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Loving every moment of it

Simon McBride gives the rundown of his stage rig, admitting in the process that he’s not terribly technically minded, and talks a bit about the whole experience of playing in Deep Purple.

Thanks to TC Electronic for the video and to Uwe Hornung for bringing it to your attention.

24 Comments to “Loving every moment of it”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    ENGL have produced signature amps for Ritchie and Steve too, it seems they are never letting Deep Purple out of their Teutonic claws! What is ze Welt coming to when Limey, Yank and Potato-Paddy (or ‘No Potato-Paddy’ to be exact …) banjo players all have to resign themselves to playing these abominable Kraut gadgets?!

  2. 2
    MacGregor says:

    I can understand electric guitarists having a few different effects to ‘colour’ the sound. I am all for diversity & it can be rather enjoyable playing about with certain guitar effects especially when the herbal enhancer is joining in also. But I can also understand guitarists who have hardly any effects. Straight into the amp & get the ‘truer’ guitar sound along with the person playing it of course. Each to their own. Having said that here is a quick interview (early 90’s I would think) with Phil Taylor, David Gilmour’s guitar tech. A mid 70’s Alembic bass pre amp is mentioned in the live setup. I guess the motto of the story can be that some guitarists are not that into getting the sounds as much as we aficionados may believe. The guitar tech does most of it & then the final say on what stays & what doesn’t is the guitarists choice. Cheers.


  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Or Simon could turn up one day for soundcheck & find Robert Fripp’s guitar rig set up waiting for him. That would be a WTF moment one would think. Cheers.


  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Compared to what Steve had behind him and at his feet, Simon is “Mr Natural”! Sure, he has some adult toys on the ground, but overall his sound is pretty direct. In contrast, Steve’s sound was/is elaborately processed which is not a knock, it was part of the “Steve Morse package” and he was great at controlling and using all those effects, but he was really anathema to “plug & play”.

    Purple has had both types of guitarists before: Tommy Bolin was a playful mind and not above flaunting some showy effects + great at using them (his trademark Echoplex you heard on Spectrum, Bang and CTTB so prominently, earliest types of loopers – remember his Long Beach solo spot, Leslie emulation as you hear pretty much throughout the Budokan gig), while Ritchie was of course more puristic – mind you with heavily customized guitars and amps. Unusual for most guitarists he cut out almost all of the mid range from his sound (of which Tommy Bolin had plenty) AND added a treble booster (like Rory Gallagher btw), possibly to also separate himself more from Jon’s frequencies. (I think Ritchie also eschewed effects live because he simply didn’t want to be bothered with them, he wanted to be as flexible as possible in line with his stage demeanor.)

    Simon won’t win the contest for “Irishman with the most processed and effects-laden-sound” anytime soon, The Edge won’t have to lose any sleep over keeping his title!

    Speaking of Irish, I was expecting more of an ‘Arish’ note in his talk, I don’t hear that at all. But I’m not very good at placing accents, anybody here who can help? Is that an immediate (North) Irish accent? He certainly doesn’t sound like a Thin Lizzy or U2 member to me, but likely his Belfast accent is very much removed from how people speak in the Republic and especially in Dublin? I’ve never been to Northern Ireland.

  5. 5
    Paulo Glover says:

    It’s nice to see I have something in common with the Deep Purple guitar player 😀 a Boss Octaver, although a previous edition. Mine is an OC-2, made in September 1985 according to a serial decoder site.

  6. 6
    MacGregor says:

    ‘Simon won’t win the contest for “Irishman with the most processed and effects-laden-sound” anytime soon, The Edge won’t have to lose any sleep over keeping his title!” Ha ha ha, agree with that one, a few guitarists I have known loathe The Edge’s sound etc & it isn’t for me either. I am not a fan of Steve Morse’s post 80’s sound either, I take it or leave it. I can understand guitarists wanting or needing their own signature sound & using only one guitar for convenience etc. However call me old school (again) the more traditional guitars & sounds are unbeatable in so many ways. But I am not the one having to reproduce an array of colours live in concert, having to add various sounds to embellish different genres, styles etc etc, much easier to have one guitar & all & sundry that can emulate that. Gone are the days of ‘yes I will just throw the amp & guitar into the car & be there inside the hour & we will set up & have a play. Well for some anyway. Cheers.

  7. 7
    Gregster says:


    Kudos to Simon, & welcome to the family !

    Guitar effects are based upon 3 x primary sources for sound enhancement, these being Compression, Distortion / Over-drive, & Modulation…

    Modulation has the most branches, that are essentially part of the exact same circuit, these being Delay, Reverb, Phase-shifting & Flanging effects.

    Modern effects racks incorporate wider parameters to dial-your-sound in, & offer “stereo” viability where possible, depending on your rig.

    Most players that have made the “big-time”, run through an effects board directly into the Front-of-House system, to allow for superb sound reproduction, balance & control of the over-all band-mix.

    Should an amp be used on stage, it’s only for local monitoring or personal preference by the artiste…And generally at lower volume levels that you may think.

    Tube amps are awesome, & have a life-of-their own, that you can only experience by playing through one.

    Peace !

  8. 8
    sidroman says:

    Poor Steve,

    Steve you leave, but you’re not taking the Engls with you!

  9. 9
    Heinz Ling says:

    @7, Albeit this might be true for a very few artists. In most cases the guitar amplifier gets miked up with a variation of microphones and is responsible for the sound of the player.
    Modern Tech like Kemper Amps work ok, but do lack the possibility of playing with feedback. Which in Purples music is a vital part of the sound.
    Metallica for example use this kind of technology, this requires however that the right amp is routed through the right monitor. With 2 player thats a lot of work. Hence, why they have two monitor guys.
    But in most cases and certainly during recording the amplifier plays a huge part in the sound. They make the distortion happen. A valve amp can not be reproduced, just like no Keyboard can replace a leslie speaker.
    Thats why purple carry all that stuff. Because it sounds better.

  10. 10
    Gregster says:

    @9…Oh for sure, there’s lot’s of variance involved with stage-set-ups & rigs. And a lot has to do with the size-of-the-stage too…

    What I posted seemed to be a trend that was growing through the mid-80’s with bands like say Queen & the Rolling Stones, whereby the amps on-stage, if even on at all, were necessary furniture to have around.

    RUSH also traded their amps for chicken-rotissaries lol !

    I agree that there’s nothing like a tube-amp that’s working well…And some tube-amps work with effects better than others. Should the amp be fitted with a “wet & dry”, input & output sockets, the effects can sound fine, since the signal by-passes any tube-pre-amp processing.

    All the best,

    Peace !

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Sidroman, no worries, he still has (and uses) them!



    But Engl must have some kind of deal with Purple, three signature amps for three (ex-)DP guitarists (the one for Simon being in the works) is too much of a coincidence.



  12. 12
    MacGregor says:

    They are probably Blackmore’s amps still hanging around & he isn’t aware of it. Imagine if he finds out, sheeesh. Cheers.

  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    These amplifiers on stage comments just piked a long lost memory of a Santana concert in 1983 we attended. All he had on stage was a rather small Mesa Boogie amp from memory, with one microphone in front of it. Cheers.

  14. 14
    sidroman says:

    Uwe, I’m seeking your knowledge again. Why don’t bands use Hiwatts anymore? I’ve heard nothing but great things about them, but I only saw a Hiwatt onstage twice. Once was The Who in 2006, Townshend was running one through a Mesa-Boogie cab, along with his Fender Vibro-Kings. It turned out the Hiwatt wasn’t really needed so he just went back to the Fender amps. The second was Cheap Trick, Tom Petersson their bass player had one in his bass rig along with an Orange and maybe a third amp. What’s the deal with Hiwatt? Thanks in advance !

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Why don’t bands use Hiwatts anymore?”

    Phew, I’m not an amp specialist, sidroman, here’s my best (which, I have a hunch, will prove divisive):

    The short answer is, the weren’t all that great in the first place and the two things they provided well – EXTREME VOLUME + RELIABILITY – while a scarce commodity in the 70ies, were offered by other brands as amp technology developed in the 80ies and later.

    Ok, I played for years in a band where one of the guitarists played a Hiwatt 70 watt 2×12″ combo. The sound was loud, the amp sturdy, but for anyone who wants his amp to add a certain color to his/her guitar sound, the sonic characteristics of the Hiwatt are somewhat unremarkable/underwhelming. I’d say that for 9 out of 10 guitarist, the overdrive/distortion sounds of a Hiwatt are not sufficient for creamy and sustainy lead playing (the guy I played with was essentially a rhythm guitarist/singer and shunned any type of effects, he loved it though, but I always suspected more for its image than its sound). You couldn’t get it to provide the warmth and creamy overdrive sustain of a Vox, Marshall, Fender, Orange or Mesa Boogie amp. All it did was make your electric guitar LOUD, but relatively little overdriven.

    While Hiwatts have a cult following these days (which doesn’t say a lot, anything from the past does), they weren’t that hugely popular in the day. Pete Townshend of course played one, but he was/is essentially a rhythm guitarist (the Who’s true lead guitarist was, as even Pete once stated, John Entwistle, he just played things an octave lower than most lead guitarists!). David Gilmour loved his Hiwatt too and he’s certainly a lead guitarist, but – wait for it! – not really known for the little distortion he uses. The signal from his Hiwatt is largely clean and then processed via a myriad little effects. Tommy Bolin’s Hiwatt stacks were of course legendary


    but Tommy used a lot of effects to modulate his signal too:


    I also remember Slade having a huge Hiwatt backline because of their take-no-prisoners approach live where they needed huge volume reliably projected.

    And then there are bassists like Glenn Hughes and Glenn Cornick (Jethro Tull, Wild Turkey) that used Hiwatt 200 and even 400 amps in a time when Hiwatt simply provided the most powerful bass amps available. But that was THEN – as a bassist in a loud band in the 70ies you were simply happy if you had a reliable amp that could compete in volume with the guitarists’ Marshall stacks and offer enough headroom to leave your sound largely undistorted – not every bassist wants to sound like Geezer Butler. THAT a Hiwatt could indeed provide like no other amp – for a time: amp technology developed in leaps and bounds and volume capacity for bass amps exploded in the 80ies.

    Finally, today’s Hiwatt company


    of course lives off the myth of the brand, but – just like Orange – they only share/have a license on the name of the former manufacturer, but are essentially something new. David Reeves, the engineer behind original Hiwatt died as early as 1981 in a freak accident and his company went defunct in 1984. Hiwatt then basically didn’t exist or trade for decades before someone bought the rights to the name and reintroduced the brand with new technology. Current Hiwatt is a Canadian-owned relaunch as young as 2018 – with some success, it has to be said.


    That doesn’t mean that the new stuff isn’t any good – gear nostalgia among musicians very rarely has a firm footing in physics. The truth is that if today you went into a music store and bought a mid-priced guitar + amp and then took a time machine back to the Swinging Sixties, they would fall to their knees there and worship you as a deity with the sounds you brought!!! I’m not joking, that “old gear is best”-obsession prevalent among so many musicians is mostly unreflected voodoo with no basis in technological advancement (discuss!).

    No doubt, as I write this, enraged Hiwatt fans are already assembling to bring me to my just end … See to my wife and children, sidroman, please, you got me into this!!!


  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Slades’s Hiwatt years, their backline was basically a Hiwatt show room:




  17. 17
    sidroman says:

    Thanks again Uwe!

  18. 18
    Gregster says:

    @15 said qt.” I’m not joking, that “old gear is best”-obsession prevalent among so many musicians is mostly unreflected voodoo with no basis in technological advancement (discuss!)”.

    Very true…Once a “classic” theme is in one’s mind, you chase that to retain some old-time-classic history… Another example of this mindset ( respectfully ) is Harley Davidson…

    The biggest issue with tube amps, is knowing when you need to replace them…

    1. Diagnosis of trouble-tubes can be costly.

    2. Sourcing replacement tubes can be troublesome & expensive.

    3. On-going issues can occur since all tubes are built to hopefully reach their design criteria…

    4. The design criteria / industry standard that hopefully your tubes reach is either 5,000 hrs use, or 2,000 heat cycles.

    5. Replacement tubes that are Military-grade will guarantee long-life, & reach this industry standard, at the expense however of around 25-30% gain reduction in general terms. Gain is not overdrive in this instance, but an in / out signal ratio.

    6. OEM tubes are expensive, but will nearly guarantee the same tone you had before needing replacement.

    7. The tube market is also divided into 4 x groups to choose from…

    * OEM replacement.
    * Vintage tube replacement.
    * Present day newly made after-market tubes.
    * Military spec. tubes, vintage & present-day.

    8. JJ tubes are new, made in Europe, very reasonably priced, have a vast catalog to choose from, & make Military grade tubes too.

    9. On the basis of the industry-std life expectancy of tubes, if one fails, the others can’t be too-far-off either, so expect to fork-out for a full-set of tubes.

    10. As far as tone-shaping goes, the “12AX-7” tubes mostly found in the pre-amp section, positions V1 & V2, will determine the basic tone quality of your rig, especially V1.

    So there you have it, the price you pay for tone can be expensive, & there are multiple choices to contemplate once the tube-tone dies…

    Peace !

  19. 19
    MacGregor says:

    Talking about The Who & Pink Floyd using HiWatt amps. No one did it better did they? The Floyd setup at Pompeii says it all & that Gilmour sound. That is how you set up for a rehearsal. Forget the rest. Cheers.


  20. 20
    Gregster says:

    Uwe requested…qt.” I’m not joking, that “old gear is best”-obsession prevalent among so many musicians is mostly unreflected voodoo with no basis in technological advancement (discuss!).

    If you’re chasing a “many & varied soundscape”, today’s effect-units are really, really good, especially “multi-effects-boards”, like from Boss, or similar. These devices have new digital technology enhancements, that can reproduce authentic classic amp-sounds, of many different brands, & they label it as “amp modelling”…

    What this means, is that with the use of computers & analysis, then followed-up by development, they can accurately reproduce the sounds that all the classic-amps from the 60′-70’s had, & give them to you via an effect pedal, or within a “multi-effects unit”…The people at Boss actually bought the best original-condition-vintage-amps available, & then via computer analysis, recorded all the harmonics & frequencies they delivered within their sound-spectrum, & then encompassed these into their effects pedals / units. The results are remarkable, & very pleasing.

    The “trick” in getting these pleasing results, is to have an amplifier that has a solid, warm, authentic clean sound, that has no colour / identity of its own, to change the sound. An example would be a Roland Jazz-Chorus 120, which is probably the king of transistor amps, & has been for decades. You will sound like a Marshall, a Mesa-Boogie, a Soldano, Vox & Fender Twin etc etc when using the Boss effects available.

    Boss even “dropped” these & countless other effects into their Digital Recorders, eg. the BR-800 which I have. The results are amazing, & you even get the option of speaker-cab selections, ranging from Original, 1 x 10, 2 x 10, 2 x 12, 4 x 10, 4 x 12, 8 x 12. etc etc…

    I also have a now older ME-70 multi-effects-unit, & it’s awesome…Perfect for smaller gigs where you don’t need an amp, simply plug into Front-of-House, & get your own monitor. It has an array of the amp-modelling-sounds too, along with the standard bunch of effects too, with an excellent Digital-Delay, that also offers the “old-school” Analog-delay for purists…The other modulation effects are great too, with a solid Flanger & Phase-shifter. Too many great sounds to list.

    There are many to choose from, most are pretty-good, trust your ears ! I’m an older chap now, & have always used Boss-effects, simply because in my era growing-up, they were the yard-stick brand, where all others were judged…Think of Boss to effect-units, as Jim Beam is to Burbon, & you have the idea.

    Peace !

  21. 21
    Dr. Bob says:

    For a mement near the end I thought he was going to show us knobs that go to 11.

  22. 22
    Gregster says:

    @21 said…

    qt.”For a moment near the end I thought he was going to show us knobs that go to 11″….

    LOL ! Apologies for the blurb, but Uwe did invite the discussion, & I can’t help myself sometimes…

    Anyhow, so as to put my music where my mouth is, check this out, & let your ears decide yo.


    Peace !

  23. 23
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Those alleged Friends of Q’uo should have perhaps called themselves “Disciples of Early P’riest”, but I liked what I heard!

  24. 24
    Gregster says:


    Thanks Uwe ! The purpose of posting was simply an indicator of what’s possible for anyone to accomplish at home, with a guitar, headphones, a few hours, & a Boss BR-800…

    There’s nothing like playing through a Tube amp, but there’s also lots of creative fun & amazing sounds to discover with these recorders…

    Oh yeah, the guitar used is a Fender Stratocaster of course, Bass is a local Aussie-made Ashton, & the drums come inbuilt with the recorder.

    I’m not sure if the link takes you to all my other stuff I’ve posted on Soundcloud, but if anyone’s exploring, you’ll also hear an Epiphone-SG roar from time-to-time. And my “free-space” is at it’s limit, so I’ll be cleaning-out the older tunes to make-way for the new one’s.

    Thanks for listening !

    Peace !

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