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My Lowden and IPhoto: yanina moiseenko

I have a Lowden, and two Takamine acoustic / electric guitars that I use for live and studio work. I also have a Seagull I bought in a junk shop in Zizkov (Prague) for £40.

The Seagull was pretty battered when I bought it, but was brought back to life by Malcolm Miles .. he also put a Martin piezo pickup in it. It sounds pretty damn good.

The Lowden is my number one guitar for live work and recording, and sounds
absolutely fantastic. It's an 035 Premier model (ser # 12296) with Rosewood back and sides. Its approximate year of manufacture is 2001.

It was bought as an acoustic guitar, at Rose-Morris in Denmark Street, London
in early February of 2004. I have fitted a Seymour Duncan MagMic pickup to it, in place of the Fishman I had originally had. The Fishman sounds good, but in my opinion, not as good and as true as the MagMic plus the Fishman can be sooo temperamental.

I bought my first Takamine in 1979. At the time, there was a straight choice between Ovation and Takamine, and I bought an EF375S model because I was knocked out by its sound. From memory it cost a fortune .. about £350!

Takamine were an almost unknown name outside Japan and the US, but I read in Guitar magazine that Ry Cooder had been acting in an advisory capacity to the company, so that helped to influence my decision.

When I play electric guitar I have an old Tokai Strat copy that I bought from pretty much the first shipment (out of the back of Eric Dixon's Luton Transit van fresh from the docks at Southampton). I used to have a Fender but sold it as I preferred the Tokai!

I also have a 12-string guitar - it's a Godin A12 (acoustic/electric) with a
Lloyd Baggs
pickup in the bridge in very sexy black and it sounds great.

I run my guitars through a custom made pedal board that is comprised of :

* a Boss TU2 Tuner,
* a Washburn Analog Delay
* a T-Rex Engineering Tremster Tremolo and
* a TC Electronics Phaser XII
I route all of this through a SansAmp Acoustic DI box when I use the Lowden, if I use the Takamines, I route the board through a Session/Award MB11 pre-amp to minimise that nasal mid range quality that piezos can have

In Prague, live, I'm using an old Trace Elliot TA50 combo that I bought second hand in a shop in Lichfield Staffs (S and J Music) for £125 ... lucky me. I connect both my guitar and mic to it and use it in smaller venues. It's remarkably powerful and the sound is outstanding. On bigger gigs I use the Trace in conjunction with a great sounding Yamaha powered extension speaker MS150 that has a 12inch driver and an RCF horn.

My guitars are set up and repaired by the hugely talented Malcolm Miles in New Malden SW London (020 - 8942-1965).
If that's your neck of the woods, phone him, he's the best luthier I've ever used.

String wise, I used to use D'Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze strings (12 to 53), but Charlie Chandler (020 8973 1441)
recommended Pyramid Strings to me and as of August 2003 I've been using them ever since.
The gauges are 12 to 52 but the string tension is less and really suits fingerstyle guitar they have a longer life and great tone.
I buy them online at www.thomann.de for about £7 a set cheaper .. sorry Charlie.

My vocal microphone is a Beyer M88, I used this mic for 15 years... it's fantastic.

For an even warmer sound, I route my mic via the send/return through a Behringer Ultragain Tube Pre-Amp.
Incidentally, I swapped the Behringer installed Chinese made valve (12AX7) first for a Groove Tubes one, and then most recently (03/01/2007) for a vintage used Mullard ECC83 I bought from repair man Henry Hopley (something of a vintage item himself) :-).

On HereAfter the vocals were recorded using either a Neumann 47 (that used to belong to Barclay Studios in Paris)
or a Neumann 67.

I also use Czech made "Brain" nylon picks and G7th capos which are English designed and built and are utterly wonderful!.

The Takamine EF-375s has recently undergone some fairly major surgery .. gone is the second generation Takamine pre-amp (the first and original one was pretty much a volume and tone slider and the tracking wore out) to be replaced by a Takamine "CoolTube" pre-amp (at a cost of almost what the guitar was in the first place) that includes an on board tuner and a valve .. or toob .. and the Americans prefer. Sound great and has a number of real neat features .. watch the youtube clip!!