George’s 2008 touring gear
With an arsenal of Randall signature series amps and speaker cabinets, George embarks on a series of shows with the newly reformed Lynch Mob. The equipment that on these tour shows is more of a “back to basics” approach as was last year’s rig. There are a few changes from the last rig with the inclusion of a new pedalboard routing by Dave Friedman of Rack Systems in North Hollywood, CA.
The signal flow is the same as it has been from the previous two tours: What’s new in the rig is the prototype of the Morley Dragon 2 Wah , a Boss CE-5 chorus pedal and the Boss, OC-2 octave divider. The OC-2 replaces the use of the MuTron octave divider that blew up on the road in 2007, shooting out sparks before spewing out flames that set fire to George’s favorite pair of tennis shoes.
The Morley Dragon 2 Wah prototype is the advancement production version of the limited edition pedal that was made available in December 2007. What’s new about the Dragon 2 is that it has a notch filter setting that can be set by the user to get that half-cocked wah tone in a fixed frequency without having to physically affix the rocker pedal in a notched position. This idea was hatched while at rehearsal and George discovered a Schenker-ish tone when he accidentally left his wah pedal in a half-traveled position. He then went on to speak with a German accent for the rest of the rehearsal…
The two mainstays in the new pedalboard are the Boss GE-10 ten band graphic equalizer and the script logo-era MXR Phase 90. The GE-10 is set to have a midrange hump with the output level just a pinch above the zero notch. The MXR Phase 90 is an original hard-wired version made in 1974. Like EVH, George sets the dial at a nominal slow speed to give solos textures, especially when there are fast successive notes.
George’s current pedalboard also features a power supply and power conditioner to reduce signal hum and also provides surge protection. Powering the 9V required pedals is the BBE SupaCharger. It provides power for up to 8 pedals, except for the MXR Phase 90 because we don’t want to blow that up…so it bears a battery. But to insure power for lengthy periods of time, we put a lithium battery in there so it could last up to about a year (God willing).
George’s signal flow is as follows: –Guitar–>Morley Dragon Wah–>Cusack Screamer–>MXR Phase 90–>Boss –Guitar–>Chorus CE-5–>Boss Octave OC-2–>Fullton DejaVibe–>Framptone Amp Switcher…
With the Framptone Amp Switcher being used as a splitter, main signal going to the input, with channel B output to the Boss GE-10 EQ (set to -10db and the main level set to just a pinch above the zero notch)…from there going to the main Randall Lynch Box head with the primary module being the “Mr. Scary.” Channel A goes to the Randall Lynch Box head with the primary module being the “Brahma.”
There is a third Lynch Box head used as backup.
George is using 4-5 guitars on this trek, all of them ESP. The primary guitar is the original Tiger guitar which ironically was not a main tour guitar during the initial Lynch Mob era of 1990-92. This and the original ESP Haji (a.k.a. “Skulls & Snakes”) are the main guitars while a new ESP GL-56 is also in heavy rotation.
The ESP GL-56 that George brings with him is further altered with a Roland
GK-3 midi pickup with the controls flanking the guitar’s normal strat controls. The main humbucker in the guitar was changed in July from the Duncan Pearly Gates to the Alnico II Pro model.
As yet to be determined, the ESP Bones guitar is waiting in the wings.
So, there you have it…the 2008 Lynch gear review. Changes in the above can happen but keep in mind that they happen only when major catastrophes occur (including fire, brimstone and other acts of God).
Gerry’s review of the Cusack Screamer
As rock guitarists, one of the most sought-after pieces of gear is the overdrive pedal. They come in many different flavors, some with features that give some improvements to your tone while others simply push more signal into the input stage of the amp. The new Cusack V2 does both. Jon Cusack developed this new version of his Cusack Screamer pedal this year and offered it to George as an improvement to the earlier version he had been using since the summer of 2004.
The Cusack Screamer is an overdrive from the Ibanez Tube Screamer lineage that incorporates more clean boosting and more gain than the Ibanez (and its various clones on the market). While George’s use of the Cusack Screamer was as a solo boost, what was needed most was the sizzle element in the overall tone.
The new Screamer V2 has a three-position horizontal toggle switch that has different kinds of clipping in each position. In the left position is the tone of the original Cusack Screamer (with a symmetrical smooth clipping).
In the right position is the same tone without the brightness (Cusack calls this “Crushed”). The middle position is perhaps what makes the V2 what it is.
The middle position has asymmetrical clipping, giving it that much-needed sizzle factor George needed. It is also more touch-sensitive and is LED-based. The LED light also follows your picking by blinking when the attack is strong. The Cusack Screamer V2 is a vast improvement with the tone from this feature.
Along with its predecessor, the V2 has twice the amount of gain than any overdrive pedal. This makes this pedal useful in getting the tone of an old Fender-style tube amp cranked to kingdom come at lower volumes.
But for the purposes of a solo booster, the V2 is a very useful tool to add a little bit of sizzle to sustain single notes while boosting the volume without affecting the overall tone.
Gerry answers Lynch fan questions about the Floyd Rose tremolo:
What are the best methods for intonating the Floyd Rose? What brand of tuners are suitable for use while intonating this bridge?
–There really isn’t a quick way to intonate a Floyd other than the conventional method. You have to tune each individual string to the open 12th fret harmonic and then fret the note and so-on. Loosen the string ’til floppy to make the necessary adjustment and then tune the string back up.
There is a tool to make this maneuver a little easier and it’s called “The Key.” It’s a tool for Floyd Rose intonation and you can find it at the Stewart MacDonald guitar shop supply website: www.stewmac.com
I’m old school and just do it the old-fashioned way. I do all of George’s guitars this way too. Plus, it gives you something handy to do while having a beer in the back of the bus.
Gerry, I hear some people saying that the bolt-thru locking nut weakens the neck.
It makes sense, but I personally have never seen or heard of headstocks snapping off from these.
I noticed ESP is top mounting. Do these stay in place well or work their way loose?
I’ve been wanting to order a new neck for sometime and have a choice. What’s you comments on both styles?
–Personally, I’ve never seen a neck break due to a weakening of the wood underneath the nut from the locking nut being bolted from behind. The original way it was intended to be attached to the guitar was from being bolted through the back of the neck. I would think that the move to bolting it from above came from an economical viewpoint.
While taking a tour of the Charvel Mfg. plant in San Dimas in 1985, Tim Wilson (now senior Jackson product manager) told me that most guitar players were concerned that it weakened a high-stress point at the nut. They’re solution at the time was to use Kahler lockpieces that went behind the existing nut. If you look at
several pictures of Charvel/Jackson guitars of this period, many featured this only on the pointy headstock necks. The strat headstock necks featured the Floyd nut bolted through the back of the neck.
In reference to George for the purposes of this website, the strat-headstock neck that George used on the tiger strat for many years has had the Jackson version of the Kahler lockpiece bolted to face of the headstock. George’s reasoning for this has always been that he preferred the tone of the open strings passing through an existing bone nut.
Back to the subject at hand, for the period of the early to mid 80s, Kramer owned the rights to the Floyd Rose. Their guitars were the only guitars on the market to feature the Floyd trem as standard production equipment on their guitars at that time. In order to have a guitar built with a Floyd on it, you had to buy a Floyd Rose trem, send it to the company and they’d install it on your custom ordered guitar (i.e. Charvel/Jackson procedure).
I owned three Barettas (still have two of them), and I’ve never seen any weakening at the nut area due to the nut being bolted on from behind. When I first saw Floyd nuts being bolted to the neck from the front, I thought it was just to cut costs and speed of installation (due to a decrease in possible error).
OK, need your advice on a Floyd Rose issue…
My Skull ‘n’ Snakes has developed a tiny bit of a tuning problems which I think has to do with the pivot bolts that hold the bridge in place on the body. When I dip the bar the top strings detune justa fraction of a semi tone but I can notice it. It’s something that’s happened to one of my previous gtrs and I found out that the bolts (old style Floyd bolts, not the bolts which sit in a bushing) were moving around just a touch. Which was causing the problem…
What is the best way to stablise the bolts, and can anything else cause the problem that I described?
Thanks man…and talk to you soon…
…J… …Jay Parmar…
–Floyds do go bad when maintained poorly. When adjusting the bridge up or down while the strings are at full pitch, the force of the knife edge against causes the post to grind into the the edge. In time, it will wear an indentation into the baseplate.
I’ve had 3-4 Floyds go bad from this and once this happens, the Floyd is shot. Dead in the water. As you continue to use this Floyd, it will never come back to pitch anytime you use it, even just a little warble of a vibrato note.
What I suggest is that anytime you have to adjust the height of the Floyd, de-tune the guitar a bit.
Again, if this is happening to your Floyd, just make the investment and replace it. Once steel is carved out like that, you can’t fix it. –Gerry
If I were to replace my tuners with locking units, could I possibly remove my string retaining bar and keep the locking nut unlocked on my floyd equipped guitar?
–If you look at the side profile of the nut, you’ll see a pronounced curvature of the nut’s surface for which the strings need to lie on. In order for the strings to not go sharp when they’re locked, the strings need to be firmly against the front side of the nute and the back side of the nut. The retainer bar is used to achieve that and should be adjusted down far enough for all six strings to make that contact on the nut. The retainer bar is made for that reason and does not affect tone at all.
Putting locking tuners does not stabilize the Floyd at all…in fact it’s the same as having regular tuners on the guitar. The whole reason why Floyd Rose invented his bridge system was to aliviate friction at the nut. The element of friction at the nut is the whole reason why guitars don’t stay in tune very easily. The tuning problem exists between the tuner post and the nut. By locking the nut (and the bridge for that matter) eliminates any point of friction at high stress areas.
The first thought I had about having a locking nut AND locking tuners made me think that this is the same as wearing suspenders AND a belt…
Now that they have locking tuners invented. The constant retuning after 10 minutes worth of playing through use of the bar is eliminated. Would a bone nut ( non lock type) be better to have on the neck instead of a metal one? The floyd roses’ fine tuning pegs are good to have simply because they can be used to prevent string slack at the tuning pegs when detuning with them to get the guitar in perfect tune. Pluss with the locking keys instant tuning could be done from standard to drop D etc. I have noticed that the string has no buzz on a stratocaster at the bone nut compared to one with a floyd Rose. That would allow for country soloing techniques as well as metal techniques. My other instructor constantly uses the strings for bends above the nut because it is a non lock nut. When he does that technique it makes a swelling sound. Just
hearing it makes me to go out and buy a telecaster just so I can practice it. It would allow for super clean interval pitch shifts at least when raising it and then releasing it back to original pitch. If the bar is touched then all the strings tuning is changed at the same time. At least this will minimize how much a floating tremelo will affect this trick.
Here is an example of how to create that sound. You play the high E string and B string open and then push down on the high E string above the nut while they are both sounding. It won’t kill the sound because the string vibrates between the nut and the bridge. Because the bridge is locked on a Telecaster the B string won’t detune while this technique is being performed. One could probably chord the guitar in diferent places along the neck to move this technique up the neck and using the right hand to bend the string above the neck while the strings are ringing.
What do you think of this idea?
–To use a Floyd without it’s locking nut leaves me a bit perplexed because the whole idea is to have zero friction points at the bridge and the nut. Personally, I’m not a firm believer in the idea that locking tuners help keep a guitar in tune. The reason why guitars go out of tune is because of an element of friction at the nut. Now, I can see why you’d want to have a more standard nut do all that behind the nut bending and all, but you can do that with a non-locking tailpiece all you want along with drop D, etc. But the idea of doing it with a floating Floyd is what I think Cos and I get lost on.
Is your Floyd floating?
Bone nuts are good because they were close to the density of maple necks and therefore made them compatible with the wood. While in the 70s, brass nuts were a rage, they later proved to increase the sustain but they made the tone somewhat dull.
I have since parted ways with my tech.He set up all my guitars and when i break a string my guitar loses its set-up.I will replace the string and begin to re-tune and as i’m doing so i can see the floyd begin to rise and point toward the bridge pick- up,especially on the lower strings,any suggestions,or maybe a recommended book to learn how to set-up my floyds?
–The only reason why the baseplate of the Floyd would lean forward is because you’re putting on a heavier gauge string than the one that broke. If you put on the same gauge string, it should just come back to rest in the proper position.
I’m shopping for a trem… There are a boat load of licensed Rose’s out there and from what I’ve read, most of them are junk (mighty mite etc). I have a Kahler made Rose on my Strat–it came as original equipment and I’ve had no probs with it–after 12 years–seems to be a quality unit.
Anyway… Schaller made a lot of the original Floyds (maybe they still do?) but there’s also Schaller’s own brand trem which is a licensed Rose also. I spoke with some dude at Stewart Mac, and he said the Schaller brand version is a “refined” version of the Floyd–that it’s really a little better then the standard original. He didn’t give a lot of details–said it was little smaller… What’s the bottom line about the Schaller locking trem? Is it really a little better then the original Rose or no real diff?
–That Floyd you’re talking about with the speed loader feature from Guitar Fetish is basically the design that came out on the later Kramer Striker and Focus series guitars in the late 80s. You load the ball-intact strings through the lock screw which defeated the purpose of having a locking system because when you depressed the bar, the strings popped out through the back of those screws! Also, the block on that is made of pot metal and I’ve seen a lot of the kiddies break ’em.
Cos–your rant was actually very good! I have 4 versions of Floyds on several of my old guitars: an ORIGINAL original hand-made Floyd that came from when Floyd was making them in his garage in 1979; a Schaller-made first production Floyd Rose without the fine tuners, the current production Schaller-made Floyd and the Schaller Floyd. One thing that is important to note as per my experience from messing with them (’til I couldn’t mess with ’em anymore) is that the steel- on-steel contact of string/nut, string/saddle/ and baseplate/block is very important for the tone transferral to take place.
I once got a guitar with a licenced Floyd that had the pot metal block on it. I switched out the whole bridge and put in a brand new OFR in but I didn’t change the nut. The tone was HORRIBLE. I couldn’t figure it out. For months, I couldn’t figure out why it sounded like @#%$; it almost sounded better with the POS (piece of sh%t) licensed Floyd. So that guitar just sat for quite a while…almost a year.
Out of sheer curiosity, I changed out the factory Floyd nut on that guitar to a real Floyd nut, strung it up and with no expectations, that guitar sprang into life. The
tone was like night and day!
Of the different versions, nothing will ever beat a real Floyd. The Schaller designed version of the Floyd is very good as that is on a couple of my guitars. The mass weight of it is heavier than a real Floyd because the baseplate is thicker and for this reason it is very trebly in tone. I swapped one out and put a real Floyd in that guitar out of curiosity and it was a whole other ballgame in tone. They’re both very good but they sound very different.
THE 2007 GEAR REPORT: A Dojo Exclusive
By Gerald Ganaden
After concluding a clinic tour and the much-anticipated Lynch Guitar Academy Seminar in May/June of 2007, George was scheduled to perform a series of shows in early June. We went into rehearsals June 16th and along with us were band mates Marten Andersson (bass) and Andy Freeman (lead vocals). Since we had lost Vinny Appice to the “Heaven And Hell” tour, George called on a friend from the road. Patrik Johansson, long-time drummer for Yngwie Malmsteen, met with George in Florida during theClinic tour and he was scheduled to be the drummer for these shows. Patrik is one very hard hitter and one of the best rock drummers on the planet and it was phenomenal!
One thing I considered while helping piece together George’s rig was that this would be the first time using the new Randall Lynch Box in a live setting. Keep in mind that on the December 2005 tour, we were using prototypes and this time out, George was going to be using the production models. With the modular design, George would also be using the final production versions of the Randall Lynch MTS modules. This was going to be as real as it was going to get with these amps.
On the first day of rehearsals in Burbank, CA, George showed up with three Randall Lynch Box heads, each with his signature series modules loaded into them. The modules included in the main head were the Brahma, Mr. Scary and The Grail. The second head was loaded with the Brahma, Super V and The Grail. The third head, for backup, was only loaded with the Brahma and The Grail.
Along with these heads were three Randall Lynch Box 4×12 cabinets loaded with the new Eminence Signature Series Lynch Super V speakers. Again, these are the production versions. With this setup, George was putting the new Randall line through the first major test: Live Application.
Guitars on this trek were:
-the original tiger strat with its new neck;
-the new version of the ESP GL-56;
-ESP bones replica;
-ESP Super V.
The original tiger strat has the new neck that friend John Gaudesi made. Actually this is the second version of this neck as the first one was made of walnut with a rosewood fingerboard and was bolted to the body in the summer of 2005. As it is 2007, the new neck, also made by Gaudesi, is now a maple neck of strat spec with a rosewood fingerboard and features the double “hooker” headstock that is also featured on the Super V.
The effects that George used during this short tour were the same kind of set-up that he had used in the previous year’s tour. From the guitar, they were in order as follows:
-Legendary Tones/Robert Keeley GL-TMB;
-1974 MXR Phase 90;
-Boss GE-10 graphic eq;
-Boss DD-5 delay.
The signal comes out of the Boss GE-10 and then goes to a Framptone A/B box that split the signal in two, feeding it to the two Randall Lynch Box amps. On the B channel, before going to the amp, it comes out of the Framptone and into the Boss DD-5 delay. This way, there is only one amp designated with an echo. Originally, George was using the old gray Echoplex but it died enroute to Phoenix later that week. When fiddling with the modules, and after hours of rehearsal experimenting with them while playing through the show’s set, George concluded that he liked the tone he got with the Brahma on amp A and the Mr. Scary on amp B.
On the second day of rehearsals, George brought his Hiwatt cabinets to do a real-time comparison of the Lynch Box cabinets to the Hiwatts. Remarkably, the Lynch Box cabinets were able to withstand the volume, retaining tone and definition at the higher volumes. Then George got creative and started stacking the cabinets into what would become the speaker amp formation that was seen during the shows. So, what you had onstage rivaled Joe Perry’s mess on the last Aerosmith tour:
The three Lynch Box cabinets were positioned on the floor; the center cabinet has the three Lynch Box amp heads stacked; the two outside Lynch Box cabinets had the Hiwatt cabinets on top of them. For me, while playing alongside George, I was finally rid of the use of that Fender Super Reverb George had me playing through. Coming to rehearsal on the first day, I brought the Marshall amp set-up that I had used when I was playing in the band with Ray West of Spread Eagle.
George did bring the fabled Super Reverb for me to use but when he saw my Marshall set-up, he put it away and took it home that night.
Positioned right beside George’s amp set-up was my rig. It includes a ’73 Marshall Super Lead (post plexi-era “metalface” panel) and a Marshall 1960B straight 4×12 with Celestion 75-T speakers. Effects, kept to a minimum were as follows:
-Boss BD-2 Blues Driver overdrive;
-Boss OD-20 Drive Zone distortion/overdrive;
-Boss GE-7 graphic eq;
-Electro Harmonix Small Clone chorus;
-Boss DD-6 delay.
The Boss Blues Driver pedal was only used for the Lynch Mob song, “River Of Love” as it was set to have the sound of a cranked old Fender amp, clean-ish with a little bit of grit. The Boss Drive Zone was set to the OD-2 setting and was used for most of the overdriven sounds that backed George for the rest of the show. What I strived to achieve was a cleaner version of George’s current tone to complement his as the primary guitar and to try to replicate the tones on the Dokken and Lynch Mob recordings.
I only bring two guitars for the shows and this time out, I brought two of the new Michael Kelly Patriots that I had been using in Spread Eagle. One is set to drop-D and the other in standard tuning.