Devin Townsend on Gear, Pickups, and Going Back to Tube Amps

Man, Devin Townsend can’t stay out of the news lately. Just yesterday I covered his video about programming the Ziltoid the Omniscient drums, and he’s already back with this gear chat courtesy of EMG.


There’s some talk of how much he loves his D’Addario strings, and nothing on his Framus guitars which is a strange omission, but two points of interest jumped out at me. First of all, Devy’s no longer using his Axe-FX lined straight into the mixing board. He’s gone back to good old fashioned red-blooded Mesa/Boogie amplifiers, specifically a Rectifier (can’t make out the exact model) and a Lonestar. The Axe-FX is still factoring heavily (hevyly?) into his tone though: it’s in the chain both before the amplifier inputs and in the effects loops. I’d love to see how he has that wired up? Does he have a router or mixer that allows each amp to pass through the Axe, or maybe he’s sending into it but not returning to the amps, and sending the effects straight to the board like it’s a wet/dry setup, but without the wet amp. If anyone has any photo or video evidence of his signal path send it my way.

The other notable comment is that Hevy D waxes on about how much he loves his “EMG 81” pickups, and yet the pickups shown in the split-screen clip are most certainly not 81s. They look like brushed black chrome 57/66 active pickups, the new hot shit EMG pickups that many of the company’s endorsers are gravitating towards since the set’s release a year or so ago, but I’m not 100% sure. Take a look.



It’s very likely that he does still own, use, and love 81s, and it was just an editing quirk that place a guitar with the wrong pickups in the frame at that moment. Or perhaps its a massive conspiracy. Check out the video below, and keep an eye out for hidden triangles.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and 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
  • I think he means the amps are in the fx loop of the axefx (if it has one) which would let him put effects before and after the amp.

  • ?…who cares?

    • You’re on a gear site and asking who cares about Gear Run Downs?

      Are you dense?

    • If you don’t care about Devin Townsend, you shouldn’t exist.

  • He was a whore after all XD

  • The reason he doesn’t speak about Framus, I would think, is that this is a corporate video, and the companies involved pay to pumped on it. EMG would have gone to all the companies and asked for a bit of the production cost, offering logo’ing as well as mention. Framus probably either never responded or said no thanks. That’s just a guess though.

  • The way the AxeFx is connected is called the 4 cable method, which says in the video. You can find it on their website.

  • He uses an 81 in the bridge and a 66 in the neck.

  • Just to add my .02 two months later.

    The pickups are an 81bridge and 66 neck “Devin Townsend custom” set. So yeah, he does still use an 81in the bridge and the new 66 in the neck.

  • its pretty possible he has 81s that just have a different cover. ive heard of such cases before. or they may have wanted him to try that model. im sure either of those cases are quite possible and likely and at the same time that he still favors the 81. i know i do

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