[Welcome back to Rigged! Last week Between the Buried and Me guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring walked you through their live setups piece by piece. This week it’s The Ocean mastermind Robin Stap’s turn to show you his, um, “gear.” Next week BTBAM drummer Blake Richardson breaks down his kit, and the week after that Robin Staps will be back for round 2. Between the Buried and Me and The Ocean begin their MS-sponsored tour with Job For A Cowboy (and on select dates Cephalic Carnage) this week. Get dates here.]

Hey everyone, happy to introduce you all to my rig and to some of the gear I use.

Let me start with the amp. My amp’s a classic 5150, don’t need to say much about it I guess… all tubes, nice fat tone, good attack and definition. I installed 2 pressure gauges in the front panel: they’re always telling me how much pressure is left in the air tank that’s behind the amp, so in case Loic farts too heavily and I need to inhale oxygen on stage, I never run out! Our live show is pretty sudorific anyway, ya know, gotta be prepared!
The outside is cobra leather. I killed that snake with my bare hands last summer, during our headlining tour in Burkina Faso. Had to smuggle it back to Germany, not an easy undertaking!

The wood is actually 100% mahagony which I intentionally made look like laminated fibre, because I felt the mahagony look would have compromised the cobra leather finish.


My cabinet is a Martin-119. It’s not really big, but it’s got 6 (!) speakers in it. They’re only 6 inches each, but you know, as a guitarist, I feel it is my duty to leave room for the bass, and that means cutting down on the low frequencies coming out of the guitar cabinets. And the Martin-119 is perfect for that, it literally eliminates low frequencies from your tone! I love the vintage design of it and I think the colour scheme in shades of brown and khaki is incredibly sexy. It matches my carpet, which is brown as well. The cabinet was hand-crafted in the GDR and played by Erich Honecker himself (it is reported that he actually played the song “Highway to Hell” to his wife at night).

Well, that’s pretty much all I need, really! I don’t use effects, I’m pretty old-school. And then there’s my collection of favourite guitars. I have so many, these are really just the best ones I have.

This is Anubis. I usually play that when it fits the mood of the song best, like in the oriental-sounding passages in “Isla del Sol” for example.

This one was given to German chancellor (at the time) Gerhard Schröder by George W. Bush in 2006 in order to convince him to join the war in Iraq. This was conceived as a cheap trick by the American head of state throughout all German press, since Bush knew about Schröder’s passion for guitars. Schröder resisted the temptation, but lost the next election because he was practicing sweeps all day.

I only use that one when we’re touring Russia.

Scored that one on one of our first headlinging tours in Burma. It was a gift by the Secretary of State, although he hated our music.

My favourite acoustic. It looks a bit… beat, but sounds incredible. That’s what we recorded “For He That Wavereth…” with.

Now that one doesn’t need any further comments I reckon.

My most important set of string instruments. These were made out of my beloved ex-dog Schuppiliuliuma’s fur. Schuppiliuliuma passed away 5 years ago, and it was a major crisis for me. Playing these guitars makes me feel close to him. I know he’s still there, somewhere…

We’re called The Ocean, so obviously, we love surfing. And what could be better than playing guitar WHILE surfing? When I’m riding those big wave I’m at my most creative; this is when ideas are sputtering out of me like no other time!

Yet another classic The Ocean guitar. The mouth of the shark opens when you play an open A chord.

I hope you enjoyed this gear tour! I can highly recommend any of these instruments and all these pieces of gear. As a matter of fact, each single one of them has played a crucial role in my artistic carreer!

– Robin Staps / The Ocean

Stay tuned for next week’s Rigged, in which BTBAM drummer Blake Richardson takes you through his kit. And the week after that, in which Robin Staps runs down his actual live rig.

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