Star Board: Elliot Easton

EASTON_01Elliot Easton’s “Pedalboard”

Though Elliot Easton enjoys his loaded full-size Pedaltrain board, his new band, The Empty Hearts (with Clem Burke, Wally Palmar, and Andy Babiuk), does a lot of fly-in concerts, so… “Since I have to schlep my stuff to the airport, it’s gotta be lightweight!” he said. “My pedal boards are built by Nick Conti at Tonetronix, and they’re neat as a pin and wired for the best possible signal chain regardless of the physical order of the pedals. Nick has turned me on to quite a few great pedals. This board is a Pedaltrain Jr. and includes 1) a Line 6 Verbzilla reverb, 2) MXR Carbon Copy analog delay, 3) ISP Decimator II noise reduction, and 4) a JangleBox compressor. Along the bottom are 5) a Tech 21 RotoChoir, 6) Hermida Audio Zen Drive, 7) MI Audio Crunch Box, and 8) a TC Electronic Polytune. They’re powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 mounted on the underside of the board. “Each is there because I think it’s great; the Verbzilla offers pretty much every type of reverb – in stereo – while the Carbon Copy is a fantastic-sounding delay – very tape-like and with a modulation effect that can be applied to the echo. The Decimator II keeps everything quiet without cutting off note decay or tone. I use a LOT of gain sometimes! The JangleBox is a compressor/treble boost designed to give a 12-string/Byrds-like jangle, but in this band I use it on a six-string when I play my sort-of-pedal-steel-like country licks. The RotoChoir is a simulator that has that Leslie grind, if you want, and sounds much cooler and organic than a regular chorus pedal. The Zen Drive has been called a ‘Dumble in a box.’ I don’t know about that, but it’s a wonderful overdrive. The Crunch Box is my ‘Marshall in a box!’ It’s the greatest distortion pedal I’ve ever played. Last is the Polytune, a polyphonic tuner. You just hit the switch, which mutes your signal, then strum all six strings at once. It instantly shows which strings are out of tune, cutting tune-up time to a minimum. 

“I’ve been playing through a Marshall JCM 800 half-stack, plugged into the low-sensitivity input and with the tone set up to be big, fat, clean and twangy – kind of like a giant Deluxe Reverb! I use the pedals for distortion and overdrive, so I can always get back to a clean tone for the country-flavored stuff and more-poppy sounds. It’s a great rig, very flexible.”

Hear Elliot’s pedalboard on the road along with the rest of The Empty Hearts, he says they are “playing lots of shows and hope to get to your city soon!”

Elliot Easton


This article is from VG Signal Chain issue #17. All copyrights are by Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.