Sikth guitarist Pin is one of the very select group of Blackmachine B2 owners, and it turns out he was an early convert...
Starting the Machine
“Initially Doug [Campbell], who is the sole entity of Black Machine, turned up at a show we were doing in London. He pretty much appeared with two Ritter soft cases and two [guitars] in there. He rocked up and said, ‘You’ve got to try these out’.
“More than anything just getting hold of one just felt right for me. I came from that SuperStrat kind of thing but I think I tired of dealing with Floyd Roses. To have the hardtail just felt comfortable.”
“It’s ebony [top], ebony fretboard, a swamp ash body, ivoroid binding, rosewood neck with ebony fillets… I went a bit different with my other B2 - that’s mahogany bodied with a sapele top and the same rosewood neck but with snakewood fingerboard. That one sounds quite different and it’s also insanely thin.
“This is a slim guitar, that one is pretty much neck [deep]. I could talk for hours about how Doug thinks about things. His philosophy is looking at density and how he got this tone. Basically, this Swamp ash, being a lighter wood, is thicker, the mahogany being denser wood is thinner.”
“These pickups are what Doug designed for himself, effectively. They’re made by a company called ASL [Ask Scott-Lockyer] and they’re pretty low output for me. I was very dubious having come from playing guitars with EMGs but rapidly disliking the feel, through to playing Bare Knuckles.
“Doug said, ‘You’ve got to give this a go - let me take your output down.’ So I did and the dynamics and the effect of the volume knob and the controls… I think they clean up and give some amazing tones with the coil tap, and I believe their alnico magnet as opposed to ceramic.”
“I like experimenting with tunings but with Sikth we adjust the bottom string a lot. Our [main] tuning is based on being a half step down and we predominantly play G# at the bottom [G# -G# -C# -F# -A# -D# ] which gives a heavier feel.
“People always ask why we never used seven-strings and quite frankly for us it was never comfortable and we felt we had the dynamics. Not having the extra string enables us to jump a lot more. We do a lot of tapping so getting to the highs and lows is done that way [with the tuning] so we don’t need that additional string.”