cabinet3

I’m glad to have shared this with all of you gear freaks! Thanks for your support on the last record! You guys rule!

 

 

 

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