Welcome back to Rigged, in which your favorite metal musicians take you on a step-by-step rundown of their entire live rig. This week Forbidden will embark on a North American headline tour with Revocation, White Wizzard and Havok — brought to you by MetalSucks (dates here) — so we asked guitarist Steve Smyth to take us on a tour of his gear setup. Without further ado, here’s Steve…

What’s up MetalSucks readers! Steve Smyth here. I’m about to take you through a rundown of my live rig here with Forbidden, in advance of our upcoming headline tour through North America.

While I am a firm believer that tone is in the hands first, I am also a firm believer in finding and using the gear that you feel best expresses the style of music you’re playing.

I have been very fortunate to have had my own signature series line of guitars to be released with BC Rich this year (pictured above). The guitar is the classic Bich series, and I have a signature 6-string version of this, as well as a signature 7-string series:

Steve Smyth - Forbidden

The guitar has mahogany sides, one solid piece of maple from body through to headstock, an AAA quilted maple top, and my favorite pickups and setup, the EMG 81-85:

Steve Smyth - Forbidden

I love these pickups because they’re consistent, they deliver solid signal and tone night after night, and they allow for good dynamic expression when and where it’s needed.

I also put a BC Rich Quad bridge on the guitar as well, similar to the old badass bridges from the 1970s that BC used to use. This bridge gives me room to mute, and pick far back into the bridge area as well, lending itself to a variety of tones from my right hand.

Steve Smyth - Forbidden

I string these guitars up with SIT Powerwound series .10-.52:

Steve Smyth - Forbidden

The set up is the same for the 7-string, except I use the 81-7 and 707 pickups and the .64 gauge string for the B. I’ve been using this setup since the Nevermore days. There’s a Floyd Rose 7 on this guitar as well.

I use Dunlop Tortex 1.14mm picks to play just about everything:

Steve Smyth - Forbidden

From the guitars, I go into my pedal board, which is a Gatorcase housing a Boss TU-2 chromatic tuner, an old Boss NF-1 noisegate, a Way Huge Green Rhino, and a Dunlop/CAE Wah pedal (which I am seriously loving for the dual Fasel factor and the wide Q sweep I can get on it):

Steve Smyth - Forbidden

I use the Green Rhino primarily for a gain boost in leads, and only when I do not have my amp of choice available with me. And speaking of amps, I am proudly using the EVH 5150 III heads and cabs:

Steve Smyth - Forbidden

In my search for tone, there is one thing I am always looking for, and I believe I have found it in this amp: a solid EQ section. This amp has a carefully balanced mid-range, and I barely need to use any gain on this baby at all! It’s all right there. I put everything at about 12 o’clock, and dial from there as needed for the room we’re in on any given night.

Everything is connected by Planet Waves cables, which to my ears, are some of the best cables I’ve used in years. Very solid and consistent signal, and they don’t break easily either!

So there you have it folks, my entire rig for this upcoming tour, and for the foreseeable future as well! Come out and see FORBIDDEN on this North American tour leg, and you’ll hear and see this rig in action!

– Steve Smyth/Forbidden

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