Watch Neo-Psychedelic Visionary Nick McCabe Demonstrate His Lucem Paradox Guitar
The Verve and Black Submarine guitarist is a master of dreamy soundscapes
The Verve’s 1993 debut album, A Storm in Heaven, owed more than a small debt to the work of the Stone Roses.
That influence was apparent in the vocal approach of each band, the mood of their songs and their unashamed plundering of the best of the 1960s' experimental psych-pop sounds.
Interestingly, guitarist Nick McCabe, like the Stone Roses’ John Squire, has also maintained a very low profile since his time with the Verve.
McCabe often spoke of wanting to make his guitar sound like a synthesizer. Certainly, he was unafraid to create soundscapes that suggested anything but a guitar in his playing.
He had a fondness for using the instrument as an aural paintbrush to spray unconventional colors across songs that were otherwise fairly traditional in structure and ambition.
Utilizing a heavily processed sound, he would often have banks of reverb and delays bouncing against each other to develop a polyrhythmic bed.
As such, McCabe’s always captivating playing elevated the band’s songs to something much more substantial than the sum of their parts.
His go-to guitar was a 1979 Fender Stratocaster that he ran through a Mesa/Boogie Mark III tube amp combo or a Roland JC-120 transistor amp combo.
A panoply of delay units combined for the uniquely expansive sound that McCabe achieved, particularly a vintage Watkins Copycat, Roland Space Echo and an Ibanez flanger.
These days, McCabe also likes to use high-tech digital modelling amps and custom guitars. And in this video, he demonstrates his awesome Lucem Paradox.
Featuring cool retro styling and versatile electronics, this offset boutique beauty was originally developed in collaboration with the guitarist as the limited-edition Old Nick model.
Lucem currently offers Custom and Deluxe versions of this unique axe.
“In many ways, this guitar reminds us of the long-lost era of guitar design when different was best,” wrote Guitarist magazine in their review of the Lucem Paradox Custom.
“It’s hard to imagine any mainstream company creating something quite as out there as this – unless, of course, it was an obscure design from the '60s.
“Yet along with an extremely good build, it’s not only hugely individual, it’s a fine guitar with musical, organic sounds, plus the endorsement of one of the most visionary guitar players we’ve ever heard.”
Browse the Verve’s catalog here.
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Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.
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