When it comes to Rigged features, I often try to search out bands so dripping with atmosphere that you have to grab them with a wad of paper towels, like a pile of overripe berries. I also try to find bands that rule. Thine, a proggy dark rock/metal outfit from Yorkshire, UK, deliver on both counts. They’ve kept the world waiting longer than forever since their last LP, 2002’s In Therapy (seriously, that album is so old you probably previewed the tracks on mp3.com), but Thine’s new album The Dead City Blueprint doesn’t disappoint.
The band achieved the album’s miles-tall skyscraper tone by tracking at The Academy Studios, a facility responsible for the similarly majestic sounds of groups like Anathema and My Dying Bride, but how do they recreate those sounds in a live environment? I checked in with guitarist Dylan Rhodes and bassist Richard Swift to get the info.
If you haven’t heard The Dead City Blueprint as of yet you can rectify that issue by visiting the A.V. Club for a full-album stream. For the more adventurous sort ready to commit to procuring the record in the here-and-now, it’s available on iTunes and Amazon amongst others.
Guitarist Dylan Rhodes
The majority of the time I use my PRS Custom 24 20th anniversary, bought in 2007 just after I moved to Japan at the time. Back then I had a severe man-crush on Mikael Akerfelt of Opeth, maybe I still have one. Anyway, I was looking to treat myself to a new guitar, so PRS it was, & I don’t regret it. Up to that point I had been using a Gibson Les Paul Studio for band duties. I’ve never really spent big bucks on my guitars until then, so that was a first. I find it an ease to play, it’s so soft and slinky! The sound is fantastic, and the pickups….wow. I had to replace all my cables as they couldn’t handle the output.
My live back up guitar I tend to use is a Japanese made Fender Jaguar. I found it in a small second-hand guitar shop in Ochanomizu, Tokyo for around £200. I had never seen one like it before and was looking for something different. I had a few offers to sell it but I have sentimental feelings for it.
As mentioned earlier, I occasionally use a Gibson Les Paul gem series in emerald, although it’s becoming a rare occurrence since I bought my PRS. It was my second guitar I ever bought, the first being a BC Rich Warlock. Not a bad guitar, I find it awkward to play at times due to its wide neck. The P90 pickups are not quite what I’m looking for, I prefer humbuckers. I wish I knew that at the time.
As you can see, I like my pedals, they all are there for a purpose, I have a clean loop and a distorted loop controlled with the Boss LS-2 line selector to make the change-over simpler.
The clean loop:
The Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere MK II gives a nice warm sound with the breaker selected. I’ve never been a fan of a clangy clean sounds live, so this sorts that out, although I didn’t originally buy it for that reason. The Line6 DL4 delay is a common sight at gigs nowadays. It does everything I need it to do and a little more. I use the Ibanez turbo tubescreamer to give me a dirty clean sound for a few of our songs.
I’m experimenting with the Boss AC-3 acoustic simulator. We have a few acoustic parts on the new album and not being able to quickly change guitars from verse to chorus live, I thought I would give it a try. As I said, I’m still experimenting with it, not sure if it will be a permanent fixture.
The Distorted loop:
I’ve been looking for a suitable distortion pedal for ages. I’ve tried quite a few over the years but never found one I was totally happy with until I tried the Blackstar HT-Dist. I love it. It has a nice rich, organic sound, I highly recommend it to anyone. The Boss DD-5 had originally become redundant once I purchased the Line6 DL4. I added it to the distortion loop to give me an option of adding delay to my distortion.
I currently use a Marshall Mode Four head and cab. I used to use a Line6 Pod Pro with a Marshall 100/100 power amp several years ago but I fell out of love with it and eventually sold it. I bought the Mode Four out of necessity as we had some gigs coming up and had no backline. I got it second-hand for about £500. It has really good sound and it doesn’t half have a kick to it.
Bassist Richard Swift
As a bass player, by necessity rather than choice I like to keep my rig simple, but powerful. All of the equipment I have accumulated has been through trial and error, recommendations and bargains online.
My bass is a Yamaha TRB1005. This bass is more commonly associated with RnB music because of its well rounded sound, but it doubles excellently as a rock bass. The Low B really resonates and (when I need to use it) cuts through impressively. I had tried a few 5-string basses out before and for the money this one in terms of overall tone, playability and value for money. The maple body is light but adds depth to the sound; good if you like a nice sounding bass without breaking your neck and the rosewood fingerboard is easy to manipulate to gain speed and fluidity in one’s playing. I recently switched to D’Addarrio strings and have been using the pro steels. Man these things are bright, they sound like an angry wasp pissing on an electric fence. Nice buzz to them.
The amp I use is the Markbass Little Mark III. This bass head packs so much punch for something that can fit in a small backpack. Portability is very important to me when looking at gear because unless you have roadies, you’re carrying it yourself! I knew of the reputation before I picked this up but mainly chose it because it was a bargain at the time. I am very happy with the sound I have. With my bass I wanted the head to be versatile, not specifically a rock sound, and the LM3 delivers from modern scoop sounds to that old Motown JJ sound.
To get the best out of the head you need a good cab and in my humble opinion there is no finer cab than the Ampeg classic range. I use a 4X10 cab which is portable enough for small shows yet loud enough to fill large stages. I’ve only had this plugged in a few times but it still gets me the power this thing delivers. Having full control over the tweeter means I can balance the tone between the head and cab to achieve a number of tonal options.
Pedals I’m fairly new to as most of our material never really needed anything from the bass as the guitars on the albums provided plenty of soundscapes. Apart from the standard Boss TU2 ,which no real performer can say they are until they own one, I have a Boss CS-3 compressor pedal to even out the finger style and picking techniques I use and a Zoom B3. The Zoom pedal is incredible for its price and the features are amazing. I use the pedal mainly for chorus, flange, some distortion but I love the Sansamp Bass Driver modeller that adds grit and bit to the bass tone. I have played with some of the other features of the pedal such as the looper and other crazier effects, but live I keep it simple. Don’t need to be looking like I’m stepping on hot concrete with all the on/off selections.
My main cables are planet waves 20ft with the silencer button. Having a great rig is nothing without having god cables to truly reflect the sound.