Rigged: Tombs Guitarist Mike Hill

Every once in a while, if you’re lucky and look in the right places, an album will come along and remind you of what it felt like to first hear the beast’s howl and the tritone’s growl of “Black Sabbath.” You know, that feeling you got when you were a pimply longhaired virgin listening to CDs that your parents confiscated from you (or that you downloaded on LimeWire). It’s a feeling of utter petrification, but also of awe, inspiration, and thirst.


This is the feeling I get when I hear the opening death-dirge guitar-chime of “Thanatos.” Thirst.

Thirst. We are thirsty hoes for that feeling. And Tombs have got sprite back at the crib.

They have allowed us to drink of it – in aural incarnation Savage Gold, and through peristalsis of the Prime brew.

Gold is not simply given, however: it must be earned. Whether by pick and spade, supernova nucleosynthesis, or pick and Les Paul, it must be earned. It is therefore a privilege to present you with one Mike Hill’s personal rig recipe for gold. Read on; perhaps by drinking of his sprite you will learn a thing or two about your own inner sprite.

I’m pretty straight forward when it comes gear; I don’t really have a lot of boutique gear, everything I use is available at pretty much any music store.

Pedal Board – this is a standard Pedal Train Pro that I’ve been using for the past 6 or 7 years.

1 -Pedal Board

Gibson Les Paul Studio – I’ve been using this guitar on every record since the late 90’s. I bought on one of those Summer Blow-out Sales at Guitar Center for about $600.00. The tone controls are by-passed and the only potentiometer that is wired in is the volume. The neck pick-up is bypassed. I’m only using the bridge pickup, a LACE Drop and Gain.

2 -Les Paul

My Amp Set Up – for the last few years I’ve been using a Music Man HD-130 and an old Mesa Boogie Dual Recifier. The Boogie has been in my arsenal forever. The cabinets at 2 Vader 4 x 12’s. Vader was a great company which is now sadly defunct.

3 -RIg

Maxon OD-808 – This is something that I got hip to from working with Erik Rutan. He swears by Maxon products and now I’m also a convert. This is a killer overdrive that comes first in the chain. It hits both heads, the mesa and the music man. It was one of the defining colors in the guitar tone on Savage Gold.

4 -Maxon OD 808

Maxon AD10 Delay – This is really suble delay that I have running on the Music Man just to add some space and separation between both heads.

5 -Maxon AD10

Boss Ch-1 Super Chorus – I’ve always been a fan of chorus mainly from listening to Cure and Fields of the Nephilim records. I run this on the Music Man as well.

6 -Boss CH-1 Super Chorus

Boss RV-5 Reverb – I used to run a lot more reverb in the past. I tend to be a lot drier these days. I’ve used many different reverb pedals but they all seem to disintegrate on the road. Boss makes gear that can withstand a lot of abuse. The RV-5 sounds killer and also performs well on the road.

7 -Boss RV-5

Walrus Audio Janus Fuzz / Tremelo – this is probably the coolest thing I own. My friends at Gorham Brothers Music in Syracuse turned me on to Walrus Audio. I must have played with this thing for 2 hours in their shop. I used this on the end of “Severed Lives” on our latest record Savage Gold.

8 -Walrus Audio Janus

Boss DD-6 Delay – Another one of the fine Boss products in my possession. I use this live when I need atmosphere between songs. I love the endless delay setting.

9 -Boss DD-6

Boss BF-3 Flanger – I use this in the live setting; I haven’t found a place for it on any of our recordings yet. Once again, a tool for creating atmosphere between songs.

10 -Boss BF-3 Flanger

MXR Phase 100 – this is a really great pedal. Michael Bertoldini from The Secret uses phasers really well. I use it for atmosphere and sneak it into songs here and there.

11 -MXR Phase 100

Mesa Boogie Dual Rec

You can purchase Tombs’ new record, Savage Gold, here. And if you are like Al Pacino, then you probably are going to be missing something if you don’t order a bag of Hill’s new coffee brew, Savage Gold, at this location.

Written by

Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.

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