Why David Rhodes is using a Helix for most of his live guitar tones with Peter Gabriel – with the exception of two pedals

David Rhodes's pedalboard
(Image credit: guitarguitar / YouTube)

Guitarist David Rhodes is a big Snapshot guy – the Line 6 variety. He's using its amp modeller and multi-effects Helix unit as the main source of his tones on the current Peter Gabriel tour, with two analogue favourites in the loop.

"There's a snapshot for each tune, then I have three or four on / offs within that," he explains to guitarguitar about his patches in a rare interview and rig tour video below. The longtime Peter Gabriel guitarist uses a variety of amp models on the Helix, including its JC-120, Deluxe and Matchless models. Leaning on cleaner amps to then drive with the Helix's virtual pedals.

"I've always been like that, even just using amps – I've always been a heavy pedal user," the player's player explains. In those days the Boss Vibrato VB-2W pedal was a mainstay – and it remains on his pedalboard today, alongside a Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe. His Rivera Double Shaman is on the 'board but not getting much use on this tour.

The digital side of things is set up for songs using Line 6's Snapshots – a huge strength of their Helix technology that are effectively different variations on a patch that users can access within a song. So the second snapshot you turn on might remove the chorus pedal and tweak the amp settings a certain way. 

"I used to have a complex pedalboard," explains Rhodes of his analogue days. "It was great but a little bit temperamental. "This is working well."

Right now David's got no plans to go back because the results speak for themselves every night. "You get so far down this line and the front of house get used to this even quality – the consistency – and it just makes things easier. So I guess we're going to stick with it."

This approach to modelling is consistent across the band too; fellow Peter Gabriel touring guitarist Richard Evans, a former engineer at Real World studios, is using the Neural DSP Quad Cortex for his tones. As is bassist Tony Levin.  

Check out the rig tour above and the interview at guitarguitar


Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.