Christian Muenzner

Obscura are currently touring North American with Abysmal Dawn, as well as Last Chance to Reason and Enfold Darkness on select dates. For any curious shredders interested in knowing how Obscura guitarist Christian Muenzer dials in such sweet tones on such a consistent basis, we asked the man himself if he’d take us on a tour of his rig. As an added bonus, Christian also told us a little bit about his studio setup and how it differs from his live rig. Here’s Christian:

My gear set up for live shows and studio recording is for the most part the same, but it does differ in certain small details.

I play a rack system, and my setup is not too complex. I like to keep things simple, but there are certain things I can’t go without.


Christian Muenzner - Obscura


Christian Muenzner - Obscura

Christian Muenzner - Obscura

I use an ENGL 530 preamp and an ENGL 840/50 power amp through an ENGL 4×12 cabinet. In the studio we put an Ibanez TS 9 tube screamer in front of the power amp, more for the tone than for the gain. We use a lot of mids in our guitar sound to make it cut through better. The tube screamer works as a kind of EQ in the studio to make the tone a little bit more creamy and saturated.

Christian Muenzner - Obscura

I never use any effects in the studio; everything is being recorded dry, and effects are added later in the mix if necessary.

All rhythm guitar parts on Omnivium were recorded with my Ibanez RGD 7 Prestige. The guitar comes with a longer scale, which is great, as we tune down a whole step, so the tuning is A D G C F A D (we’re on 7 strings). The longer scale makes the guitar intonate a lot better in that tuning.

Christian Muenzner - Obscura

I always record my solos at home, as that allows me a lot more time to work on ideas. Out of necessity I’ve used a Line 6 POD XT for all solos on Cosmogenesis and Omnivium as well as on my solo album Timewarp. I always double track all of my solos so everything is recorded twice, one guitar left, one guitar right. Those guitars play either harmonies or play the exact same lines. I got that technique from Randy Rhoads and Dimebag Darrell; I just think that the stereo sound of the lead guitars has a nice, unique vibe to it. I did all solos on all those albums with my Ibanez JEM BFP 77, the blue Steve Vai model. I’ve had this guitar since 1995, and it’s still my favorite guitar ever. I like the way it plays, and I especially like the tone of the DiMarzio PAF Pro in the neck position. I like to use that pickup for wide intervallic licks and fast alternate picked runs as it gives a lot of attack. Again, I use no effects on my guitar sound for recording solos (those are added in the mix), and I don’t use any harmonizers in the studio; all the harmonies are actually played.

Christian Muenzner - Obscura

Live, my main guitar in a live setting for the last year has always been the RGD 7 Prestige I described above. I use exactly the same amps and cabinet live as I do in the studio. For my lead guitar sound I use a TC G Major 2 effects unit.

Christian Muenzner - Obscura

It’s a rack device which I run in the effects loop of the 530 preamp, and I switch the presets on it with either an ENGL Z 15 midi controller, or a Behringer FCB 1010.

Christian Muenzner - ObscuraChristian Muenzner - Obscura

My rhythm sound is completely dry, no effects, and all the distortion comes from the amp. For my lead sound I add a little bit of db boost, reverb and delay. The cool thing about the G Major 2 is that it has an intelligent harmonizer with which I can exactly re-produce all the harmonies in my solos that I do on the albums. You can program whatever you want in any key, any scale and any interval above and below. As I solo through key changes a lot in Obscura, I have different presets for different solos, and sometimes I even switch within a solo. The G Major 2 also can switch the channel of the amp. In some songs like “Incarnated,” “Orbital Elements” or “Centric Flow” I play with a clean sound, to which I add a little bit of chorus and delay. That way I just switch a number on my midi controller, and it changes the amp channel and adds the effects in the same moment, which makes it very comfortable in a live setting.

– Christian Muenzner / Obscura


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