Sam talks guitar
Self-taught guitarist Sam got into music after years of listening to his older brother Joe. It’s no surprise really that the siblings ended up in a band together.
I was just being a kid, doing what kids do, just being outside the house and my brother was always in the house playing guitar, and one day I just picked it up for a laugh, had a little go. I started listening to the bands like Metallica and that was it. I just love playing guitar now, it’s what I have to do
His first guitar was a second-hand Flying V.
The brand was Marlin, it was about £100 and it was brilliant at the time, it was awesome just to have a funny-shaped guitar. Metallica used them so I thought, I’m going to get one, that was it.
Now he plays a Fret-King, the brand the whole band use and have an endorsement deal with, but again it was brother Joe who got there first.
My brother, as you do as a guitar player, you buy and sell guitars; he went down to our local shop in York, called One Music, and he sold a Gibson that he was playing, because he found a Fret-King. It’s got a cut-in just down here, for your arm, just the design, the colour, the shape, the way that is, it’s a great guitar. And from that we picked up an endorsement around about a year ago, where I then picked up a few guitars, my brother picked up a few more and our bass player’s using the bass version as well. Just that’s it now, we all use Fret-King.
Sam likes what he calls a massive, warm sound.
Fret-King Blue Label Eclat Standard
The crunch and the warm tone that you get from these guitars is second to none
We play quite heavy music but we stick to the traditional soloing and riffing. The crunch and the warm tone that you get from these guitars is second to none in my opinion. The way they play and the way they sound is exactly what I was looking for in a guitar, and the fact that we all get to play a few of them, you know, pick up the same one in all those different colours, always helps for stage shows. But yeah it’s just a great tone in general.
Really loud amps
Though touring sometimes means using someone else’s backline, Sam prefers his loud Peavey 6505+ head and Marshall 1960s cab.
Through the effects loop in the back of the head I use a Decimator, which is a noise reduction, because the Peaveys are really loud amps and when you turn the gain up there’s a lot of excess fuzz, which is no bad thing. It’s like finding the tone and you have to compromise and I need the tone. So I use a Decimator through the effects loop.
ISP Technologies Decimator
Popular noise suppressor in pedal or rack form
And from that, through the normal input to the head, I go into the Line 6 wireless, which is a digital wireless pack. The gain is the same from a cable basically. So you have no cables on stage, which is perfect for the way we perform on stage. And the good thing about that is that we all use them and because it’s digital I’ll be set to one, my brother will be set to two, the bass player will be set to three. If you set them to the right numbers per guitar then there’s no interference from each wireless which is great.
Line 6 Relay G30 Wireless Guitar System
No cables on stage, perfect for the way we perform
From that I go into a HardWire polyphonic guitar tuner. I picked it up recently, I also have the chromatic version as well for offstage tuning before we go on stage, but the polyphonic is so precise, there’s a big screen, you can kind of strum the guitar and it’ll pick up every string so if you’re in between songs and you’ve got 15 seconds you can strum it, see which is out and then, just a really quick fix for the next song.
HardWire PolyChromatic Tuner HT-6
So precise, big screen, a really quick fix
He has an Ibanez Tube Screamer, which he chose because it’s also used by Matt Tuck from Bullet For My Valentine, a big idol of his.
Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9
Warm, crunchy distortion pedal
When I mentioned sacrificing fuzz from the amp itself, where you have to lower the gain to lose some of the fuzz I bring it back in through the Ibanez Tube Screamer. It’s just a warm, crunchy distortion pedal
From that pedal I go into a compression pedal. Just for consistency in my picking, where I might lose it live where I’m maybe strumming a bit too hard, but we’ve set the gain on the desk for the live show, just to make sure the guitar tone stays at that level, no matter how hard or soft I’m picking.
Boss Compression Sustainer CS-3
For consistency in my picking
And lastly I go into another noise suppressor, which is the Boss noise suppressor. That’s just to finally cut off any feedback. We play a lot of breakdowns in our set, we have a lot of riffing where there’s no room for messy tones or messy guitar playing, we focus a lot on our guitar playing live and, where you would maybe have a gap in one part of the breakdown to the next, just the solid part of the set, it cuts out any noise whatsoever, there’s zero noise between breaks and songs, and it just makes a perfect rig for me.
Boss Noise Suppressor NS-2
Cuts out any noise - zero noise between breaks and songs