Guitarist Jon Bodan of the Atlanta, Georgia-based metal act Halcyon Way spoke to me recently about the gear he uses to achieve his unique, punishing brand of technical melodic metal. Here is how the conversation went.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Jon: Agh, I can’t really narrow it down to just one thing, but I get my signature tone from my Brian Moore Custom Shop C90 guitar with EMG 81/85 wired at 18v. Then I go into my Ibanez Tube Screamer, a noise reduction pedal, and then my Framus Cobra. I get tone and gain for days, but it’s really clean and well defined. In the studio I have a Fractal Audio Axe-FX Standard and I love that thing, it’s the best amp simulator on the market, bar none, except for perhaps the new Axe-FX II they just came out with.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Jon: A lot of the guitar riffs in Halcyon Way are pretty technical and unforgiving for a sloppy player. So it’s essential that the guitar tone complement the riffs so the nuances come out. My setup gives my guitar riffs a lot of bite and the individual notes pop out like they should.
What are the major pros and cons?
Jon: It’s a really high-gain setup, so it’s noisy. A noise gate is totally essential here, the pickups at 18v are super hot, and then you boost it with the Tube Screamer, and then it’s going into a nuclear high-gain Framus head… so some noise is to be expected!
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Jon: I’ve been using various Brian Moore guitars for about 10 years – they made my main one to my specs about a year ago, but I’ve got 5 of them. I’ve been using the Framus for a couple years now and am happy to be one of their newest endorsees! I’m really happy with the tone I’m getting at the moment, so I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear.
Jon: I’ve always been one to not go down the normal beaten path with things, and Brian Moore and Framus are not exactly household names like, say, Marshall or Ibanez, but I really believe that their products are as good as or superior to anything out there. I would encourage any player to check both of them out.
Check out the song: “Rise To Revise”