Photo and description of current rig on tour

on March 7th 2014 in Uncategorized

Stage shot of Kimock rig on tour with Bob Weir & Ratdog.

-50 watt Dumble on top, Fender Bandmaster Reverb below (Normally onstage mix is Bandmaster heavy, featuring the Fender amp sound, with the Dumble backing it up for clarity and weight)
-On top is an old Boss RV2 (I think) bought it new when they came out. Still using it. It splits the signal to the two amps.
Also an old CE2 chorus, because Mr Dave.
-Altoid can is a Stratoblaster circuit, courtesy of Scott Walker.  It has a switch to turn it off and on, it’s at it’s minimum setting internally.
Just a little teeny boost and EQ. It’s on more often than not.
(Not pictured here is the Blonde Bassman that rotates duties with the Dumble depending on venue size and set list)
-The Bandmaster Reverb is on every gig whatever its mate that night. I occasionally pull the input out of one amp or the other and just play one for awhile.  Cleans up the mix when the band is working certain dynamic levels.

-Lambo Vox AC30 style 2×12 with mysterious Celestion samples….something Boogie tried but never used.
-Old Boogie open back single 15 ext. cab with JBL K130, 8 ohm.
-The misc. junk strewn across the top includes a Hartman fuzz, Uni-Vibe, and Mutron. Looks like a Distortion+ back there too.

-On the floor: Uni-Vibe pedal, Vertex wah. Floating, old Vox Tonebender.


  1. Thanks for posting, gives me some ideas. Like, Vibrolux for BM and Devilcat Mean Jean (15w, Class A, 1 x 12) for Dumble. Both combos. I have a 1 x 12 JBL cab, may try that out of the Vibrolux. Never thought of using a simple delay pedal to split to the amps, using a split cable – the box must be better. ?

    Most of my gigs are small so I usually grab my Deluxe RI. 🙁

    Sorry to miss you with Weir in DC, had tix but last minute illness wrecked my train.

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 6:38 am
    • Kimock

      Yeah, stereo device is a better split.
      Split cable or daisy chained inputs messes with the input impedance enough to be a problem for me in most cases.
      Not a huge buzzkill, but I always think the guitar and amp sound better together without the split than with it.
      Definitely a matter of personal taste tho, as I’m sure I did plenty of formative listening to players with daisy chained inputs and loved the sound.

      Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm
  2. Chris R

    I have a blackface Fender Tremolux that someone installed reverb into long before I picked it up in a Philly pawnshop in the early 70s, run thru a 2X12 Fender open back cabinet and an Ampeg 2X12 thats a sawed in half V4- rarely plug anything else between the red SG and the Tremolux but have Big Muff and Crybaby wah if I’m in the mood. Too many bass amps, the Sunn Coliseum with tube AND transistor amps is the size of a small fridge…

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 7:25 am
  3. Hey Steve, have you ever changed the output transformer in your Bandmaster Reverb? Is the one in there now the smaller stock 4 ohm one, or a bigger iron replacement (with a different impedance)?

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:03 am
    • Kimock

      The Bandmaster Reverb I used onstage is a stock Fender.
      Lovingly gone through by Bill Krinard and possibly others, so it sounds real nice, but it’s the original little 4 ohm OT.
      Just right.
      Paid 500 bucks for it right before the tour and it knocked my BF Twin Reverb out of the rotation.
      The Twin never made it onstage after the Sweetwater warm up show.
      Bandmaster Reverb, every gig. .

      I do have two other non-stock, non-reverb, Bandmasters with different OT’s.
      One completely rebuilt by Bill Krinard with nothing Fender remaining of the circuit.
      That one has an old single Showman OT.
      With a pair of 6L6’s that’s a 16 ohm load, and that amp was designed to run with a single 16 ohm D130 JBL.
      I used that for a long time back in SKB, paired with the 50 watt Dumble.
      The old Showman OT is an exceptional sounding transformer.
      All the old Fender iron is at least very good in my opinion.
      This one is GREAT.

      The other non-stock tranny is in an otherwise stock BF Bandmaster, but it’s the closest Two Rock OT to the stock Fender.
      Not a huge diff, but not exactly Fender either.

      Finally, I have a lightly modded BF Bandmaster with the stock Fender 4 ohm OT.
      In a lot of ways, that’s the best you can do.
      It’s just the right amount of power.
      By the time you’ve got that thing as loud as it’ll go, you wouldn’t want it any louder, and neither would anybody else onstage.

      I’m not in the “bigger is better” camp with output transformers.
      I’d prefer the best sounding OT for the volume required, and I’ve got enough time in on this issue with the Fender amps at least, to know, SPL aside:

      Just going by OT performance,

      Bassman sounds better than Twin.
      Bandmaster sounds better than Bassman.
      Deluxe Reverb sounds better than Bandmaster
      Princeton sounds better than Deluxe.


      The smaller you go, the less the transformer “gets in its own way” in terms of translating what the string is doing.
      We can get into that some more later if you want, but I’ll leave it there for now as a report of my own personal observation of my own guitar sound and feel preferences.

      Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:08 am
  4. Mike C

    Any chance the blonde K&M/Two Rock will make a showing at any stretch of the tour? How do you feel the playing dynamic is with Jay these round? I don’t hear him really grabbing onto your dynamic solo builds, which seems like it would be a little uncomfortable.

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:19 am
    • Kimock

      No Two Rocks this trip. Mostly Fender amps, Dumble if the room could handle it. Kinda loud. .
      In hindsight the octal TR would have been a good choice sonically, but I was wary of the octal tube thing on the road.
      I went as bulletproof as I could.
      I love playing with Jay.
      For the most part I was very comfortable with everybody, although there were some challenging room acoustics from venue to venue.
      My own band doesn’t play theatres as large as The Ratdogs do, so there was some learning curve there for me.
      All good tho. It was quite an education. .

      Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:36 am
  5. Mike

    Saw you awhile back, believe you were using Mike’s newer designed- Q-Tron in place of the Mu, which do you prefer?
    That explorer is a nice piece of wood bro. Saw you take that thing to some amazing places sonically for many years now.
    See you at The Rex in a few, nothing like home state gigs. (::)PEACE(::)

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:29 am
    • Kimock

      I’m split on the envelope filters still.
      The old one is the devil I know, the new one is awesome, but I still need time with it to dial it in predictably compared to the old one.
      If I had to leave one all the time I’d take Mike’s new one.
      Explorer, you got that right!

      Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:28 am
  6. Rick Le

    Does Steve have a fretless strat? hard to be certain, but looks that way on you tube?

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 9:05 am
    • Kimock

      The fretless is a 24 inch scale length Scott Walker guitar with a Jazzmaster style body, so not a Strat, but Fendery for sure, at least in terms of body dimensions.
      I started playing fretless electric on a Jazzmaster and loved the feel of the body, but the scale was just a little too big for my hands, so I went with the shorter scale neck.
      Like a Mustang or Jaguar. .
      Fender guitars are a comfort zone for me, so that’s where I borrow the physical dimensions from.
      The pickups are Lollar’s.
      Jazzmaster, basically, but with extra wide blades instead of polepieces.
      They’d be just right on an eight string steel, so PERFECT for guitar ; )

      Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:24 am
  7. Hi Steve , Bro, It’s Bobby here in Samui Thailand .Wanna hire you to do blow over a backing track/vid when you come up for air. Hit me at the email above or on FB. Love and huggs,Bobby Parrs

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm
  8. Rick

    Hey Steve,
    It seems like the Brown Cripe comes out a little more often when you play in Dead-related bands. Is this because of the Garcia connection or for some other reason? Also, what is the preparation like when embarking on a tour like this? The Dead songbook is enormous. How much woodshedding goes into it on your part?
    Thanks for being such an inspiration.
    Rick S

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm
    • Kimock

      Yeah, the Teak (brown, whatever : ) Cripe comes out more often for the Dead related stuff because it holds together at higher stage volume and has a lot more gain than my White Strat.
      Not so much a Garcia connection as it is just physics or acoustic reality.
      The Strat works beautifully in smaller venues, but it’s a little too lightweight and shy gain-wise with the weak lipstick pickups to power lift a rock band in a big room. Sometimes. .
      So, the Teak Cripe takes on some of those responsibilities, and it does a great job as “Strat extension”.

      Also, the Cripe has the buffer in it, which is kind of a Jerry proper sonic signature, and it allows very easy volume control without affecting the tone, and the Cripe has a tone control too, which comes in handy. .
      No tone controls on the Strat, just very interactive volume control between the middle PU on one knob and neck and bridge on the other.
      So the Cripe has some electronic benefits over the Strat besides just being a bigger, heavier, neck tru hippie sandwich type guitar.
      The Cripe also has the onboard loop for effects but I didn’t use it on this tour.
      Too “Jerry” for me right now.
      Nobody plays like that guy did, I wasn’t gonna stand there next to Bob Weir and pretend.
      Kinda creepy and disrespectful somehow, Y’know? To mimic the production while performing so far below those impossibly high standards.

      Finally, the Strat doesn’t work with light strings.
      It’s always been strung very heavy; 14 18 28w 38 49 62 which is fine for me for my own material. but it’s not always where I need to be set-up wise if I’m covering somebody else’s stuff as “lead guitarist”.
      The Cripe isn’t slinky exactly, flatwound 11’s with a wound third, but it’s close enough to fake it, so. . .

      That’s why Cripe comes out from my side of the glass.

      We had a couple days of rehearsal, not enough to put a dent in the book, but enough to figure out how we were going to set up on stage, and get a feel for the stage volume we were trying to hit.
      I spent most of my time on that tour listening to various versions of the 150 plus songs we played.
      Some of it was easy enough, some of it was impossible.
      Jeff Chimenti was kind enough to run thru the set list with me everyday backstage, so I wouldn’t be caught completely by surprise.
      Thank you Jeff.

      That was the extent of the detail specific preperation for me.
      Cramming every day and night, and batting .400.
      In a more general sense of preparation, I’ve been playing in rock bands all my life, enjoy improvisation, and spent a lot of formative musical time in the SF Bay Area scene, so I kind of know the drill.


      Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:12 am
      • Mike V

        Kimock- your humility is astounding!! Great insights on the what & why, but damn dude..I’ve personally seen you go to some places that have made me question everything sonically. Your hat tip to Jer is pure class, but just as much I couldn’t imagine Jerry writing a “kissing the boo boo”
        You both exude maestro status beyond, I am humbled to behold your playing in person. Only caught the dead the from 90-95, and..well.. It wasn’t 77.

        You’ve been the best guitar teacher ever to me. I learned to play by listenin to you and Garcia(I’m a lefty strung righty that teachers wouldn’t take on, so had to learn by listening..)
        Couldn’t ask for better teachers. Looking forward to shaking your hand at the Rex this Sat w/ theCAUSE.

        Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:28 am
        • Kimock

          Thanks for the kind words Mike, and looking forward to meeting you Saturday.
          That’s gonna be a fun gig!!

          Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:44 pm
          • Mike V

            What a show! I was the guy who handed you the button. Your music has meant a lot to me over the years, that button was a small token- meant to represent connection. I was honored to hear you play& shake your hand. Thanks for the kindness brother. I hope to see/hear you again soon!

            Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:19 am
          • Kimock

            Thanks for the button!
            That was a good time. .

            Posted April 8, 2014 at 3:24 pm
      • Rick S

        Certainly a method to the madness…cool insight…thanks. It’s interesting how the Ratdog sound changed for this tour . Rather than reinterpreting Garcia, it’s cool to hear how your playing compliments Weir’s and gives him space to be a lead instrument…probably pretty fun for both of you guys to listen to each other.
        Anyway, looking forward to hearing your new record.

        Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm
  9. john

    Great stuff! Glad to see the korner active again, thanks!

    Posted March 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm
  10. Trip


    Thanks for the latest tour, was at Boston, and had a blast front balcony both nights. You really shined, all of you actually. anyway sorry to bug you, but my goal is not make my hohner clavinet d6 sound like a guitar as much as possible, as getting that dirty nasty funky tone is great, but fairly easy to come by. what’s a challenge is looking to make it sound like a fairly clean rock n roll guitar as much as possible. i’m 45, but new to playing, only 4 years, and thoughts? Thanks again and I miss Zero from those SF nights late 90’s at maritime, some epic nights…

    Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm
    • Trip

      sorry not should not be in front of make!!! as that would contradict my whole point sorry

      Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:46 pm
  11. Trip

    nothing yet ehhh, i’m dying heeeeeeere :<) kidding glad to c rd continue this summer, steve you guys r better every listen. and wdyk vinyl on the comeback…like my old ears, never mind , one love…

    ps mac first autocorrected dying to dieting haha Jer would grin as i'm carrying a few ben &jer's myself…

    Posted April 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    • Kimock

      That echoes my thoughts!

      Posted April 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm
  12. Sashi V

    Hi Steve
    Greetings from India! That statoblaster in the altoid can – neat! You mentioned in the past that it was different from the stock alembic circuit. Could you share some details ? Thanks.

    Miss your live shows – ten years total I spent in boulder and the sf bay area and had the pleasure of seeing a bunch of your shows. Please come to India 🙂


    Posted April 10, 2014 at 1:42 am
    • Kimock

      Man, I would LOVE to come to India. .
      Hook me up!!!

      Posted April 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm
      • Mike V

        Going to be in Philly with David Gans May 7th, I’d love to hand you the means to go to India…, would spear head any campaign to get you there brother! Your music NEEDS to be experienced in person to really get it.. It’s as much the look of bliss (and sometimes “oh shit”) on your face as the notes in your hands.
        Not sure the logistics of such a trek, but believe me, I’d be glad to take a crash course to find a way.. Kickstarter, crowdfunded, whatever.. Lets get you to India brother! Just carry that button, believe me, my motivation is purely to help by means of connecting like minded folks together. We can do this! Lets hook Steve up, (with your permission of course!)

        Posted April 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm
    • Mike V

      Sashi, can you be a little more specific on whereabouts in India? Going to crunch some #’s and do some sourcing to try and make this happen, but it may take a bit.
      Depends on some variables, the biggest being where, and the closest market. I don’t need an address, just a general locale.

      Thanks Sashi (::)

      Posted April 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm
      • Sashi V

        Hey Mike, sure thing. I live in Chennai, South India. Feel free to write to me at if you need more info. More than happy to help get this going.


        Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm
  13. Hey Steve great post! Hoping Ratdog announces an additional (headlining) gig in Colorado 😉

    I’m just curious of the reverb aspect of this rig, what’s the advantage of using the RV2 over, let’s say, the LXP-1?

    Posted April 15, 2014 at 9:49 am
    • Kimock

      Hey Eric, great question!!
      The Ratdogs? Your guess is as good as mine regarding upcoming dates.
      If it were my own band I’d know more in advance because I’d be involved in the planning.
      With Dogs I’m just held for blocks of time and the announcements arrive more or less simultaneously for you and I.

      Regarding reverb choice for that last tour, I went with the RV2 for a couple of reasons.
      1. I wanted the basic guitar production to be “Fender amp spring reverb” because it seemed more appropriate to the San Francisco Sound/GD guitar production values of that era’s music.

      2. There’s a pretty big difference in reverb quality between the LXP-1 and the RV2, the LXP-1 is better: it’s a higher quality electronic effect, but the LXP-1 is not better than a real analog spring for a spring reverb sound, and it’s not better than a real hall for a hall sound.
      I had both real hall reverb acoustically in those venues, and real analog spring reverb in the Fender and most of the time no effects loop in either amp to take advantage of the LXP’s otherwise higher quality, so. .

      So the LXP-1 in the absence of FX loop in a real hall when I already had analog spring seemed like an unnecessarily complicated and physically large step down.
      The RV2 was just a convenient way to split the guitar signal to two amps, and I never used it for reverb, only for the ping-pong delay setting.
      In smaller rooms, or on a louder stage with modern amps featuring send and return patch points between pre-amp and output stage the LXP would have been the right choice.

      Posted April 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm
      • Thanks for the breakdown Steve! It seemed redundant to me with the setup you have there, but taking advantage of the RV2 stereo outs to split your signal vs. using an A/B box, well that makes a lot of sense!

        Hey and next time you’re in Colorado, if you ever want to use that D’Agostino guitar of mine you dug in last Fall, contact me through my website (linked in my name)

        happy playing!

        Posted April 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm
        • Kimock

          Ok, now that you mention the guitar, I finally connected the dots!
          I know you! Hey, how ya doin’ etc. That’s a great guitar. .

          Anyway, yeah, redundant for sure.
          There were plenty of rooms on that tour that didn’t really require any additional ‘verb at all.
          Once you’re hearing it back from the house, it’s all a mash of delayed reflections.
          More often than not the ‘roominess’ swallowed what ‘verb I had dialed up on the Bandmaster.

          In a smaller room, say 300 people or fewer, the digital/FX loop strategy is really pretty useful.
          You can get an illusion of a larger space and sound, and as Ry Cooder once put it, an illusion of headroom as well.
          The advantages of having the reverb and delay post pre-amp distortion and feeding two output stages in stereo from a single pre-amp’s EQ outweigh the disadvantages of the stereo digital effect/loop in that size room for me.
          Both onstage and in the house.

          The disadvantages of the stereo/digital/loop routine for me are:
          1. It’s a whole lot less dynamic, both in terms of what happens with the amp’s response when you hit it, and in terms of the playability of the effect relative to analog.
          2. By the time you’ve got a recognizable stereo image going with the effect, you’re probably too wet.

          So, in a way, having all that “reverb phase incoherence” happening right ahead of the phase splitter or output driver stage means the stereo digital reverb effect is working as a kind of compression.
          You’re crippling the dynamic response of the amp.
          To the extent that efficiency is often the enemy of good electric guitar sounds, that kind of performance has its place.
          For me that place is in smaller, more intimate acoustic environments where the stereo effect and ‘verb ear candy can be heard in the room without much reinforcement, and the less dynamic response of the entire rig is more welcome.
          By the time I could get that set-up loud enough onstage in a 3,000 seat theatre to hear MY rig’s stereo/wet over the FOH and slapback from the hall it’d be way too loud and way too wet in the room.
          At least relative to The Ratdog’s stage volume which is a function of Weir preferring to work the mic, feature the vocal above the band without monitors, and accomodate both acoustic grand piano and upright bass.

          That gig is a constant battle to downsize the guitar sounds compared to most rock bands, and certainly compared to Bobby’s recent Further stage volume experience.

          Anyway, Fender amp spring reverb works fine under those already acoustically reverberant conditions, and not wanting to get too far out of the Blackface or Silverface Jerry Proper comfort zone production-wise, that’s what I went for.

          I’ll probably do it differently next time, because I know I can get better analog spring sounds, better amp dynamic performance, and continue downsizing wattage without sacrificing color by going with my “wrap-around” 4×10 Bassman reverb scheme.
          I just didn’t want to start too far from ‘Twin’ with the Dogs.
          Now that I’ve got a feel for it, I see where I can improve a lot of stuff, and the ‘verb will be an easy improvement in front of a Tweed amp.

          Posted April 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm
  14. Rick

    Hey Steve,
    You’ve been really generous sharing information about your live set up over the years. After listening to Eudemonic, I was curious how (if) your set up changes once you go into the studio. You posted some time ago about your use of compressors in that setting, and I was hoping you could shed some more light on how you capture your sound for a studio track.
    Thanks again!

    Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:33 am
    • Kimock

      Well, I don’t know if “capture” is the right word for it.
      There’s always a huge difference between the sound in the room, or of the amp in an acoustical space and what you net through the control room monitors.
      They’re different speakers in a different space, so no matter what you start with, the process of “capturing it” alters it immediately.

      Sometimes you get lucky and the translation works in your favor, but most of the time you lose more than you gain.
      Basically, the more exacting you are with the source, the sound in the room before it hits the mic., the more likely you are to miss something in the translation.
      So normally I do as little as possible to start in terms of exact detail.
      I try to pick the right guitar for the vibe of the tune, and then just throw something completely generic/neutral amp-wise out in the room and do my best to avoid being cute putting a mic. on it.

      There winds up being a HUGE range of sounds between close mic, arear mic, and room mic. sounds, how hard you hit the guitar and how you loud you feature it in the mix, and the “best” of that is as likely to be an accident as it is by design.
      Even before you do any signal processing, so I usually start with nothing special and see what the room is giving me, then work from there.
      There’s a bunch more, but I’m going to grab a bite and get back to it. .


      Posted April 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm
  15. Rich

    Hi Steve,

    You probably don’t remember me but I lent you my Twin and Bassman a couple of years ago when you did a benefit with Babyak for Scott Sawyer in Raleigh.

    You talked about Mike Beigel’s new product above. Were you referring to the Tru-Tron3x? I recently purchased one from Mike and it is a wonderful product. If you were to try it you might put the original Mutron away. 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing you in Charlotte at the end of August.


    Posted July 27, 2014 at 10:59 am
  16. Dan White

    Dude ! Im a huge Fan! Only thing i have yet is Eudemonic just realized i need to re load it ! I have an extensive rig you might like to check out? Im a Dead head I’m 47 in Columbus OH, blah blah, ck out my Facebook, ?? Gotta get the new Rolling Stone, saw it tonite our boy Jer bear , its HIS issue, !!!

    Posted September 15, 2014 at 1:27 am
  17. Chris G

    I agree youre jamming is very fluent and original. Tring to emulate another person’s exact tone is or getting your setup modded to their perspective changes your originality and will actually play different when youre not hearing the tone choice youve made through out the years. You know how you said the bandmaster is better than the twin. Were you talkin about the 64-67 ab763 circuitry. You mentioned the bandmaster had a great output transformer on it’s amp sector. Could that be the reason? The blues jr. and the twin revrb from 64-67 were voiced the same as far bias, resistor values etc. Some say that is the most sought out tone of all. I’ve never had the privilege to bland with a bandmaster. Did you do any mods to your strat or bandmaster? You mention on the strat you just use volume pot. Was thinking of doing that to my axe because the tone pot is linear and is either dull or bright n clean when turned on past 2 and no noticeable diff all the way to ten with a .o22uf 50v ceramic cap. Is there quit a noticable audible diff of shooting your pup sound directly to vol and bypassing tone pots all together? Great music keep on jamming Steve.

    Posted November 6, 2014 at 4:54 pm
  18. Chris G

    Sorry couple typos

    Posted November 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm
  19. Steve, can I pick your brains, I use a a handmade wiessenborn which goest straight into the PA , as the pickup a Fishman sits way beneath the strings I need to boost it , could you recommend a decent line booster? cheers for your time , Pete

    Posted June 8, 2015 at 10:46 am

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