Rigged: Wings Denied Guitarist Zach Dresher

If I’ve learned two things from Wings Denied, it’s that amps are heavy, and gear ain’t worth nuthin’ if you can’t snuggle up with it in a tiny chair. Can you imagine attempting to wrap your arms around some Mesa 412 cab? Didn’t think so.


Wings denied guitarists Zach Dresher and Jackson Smith know the deal. They only travel with what they can fit on their backs, and in their beds. A couple guitars, a couple pods, done. Well, and cables. Picks probably too, if you really want to be a stickler about it. But yeah, that’s not a lot of stuff. Here’s Zach for the full rundown:

We like to keep our gear pretty simple, cause we’re all pretty short dudes and don’t want to carry that much heavy stuff. Jackson and I take one guitar each, with a backup, and our only piece of real “gear” outside of th

My main guitar is my Carvin DC727, affectionately titled “Desert Canyons,” which is a terrible Scale The Summit pun (get it, Carvin Desert Canyons? HAH). It’s made of solid mahogany, both neck and body, with an ebony fretboard. I replaced the stock pickups with the Dimarzio Liquifire and CrunchLab set, and have coil taps on both, which I use extensively. Most of our songs are tuned in Drop G# (G# D# G# C# F# A# D#), though we use A# standard on a few, notably “Maiden.” The guitar doesn’t have any locking system, so we just re-tune between songs for those, since it’s just one string anyways. I pretty much only own natural-wood instruments; I dislike painted guitars because they add too much weight to the instrument, and for a band as energetic as we are on stage, I need something light to sling about.

WD 1

My Carvin has pretty much become the guitar that defines the Wings sound. Every single song written for the band was written on that guitar. It was the only guitar used to record Mirrors For A Prince. The other guitars in the pictures belong to Rob and Jackson. Jackson uses an Agile Sceptor 727 Elite, with stock pickups, in the same tuning. Our backup is a Schecter C7+, with stock pickups, that I sold to Rob about a year and some ago.

WD 3

The rest of my setup literally consists of two cables, and my Line 6 Pod HD500x. This is a pretty new piece of gear for me- I used an X3 Live for about three years, until it finally died last March. I program all the tones on here, using our PA at the practice space for reference, and then have a different tone bank for each song, so that each delay can be automated, different leads can exist for different pickup positions, etc. While currently, we’re running the guitars directly through the venue’s PA system, we’ve recently become endorsed by Omega Enclosures, and are in the process of having custom powered cabinets designed. Rob already has his bass cab from them, and it sounds fantastic.

So there you have it! The simplest live rig on the planet, which I can literally carry all in one load. Hope you enjoyed reading, and check out Mirrors for a Prince, out now!


Wings Denied’s new record, Mirrors for a Prince, is out now. As you probably could tell from the embedded stream, you can get it digitally on Bandcamp. But if physical media floats your boat, you can grab yourself something nice and tangible at this location.

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.

Latest comments
  • Okay, I can’t let this go, saying paint adds tons of weight to a guitar is insane. At absolute best it adds 4 ounces. And that’s being generous. For tone or looks, maybe you could sell me on not being painted, but not weight.

    • I still can’t hop on the completely digital sound yet. Every band that I have seen that uses modeling for their guitar tones just lack girth and viscosity for a lack of a better word. Their guitar tones always sound thin. The paint comment is beyond absurd. Having a guitar with a little extra weight isn’t that bad. If the weight of a guitar is too heavy for this guy, he should lift some weights.

      • Also, the quarter inch thick poly coat on his “natural wood” guitars probably weighs more than whatever paint is underneath it. And on the digital sound, if you must then spend some grip and get a fractal or kemper.

        Now I’m just ranting, but if weight truly is an issue get a h&k tubemeister, a tiny terror, or some other small amp and Mic the damnit thing. I have a 25 watt mesa mini rec and through a 4×12 it hurts, and weighs very little. So get a 1×12 and Mic it, run that to pa and monitor from the pa with in ears. Done. Rant over.

        • I think the mini rec and RA-30 are fucking awesome. I played those in store and was shocked at how good a low watt amp could sound.

    • I play an Ampeg Dan Armstrong a lot of the time, I have no sympathy for anyone who complains about their guitar’s weight. You have to be some kind of massive pussy if paint makes your guitar too heavy to handle.

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