We caught up blues-rock guitarist Kush Upadhyay for the 5th episode of Tools Of The Trade at Antisocial in Khar in Mumbai. Kush was playing as a part of a quartet to promote his full-length, Impulsive Decisions, which featured Anurag Naidu on keyboards, Sheldon D’silva on bass and Gino Banks on drums.
For this project, Kush primarily uses James Tyler Classic S-type guitars. His primary instrument is a Tyler Classic with an alder body and rosewood fretboard. The pickups are Tyler S2500s. His second instrument is also a Tyler Classic, but an HH classic with a swamp ash body and quartersawn maple neck/fretboard. The humbuckers are the low-output Retro model.
For floor effect units, Kush has two boards: a main board and an auxiliary board. The signal chain on the main board starts with a Lovepedal Believe analog octave up, going into a Dry Bell Vibe Machine, into a Berkos FX Third Stone fuzz (which was not being used for this set), into an LA Sound Box which functions as a splitter and buffer, into a Roger Mayer Voodoo-1 Classic Overdrive, into a Maxon SD9 Sonic Distortion, into an Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, into an Arion Chorus, which then feeds back into the LA Sound Box. A TC Electronic Polytune 2 is used for on-stage tuning through the tuner out on the Ernie Ball volume pedal.
The Sound Box then sends out two outputs, one which goes into the front end of the dry amp, and the other goes into the wet board comprising of a Strymon Timeline and Strymon Flint. Both Strymons are set at kill-dry, and are going into the two channels of the wet amp. A Roland EV-5 expression pedal is used to control the mix level on the Timeline.
Kush uses a wet-dry dual amp setup. His dry amp is a Suhr Badger 35 into a matching Suhr 1×12 cab loaded with a Celestion V30. The wet amp is a Fender Pro Reverb combo which has a Celestion V30 on one side and a G12-65 on another side.. Both amps are miced with a ShureSM57 (Suhr Cab) and a Sennheiser E906 (Fender Cab).
The guitarist uses D’addario NYXL 10-46 strings tuned to standard. He uses Dunlop Nylflex 0.88mm picks.
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