Dave’s favorite guitars

The Current Rig (2016)


I realized I don’t have many gear pics on this new site (though the old one was filled with them). I am going to concentrate more on what I use now, although if I am asked about what I used to use, I will certainly answer.

This article revolves around what I use for Julie Black as I will cover my acoustic rig and my guitar/looping rig as I get this site up to speed. This year, I have really made the move to working ampless, which is remarkable when you consider that most blues and jazz guitarists (the genres were are thrown in) are some of the most traditional in their gear choices. My decision has to do with the advances in technology, monitoring, and the fact my is that I need to protect my hearing and my back. I don’t miss carrying an amp around, and honestly I have never heard better on stage. But let’s start with the guitar:

Music Man Silhouette Special

My #1

My #1

This is my favorite guitar, and the one I use at almost all Julie Black shows. The most interesting thing about it is that it has  scalloped neck (see the title pic). The reason I love this was written about in another article I wrote for Seymour Duncan. Basically, it allows a really light touch with the left hand with very little tension. The pickups are a Custom Custom in the bridge, and an Alnico II Pro in the neck. The 5 way switch has interesting wiring, which I also did an article about. I will eventually do another article about it.



This is the 2nd guitar I bring to every gig. It is a USA-made Music Man SUB1, with a textured flip-floppy paint color called Cinnamon. It is made of poplar, and is a little heavier than the other Music Man, and has a very mid-focused sound. The pickups are a Jazz and Custom 5- both scoopy-sounding pickups to make up for the tone of the wood. The volume control has a hidden Fender S-1 switch that splits the coils of both pickups.


From the guitars, the signal goes to the Fractal AX8 Amp Modeler. It is a wonderful device which contains the amp models as well as the effects & looper. Currently, my 2 favorte modes in it are the Friedman Dirty Shirley, and the Fender Twin. The board is a Pedaltrain Fly, which is fairly rare (the soft case is amazing). I control the effects with a sadly discontinued Mission SP-2 pedal.

The signal goes (in stereo) to the PA system. I monitor with IEMs (in-ear monitors), which protect my hearing and block out the sound from the main PA or other monitors or speakers on stage. I get my own mix, and have my own volume control. To me, it sounds like listening to a CD. It is the best sound I’ve ever had on stage.


Company Affiliations

Much of what I do and how I make my music wouldn’t be possible without the help from these companies:

  • Steinberger: I am a Gibson Artist, and am a fan of any of Ned Steinberger’s designs.
  • Seymour Duncan: I use their pickups exclusively, and also write a blog for them.
  • Brian Moore Custom Guitars: These are the guitars I use for the ambient/guitar synth work, because they have internal hex pickups.
  • Graph Tech: I am a Graph-Tech Artist & use their TUSQ nuts and String Saver Bridge Saddles.
  • Ernie Ball/Music Man: I was featured on Ernie Ball radio, and they gave me some custom picks one time for being the last person featured in Mike Varney’s Guitar Player Spotlight Column. I also love their guitars. Sterling Ball signed my guitar (along with Steve Morse) and is a great guy.
  • Warmoth Guitar & Bass Parts: This company helped with a blog post for Seymour Duncan, and helped me create a wonderful Strat.