Guitarist Jeff Wiggins of the Blues-influenced hard rock act Stone Soul Foundation chatted with me recently about the special gear setup he uses to create his crunchy and unique tone. The band is currently on the road supporting their newest release, Electric Valley so be sure to catch them live! Here is how the conversation went.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound? Wiggins: I believe that my sound comes from a mix of several pieces of gear. On the front end I use a Gibson Les Paul Custom with Seymour Duncan 'Custom' in the bridge and 'Jazz' in the neck. On the back end I use (2) straight Voodoo Amps Dual Lead Series 4x12" Cabs loaded with an X-Pattern of Celestion Vintage 30's and G12T75's, and at the heart of my rig are (2) Voodoo Amps Modified Marshalls running in parallel, but the one I'm going to pick as my signature sound piece is the Marshall JCM 2000 TSL-100 (AKA Marsha) that was Voodoo Amps Modified with their Deluxe Rock-Mod.
What about it makes it important to you? Wiggins: The Voodoo Modded TSL-100 gives me the classic Marshall sound, but with more gain that fits our 70's rock/metal vibe and the Mod gives you an old school plexi tone with more gain, so you get a great up-to-date characteristic to the amp. I'm able to get heavy 3D Blues tones using the neck pickup for rhythms as well as a silky smooth solo sound that also responds amazingly well to wah abuse.
I switch to my bridge pickup for super crunchy and focused rhythm tones, and for screaming solos. My complaint with a stock TSL is that the highs are shrilly, and the low end was too loose. The Mod really added more depth to the low end and an over all better response across the entire EQ. There's way more sustain and the amp sounds incredible at higher volume levels, and doesn't lose as much tone at lower volumes like they do in their stock form. The clean channel is also way cleaner and richer.
What are the major pros and cons? Wiggins: No cons, other than having to replace the tubes, which are expensive!
How long have you had it, how do you use it, and would you ever change it? Wiggins: I believe I've had it for about six years now. I use the amp both live and in the recording studio. As far as changing it, my idea is to keep it, and add a Voodoo V-Rock to rock along side it!
Any final thoughts on the gear? Wiggins: Mod your amp! It's a great avenue to help you create your own unique sound.