RiggedKen Susi

As part of our coverage of this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival – currently winding its way through North America — we’re bringing you a series of “Rigged” columns in which several of the tour’s musicians take you on piece-by-piece guides of their current live rig setups. Check out the rigs of Machine Head’s Phil DemmelUnearth’s Buz McGrathHatebreed’s Wayne LozinakIn Flames’ Peter Iwers and Dethklok’s Brendon Small (they played one Mayhem show in CA). Here’s the other half Unearth’s twin guitar attack, Ken Susi: 


  • two custom Ken Susi model Ibanez S series 7-string guitars
  • Ibanez S7420 Eddie Van Halen spoof guitar
  • Ibanez J Custom RGA 7-string.



  • 16-space Shockmount Kriz Kraft rack
  • Samson Wireless UR-50
  • Samson Wireless Airline Synth (backup)
  • Korg Tuner
  • Samson power unit
  • VHT Valvulator: A great power unit that runs my Maxon and Boss pedals at the proper voltage and gives is a smoother sound. The Valuator also has one input and two outputs so I can split my signal to two different amps.
  • EVH fender 5150 III: A solid amp that is the core of my tone! It’s the amp that’s plays through my cabs on stage.
  • Soldano X88R preamp: Like the 5150, it’s the first of it’s kind. Basically most amps are built to sound like a Slo or rack version X88R. I have this in my arsenal just because. It’s a staple and sounds unreal!
  • Marshall JMP1 preamp (backup)
  • VHT 2150 poweramp: I power my heads and preamp with this unit. 100 watts, side loaded with KT88’s, it’s bound to rip your face off. It’ good for a clean bubble in the lows and a sweet bell on the top. Unmatchable.
  • Fractal Audio Axe-FX (di tone/effects): This is the heart and sole of my rigg. My Fractal basically contains eveything. I mentioned I had the Valvulator splitting into two amps… Well, even though I’m splitting between amps, the Axe-FX is used for two different things. 1) I have an unreal tone that was built in my Axe-FX going out to the front of house but at the same time I also have it going through my live amp. I put a parametric EQ on the amp side of my rig to smooth out some imperfections Not only is my Axe-FX my effects unit but it’s also my amp. I have this rigged up to push effects from the amp inside of the unit to a live amp all with the click of one button. Fractal Audio will be releasing my patches very soon. Keep a look out!


  • two 4×12 Mesa Boogie cabs: Best cabs around. Focused and heavy. No cab will ever match the sound that these badboys give you.

– Ken Susi / Unearth

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