Rigged: Set and Setting Guitarist Shane Handal

The new record from Set and Setting, St. Petersburg, Florida’s moody merchants of citrus flavored space-rock, which I guess would make them Tang, is being wrapped up. I’ve had a chance to check it out and was impressed by the bigness of the whole thing. So whenever it’s officially announced and on its way to your earholes you should make a point of taking heed. In the meantime, I did get a breakdown of the gear involved in such a dense tonal undertaking. So he’s a Rigged feature with the band’s guitarist Shane Handal.


For the recording of the new Set and Setting album (currently unnamed) we approached the guitar tones a little differently than we did on our debut album, Equanimity. Also, over the past year I have acquired a couple of new guitars, and one of them is now my “main” guitar. We’ll start with guitars.


A little over a year ago, I purchased an American made Fender “Classic Player” Jazzmaster shortly after the recording of our first album (and borrowing one from a friend for that album). I fell in love with the tone and feel of the guitar instantly and have been playing it ever since. It replaced my 6 year love affair with my Gibson Les Paul Classic ’60 re-issue (from the 90’s), which I didn’t think was possible. That being said, a majority of the new album is played on the Jazzmaster, but the rhythm guitars were often doubled up with the Les Paul. The Les Paul humbuckers combined with the Jazzmaster’s single coil tones combined into a nice and full rhythm guitar tone. In addition to these two, I was recently given a Don Grosh Custom Strat from my Dad. I used that (as well as the Jazzmaster) on a lot of the leads and clean parts on the album. The Strat tended to cut through more clearly. It was a great trio of guitars covering all types of tones, couldn’t have asked for anything more. All of the guitars have the original pick ups. My outlook has always been – if you have a solid guitar to begin with, you shouldn’t need to change the pickups. So I never really have.


The amplifier and cabinet set up was different than what I was used to and it came out sounding amazing. We used a Boss tuner to split the signal into two amp/cab set ups. You can see in the photo that they were set up side by side with a wooden divider in between and a few microphones on each cabinet creating a pretty stacked tone. One set up was my Orange Rockerverb 100 mk2 through the studio’s Emperor 4×12 and the other was an old Fender Bassman through an Orange 4×12. The cabinets were chosen by our engineer Ryan Haft to accommodate the highs and lows of both the head and cabinet. The dude knows his stuff, and you can definitely hear it. Live, I use my Orange Rockerverb through an Orange 4×12 and 2×12.


Over the years I have realized that most people assume, playing in some form of a “post” band, that you have a crazy pedal board set up. Mine is pretty basic. I use the standard Boss tuner, Ernie Ball JR Volume Pedal, Boss DD-7, and a Line 6 M-9 stomp box. I use the M-9 for looping and most of my delay effects. I use the built in Reverb coming from the Rockerverb, and an Orange standard channel switch for clean and dirty channel switching. I occasionally will double up on my reverb through the M-9 effects. I have always admired guitar players with crazy pedal set-ups but I never had the patience to spend enough time with it. When I would try and set something intricate up, it always ended up watering my tone down and I would just say fuck it and plug straight in.  I also use an E-bow, sometimes with a brass slide, sometimes no slide. I try to keep it simple and found what works for me at the moment.

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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.