reb's history and frequently asked questions reb's history and frequently asked questions

reb's gear
What gear did you use on the Winger albums to achieve your tone?

The first thing I'm inclined to say is that when Van Halen (before they became famous) was opening for Ted Nugent, Ted Nugent asked if he could play through Eddie's rig to check out his amazing tone. He plugged in and began to play and everyone who was there said the same thing - "it just sounds like Ted Nugent!" I'm sure that if Eddie played through Ted Nugent's rig he would sound just like himself.

Dokken was opening one year when I was with Alice Cooper and Lynch and I would hang out once in awhile. I would say 80 percent of Lynch's tone is in his fingers. Sometimes we would noodle backstage and he sounds like Lynch with NO amps. He used different amps through the years. On the tour we did, he was using Boogie rectifiers. Rectifiers have a very smooth distortion and pretty much just do one thing. I used one for 'Pull' and trust me - it wasn't the amp that made him sound like a demon.

That said - I never used Kitty Hawk amps in the studio. Live, I would only use their pre-amp for my effects, which no one but me ever heard since my effects cabs were never miked. Kitty Hawk pre-amps were great (only the green one) and I wish I still had mine. Kitty Hawk amps were pieces of crap. We brought six heads on the road and within three days only one worked. The crew called them "Shitty Hawks". I'm pretty sure that the Marshall I used on the first Winger record was a rental from S.I.R. I got to know all the serial numbers of the best Marshalls, and would have the guys hold the good ones for me when an album project was coming up. So the 'Headed for a Heartbreak' tone is the same as every other solo tone on the record, maybe just EQ'd a little differently or placed louder in the mix. I just get a nice, fat, gug-gug, chunky kind of sound through the Marshall and then kick in my Boss SD-1 distortion pedal for sustain. That is my tone and has been on every record I've done. There are no bells or whistles. I cut everything dry, so if you hear an amazing reverb or echo it is in the mix with an AMS, Eventide, Lexicon 480L, or some high-end monster like that. If you want to hear a good representation of my Bradshaw Marshall tone - get the Live Dokken record. They didn't have the budget to fly me out to fix the mistakes and the tone was not messed with.

If someone reeaally wanted to get my tone, I figure they would need $5000. They could buy a Suhr and tell him to recreate my Pensa Suhr Koa guitar with EMG's and then buy a Bradshaw head (2nd choice - Boogie Rectifier), a Mesa Boogie 4x12 cab and the all-important Boss overdrive pedal.

What are your thoughts on live tone?

The guitarists from Cinderella have always had GREAT, fat tones. Not only because there are two guys, but both guys use stock, ancient Marshalls and beautiful collectors' '59 Strats and Les Pauls. I work very hard on my tone and had some comments that it sounded a bit thin out front. So we cut back the distortion (or "hair" as I like to call it) and the soundman was able to crank the rhythms. Otherwise, the kick drum and bass eat up the lower, fat frequencies of the guitar. Incidentally, that is a general rule with guitar on how to get it up in the mix. Listen to "Back in Black" - those guitars are almost totally clean, but they sound huge in the mix because they're cranked and don't step on anything. I STRICTLY use old Marshalls too.

What kind of amps did you use in the studio for "Erase the Slate" and how are they live?

I used my Bradshaw-modded Marshall (the same amp I used on 'Pull') which sounds just like the Bradshaw head if you want to get the same tone. 'Pull' was the same sound mixed louder, so it sounded way better than 'Erase the Slate', which I think is a bass heavy mix (bass eats up guitars). You can also hear an example of the amp sound on Dokken's live album 'Live from the Sun'.

What amps do you use live?

The Hughes and Kettner is used as a clean amp and the other ones, "More" and "Beer", are Bob Bradshaw amps modified by John Suhr.

Do you use Line 6 Amps?

I use the Pod on all my demos and it's really nice for direct. I played an amp once that sounded a little thin until they stuck this brand new thing called 'The Enhancer' on the back that I want to invest in because I think they will sell. It's an amp stand for open back amps that's like a hollow bass thrower outer cab! The amp sounds huge on it! The 'Enhancer' can be used with any open back combo amp.

Did you ever use 5150 Amps?

When I used to do clinics, if they didn't have a Mesa Boogie Rectifier I would request a 5150. They're very good, especially if you are going for a Van Halen tone. There is a mid frequency that I can never seem to dial in on those though.

How do you set your gain level?

I don't use tons of distortion on rhythms because it's too muddy and your guitar doesn't speak as much in the mix. I like to keep it rhythmic - with holes. I keep the gain at 4 or 5 for rhythms - enough for it to cut and still be able to do the occasional Brad Gillis pterodactyl scream when needed without having to kick in the distortion pedal. The distortion on the pedal is on 4 too, so you get some of both when soloing.

Do you like power amps and speakers, or powered speakers better?

I like powered speakers a lot better, but that's just me. Get the Mackies if you can afford them.

What guitar did you use in the 'Seventeen' video?

A late-80's Kramer Pacer in flip flop blue with a recessed Floyd Rose and EMG pickups.

What guitar did you use in the song 'Too High To Fly' on the Dokken live video?

It's a custom made, blue Ibanez Blazer. It gets a great, big, blues tone.

What was that particular Ibanez you were playing in the 'Hungry" video?

They only made 100 - released in Japan only. There were three made here for me, all of which I sold for rent in the "dark time" we try not to remember.

What pickups do you use?

It is a John Suhr JST humbucker custom made by DiMarzio for Suhr Guitars.

What gear did you use to record 'Masquerade'?

I just bought the new Yamaha AW4416 16-track hard disk recorder with 16 ins, CD recorder and all the bells and whistles. This thing is a beast. Kip told me to return it as soon as possible (he inspires me so...), but, darn it... I have always wanted moving faders and now I got 'em. Tomorrow, I go in and we dump the drums, the bass, and a click to the AW4416. Then I take it home, get the guitar sounds and away we go. When I am done with guitars, we'll dump it back to Pro-tools and do vocals and mix.

What happened to the blue, curly maple-top RBM2NT?

It didn't sound quite right so I gave it to Mace Bailey, the guy who built it. I think he works at Washburn now. I wish I didn't give it to him now because that guitar was so beautiful! The gold on the wings was what brought it over the edge.

How did you get turned on to Suhr Guitars?

I met John at Pensa Suhr on 48th St. New York, NY.

What do you have to say about the Reb Beach Model Suhr guitar?

It's the finest instrument I've ever played. Sometimes it doesn't go out of tune for six months. I will never need another guitar. Every time someone picks it up they say "JESUS CHRIST!" It's amazing - like a dream come true. My playing has improved by leaps and bounds since I've had it. I'm not trying to sell it to you cause I want to make money on it. My percentage is very small and the guitars are all handmade so they can only produce so many. I could have gone with a big company to try and make some dough, but this guitar was it (screw the money). I just want you to know how incredibly happy my guitar makes me and how I get such a kick out of how people flip out when they play it. Check out the site for the details.

Can you explain the guitar specifics for your new solo album, 'Masquerade'?

It's all the original Koa Pensa/Suhr and the sunburst Suhr with the mirror. Anything cleaner or strat-ier would be the sunburst Suhr. It is an exact replica of my koa Pensa Suhr, except it has less koa and is chambered (Chambering is a process by which hollow cavities are built into traditionally solid-body guitars. The result is an overall warmer sound and greater resonance in addition to reducing the overall weight of the guitar).

How do you compare the Ibanez RBM and Suhr model guitars?

The Ibanez RBM2NT with the Koa top is awesome. The rest of them suck. The Suhr is definitely a step above. Suhrs don't go out of tune (hell, I could go on forever about my Suhrs). If you have a chance to get the Koa one, you should factor into your decision the knowledge that those guitars are collector's items that are worth more every year. That said, the Suhr is a Rolls and the Koa is a really nice BMW.

Why did you choose not to go with EMG pickups for the Dokken gig?

I switched pickups cause you can't do Lynch with EMG's. I liked Lynch's fiery chirps. Can't do fiery chirps with EMG's!

Did you remove the pickups from your old Pensa-Suhr too?

I changed the pickups in the Pensa-Suhr and it sounds unreal now.

Why is the body made of basswood instead of mahogany or koa?

John Suhr recommended the woods and he is a genius (whatever he says is ALWAYS right). Whatever he touches doesn't go out of tune for 6 months, and I thank God for John Suhr after every show.

What's the reason for having two new Suhr model guitars (basswood and koa)?

The current Suhr model is better for some things than the koa. There are a few reasons for the new koa model. First, the Suhr model hasn't sold much, and I think part of the reason is that people are put off by the strange mirror (which I love). Also, one of my goals is to be on the cover of Young Guitar in Japan. I figure it would be cool to have a new model and a new album to promote. Having the koa and the basswood models really runs the gamut of sounds for me and I love them both so much.