We caught up with Mumbai-based fusion guitarist, composer and teacher Ravi Iyer at Antisocial in Mumbai for the sixth episode of Tools Of The Trade. Ravi was playing a gig with his quintet to play songs from his solo albums, ‘Raga Punch’ and ‘Bends’.

Ravi uses his custom built double-neck semi-hollow instrument made by luthier Sunil Shinde. The instrument was inspired by a Gibson ES-335 and other guitars of its ilk. The instrument has a mahogany body with a maple top, along with a mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard. The instrument is fitted with two sets of Lindy Fralin Pure P.A.F. humbucker pickups on a centre block. Each set of pickups is wired to its own single volume pot, along with a 3-way selector, but controlled with a master tone control. The instrument is strung with D’Addario 13-56 flatwound strings which add to the guitar’s mellow tone, and are tuned to a fifths tuning, EBEBEB on the top neck.

For floor effects, the guitarist likes vintage stompboxes. His signal begins with a Vervetronix compressor, into a Maxon ST-01 Super Tube Screamer overdrive, into a Ibanez AD9 analog delay into a Ibanez DDL10 digital delay, into a TC Electronic Ditto X4 looper, into the input of a Carl Martin Buff Deluxe buffer unit. A TC Electronic Polytune is connected to the tuner out on the buffer unit for onstage tuning. The looper was not being used for this set. The Pedaltrain board is powered with a Vervetronix Dynamo power supply.

The guitarist prefers to use tube amps, primarily clean Fender-style tube amps. For this gig, Ravi was using a Fender Twin reverb, but also carries his own Fender Super 30, or a custom-made Calor tube head and cabinet on occassion.

The guitarist uses a wax oil made by Dr. Drux on his fingers and on the fretboard to, “help with gamaks”. He also uses Dunlop Jazz III picks exclusively.

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