Mike Hatfield, guitarist, pianist, and vocalist for the heavy hitting hard rock act Modern Superstar, recently took a moment out of his busy schedule to speak with me about the gear he uses to obtain his raw, raunchy sound. Mike walked us through his Marshall amp and Gibson Les Paul… here’s how the conversation went.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Mike: A Marshall JCM 2000/TSL 100 and a Gibson Les Paul Standard.

What about it makes it so important to you?
Mike: The raw raunchy sound of the Marshall and the Les Paul fits my style perfectly, which is raw and raunchy, LOL. It lets the energy of the strumming and picking come through more than any other amp and guitar combination that I’ve tried. And I’ve tried a lot, but this classic combination is the Holy Grail for me. Pure unaltered “Rock n Roll”!

What are the major pros and cons?
Mike: The TSL 100 has 3 channel switching. The clean channel is crystal clear while the rhythm and lead channels are basically the same, but can be set at different volumes, tone and gain. This comes in handy when you have a sound engineer at a live show that might not be familiar with our material so I can boost my sound onstage when needed. The cons… the Les Paul is heavy and you can feel it after a show.

How long have you had it? How do you use it? Would you ever change it for something else?
Mike: I’ve been using this combination for 12 years. I have had slight modifications done to the amp by a company out of New York called “Voo Doo Amps”. They made it more “road worthy”. I don’t use any pedal/rack stuff with this combination. I would use a lot of different pre-amps, equalizers and things of that nature. But now it’s just my Les Paul plugged into the Marshall and go! If I needed another sound for the music Modern Superstar was creating, I wouldn’t hesitate to try other things. In fact I have other guitars and amps and when recording I sometimes do try other things. But I always seem to come back to this combination. I would never tour without it.

Any final thoughts on the gear?
Mike: This combination has been around a long time, and for good reason… But like a lot of guitarist, I wanted something unique and different. So I spent a lot of time looking… But this combination does let MY sound and playing style come through.

Check out the song “Hollywood Dirty”