Blues maestro Kirk Fletcher on the stompboxes he couldn't live without: "I only use one or two pedals"

Kirk Fletcher
(Image credit: Kirk Fletcher/press)

GUITAR SHOWCASE 2022: It's episode 4 of Pedalpocalypse, the new show from Guitar World, MusicRadar and Guitar Player. Produced in LA by British guitarist Robin Davey and Growvision, and inspired by the bad-old-days of lockdown, in each episode we ask guitarists: “If you could only take three pedals with you into a future lockdown/weird pedal-related apocalypse, which ones would they be?

This month, acclaimed blues player and songwriter Kirk Fletcher reveals the three pedals he'd save when push comes to shove.

"I only use one or two pedals," says Kirk, "but the ones I use are really crucial."

As you'd expect, Kirk has picked some crackers. The Vemuram Jan Ray kicks things off.

For me, I have to use pedals that really work with a varied amount of amplifiers.

"For me, I have to use pedals that really work with a varied amount of amplifiers. On my rider usually, it's a Fender Hot Rod Deville 2x12 – I really liked that amp – or a Vox AC30 or Super Reverb or something like that. 

"So I've found that the Vemuram Jan Ray works really fantastic for me, for just being able to add more bass cut bass and add a little bit of grit to it.

"Because my style is really once removed from the blues greats that we all love – you know, like Albert King, BB King, Otis Rush and all those guys. For some of my more modern songs I have a little bit more of a 'singing tone' – it's almost like a 70s West Coast, Larry Carlton, Robben Ford – so I'll go for more of that."

Next off the rank is Line 6's DL4. "It's just set to some standard things, you know – a modulation delay slapback and a longer delay on there for swells."

The TC Electronic HOF rounds out Kirk's versatile trio. 

"Reverb is something that I don't want to live without because for me, being primarily a cleaner kind of player, reverb just kind of lifts the notes," Fletcher states before proving the point in his demo.

"You know, when I play or when I attack it. I just kind of have this pillow, you know, that I can like crash into and it's like just makes everything more pillow-y like." 

Kirk Fletcher's new album Heartache By The Pound is out now.

Previously on Pedalpocalypse:

Episode 1: Blues-country-jazzmaster and all-round tone wizard Josh Smith

Episode 2: British blues guitarist Scott McKeon


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