Rigged: Netherlands Guitarist Timo Ellis

We cover a lot of rigs here at Gear Gods, but it’s not often that the sound coming out of those guitar chains is incredibly distinct. Sure, most of the bands we feature rule. We’re picky like that. But many of them make use of a sonic toolbox that most guitarists share.

Netherlands, on the other hand? I’m not going to claim that you’ve never, ever, heard a band remotely like them. Rock music has been a thing since halfway through the previous century, so you can’t expect brain-melting originality. But Timo Ellis has carved out a signature sound that may well cleanse your palette if you’ve been listening to album after album of increasingly similar-sounding production aesthetics. Noisy just premiered the new single, “Thrombosis,” which serves as a teaser follow-up to Netherlands’ last full-length, 2013’s Silicon Vapor. Does anyone else get a Jon Anderson from Yes vibe from the vocals?

After you’ve given the track a few minutes of your time you’ll undoubtedly want to know what the hell is going on with Timo Ellis’ guitar rig. Well we’ve got you covered there, too. Read on, good sir or madam.

TE's-full-stack

OK, starting with my baby: a 1967 Marshall (100 watt, puts out 120) Super Lead thru 2 standard-ish, early 90’s 4 x 12 cabs (with Celestion G12T-75’s). This config. is painfully loud, CLEAN, and still totally punishes after almost 20 (!) years. I don’t use natural amp distortion, only pedals. This amp barely even breaks up CRANKED! (However I am lookin’ to get Emperor cabs at some point soon.)

I got the striped grill cover for the bottom cab at Boeing Surplus near Seattle in 1992. It’s actually airplane seat fabric. Guys from the now defunct Stephen’s Guitars in Seattle (great luthiers known for making the “extended cutaway” guitars for Washburn, which were briefly popularized by Nuno Bettencourt!) were kind enough to indulge in this upholstering project. I also got them to put this same fabric on some vintage Puma Clydes, which I still have.

TE's-blue-SG

Main axe #1: 1991 Gibson SG (Japanese), bought new. I put 70’s Guild humbuckers in this which are def brighter (and imo way better!) than what came in it. This guitar was red originally, I also had Stephen’s paint it blue. A workhorse, now fully broken in, plays and sounds fuckin’ fantastic. I use Ernie Ball Beefy Slinkys on everything (and I’ve had that Van Halen poster since 1982, btw.)

Main axe #2: Carvin re-issue X220C, ordered/ put together from scratch from their website in 2009. I’m pretty sure it was the cheapest option, nonetheless its rock solid and fuckin’ screams. In Netherlands I need stuff that can take abuse/ fall down the stairs/ get puke on it, etc; in other words its not really viable for me to gig feeling like I have to be too “precious” with any guitar. I actually had a dream about this guitar… and then impulsively bought one that week! Also Craig Chaquico (yes, the new guy in Starship) used to rock these, which is where I first saw one.

TE's-Carvin

And now, the board: Tom Peck (pedalboards.com, out in Long Island N.Y.) is the wizard behind the construction of this beast. It’s all customized, true-bypass and super sturdily constructed. He’s a great guy, get him to do your shit. He’s rad!

And finally, into murkier waters: I’ve spent a long-ass time finding all my main go-to pedals and pedal combos, and to be completely honest… um, I’m actually not really that keen on explicitly breaking down everything I have this way! (I know, I know, this sorta defeats the whole purpose of being in Gear Gods, etc; but this is my, like, “secret sauce,” man!! A close look by knowledgeable heads/nerds out there will (easily) reveal what all my shit is. So… figure it out for yourself, guys!!! :)

TE's-full-board

I will say this about ’em, however: they’re Boss, Ibanez, MI Audio, Z.vex, Digitech, and Electro-Harmonix pedals. And I use a TC Helicon VoiceLive TOUCH, along with an Eventide H9 filled with Pitchfactor and Timefactor patches for vocals. Word. Thanks, Gear Gods!!!

Written by

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.