This demo was done to showcase a guitar custom made for me by my cousin Joe from Stauffer Guitars. The video highlights the tone of the guitar and below I've listed a detailed description of the guitar along with the settings for all the gear used in the demo. The backing track for the song can be downloaded on the free backing tracks page and there's a lesson series called Original Ballad I did last year that teaches parts of it as well. The 'Legend' is a custom guitar built for me by Joe Stauffer from Stauffer Guitars. Since I'm a Strat guy and Joe isn't, we designed the body shape together and it ended up looking familiar without being a direct copy.
The purpose behind this project was to build a guitar that was designed for the style of playing that I use and teach. I use heavy strings and therefore need big frets, as well as graphite saddles to prevent string breakage. With that in mind, we put together a guitar to meet those criteria.
Since the guitar has a good bit hollowed out, it has more resonance on the low end than my strats do. The no-tools pickguard assembly makes it easy to pop the pickguard out for pickup swapping. This particular build has a special feature that will allow me to swap pickups without doing any soldering, so it will be great for doing pickup comparisons in the future.
Because of the fat neck and the ebony fretboard, the guitar is really comfortable to play. The basswood and zebrawood body has an interesting mixure of warmth and snap and isn't really like any guitar I've played before. Not to mention it's one of the lightest guitars I've ever played
The amp in this demo was a '64 Vibroverb Custom with the Diaz mods. I have always wanted a 1x15 Vibroverb but the vintage ones are ridiculously expensive and even this reissue was quite pricey. However, I knew that since Fender had just discontinued it, it would only get more expensive so I took the plunge and picked up one of the last ones I could find.
For this demo, I had the Diaz mods engaged but was not using the higher power mode so I was still running on the 40 Watt setting. I was running through a THD Hot Plate but did not have it engaged. It was obscenely loud and I can almost never use this amp in this fashion but I had headphones on so I didn't suffer too much in the recording process.
Creation Audio Labs MK-423
The first pedal I engage in the demo is a Creation Audio Labs MK-423 Clean Boost. There's not much to say about this pedal other than that it does exactly that. With a 48v power supply it's quite capable of providing more boost than anyone would ever need. You can see from the settings pictures that it was barely turned up (it starts at unity gain). Just enough to push the Vibroverb a bit.
In many of my previous demos I've used two Boss Parametric EQ pedals. The PQ-4 and PQ-3B. I love these pedals but they are sadly out of production. I've been experimenting with the GE-7, trying to get similar toned boosts and so far I'm pretty happy. Due to the fixed EQ bands, there is not nearly as much control over the frequency of the boost but with more bands, you actually have more possible EQ curves at your disposal.
I place a Shure SM-57 microphone about 3 feed from the amp, slighly off center and pointed at the rim of the speaker. This gave me a pretty good rounded sound for the guitar without the shrillness of having a mic directly on the speaker.
I recorded the track through a Motu 896HD audio interface, into GarageBand. The guitar had no EQ added to it, simply a touch of reverb to make it sit in the mix better. This is one of the first times I've found a mic position that did not require any EQ to enhance the tone.
Upon mixdown, I applied a very gentle amount of the L3 Ultramaximizer Limiter from Waves to even out the volume of the track and give it a more professional sound.