Guitar Player, January 1991

Leo Kottke:  Acoustic Pioneer Shifts Gears

By Mark Hanson

Leo's Gear -- Page 2

      "Over the years I've gone from heavy strings to pretty light ones on the 6-string.  The low E is a .050; the first is a .012."  As he has in the past, Kottke continues to use nickel-wound strings.

      Like many fingerstyle acoustic players, Leo has left guitar microphones behind, no longer willing to deal with their idiosyncrasies during live performance.  He's settled on a combination of a Sunrise magnetic pickup and a Baggs piezo transducer to amplify his onstage 6- and 12-string Taylors.   Blended, the two pickups produce a robust, clear yet natural sound from both instruments.

      The Sunrise signal runs to a rack-mounted Pendulum HZ-10 acoustic guitar preamp, whose module plugs into the Taylor's endpin jack and is equipped with a volume control for convenient adjustment.  Located in the rack just below the Pendulum is an Alesis Microverb looped to the preamp.  "I use the Microverb sparingly," Kottke says, "and only if the hall I'm playing really needs it."  The output of the Pendulum is connected to a Demeter Tube Direct box, which transforms the signal to low impedance for the run to the mixing console.

      The signal from the Baggs piezo transducer is routed from a separate endpin jack.  (When Leo switches guitars in performance, he unplugs two cables from one guitar and plugs them both into the other.)  Next in line is a Countryman direct box, used to convert the high-impedance signal for the run to the console.

      One of Kottke's more interesting accessories is his slide, which is made from heavy brass tubing and is slightly flanged on one end.  He wears it on his pinky, with the flanged end near the finger's base.  He hopes to help market a brass slide using the single-flange design in the near future.  The End.

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