That’s me with my swamp-ash Carvin, performing with Sunken Chest, Portland’s loudest “pyrate” rock band. I’m sitting down because I had a broken ankle! I love my Carvin because it has a fast neck that’s insanely easy to play, and the Wilkinson tremolo bar stays beautifully in tune—even when I’m all over the whammy on surf tunes. I added Lace Sensor pickups, and it sounds incredible. The coil-tap and phase switching options give me infinite tonal variety, so I never have to change guitars on a gig to get a certain sound. My amp of choice is a Fender Hot Rod Deville 4x10. Sunken Chest plays primarily heavy rock, so the tube distortion in the DeVille and the Red/Red Lace Sensor pickups are the cornerstone of my rhythm sound. I’m usually going for something like an Iron Maiden-style overdrive—not too distorted. My lead tone is always the neck pickup—which is a ridiculously smooth-sounding Blue/Gold Lace Sensor that gives me the Dave Murray sound I want.
I feel that the DeVille is a seriously underrated amp. They’re not expensive, they’re loud enough for outdoor gigs, and the spring reverb can’t be beat for those spaghetti western and surf vibes. The clean tone compresses very nicely—if I’m playing hard, I don’t get any harsh, spiky tones—and the distortion is so warm. Even the rival guitarist in my area has confessed that I’ve got kick-ass tone.
—ANDY MACMILLAN, PORTLAND, OREGON