The Proclaimers Gear Breakdown

I had the pleasure of catching up with Zac Ware of the Proclaimers to discuss what equipment they are using on their current UK tour

by | Oct 19, 2018

I managed to catch up with The Proclaimers on their first leg of their UK tour in the wonderful venue of St David’s Hall in Cardiff, my home City, to see what gear they use for their live shows.

Barring an electro acoustic guitar, the brothers, Charlie and Craig, don’t use much gear themselves so I had the great pleasure of speaking with their guitarist and ‘main gear guy’ Zac Ware, who was happy to run through their set up with me after soundcheck.

 

So, first I asked Zac to run through the guitars he uses…

 

 ‘I use a Fender Telecaster that’s a bit of a Franken-Monster, it’s got an 80’s body and a 70’s neck, it’s got rebuilt pickups from bare knuckles using original cases etc. So that’s my main guitar…’

‘The pickups were originally 50’s but so much touring destroyed them and they got damp so I’ve ended up having them rewired using the same gauge wire and the same amount of winds as the original so they’ve ended up being rebuilt as they were.’

‘I’ve got a Japanese bound Tele that I use mainly for then I met you because it’s a real Country sounding song. I’ve got my trusty Les Paul which has still got it’s old punk rock strap on it. I’ve always been a Les Paul player, I bought this back in 1999 so I’ve had it about 20 years. This is my favourite guitar but it doesn’t get used much with the Proclaimers because they are a Tele band, but I try and squeeze it in as much as possible. Oh, and I have one more back up Les Paul too, which I used to use a lot more on our last tour because there were a couple of tunes back to back that had different tuning and capo positions.’

‘The acoustic guitars are all Taylors, and there’s a 12 string one in there too which Charlie uses on make my heart fly.’

The bass player uses a ’78 Fender Precision with an Ashdown amp, he’s had it for years and years, a real work horse and a beautiful sounding instrument.’

‘There’s a Mandolin by Jimmy Moon in Glasgow. It’s very folky, bright sound, flat back but there’s no arch holes in it so you don’t get that softness of say the classic Gibson type Mandolin, which means it’s great for that really bright folk sound’
‘And then there’s a pedal steel, the pedal steel was made by Ron Bennett, I bought it off Jerry Hogan who did the original pedal steel recording of Sunshine on Leith, and did the original tour and had a music shop. Unfortunately it’s not the actual one off Sunshine on Leith, but it’s in nice Hibernian Green! When I blagged the gig I actually had to learn how to play pedal steel, and I had a few months to get it together. I borrowed one initially for the audition.’
‘And that uses a boss pedal which has a buffer in it and keeps the output even.’
‘And that’s all run through a Peavey Nashville 112 amp which is designed for pedal steel.’

What guitar amps do you use?

‘The beasts in the back that drive the thing….1965 Jennings Vox AC30 rebuilt by Time Travel Audio who deal with all of my gear. They basically rebuilt it all, i’ve got totally original components in it’
‘And then a 1974 Fender Twin which I basically run alongside the Vox giving the sound man a bit of variation out front if he needs it’

Dive into the pedalboard for me…

‘I’ve got 5 pedals built by Time Travel Audio. I’ve got what they call the hich drive (this may be spelled incorrectly) which is a distortion pedal, it’s quite bright and has a sharp attack. They built me a space monkey reverb, a little tremolo, a compressor and a delay. These pedals are built like military grade. When you look inside they are a work of art how they are constructed. Alongside that I run a Hot Cake and an MXR pedal. I have an Electro Harmonix POG for an octaver, which i’ve started to use in you make me happy, in the recording I did duel guitars, a high and low one so this pedal allows me to do both on stage.

And then we have the Mandolin tuner and bypass built into the pedalboard going into a DI underneath which uses phantom power, so basically i’ve got everything on my system, if for any reason the amps go down I can switch straight to the DI and go direct into the desk.

Keyboards?

‘Stevie uses a Hammond XK3 and one of those new Nord Stage‘s. He uses a Roland and a small Leslie so he doesn’t have to cart around a full sized Leslie on tour….’

What about the drummer?

‘He uses a Premier Red Sparkle’

Editor note ** I’m not 100% sure it’s actually called a ‘Red Sparkle!’ **

And with that, Zac left me for the confines of the green room.

It was great getting an insight into the gear that The Proclaimers use, and even better catching a sound check version of Sunshine on Leith.

You can check out any upcoming tour dates here.

Keep an eye out for more gear breakdowns with some of the UK’s best bands. Also, be sure to check out our other articles on audio gear and our section on helpful tips on getting into the music industry.

Please do leave any comments below.

Zac Ware Touring Rig Video 2015

John has been in and out of bands all his life, toured and recorded in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues and studio’s. Also worked on stage with some of the world’s biggest acts setting up amps and breaking down stages.

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