One Rig to Rule them All: Sun and Sail Club’s Bob Balch

One Rig to Rule them All is the story of searching for tone. We ask a musician to tell the tale of THE ONE: the first instrument they played that finally had the tone that holy grail tone, or perfect playability . Or perhaps, merely the story of an endless quest to find it.


Today we hear from Bob Balch, guitarist/vocalist from Sun and Sail Club, and guitarist for Fu Manchu.


Fu Manchu toured New Zealand for the first time in 1999. We played a T.V. show, (I wish I remembered what it was called) and there were rented heads there. It was a Marshall JCM800 but I think it was converted to be a 50 watt because some of the tubes were missing. I was playing a 79′ SG and a Fuzz Face. I’ve never heard a Fuzz Face sound like that before. It was insane. It broke up perfectly and kept a lot of the pick attack and low end. I’ve been tempted to convert one of my Marshalls ever since. We rented a Marshall 2000 in Perth, AUS a few months ago and I had the same situation, tubes missing, converted. Even a member of the opening band came up to me after the show and commented on how killer it sounded. They had been touring with us the entire time so I know it wasn’t a fluke that he said that.

I was using a JMP in the states and JCM2000s in Europe. I still haven’t found my sound. I probably never will. Which is good. You just keep searching and improving. I’ll never stop doing that.

Although, Reverend Guitars approached me back in 2008 and suggested I try one of their “Daredevils.” Usually I would just say “no thanks, I’m a Gibson dude” but their guitars looked insane so I figured why not. At the time I was using a 74′ SG Special. The “Daredevil” blew me away. I asked if I could use it for the show and they said I could keep it. That was the beginning of a long relationship with Reverend. They have given me some Senseis, some Sensei RAs, and now in 2014 they are unveiling the Bob Balch signature guitar. I couldn’t be happier with those dudes. They rule!

Sun and Sail Club’s record Mannequin was released November 19th on Satin Records.


Bonus: check out this awesome vocader lesson, featuring the S&SC song “Held Down,” courtesy of

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

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