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.