RIGGED: ABYSMAL DAWN’S CHARLES ELLIOTT
Abysmal Dawn are currently touring North American with ze Germans in Obscura, along with Last Chance to Reason and Enfold Darkness on select dates. We figured it would be a good time to ask Abysmal Dawn guitarist/vocalist Charles Elliott to take us through his entire live rig, so that’s exactly what we did. After the jump, Charles gives us a tour of his live setup, piece by piece.
The good people at MetalSucks (and one asshole) asked me to give a rundown of my instruments of destruction. Here’s a list of what I use live, although what I use in the studio sometimes varies slightly from recording to recording. Check it out:
Mesa/Boogie Mark IV
This has been my main head and source of my sound for a long time. The versatility of this thing is ridiculous. It has a really tight attack to it which is good for really fast and tech-death style riffing as well as classic thrash. I like the Rectifier heads as well (used a blended one on the last record with a JCM 800) for the massive roaming bottom end they have (come to think of it, that’s the same reason I like women’s volleyball). That can be a little much when you’re playing really fast and they need a pedal in front of them to really get a sound I like personally. The Mark IV, however, sounds really killer in that aspect, especially in a live setting. My Mark IV also has an assignable FX loop so I keep the delay and verb assigned to my clean channel. That way, it’s on whenever I click on it. Been meaning to check out the Mark V series that just came out. It has all of the Mark series heads in one. Apparently it has more knobs on it than an episode of Jersey Shore. I’m impressed.
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers
I love Vintage 30 Celestion speakers and the way they break up. I have had them in other cabinets but the Mesa cabs really project those low frequencies needed for metal. I have the version with the slanted top speakers and extended front, which I guess they don’t make anymore.
Ibanez TS9DX Tube Screamer / MXR GT-OD / MXR Custom Badass ‘78 Distortion
Some sort of Tube Screamer pedal is essential to every guitarist’s rig no matter what style you play. They just help sweeten your tone and add more sustain when you combine it with your amp distortion. I was using this version but it was stolen recently so I may try something different i.e. MXR GT-OD or MXR Custom Badass ‘78 Distortion. I did like this pedal though because it included a ton of different mods that people usually add to these. It helps give those extra overtones and gnarl that I like in a death metal guitar sound, essential if you ask me. I think this particular model might have been discontinued recently too.
Boss TU-3 Tuner
Best tuner I’ve used. It’s great to be able to tune quietly while on stage. I’ve also seen guys like Tony from Vital Remains use it to quiet up the punches on songs by stomping on it for the bypass.
ISP Decimator G-String Noise Reduction Pedal
I think this is the best pedal for noise reduction on the market if you want to avoid going the rack gear route. It doesn’t affect the harmonics, decay, or more subtle touches in your playing if you set it right. Some other noise reduction pedals don’t really do the job quite right or as good. If only they made t-shirts that read “G-String Decimator” I’d where it to weddings and family events all the time. I think Vince and Axl already have matching lower back tattoos that say as much.
Rocktron Intellifex Online
I use this mostly for delays and a little bit of reverb. I know a lot of people pit this against the G Major but this has worked just fine for me for years. I edited the effects a bit too once I got the sound I wanted. A lot of people buy these things and just use the presets but I think a little editing improved mine. I kick in the FX loop on my Mark IV for my leads and since this unit has volume control on it, it gives my leads the boost they need live.
Fernandes Revolver Elite Limited
This guitar is my baby and I’ve used it on the last two records. On the albums I use the neck sustainer pickup with the Tubescreamer, and a Crybaby Wah in the treble position at all times for my leads. That’s a pain in the ass live though so I keep it in the bridge position and don’t use a wah. The Fernandes sustainer system is awesome too and I use it as an ebow or for feedback when I’m D.I.ing guitars in the studio and not using an actual amp. I use an EMG 85 in the bridge, although I know a lot of guys swear by the 81. I like the 85 more because it’s runs a bit hotter and has more low and mid frequencies, which works really well with the wood of my guitar and the amp. I think having a Floyd Rose system kills your low end slightly so the 85 helps gets some of that back. I’d experiment between the two pickups if you’re an EMG user.
Fernandes Revolver Elite
Sadly this guitar was stolen recently at a show with my doom band BEREFT. I miss her and hope to get her back soon. If you see it somewhere probably in the LA area please contact me: email@example.com. I had a ton of stuff stolen that night.
Love this guitar. It has a stop tail piece and an EMG 81 in the bridge and it just sounds devastating for rhythms. I might use it to record the rhythms for the next Abysmal Dawn record. Has some killer sustain and tone.
Fernandes Ravelle Deluxe
The tone and look of this guitar are amazing and it sounds so heavy. I put EMG 81s in booth positions since it already has a ridiculous amount of low end and an 85 would be too much. Love this guitar but don’t use it so much with Abysmal Dawn because the shorter scale neck doesn’t like tuning all the way down to C standard. That can be an intonation nightmare.
Dunlop Jazz III Max-Grip Picks Red
I know it’s weird to think but I feel like these picks actually change my tone a little. I used the Tortex Sharp Green picks for a long time then switched to the regular Jazz III’s some time ago. I found I liked the attack and tone of these better. I recently switched to the max-grip version of the Jazz III because I felt they had a sharper attack, giving me a snappier tone from the stings. Some people may think I’m crazy but it’s been said that a lot of your tone is in your own hands. Just think about the time you handed your guitar to your friend that was better than you to play through your exact same rig. Did they not somehow make it sound way better than you and put you to shame? I rest my case. I use red color over black because they’re easier to find in a dark club setting.
Schaller Strap Locks
Used these for years and they haven’t failed me yet so I stick with them.
EV D/D967 Microphone
My favorite mic and unfortunately this was stolen from me recently too. I like how the top of the mic is flat so I can get up right on the diaphragm (stop giggling, it’s almost over). I heard Corpse Grinder uses this mic too and it sounds excellent.
– Charles Elliott / Abysmal Dawn