Kirsty talks guitar
Kirsty has a fierce guitar sound. It turns out she started on bass then progressed to guitar, and she is constantly developing her style.
I started out with a real sort of punky sound, listening to bands like Rancid, The Distillers, Hole, they were all the bands that I grew up with and really enjoyed listening to, and then moved on from there to more solid rock, bands like the Foo Fighters.
And then the Foo Fighters led me into Led Zeppelin, and then people that I was meeting and playing with got me into more bluesy styles, and even now I’m listening to more stuff like Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, slightly more bluesy players, Clapton, and Page.
Kirsty’s go-to guitar is a 1972 Gibson SG Deluxe and she told us about her set-up.
I love my SG
The SG was a present for her 21st birthday.
I was over the moon with it. I love my SG because it’s got a nice thin neck for me, it’s lived in, the P-90 pickups give me enough sound that I want, it’s comfortable, it’s light, it’s durable. I’m not worried about scratching it because it’s probably got a million dents in it anyway.
The intonation isn’t perfect, it probably needs to get set up every six or seven months and the G-string goes out of tune like nobody’s business. But I’ve got no one to really be in tune with. I tune my guitar to E Flat anyway, so the only person I’ve got to be in tune with is the drums, so it’s not really that hard, if I go out of tune I’ve just got to make sure that I get the right note when I sing!
Gnarly almost phonic tone
The ‘72 SG is obviously famous for Angus Young, ACDC, it allows you to have that gnarly, almost phonic tone, something that sounds like something muffled but also cuts through really deep. Les Pauls are going to be fatter and Strats and Telecasters are going to be a lot thinner, but obviously as a player you can adapt to that, but the SG is almost like an all rounder, something that you can rely on to go to, for me personally anyway.
I love being able to just pick it up and say, right OK, I’m going to run this through Fuzz Face and I’m going to crank it up full volume and it’s going to sound old and it’s going to sound dirty and it’s going to sound fat. You know, that’s what I get out of it. It’s proper reliable even though it’s like a good 30-40 years old.
Kirsty showed us round her guitar sound and how she loops her riffs.
I’ve always been a fan of valve amps
Kirsty has an interesting amp set up too - using guitar and bass amps.
The set up I use live is the Fender Deluxe Hot Rod guitar amp. I’ve always been a fan of valve amps, you get a warmer tone. I split my signal for my live sound between guitar amp and a bass amp, any bass amp I can get my hands on.
So from the guitar it runs into my pedal board, and then from my pedal board it goes into my guitar amp and the loop pedal that I use in my pedal board splits the signal between the bass amp and the guitar amp. So I’m on stage and I’ve got my top end from my guitar amp and my bottom end from my bass amp. Which basically runs through the whole set. Plus I use an octave pedal on top of that, which gives it a really sinister, eerie sort of sound which I really like.
I use the loop pedal to gain a bigger sound
Kirsty uses a DigiTech JamMan Stereo Looper/Phrase Sampler pedal. A friend of hers had an earlier model and showed her how it worked, so she homed in on the new version when she spotted it in a music shop, then was treated to it by her Dad.
A friend of mine actually has the one before, which is just the two bank. He showed me around it a bit and I recognised it when I went in and I was, oh ok, well this one’s got the four banks and it’s got loop up and loop down, record overdub and reverse. There’s loads of stuff you could do with it and the guy in the music shop was like, have a go with it and I was jamming and playing and ‘Oh my god this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life’. And walked out with it.
I use the loop pedal basically to gain a bigger sound, Pearl Harts is all about making the biggest sound with the smallest amount of people.
The loop pedal was primarily used so that I was able to do some lead parts over rhythm sections and that’s how it started. Then we started messing around with sounds and saying well OK what if we use a really lower tone on this and made a bassline out of it, and then we can go over the top of that with a guitar sound. Then there’s overdubs and a million different things that you can do with that loop pedal, which I’m still discovering, but it’s a great tool for the use of layering, allowing your sound to progress.
You’re in control, you’re doing it. If it goes wrong, that’s your fault. You can’t turn round and go, oh the bass player played a wrong chord, that’s why the set sucked. Well no, that was all up to you, which is quite tricky sometimes, you’re doing a kind of dance on the floor but, it’s good.
DigiTech JamMan Stereo Looper/Phrase Sampler
It’s got loop up and loop down, record overdub and reverse, there’s loads of stuff you could do with it
I’m still experimenting with it as well, there’s loads of reverse guitars that you can do. It’s really good to use live with Sarah because she can link up in the back and get the rhythm out sound, so the loop that I make she’ll hear that in her headphones so I can do all the stuff over the top and we’re never going to go out of time with the drums.
Gnarly, an all rounder
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Amp
I love the Hot Rod
Mooer Audio Pure Octave Pedal
Eerie sound I really like