Michael Schenker & Dynamics

Posted: August 13, 2010 by Paul H in Tips & Tricks
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Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 3.31.10 PMThe other day I visited my old band mate Carmine Appice who is playing drums with Michael Schenker on his 30th Anniversary US Tour. They were playing at a small club just south of Seattle. I hung out in the bus for awhile with Carmine, but never got to see Michael, he’s pretty reclusive. Anyway, when they played we were up close and personal, my wife and I were standing about 3 feet away from Michael. One thing that always impresses me about Michael Schenker is his concentration. He is so focused on the music, I don’t think he even looked over at us once. His playing was unbelievable as always. He has never morphed his style, he’s unaffected by what other guitar players are doing. Michael Schenker is one of the true artistic guitarists of our time.

George Lynch’s Lynch Mob was the support band, and of course, George was shredding and as always great. I’m a fan, however, I noticed a key difference between these two guitarists: Michael’s use of dynamics; and I don’t only mean volume levels.

Michael uses stacato, legato, long notes, short notes, fast notes, slow notes, beautiful vibrato and incredible melodies as well as unbelievably fast flurries. His equipment is simple; although he had two stacks on stage I think he was using only one 4X12 regular Marshall cabinet and head, nothing really special. Michael plays his signature Dean Flying V guitar with some Boss Chorus pedals for clean sounds and some Boss delay pedals for leads, also a Boss FV500H that I think he was using as an expression pedal to adjust the delay. And, of course his Cry Baby Wah Wah which he uses less for wah and more for tone.

George Lynch on the other hand,  had great tone, but he had about 5 different boutique heads, boutique pedals, and as much tweaky gear as I’ve ever seen him use. Don’t get me wrong, George is great player and has great tone, but this illustrates yet again that you don’t need all that tricky gear. Michael’s set up was probably worth about $10,000 less than George’s but, as always, Michael’s tone just stood out.

Michael Schenker reminds me that you don’t need to jump around and do a wild show, all you really need to do is focus in on the music and play great, and your equipment is a very small part of your sound.

Here’s a couple pics of Michael’s pedal board and  Michael playing that I took with my phone.

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