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Gear, Equipment, Instruments: i.e. Toys.

Bart has three main guitars: a Harmony Rocket, a Fender Squier Stratocaster, and an acoustic guitar of questionable manufacture. On stage, he usually runs these through his Musicman RD50 combo amp with a single 12. Quite a lot of noise from such a puny amp. Then again, he's not terribly particular about amps, and will often stick his plug into anything that's laying around. On the rare occasion that Bart uses a stomp box, it's his Boss Tremelo pedal. In the studio (most often Blitz Recording, run by Richard Livoni), Bart sometimes uses Richard's Strat through a special "Bartmania" setting in Richard's Rocktron Chamelion. Don't look for this setting in any off-the-shelf Chamelion, though, it's custom programmed by Richard just for Bart.

For the most part, Mark plays those wonderful walking bass lines on a Rickenbacker 4001 bass plugged into a solid-state Ampeg SVT head and 4x10 cabinet. Of course, if he can convince Kevin to lug his (Kevin's, that is) all-tube (and amazingly heavy) SVT head to a gig, Mark is much happier. Mark has asked Kevin to will the SVT to him, but Kevin has yet to do this as he thinks doing so may hasten his death. Mark's other basses include a Fender Precision Bass and a Danelectro Longhorn bass.

Kevin is the gear-head. His favorite guitar for the last five or six years is his green Guild Brian May Signature Model, although he has now acquired a sunburst Brian May Signature by Burns which is threatening to supplant the Guild. Kevin has also been known to play an Ibanez Talman (the model with 3 lipstick tube pickups), a Yamaha AES-1500 (refitted with Gretch Filtertron pickups so it now sounds as good as it looks), a Fender Esquire reissue, and he has one of those nifty Danelectro reissue doubleneck standard six string/baritone guitars which he has been trying (unsucessfully) to work into the set. On stage, the signal from Kevin's guitar splits in his pedalboard and goes to two amps: a '95 purple Vox AC-30 (one of the new Korg reissues), and an Alessandro Beagle. Kevin has used various Vox AC-30s since before the formation of Manual Scan, and there's no sign of him stopping now. The Beagle also has that British vibe to it, but with it's own spin: It has two EL84 output tubes which would normally make it a 15watt amp. However, the Beagle features pure Class A circuitry for a much richer signal -- at the cost of power. It's rated at only 7watts!!! (the loudest seven watts you'll EVER hear) The Beagle is a separate head, and the amp feeds a single 12" speaker (original 60's vintage Vox blue alnico speaker, for those interested in the details) in it's own cabinet. The volume on the purple AC-30 is usually set just around 1/4 of the way up, and is therefore producing a clean signal. The Beagle is set much higher (just below 3/4 of the way up), and is thus overdriven at all times, adding crunch or grind to the overall guitar sound. Kevin's tone is both clean and overdriven at the same time. This sound combination is virtually impossible to achive with a single amp.

Kevin's pedalboard is a beast all it's own. Under constant revision and subject to tweaking at any time. The first item the guitar signal hits is an MXR MicroAmp. The MicroAmp is always on. Not only does it boost the signal slightly, but it also lowers the impedance of the signal -- very important in keeping those sparkling highs over a long cable run. The signal from the MicroAmp goes to an SIB Varidrive. The Varidrive is a tube-based overdrive pedal that runs a 12AX7 tube at full voltage. The thing is built like a tank. It's quite possible to stand on it and not cause the steel box to bend! Oh, and it sounds great, too. From there, the signal hits a Digitech Whammy pedal. Kevin uses the Whammy pedal's Shallow Detune setting. This basically gets a chorusing effect by making a copy of the signal and processing it through a harmonizer, shifting it slightly out of tune with the original signal. The signal splits there, with the uneffected (no detune) signal going to the Beagle. The effect signal (mix of detune and straight signal) goes through even more effects through before going to the AC-30. After the Whammy pedal, the signal first goes to a Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor -- a tube-based overdrive pedal. Next, the signal goes through an Akai Headrush echo unit. The Headrush is a tape delay simulator which has a tap feature (tap on the tap pedal to the timing of the song being played, and the unit will set the delay time to your tapped tempo), and up to four separate delay outputs, each with a maximum delay of over five seconds.

Items that have been on Kevin's pedalboard (and which may find their way back at the drop of a hat) include the Akai Intelliphase, an MXR Flanger, a Danelectro Fat Cat Chorus, an original 70's ProCo Rat pedal, and a Vox Wah, to name but a few.

Finally, Kevin has recently been seen playing through a Vox Valvetronix AD120VT. This is a hybrid digital modeling amplifier combined with a very unique tube-based power amp. When using the Valvetronix, Kevin has been simply using the one amp and it's built-in effects in lieu of his other gear. For more information on the Vox Valvetronix, click here to visit the Valvetronix website

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