Rigged: Fit For An Autopsy Guitarist Patrick Sheridan
I’ve received a ton of emails and messages on Facebook asking about my gear and why I use what I use. So I figured it was time for me to do a rundown of my live rig and explain what I am doing to achieve my tone.
Let’s start with guitars and then work our way through the rig. I play Ibanez guitars. There is something about them that just works for me. The necks, fret work and the over-all fit and feel really make it easy for me to play the music we make. My main guitar on our last tour was my LACS-custom painted RG927 Premium in sea foam. I think Ibanez has proven with this model that you can make a great guitar at a reasonable price point that holds up to the rigors of the road and plays like a dream. The neck is perfect — thin without being paper thin — and it’s fast and easy to maneuver on. The RG body style has always been my favorite, it’s just super comfortable. The bridge is solid, stands up to a serious beating and holds tune like a champ.
My back up is an Ibanez Iron Label RGIR27ZBK. Like the Premium line, it is one of the newer models made specifically to suit the needs of the “metal” player. Simple and to the point. Great fret work, volume knob, and a kill switch (toggle) that I never thought about using until I had it but I now use every time I play the guitar. The clean black finish with white binding looks classy but still stands out as a metal guitar. Stays in tune, plays great, fast, easy and fun. These guitars definitely stand up to the higher end guitars being produced by most of the companies out there. Definitely a great set of tools for tour.
Let’s move on to pickups. I have been working with Seymour Duncan for the past couple of years. I can honestly say that they have developed one of the nicest sounding pickups for the metal market; the Nazgul is something special. It is clean and articulate but still allows the guitar to put forward that natural growl that makes any high-gain set up have the extra punch it needs. It’s one of those pickups that punishes you on a bad night because it makes your notes cut through like a knife. The output is perfect; it lets the natural tone of the instrument come through, and you can definitely feel how it responds to different picking styles. Roll back the volume and it cleans up; it’s great.
My neck pickup is the Sentient, the perfect compliment to the Nazgul. It’s a real neck pick up: round, warm and rich, with enough punch to keep up with the high output bridge pickups metal players use on the regular. I can finally say that I have found my live pick up tone from the combination of these two pickups. Duncan is really making ’em right.
Next, my pedal board. On the Hate Across America Tour I kept it really simple. I used a couple of different overdrive/line driver style pedals to push the preamp section of my amp. First in the chain is my Poly Tuner, accurate and easy. Next, I have my MXR Carbon Copy, a good solid delay; easy to use, great sounds. Then, I have a Rock Box boiling point. It is one hell of a boost for solos that bumps up your signal for cutting through, doesn’t overly color your tone and is very versatile. Next I have a Mesa Boogie Grid Slammer; this thing is the bees knees. Turns your average high gain amp into an animal. It is my constant runner that punches my gain through the roof without losing the low end. Something about the combination of this pedal and my head really make my tone perfect. It is my secret weapon, and there’s no doubt that it makes my tone. I also have an Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9 in line which I use for over the top feedback, dive bombs and when I need noise. The combination of this and my Grid Slammer really just make a ridiculous amount of heat and turn my rig into a feedback machine; great for between song noise. Next I have a Boss NS2 Noise Suppresor; it’s a staple. I also run an ISP Decimator in the effects loop of the amp. I adjust it to allow full tone but still cut me out when I need it to. Using the NS2 to control my input gating and the ISP to cut me off at the amp really helps me control my feedback problems without giving up tone — it’s a good mix.
Up next, my head and cab. I used digital for a long time, feeling like it was the answer to all of my tone problems until I was faced with the challenge of standing up to a tube amp in a live situation. When our other guitarist switched from the digital world back to a tube amp I got so lost in the mix that I was constantly turning up, and even using a tube power amp wasn’t enough to keep up.
So I made the choice of going back to tube amps. This brought me to Mesa. I was lucky enough to meet Tim from Mesa on the No Way Out tour we did with the Acacia Strain last year. He enjoyed our set and we started talking about what I was using live. He made a suggestion, and I’m happy he did. I made the switch from what I was using at that time to a Mesa Boogie Mark V and it’s the best move I have ever made. Cleanest, clearest tone with so much volume and punch. I had to break the habit of using the numbers on the master volume and output knobs. I was so used to pushing my old amps so hard that I would overpower everything else on stage. The Mark V has always been talked about as not being a gain monster, but its all about how you EQ the amp. It comes set up from the factory with an over-abundance of mid and high end, because honestly, the guitar is a mid-driven instrument that players who tune down force low tones out of. So when EQing this amp you have to forget the old rules and pull back your standard treble, mids and lows on the amp and use the 5 band EQ to make it open up. Once you really figure it out it’s a whole new monster. Then add in the bits and pieces, especially the Grid Slammer, in the pre section and forget it. I have been told on multiple nights by sound guys that the combination of tones Tim and I are running live every night barely needed to be EQed by front of house.
I pair my Mark V with a Mesa Recto Cab, proven and effective, no bullshit, the best cabs on the market. So many people are trying to reinvent the wheel lately and they’re failing miserably. I stand by Mesa Cabs 100% percent. Recently I have been talking to Mesa about the pros and cons of the oversized cabs compared to the traditional cabs, so we may switch to traditional full stacks, but we will see.
I guess the only things left to talk about are my wireless and my cables. Line 6 Digital Wireless Systems do it for me. Currently, I am using the Relay G50 – simple and effective. Plus it’s very affordable in comparison to some companies out there. Cables, that’s also a no brainer: Monster Cables all the way. They last forever and they have a lifetime warrantee. Easy choice.
I hope you guys get a little something out of this. Thanks for checking it out. Come out and check us out live, and if you do, feel free to ask me anything about my rig, I love nerding out.