“Know Your Tone” is a feature that spotlights the intricacies and processes musicians go through, to develop their unique sounds.
Name/Instrument: Jordan Hudkins / electric guitar
What is your current amp setup? 1970’s Traynor Bassmaster YBA-1 into a Marshall 4×12 cab. It definitely has four speakers, but I have no idea what kind. Works well enough though.
Describe your thought process and journey to find your unique sound: I just like rock and roll guitar and good tone. It took me a while to find an amp and pedal combo that translated the sound I was hearing in my head, and I didn’t really find that until I scaled back what I was doing and trusted in the sound of the amp itself rather than relying on multiple distortion and fuzz pedals that were choking the dynamics out of my parts. Adam and I have pretty similar guitar sounds. Mine is a little darker and chunkier to lock in with Devin’s bass, and Adam fills out the upper register a little more.
Tell us about your current pedalboard setup: Fulltone Full-Drive 2, Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster, EHX Memory Toy Delay, MXR Phase 90, Boss Tuner
Do you prefer a lot of pedals or a few? A few as possible. Keep it simple. Too many options give me anxiety.
What is your thought process behind your pedalboard and what does it do for your sound? It’s simply a way for me to control different gain and volume stages, with a couple of kooky effects like delay and phaser peppered in. I don’t even really use the delay or phaser pedals for anything other than being annoying during soundchecks.
Is there anything you have gotten rid of that you regret parting with? No regrets, really. I had a Sunn Beta Lead for a while, but I sold it last year. That was a sick amp, but I wasn’t using it to its full doom potential. It moved on to darker, doomier pastures, and I’m happy for it.
Who/what inspired your current sound? I love the thick crunchy rhythm sounds on Weezer’s blue album. I love The Strokes and/or Stephen Malkmus’ smooth and throaty lead tones. Lately, my boat’s been floated by simple and timeless classic rock tones. Cranked and beefy.
If you could change one thing about your current set up, what would it be? I’d like to downsize my cab to a 2×12 so my rig visually matches Adam’s and to save on space. Or we both upgrade to full stacks, but that’s a little much for the venues we’re playing at the moment. I want guitar rigs so big, we need a separate trailer for our cabs.
What is your favorite piece of gear that you own? My Jazzmaster with a mastery bridge upgrade has been an incredibly reliable workhorse guitar. It sounds great, plays well, and it can take a beating during a set and show up for work on time the next night. I have an Epiphone S-310 strat that Adam gave to me because I asked him to, and that guitar freakin’ rocks but it only has one pickup that’s wired straight to the input jack, so it’s a little unwieldy to use live. At this point in my life, I need to exercise just a little more control over my instrument, but hopefully soon I can get the guts of the strat gussied up and throw it in the mix.
What is your favorite piece of gear that you don’t own yet?
Name/Instrument: Adam Meisterhans/co-lead guitar
What is your current amp setup? 1970’s Traynor Bassmaster YBA-1 into a 2×12 cab w/Mojotone Vintage 30 speakers.
Describe your thought process and journey to find your unique sound: I don’t really have a unique sound. I try and serve the song as best as I can, and for RK that usually means a uniform guitar sound that works within the dynamics of Jordan’s songs. Loud/quiet/loud and then sometimes really loud. We don’t really have the normal rock and roll guitar dynamic of rhythm and lead. He writes great hooks and we usually just both do them which is really fun.
Tell us about your current pedalboard setup: 80’s ProCo Rat, Fulltone Fulldrive II (non mosfet), Danelectro Pepperoni Phaser, Electro Harmonix Memory Boy, Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
Do you prefer a lot of pedals or a few? I prefer the minimum number of pedals for whatever situation I’m in.
What is your thought process behind your pedalboard and what does it do for your sound? The main idea behind mine is gain staging that works for what we do. Between the amp, Fulldrive, and Rat there are four layers that I can navigate. Also, sometimes it’s nice to phase a little.
Is there anything you have gotten rid of that you regret parting with? No gods, no masters, no regrets.
Who/what inspired your current sound? Weird Al, AC/DC, Pixies, Beatles, Flake Music, being 13 in West Virginia.
If you could change one thing about your current set up, what would it be? I’d like to have another Traynor as a backup amp, otherwise no complaints.
What is your favorite piece of gear that you own? I’m pretty attached to my Squier Strat. My friend Bryn Perrott (@deerjerk) did a wonderful wood cut on the body and Dave Johnson (Scale Model Guitars) did some excellent work wiring it up and making it a more functional guitar.
What is your favorite piece of gear that you don’t own yet? You can’t take it with you.
Name/Instrument: Devin Donnelly/Bass
What is your current amp setup? Ampeg SVT350 Head through an Ampeg 410HLF Cab.
Describe your thought process and journey to find your unique sound: Bass sound changes a lot based on the room you play in, so it’s a constant process of adjusting to your setting. Most times we don’t get to sound check, just a line check just before our set… so it’s usually in the hands of the sound guy. Be nice to your sound guy.
Tell us about your current pedalboard setup: Sansamp, Rat, TU-2
Do you prefer a lot of pedals or a few? A lot of pedals is a nice thought, until your signal cuts out in a room full of people and you’re… that guy. Phase or a tight slapback delay can make magic happen.
What is your thought process behind your pedalboard and what does it do for your sound? At this point, simplicity first and foremost. A constant boost to my clean bass signal, and little nasty mustard on top. Oh, and being in tune.
Is there anything you have gotten rid of that you regret parting with? One time at Atomic Music in Beltsville Md, I encountered a parts twin version of the bullet bass I play in RK… P Bass body, bullet neck. This one was classic white with a gold pick guard, $100. Didn’t buy it, and now I’m left only with unending despair.
Who/what inspired your current sound? My bass tone is based on Jordan and Adams tone, just making sure I stand out in the low frequencies while also holding down the mid-range when they both harmonize on lead.
If you could change one thing about your current set up, what would it be? I’d like to add another pair of 10s to my speaker cab.
What is your favorite piece of gear that you own? The bass I currently play belongs to our drummer, Sean. I don’t technically own it, but I’ve played it around the world in places I never imagined I would be. It’s a special instrument now, christened with my disgusting sweat (sorry Sean).
What is your favorite piece of gear that you don’t own yet? Sean’s bass will you ask him to call me?