RIGGED – Wizards of Winter Guitarist Fred Gorhau

The Wizards of Winter are a band that started out as a Trans-Siberian Orchestra tribute, but quickly began writing their own prog holiday music and are now a fully-fledged original touring act, featuring former members of TSO. Guitarist Fred Gorhau takes us through his touring getup in this edition of Rigged. The band is currently on tour supporting their new album The Magic of Winter and you can find all their dates here.



For this tour I am going out with 3 guitars. The 1st one is an ESP EII Eclipse, with a fantastic flame finish. It came stock with Seymour Duncans, and locking tuners, and was set up perfectly for me by ESP. It has major sustain, and plays like a dream. This is one of those guitars that does whatever you ask it to. I always feel very confident trying something a little hairy on this one.

Fred Gorhau 1

Fred Gorhau 2
The 2nd guitar is a silver 1987 ESP The Mirage Deluxe. As a testament to how good this company is, I owned this guitar many years before I became an ESP endorsed artist. I replaced the original pickups with Duncan Distortions, and it has the original ESP Licensed Floyd Rose. The neck is thin and fast. This guitar just screams metal.

Fred Gorhau 3
The 3rd guitar is an ESP/LTD EC1000T CTM in snow white. I’m submitting a stock photo, because I haven’t received it yet. Chris Cannella at ESP was awesome enough to send this guitar to Florida to meet me when we start our tour in Fort Lauderdale in 3 days. I received word that it arrived today, and I can’t wait to fly out and meet this beauty. It comes stock with DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary pickups, gold hardware and locking tuners.

Fred Gorhau 4


I actually have 2 separate guitar rigs. Which one I use often depends on the room and the stage. I travel with both heads in my live in head/rack case, so both are always available. With both rigs I run a Line 6 Relay G90 wireless, that works great with no noticeable signal loss.
The 1st rig, is a 1991 VHT Pittbull. I believe this is one of the very early VHT Pittbulls that Steve Fryette built when he moved into his 1st storefront. This amp has tone for days, tons of headroom and a really creamy overdrive. With channel switching and boost, all I really need is an Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer, Crybaby and maybe a chorus, which is great because I’m not big on tons of effects.

Fred Gorhau 6 Fred Gorhau 5
On the 2nd rig, I run a Digitech GSP1101 into a Marshall 9200 Dual Monoblock Power Amp. The 9200 is just pure/clean tube power. No EQ, no effects. Just gain & presence. It does have 2 voicings on each of its 2 channels and I can run 2 cabinets off of each channel if I want to run the preamp in stereo. The GSP1101 is fantastic. It give you 100 preset amps that you can use, and/or tweak onto 100 user channels. I use the Control 2 foot controller (Not shown) to switch between the presets I customized. It gives you 10 banks of 10 channels so you can call up any one of 100 customized or preset amp sounds with many cabinet and effects choices. Once again, I’m not big on tons of effects so the 1st bank of 10 is more than enough for me. The clean channel is a slight variation of their Roland Jazz Chorus preset. For rhythms, I primarily use the “Plexi” preset, tweaked a little bit, with a Tube Screamer dialed in, and the same patch with a little more gain and a slight digital delay for solos. The sound and tone are pretty accurate, and this rig really comes in handy when I have to watch stage volume. The cabinet I tour with is a Marshall 1960ax, that is also in a live in road case. It has reissue Celestion 25watt Greenbacks that give a really nice breakup, and still sing nicely for cleans or when I roll off the volume on my guitar.

Check out Wizards of Winter on tour now:

11/19 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Parker Playhouse
11/20 – Clearwater, FL @ The Capitol Theatre
11/21 – Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live
11/27 – Wilkes Barre, PA @ F.M. Kirby Center for Performing Arts
11/28 – Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre
12/3 – Concord, NH @ Capitol Center For The Arts
12/4 – Collingswood, NJ @ Collingswood Scottish Rite Theatre
12/5 – Easton, PA @ The State Theater Performing Arts Center
12/6 – Sugarloaf, NY @ Sugarloaf Performing Arts Center
12/9 – Ridgefield, CT @ Ridgefield Playhouse
12/11 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre and Ballroom
12/12 – Kalamazoo, MI @ The Kalamazoo State Theatre
12/13 – Munhall, PA @ Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
12/16 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
12/17 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
12/18 – Effingham, IL @ Effingham Performing Arts Center
12/20 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
12/26 – Albany, NY @ The Egg
12/27 – Syracuse, NY @ Crouse Hinds Theater
12/29 – Harrisburg, PA @ The Forum

Written by

As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.

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