Rig Tour: Rival Sons
California's Rival Sons take their musical cues from classic rock's 60s/70s riff-wielders and imbue them with a visceral, modern edge. They tour hard - albeit without the luxury of custom-painted Boeing jets - and believe in the life-changing power of a rock 'n' roll.
Like his riff-worshiping forbears, guitarist Scott Holiday is cut from the analog cloth. He's built-up one hell of a gear collection over the years and, refreshingly, he actually tours with it. You'll find no amp-modellers or B-rigs here, just a mouth-watering combination of vintage, rare and boutique gear...
Gibson 1965 Non-Reverse Firebird
"We'll start with my beloved quiver [of guitars]! This is something that only sees a few songs, but it's really great. I've replaced the pickguard and dropped in new pickups.
"Originally it just had two P-90 pickups in it and I put these wonderful Tom Short mini-humbuckers inside of it. It's light and beautiful and a great instrument."
Fender 1962 Jazzmaster
"I call this 'old trusty'. It's obviously been refinished and it had these [tone and volume] knobs when I got it. I think it was re-finished in, like, 1963 though because it's looking pretty worn-in!
"I also replaced these boys [the pickups] with a set of Lollar Jazzmaster P-90s. I keep this guitar in open-G and I love it!"
Gibson Firebird VII
"I'll break out one that a lot of people will know, at least, if you know my band. This is my trusty Pelham Blue Gibson Firebird VII.
"I also replaced the [original mini-humbuckers] with Tom Short pickups and I rewired the whole thing."
"A lot you might have seen this, I used it all over [Rival Son's second album, 2012's] Head Down, for the tour. It's by my favourite builder and it's one of my favourite guitars.
"These pickups were actually wound for me by a great guy named Chris Klein [of Klein Pickups] and they've got original '50s Gibson magnets and they're also like a mini-humbucker. It's also got custom pinstripes, which are kind of fun and kind of cool."
Kauer Banshee (Excalibur)
"Next we have one of my newest and one of my favouritest! This one's called 'Excalibur'! It's also a Kauer Banshee. I came up with the idea to kind of cross a Gretsch White 'Penguin' [i.e. Falcon] with a Gibson Firebird and my buddy Doug [Kauer] built it.
“So you can see it's got the TV Jones Filtertron pickups, the back-painted gold/clear bits [such as the scratchplate] and he did this beautiful job on the gold binding around the edges. It's very accurate. I love this thing, I used it on pretty much the entire new record, Great Western Valkyrie."
Kauer Banshee (Ike)
"I decided I had to take extra guitars on the road, so I called Doug Kauer again and said, 'I need another guitar - just loan me another guitar to back-up Excalibur.'
"And he said, 'I don't have anything to loan. But, I can't believe I'm going to do this, I'll build you a guitar in six days to take on the road.'
So he built me my newest best friend in this beautiful Cadillac Green, also modelled after the Gretsch thing. This one's called Ike, and it's wonderful. Who builds a guitar in six days that's this great!? Doug Kauer does, that's who!"
Orange OR50 heads (pair)
"Here we are at the loudness area of the rig. I was using some Thunderverbs a while back, but now I'm using these beloved Orange OR50s.
“I use a pair of them. One of them [clad in black tolex] for very dirty, big and extremely ballsy tones and the second one [in white tolex] for slightly-less ballsy and more sensitive sounds. That's it, it's quite simple. A dirty one, a clean one - both OR50s - and set to maximum stun."
Orange cabinet/Radial Tonebone Switchbone/Plexi-glass baffle
"I run both of the heads into a Radial Tonebone Switchbone and that allows me to plug both heads into one cabinet.
"I'm just using the bottom cab, the beautiful white one. Then I've got my glass plexi sheet so I don't kill the guys [next to me onstage]!"
"These are my robot friends. Usually people like to hide this stuff, but I decided a couple of years back, 'Why hide it?'
"It cost a lot of money, it's very individual and there are a lot of choices. So now I'm going to show you everything and if you want to go buy it, you can and spend a million-billion dollars, like me."
Custom Audio Electronics Dual Inductor Wah
"I've used several wahs throughout time, but this is the one that I'm using right now.
"It's really good. It's got a couple of inductors [giving a choice of high or low-mid emphasis], it's got a boost on it and it's got a cool graphic on top - so it must work good!"
Analog Man King Of Tone
"Right above the wah is the Analog Man King Of Tone. It's the version four King Of Tone, which is coveted. It's a wonderful overdrive - beautiful."
Keeley Time Machine Boost
"Widely used in this band for all of the early records [2009's Before The Fire and 2011's Pressure And Time] is the Keeley Time Machine Boost.
"It's basically like an old Dallas Rangemaster [the sought-after 60s treble-booster made popular by the likes of Brian May and Tony Iommi]. It's hardwired and it's got a Germanium tranny in it. It's awesome."
Z.Vex Fuzz Probe
"This is one of my favourite pedals on the board. Look how good it looks, it's got a giant copper plate, funny graphics and it's organic, so it's really great.
"It's kind of like a theremin built-into a germanium fuzz. It's distracting, freakish and hard to control - I love it!"
Zap! "mystery pedal"
"This is the mystery pedal. What could be inside that box? Well, I won't tell you, but it's called 'Zap!' and that's basically what it does: it zaps ya! It's a fuzz I use on basically everything."
Electro-Harmonix Micro POG
"Everybody knows this one! It's the Electro-Harmonix Micro POG [octave pedal] and I think everybody knows where that goes in our set."
Basic Audio Gnarly Fuzz
"Another mystery box. What could it be? I am going to tell you what this one does: it's a Basic Audio Gnarly Fuzz. I use this on a lot of the earlier stuff, too, as well as some of the newer songs."
Orange amp switch pedal
"This just switches me between the two OR50 heads. As I told you earlier, I use the two for a clean and a dirty sound and that's how I get it."
Way Huge Ringworm
"This is a Ring Modulator made by the wonderful people at Way Huge. It's also difficult to control, unpredictable... What will it do next? We do not know..."
KR Effects Megavibe Phaser
"This is probably one of the best production - if you could call it that. It's just one guy, Kevin Randall, who builds these - Uni-Vibe clones.
"[Ed - hear an original used to great effect by Jimi Hendrix on Machine Gun]. It's called a Megavibe and he makes a big box one like the original and also this small one, which is super-duper accurate."
Dunlop Volume Pedal
"It's a volume pedal. There's nothing much more to say about that. It's not that exciting, but it's a Dunlop volume pedal and it works great."
"This is just a little tuner that I rarely use, because I've got a wonderful tech, Mr Chris Draper, who does a great job.
"But it looks cool, it spins around and it makes my 'board look great!"
"This is something I got when we started touring [third album] Head Down. It's the Strymon Flint and I get reverb and tremolo sounds out of this."
"Above it is one of my oldest and trustiest tremolo pedals, the Demeter Tremulator, which was originally built for Ry Cooder to emulate the Fender Tremolo. I love it."
Option 5 Destination Rotation
"This one is actually out of production. It's the first one he made - my buddy Jay Woods over in the US built that.
"I've had it modded, if you can see, I don't want any of the knobs, except the gain knob, so he plugged it up for me. It's been working ever since I got it years and years ago and does a kind of rotary Leslie speaker effect."
Way Huge Aqua Puss
"One of the best-named pedals on the 'board - the Aqua Puss. It is an analog delay that we use for all sorts of, well, delay!"
Line 6 DL-4
"I'm sure everybody will be very familiar with this, it's the Line 6 DL-4.
"I had mine modded by [noted US effects guru] Robert Keeley and he put better lights in it - so that must make it cooler - as well as improving all of the sound, so there's no noise. The floor to noise ratio is really, really good."
Modded Dunlop Volume pedal
"This pedal looks just like the one over [on the right of the board], but my good buddies over at Dunlop turned it into an expression pedal for the DL-4.
"So there you go... That's the robots! Now get the cheque book out and go and buy it!"
Want to see/hear more from Scott? Watch our full rig tour video below...