RIGGED: THE SAFETY FIRE GUITARIST DERYA “DEZ” NAGLE
Hey guys, I’m Dez, guitarist from The Safety Fire and I’m going to give you a quick run down on the gear myself and Jo use live.
We both use the Axe FX Ultra and we’ve had them for about three years now. Not only do they sound great but they are also extremely practical, reliable and portable! We can fit all of our guitar gear and a few other bits and pieces (too many!) all into one rack. The versatility of the unit is astonishing and allows for the great live replication of the effects and tones used on our album.
The way we have everything set up is a little complex so I thought it would be worth mentioning how we run it all. As you can see in the above picture, there are two Axe FX Ultras, a VHT 2/50/2 power amp unit and DigiDesign Digi 002 in the rack. On each patch we have two amps running simultaneously, one which runs out of the Axe FX’s FX Loop into the VHT power amp, then another which runs through a cab simulation which goes straight to the front of house. This kind of setup is extremely flexible — we can play with cabs miked up, or just for our own monitoring purposes, no cabs or DI at all, or no DI. Our drummer plays to a click track which allows us to program in patch changes via the Digi 002, so there’s no need for a midi controller. We used to run a similar rig a few years ago but with Engl heads and separate effect units, however all the cabling was a complete headache to set up for every show. Now we can turn up, plug in four cables and we are good to go.
We both use Zilla cabs.These are hand built in the UK and sound fantastic. I’ve always loved the low end you get from Mesa cabs and the mids you get from Marshalls, and I feel Zilla takes those two attributes and smashes them together into one awesome cab of glory. There are so many custom options but we decided to go with a red tolex, basket-weave grill cloth loaded with Celestion v30s. Tasty, tasty pie.
Both myself and Jo play custom Wirebird Guitars, which are built in London by a luthier called Sam Walker. We have both loved Tele shaped guitars for a long time but never found any which met the specifications we wanted. Although classic in look, they are modern in design with a flatter fretboard radius, recessed neck joint and comfortable contouring which allow for effortless playing. We both use Bareknuckle pickups (Dez – Rebel Yell & VHII, Jo – Painkiller & Coldsweat) which give great clarity, dynamic and warmth to our tone.
Not only do Intune Picks look awesome, they sound and feel great, too. I think that the type of picks players choose is often overlooked by a lot of people, as I believe they hugely contribute to your technique and tone. It’s really important to try different sizes, thickness and material before settling on what to use. Myself and Jo are very fond of Jazz shaped picks as they are very versatile and have a great attack.
We’ve been using D’Addario strings for years. They sound and feel great, stay in tune and last for ages. We use .10-.52s for songs in Drop D and then the same set with the .52 replaced with a .59 for songs in AADGBE.
The Line6 G50 Wireless is the best wireless unit I have ever come across. As they are all-digital, the quality of the signal is great, the unit is easy to setup and you don’t have to worry about having to buy licenses at festivals to use the frequency bandwidth. One time we were playing in the same venue as Mr.Big and Billy Sheehan must having been using the same frequency as our bassist Lori; it was an exciting 10 seconds of magic and awe while we worked out what was going on.
Probably the most important thing in our rig: Fresh, well maintained sneaks. Helps with “tones” and looking fresh. Matching guitar and shoes isn’t necessary…but it does help.
– Dez / The Safety Fire