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Tony Peart's Notes on Playing Equipment

The text and images presented below have been captured from Tony Peart's defunct website. I've done some light editing, replaced the image of the Les Paul Triumph, and made some format tweaks, but all notes and observations are his. —plh

Notes on the Equipment used by Hüsker Dü
by Tony Peart



During his time in Hüsker Dü, Bob used a number of mid-1970s Ibanez Flying V 'Rocket Roll' Seniors. The guitar in question, model no. 2387CT, was a fairly close copy of the original 1958 Gibson Flying V (The 'Senior' was a copy of a '58, the 'Junior' a copy of a '67 Gibson). Unlike the Gibson which had a Korina body, the Ibanez was made from ash and was slightly narrower than the original.

The front strap-button was fixed to the heel of the neck (technical tip: if you have a V and can't get it to ballance, move the button to this position and all your woes will be cured.) The headstock was veneered both front and back (see photo above), it had a black scratch plate and came with Ibanez 'Super 70' humbuckers, which Bob left untouched. The guitars were fitted with very long straps, allowing them to hang ridiculously low. When Bob layed, most of the strumming took place over the last few frets at the bottom of the neck.

Ibanez Flying V - Rocket Roll Snr. (1976-1979)

Rear View (note position of strap button)

To save on production costs, the plastic jack-plug socket was mounted mid-way along the inside top edge of the lower wing. This obviously proved unsatisfactory as by 1986 Bob's main stage guitar had been modified by replacing the tone control with a jack-socket. See picture below:

The guitars were strung with GHS Boomer Extra-Light strings and Bob used Jim Dunlop light picks. The Makes No Sense video (Camden Palace, London 14 May 1985) sees Bob playing a Gibson Explorer, but this was hired in as a one-off for this concert only.

Old Ibanez guitars are getting rather rare and expensive. The last Flying V I saw was priced at 395 pounds (sterling) and had been considerably 'modified'. In the States they have been known to reach the 1600 dollar mark, although $800 - $900 seems a more realistic asking price!

Epiphone have done a nice copy of the 58 Gibson but it's probably not close enough to the Ibanez for Bob purists (white scratch plate, pale yellow colour, no friction pad on the bottom edge etc.)

A guitar I can recommend as being about as close a match as you're likely to find (barring the logo), is the early 1980's Tokai model V58 - it sounds good, feels light and looks the part.


Central to 'that' guitar sound was the MXR Distortion Plus which was fed to a DBX 166 Compressor. By 1985 he was also using an Ibanez Stereo Chorus pedal and an Electo-Harmonix Small Clone Mini-Chorus. For the recording of Metal Circus (and subsequent recordings) a harmonizer was fed directly into the recording desk. Later on a rack mounted harmonizer was used on stage. By 1987 a Roland SDE-1000 digital delay had also been added to Bob's stage gear.

MXR Distortion +

Roland SDE-1000



The signal from the compressor was fed to two Yamaha G-100 solid-state heads running Marshall and Sonic 4 X 12 cabs - equiped with Celestion speakers. These in turn were slaved into a pair of Fender Concert valve amplifiers with stock JBL 12" speakers.

To quote the man himself:

'What I'm trying to do is create a stereo image using a solid state amp on the bottom end to create a clean, tight bottom end, and using the Fenders to create stereo distortion'.

Musician October 1994

Fender Concert

In the Studio:

Much of the recorded guitar sound was produced by mixing a direct feed from the MXR distortion pedal to the sound board, with a miked amp signal.

This quote from The Guitar Magazine September 1994 (in respect of Sugar's F.U.E.L.) is also illuminating:

'For recording I went direct via a Focusright preamp to a Summit DCL200 compressor to a Summit pre with a little input grit tossed in there and then to tape. And of course the Pultech EQP-1 for EQ. Pultech stands for Pulse Technology. They were around in the late 50's and early 60's, an old tube equalisation company. They're just these big ugly things with four knobs, but for anyone who's ever wanted to get an incredibly warm, impressive sound they are the first things you should go to. When I cut guitars I rent these old Neve 1064 preamps and EQs and they give a whole different kind of presence. It's a little harder-sounding than the Pultech, which is more broad-band. In the wrong hands - usually mine! - they're really dangerous equalisers, because you can really exaggerate the harmonics of an instrument, which is what the guitar sound on these records is all about, the high-order harmonics boosted over the fundamentals.'


Bass Guitars:

Very early in the Huskers' career Greg was using a Les Paul Triumph bass (possibly a copy).By the time of Zen Arcade, this had given way to a Gibson Victory backed up by a Fender Precision. By 1985 he was playing a single pickup Ibanez Roadstar Series II (see pictures above) with a maple neck and by 1987 had moved on to an Ibanez Roadstar Series II RB 940, with a two pickup, bound body and rosewood fingerboard. This was strung with GHS Boomer medium-gauge strings which he played both finger-style and occasionally with a pick.

Greg's backup stage bass during the latter days of Hüsker Dü was a black (Fender) Squier Precision.

Les Paul Triumph

Gibson Victory

Ibanez Roadstar Series II

Greg and his Ibanez RB 940 (1987)


In 1985 Greg was using a Peavey Mark IV Series III head and an Ampeg V2 4 X 12 bottom. By 1987 this had been replaced by a Peavey Megabass digital bass head along with a Urei L-2 (DLA 48). These were both fed into an SVT cabinet fitted with 8 X 10"speakers and a custom-built Batson cabinet equipped with two 15" speakers.



In 1985 Grant was using a Slingerland Radio King kit. This featured a 26-inch bass drum, 13-inch ride, and a 16-inch rack. These were fitted with Pinstripe heads (toms and bass) and Remo (for the snare). His cymbals were Zildjian Impulses, "the Ford Falcon of cymbals - they last longer under the conditions I play them under." He played them with the butt ends of Regaltip Rock sticks.

By 1987 Grant was using Joe Calato Regal Tip 7A sticks, a variety of Chinese and Turkish cymbals with Yamaha cymbal stands. He had a 7 X 14 solid rock maple bentwood snare, a 9 X 13 rack-mounted tom with a Galou rim, a 16 X 16 floor tom and a 24 X 14 bass drum played with a Ludwig Speed King foot pedal (played barefoot of course!) His posterior graced a Yamaha throne.


Grant gives it some stick



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