Rigged: Better Left Unsaid Guitarists Rob Fernandez and Greg Fender

What’s a pedal junkie to do when a Rigged column glosses over all things podiatric? At Gear Gods we’ve discussed midi foot controllers quite a bit recently, and in particular the comments sections have had some talk over whether the Behringer FCB1010 really is, once modded, the ideal control unit for the Kemper Profiling Amp (for the record we could suggest alternatives). So when the Kemper lovers in Better Left Unsaid skimmed past that particular detail, I was crestfallen.

Still, time and beer heal most wounds, and we can focus on the good rather than the bad. No matter how the band is changing patches, Better Left Unsaid have gotten some massive tones out of the Kemper. Part of the secret is the arsenal of Strictly 7 swamp ash guitars. Yes, yes, we could go ranting about how a company called “Strictly 7” has a custom guitar builder page looks like this:

strictly7

But let’s not. Maybe the 7 is for luck, I don’t know.

In any event, they’re very nice guitars, and BLU seem to enjoy them quite a bit. We got the rundown on the band’s ampless setup below, as told by guitarists Rob Fernandez and Greg Fender. Take it all in and marvel at how, in the spirit of misnomers, the Better Left Unsaid guys have nary a Fender nor a Fernandes to be found in their collection. I mean, what the fuck?

For us in Better Left Unsaid, the biggest concern is to have our live sound match the album tone, but at the same time still maintain a great live feel.  The biggest component in the sound department is the Kemper KPA Profiling Amp. It allows us to capture the sound in the studio and take it everywhere we go in a rack mounted case, and it really is the one stop shop for all our tone creating these days. On our self-titled album, we wanted to have a deep low tuning but we still wanted to keep it tight, so we chose our custom Strictly 7 27″ scale length 7 strings tuned to drop A#. Also for the track “Liberator,” we used a Strictly 7 28″ scale 8 string tuned to drop (F#). The extended scale really allowed us to keep the rhythms fast and tight while maintaining the tuning on a normal size of string (10-60 on 7’s) and (10-74 on the 8’s).

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Rob’s Solar 7: North American Swamp Ash body with 5 piece maple neck thru design with an Ebony fingerboard. Pickups: Bareknuckle Holy Grail Matched Set.

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Greg’s Cobra 7: North American Swamp Ash body, bolt on Maple neck with a maple fret board, and Bareknuckle Aftermath Pickups.

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Our live rig features 4 custom Bob Gilmore designed cases. The cases house guitar, bass, drum, mixer, and our in-ear equipment. Each case is ATA-rated and has a shockmount rack system. Each one of the guitar cases has a Kemper KPA Profiling Amp, Korg Tuner, Nady In-Ear Wireless System, and a rack drawer for tools and components. As you can see, the setup is extremely simple compared to the years of carrying around multiple heads, pedals, etc. The simplicity allows the band to focus on the performance with little worry about having a major issue on stage.

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Better Left Unsaid’s new record, the aptly-titled (unlike Strictly 7 guitars) The Reissues, features the band’s recent self-titled record and their debut, Only The Dead To Witness, re-released in multimedia format via INgrooves Music Group. You can pick it up on iTunes, but feel free to watch the video for “Liberator” below if you’re the try-before-you-buy type.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com 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.