Rigged: Empress AD Guitarist Tom Meadon

Remember when we covered that Empress AD guitar playthrough last week and your speakers imploded from the crushing gravity of its heaviness,  and then your house, and finally your home town and all its contents were pulling into an all-consuming singularity? Yeah, that was pretty badass. So why not learn how the black hole was created? We got the rundown on the guitar setups of both guitarists, but let’s take it one step at a time, starting with six-stringer number one Tom Meadon.

The new Empress AD LP CD, Still Life Moving Fast, is out now via The End Records. Pick up a physical copy from The End at this location, or get it digitally from your multi-national mega-corporation of preference.

I’m Tom Meadon and I play guitar in Empress AD.

Currently, my live set up is pretty straightforward. My signal comes from my guitar, through a few pedals, into the head and out of my cab. I’m slowly expanding my collection of gear, especially pedals – they’re seriously addictive!

empress-ad-tom-rigged-guitars

I’ll start with guitars. Our live set uses two different tunings: drop C and a C minor open tuning. I take two guitars on the road with me, one for each tuning. The guitar I have in drop C is a Gibson SG 2014 Standard. This guitar is new for me and I’m still in the honeymoon period – I’m loving everything about it. It’s got their new Min-Etune system, which has worked brilliantly for me so far. I’m spending a lot less time turning tuning pegs! My other guitar is an ESP Eclipse II. It feels so nice to play, and it can sound super heavy.

empress-ad-tom-rigged-pedalboard

Next comes my pedal board. I’m using a Line 6 G50 wireless system, so the signal runs from there into my Korg PitchBlack tuner. Next, it runs into a Boss NS-2 from which I have my distortion pedals in the effects loop: a Pro Co Rat 2 and an Electro Harmonix Double Muff. I’m using the Rat for a heavy fuzz tone (which is does perfectly!) and the Double Muff as more of a boost. Next it goes into a DigiTech Whammy 4; an Electro Harmonix Wiggler (for vibrato and tremolo); an Electro Harmonix Small Clone; an Electro Harmonix Memory Boy and finally a TC Electronics Hall of Fame.

empress-ad-tom-rigged-amp

My head is a Marshall JVM410H. This amp is so versatile. It had four channels: clean, crunch, OD1 and OD2 and each channel has 3 gain stages. The clean channel is based on classic ‘Plexi’ cleans, and the crunch channel is based on the JCM800. I have the clean channel set on the middle of the three gain stages and it gives me a nice full clean tone with a great dynamic response, breaking up just enough as I play harder. I use both of the lower two gain stages on the crunch channel, which takes you smoothly from the clean channel to almost a JCM800 sound. On its own it has a nice, overdriven crunch. I’ve then been using the Rat 2 to turn that tone from a crunch to crushing fuzz with loads of low end. One of the next guitar pedals I want to get is another fuzz, but one that isn’t so heavy. Maybe more of a Josh Homme/QOTSA style fuzz. We’ll see!

I’ve currently got a Randall 4×12 cab which unfortunately is on its last legs. It’s done me well so far though!
That’s my current live rig. Cheers!

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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.