We caught up with Warren Mendonsa, a.k.a Mr. Blackstratblues at Antisocial in Khar, Mumbai for the first episode of Tools Of The Trade. The band was playing a special gig to mark the 10th anniversary of their debut album ‘Nights In Shining Karma‘.

For the gig, Warren was using an assembled sunburst Fender Stratocaster as his #1. The guitar’s body is from an American Vintage ’62 reissue, and the neck with a rosewood fretboard is from Mexican Lone Star model. The guitar has three Suhr ML Michael Landau signature single coil pickups installed with a special wiring scheme. His other instrument is a black Fender Lone Star Stratocaster with a maple neck and fretboard from 1997. The guitar has the same wiring scheme as his #1, and has Suhr MLs in the neck and middle position, but with a Suhr SSV humbucker in the bridge. The bridge has been swapped out for a Gotoh 510 vibrato unit. A black 2006 Eric Johnson Signature Fender Stratocaster with Suhr ML pickups will replace the Lone Star Strat for future gigs.

Both instruments are strung with D’addario NYXL .11-.49 strings tuned to Eb (half step down) and were modified with Sperzal locking tuners. For picks, Warren uses a Dunlop 1mm nylon, a Gator Grip 1.14mm, and a Jazz III for some parts.

A Larrivee OM-02 dreadnought and Taylor GS Mini in high-strung (Nashville) tuning were used for a few songs which were performed by singer-songwriter Tejas Menon. Both guitars were also tuned to Eb (half step down).

For floor effect units, Warren uses a Pedaltrain board with some drive and modulation effect boxes. The chain begins with an RMC Wizard Wah, which goes into a Maxon SD9, a Vemuram Jan Ray, a Drybell Vibe Machine, a Suhr Riot, and an EWS modded Arion SCH-1 chorus. For the pedals in the FX loop, there is a Strymon Timeline delay and a Digitech Hardwire RV-7 reverb unit. A Roland EV-5 expression pedal is used to control the wet-dry mix on the Timeline. The pedals going into the front of the amp are routed into a Musicom EFX MKIII+ which Warren began using as he was, “fed up of switching pedals on and off.” The board has a Peterson StroboStomp 2 pedal tuner for on-stage tuning. The board is powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus power unit.

Warren’s live amp is a Custom Audio Electronics OD100 Classic Plus 100-watt 2 channel amplifier plugged into an open back Suhr 2×12 speaker cabinet. The cabinet is loaded with a pair of Celestion G12-65 speakers. As the band was recording multi-track audio of that evening’s performance, the speakers were miced with a Bayer 160 ribbon dynamic and Shure SM7b condenser microphone.

Warren uses Belden 9778 and Mogami 2524 cables with Switchcraft jacks.

[Download/stream Blackstratblues’ music on the band’s Bandcamp page]

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