“I have three electrics. One is a black Fender Telecaster 72 Custom, with a humbucker in the neck position and a single coil at the bridge. Another is a natural maple Epiphone ES-339, which has a great range of tones but lacks the classic Tele twang. The Gibson version is five times the price. Save yourself the money. This model also features coil splitting, which the Gibson lacks.
Recently I acquired my first hand-made guitar, a Flame F2 made by David Kennett in Sutton. The top is imbuya on a korina body. The fretboard is ebony and there’s also a small amount of tulipwood, maple and mahogany in the body. The scale length is 25 in, between the Epiphone and the Fender.
This F2 has Seymour Duncan pickups with series/parallel switching for each double pickup. Parallel wiring of two pickups is what you are to hear on a Stratocaster when positions 2 or 4 are selected on a 5-way switch. Parallel wiring adds clarity. In contrast, wiring two pickups in series produces a longer path with increased resistance, adding volume whilst preventing the highest frequencies from getting through. Besides being noticeably louder, series wiring emphasises low and midrange tones. I am very impressed with this beautiful instrument. I’ve been using it on our Difficult Second Album, which is nearing completion but as yet untitled.
I also record with a black Faith Venus Eclipse acoustic 12-string, which has superb balance, direct into the PA or the desk, and I also have a black (again) Yamaha APX500. Occasionally I use my (yet again) black Shergold Custom Double (6 & 12 string) – a piece of British guitar history that weighs a ton!
I have a couple of ukuleles, a Laka soprano and a Cordoba tenor with I mostly use just to keep the fingers moving, but they sometimes crop up on recordings, far back in the mix.
For effects, I use Boss CE-5, DS-1, OC-3 and TR-2, Caline CP-11 and Dunlop Cry Baby. Tremolo is the one effect I couldn’t do without.
I’ve always enjoyed mucking around with synths. I have a Waldorf Streichfett for lush chords and an Arturia MiniBrute SE analogue monosynth for creating sounds from scratch. The MiniBrute also acts as a MIDI controller for the Streichfett. For the rare occasions when we need a drum machine I have a Boss DR-500, a venerable box that does the job. I am no pianist, but very occasionally I play (my wife’s) Yamaha P-45 or Roland FP-30 full-size keyboard.”
Bern usually records with a white Fender American Stratocaster and a blue Yamaha CPX700 acoustic. Favourite effects are the Electro-Harmonix MEL9 (Melotron emulator box) and Big Muff. He also has two Gibsons: a blue Midtown Standard and a seafoam green Les Paul Classic.
He and Jo play a Korg 05R/W synth controlled by a full-size or, for smaller gigs, a 25-key M-Audio keyboard.
Andy plays a 1973 Fender Precision bass and a Fender Precision customised fretless bass with DiMarzio pickups, extra Jazz bass pickup by the bridge, Badass bridge, separate volume controls, and phase switches.
Jo is an accomplished pianist and also occasionally plays the guitar in the band. As a drummer, she played at the opening of the London 2010 Olympics. Her signature percussion instrument is the mark-tree, which you can hear on many of our recordings.