Equipment Checklist:

 

September 17, 2012 update:

I am entering into a “partial” retirement, so most of the equipment listed here will be sold. The prices will be fair because I want to sell it fast rather than holding out for the best offer, but keep in mind that most of this equipment is highest quality for professional use, so it will be priced accordingly. If you are interested in anything, email me at tsmerk@sdccd.edu and I’ll be happy to answer questions or arrange for you to look at the equipment.

September 1, 2012 update:

New equipment added: Yamaha Pacifica EG-112 “Strat HSS” electric guitar, another Shure Beta 58 microphone, a great sounding RMS 912FTW 12 inch 150 watt monitor / flying PA speaker, Sansui 2 way SS-20 8 ohm headphones (with both volume and tone controls!), Olson dynamic stereo headphones (cool vintage vibe!), homemade 9V battery practice amp in small Epiphone cabinet, assorted microphone stands.

April 3, 2009 update:

I left all of the information below as sort of a "historical" reference, but a lot has changed since I originally created this page.

On October 21, 2007, my house, my studio, and all my equipment and possessions were destroyed by the "Harris" fire during one of the worst firestorms in California history. Everything described below is gone except for 3 items, which I had with me in my car at the time of the fire: My Carvin AE-185 guitar, my Shure Beta-58 microphone, and my Jay Turser vintage-style Classic 25-RC guitar amp.

Since then, I have purchased the following equipment so I can get back to work:

For the time being, the "Audio Barn" recording studio will occupy bedroom #3 in the new house until I can afford to have a separate building constructed. Because all of my MIDI backing tracks were destroyed in the fire, I am no longer performing as a single entertainer for dances. I am, however, available to perform folk & blues music as an acoustic act, and am also available to play with other bands, any style of music.

As always, thanks for your interest in my career!

Here are some photos of my new equipment for those of your who enjoy learning about amps and guitars:

Here are the guitars I am currently using:

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: altilio_steel

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: altilio_nylon

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: carvin

Dan Altilio handmade steel-string acoustic-electric

Dan Altilio handmade nylon-string acoustic-electric

Carvin AE-185 acoustic-electric

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: martin1

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: martin2

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: heritage

Martin D-42 K2 all koa acoustic guitar with Fishman preamp system

Closeup of the flamed Hawaiian koa wood top

Heritage Golden Eagle acoustic-electric “jazz” guitar

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: riviera

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: sunlite

1967 Epiphone Riviera guitar with Seymour Duncan pickups and stop tailpiece

Sunlite GW-2400GCP electric/acoustic bass with Shadow pickup

1974 Garcia Grade #3 nylon string classical guitar

Epiphone Power Bass electric solid-body P-J bass

Stagg SW205-12N 12-string acoustic guitar

2000 Robertson and Sons 4/4 Handmade Violin

 

Caravelle BBb Tuba

Blessing Trumpet

Groove Percussion 5-piece
Drum Set

 

 

Deering Goodtime 2
5-string banjo

Yamaha Electronic MIDI Keyboard
(Photo coming soon)

Story & Clark Console Piano
(Photo coming soon)

And here are some pictures of my guitar amps:

1967 Fender Twin Reverb

1980’s Music Man RD-50 with EV speaker

Jay Turser Classic 25-RC

Top view of the Jay Turser amp

Ampeg BA-115 bass amplifier

Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

June 2006 update (None of the following information is accurate because the fire destroyed all of the equipment mentioned. I am leaving the information on the page as a "historic" overview):

You'll notice below that in March 1966 I was playing a Silvertone guitar and amplifier. I kept the amplifier until May and traded the guitar in November of that same year. Last week I had the pleasure of purchasing the exact same model guitar (Silvertone 1478L 2-pickup "Jaguar") and amplifier (Silvertone 1482 15-watt 1X12") as a "set" from a local (San Diego) collector. Talk about a trip back to the past! I owe a debt of thanks to Robert who realized that I was not looking for such equipment at the time, so I was financially not in a good position to be buying more equipment. He made me a deal that was quite fair, and I have been happy ever since with both pieces of equipment. When I used the amp in 1966, it wasn't loud enough to use in a combo, but since then it has gained a reputation as a "blues" amp because of the warm distortion it gives when cranked up. I still wouldn't use it on a gig, but I might use it on a recording some day if I need a nice fat blues sound. The guitar turned out to be better than I remembered it to be, and I would have no reservations about using this guitar on a gig. I played some `60's songs and some surf music at a rehearsal this week, and it has the perfect tone for that type of music. I will probably take this to a few gigs as a backup guitar and try to play it once in awhile for sentimental value.

From the beginning . . .

My first guitar was a second-hand Stella acoustic. My dad paid $15 for this back in 1963 or 1964. When I was ready to play in bands in 1965, we bought one of the Sears (Danelectro) Silvertone guitars that had the amplifier built into the case - the one pickup black sparkle one! This seems to have been the first electric guitar for a lot of famous guitarists. Shortly after that (March 1966), I graduated into a nice 2-pickup Sears (Harmony) Silvertone "Jaguar" style guitar and a 15-watt amp. As my playing improved, I moved up to a new Fender Pro-Reverb amplifier in May 1966 and traded the guitar on a Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean in November 1966. This is the guitar I used until 1972, when I bought a Gibson ES-345TDC stereo guitar. The Gibson was my main guitar through the `70's until I bought a new Fender Telecaster in 1979. I used the Telecaster all through the `80's and `90's. At one point, I had a 1958 Gibson L5-CES stereo with PAF humbucking pickups and the original case. I sold that for $1500 one day when our family really needed the money. What a fool I was - that guitar today is worth $25,000!

During the late `60's and throughout the `70's, I used dozens of amplifiers, such as Fenders (Bandmaster, Super reverb, Twin Reverb, Dual Showman, Super Showman, Vibrolux reverb, etc.), Kustom, Sunn and a few others. Then I swapped an old Gibson 55 amp for a Norlin Lab L9 in 1979, and I loved that amp so much I used it all through the `80's and `90's. Somewhere around 1999 or 2000, I picked up a used Yamaha G100-112 (100 watt solid state amp with a HD 12" speaker). I've wanted one of these since I used to sell them in the early 1980's at Thearle Music. Then I bought a new Fender Twin Reverb "1965 reissue" in 2003. This has to be the best amp in the world! But something even better was around the corner. In 2004, I visited with Joe, the guy I sold my Fender Pro-Reverb amp to back in 1968. I asked about it, and he said it was stored in his attic, no longer working. He gave it to me. I spent $750 or $800 to get it playing the way I wanted, and now I am reunited with my first "good" amp! I recorded "Vandrell Stomp" with the Vandrells way back in 1966 using this amp, so I thought it would be fun to re-release that tune, so I just re-recorded "Vandrell Stomp" on my new CD. I used the same amp to record the song that I did on the original recording almost 40 years ago! I also have a Silvertone 100 watt 2X12" solid-state amp from around 1966 that I picked up along the way. Most of my amps are now for sale - let me know if you are looking for a good amp!

Over the years, I have used a lot of different guitars such as those I just mentioned, plus a Gibson L7C, Fender Stratocasters, Gretsch Anniversary, a Rickenbacker 340, a Fender Telecaster Custom, a Fender Telecaster thinline, a Fender Electric 12-string, a Hofner 175 solid body, a Tune electric bass, and several Ibanez and Epiphone guitars.

I currently play on a Martin 000-28EC (Eric Clapton Signature Model) acoustic with a Fishman Acoustic Matrix I pickup, a Carvin AE185 acoustic-electric with Alan Holdsworth pickups (it's like a light-weight hollow-body Telecaster), Hofner New President arch-top electric acoustic (jazz guitar), a vintage Harmony H78 electric with 3 D'Armond pickups (this guitar has some awesome tone!), an Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass model (jazz guitar), a Seagull acoustic 12-string acoustic, an Ibanez AS-50 thinline electric (like a Gibson ES-335), a Martin Sigma DT-22 dreadnaught, and my 1978 Fender Telecaster, which I still use occasionally for recording blues or country. I have a nice Les Paul solid body guitar. It is not a Gibson, I built it myself from parts. The body and neck are probably vintage "lawsuit era" Aria or similar, it has special-order Seymour Duncan split-coil (parallel or series) humbucking pickups. All hardware is genuine Gibson except the tuning keys which are Grover Imperial. It has a coil parallel-serial selector switch for each pickup, one volume and one tone control. The case is a genuine Gibson Victoria hard case. This instrument is for sale. I also have an old 1970 Yamaha FG-150 acoustic guitar that I played in college, an Art & Lutherie "Ami" parlor guitar, a nylon string M. Horabe Model 40 classical guitar with a Shadow bridge saddle pickup, and a Tune electric bass, which is a high-end Japanese instrument with active electronics that was built to compete with Alembic.

My current amplifier selection includes my 1966 Fender Pro Reverb (the one I bought new in May 1966), the "1965 Reissue" Fender Twin Reverb, a Fender Blues Deluxe "tweed" amp, the Norlin Lab L9, the Yamaha G100-112, and a Jay Turser vintage-style Classic 25-RC practice & recording amp. For bass, I use a Behringer Ultrabass BX1200.

My vocal microphone is a Shure Beta-58, and I mike the guitar amp with a Shure SM-57. My basic sound system consists of a Carvin PA-1200 12-channel mixer with 3 self-contained 333 watt amps, 2 Cetec-Gauss 15" speaker cabinets with Acoustic horns, and a Carvin 12" monitor, and a Roland M-GS64 Sound Expander synthesizer sound module connected to a Compaq computer by a Key MIDI interface. The microphone plugs in to a Digitech Vocalist VHM5 Vocalist harmonizer to split the vocal signal into 2 and 3 part harmonies.

The pedal effects I use are an Ernie Ball volume pedal, a Pro-Co Rat distortion, Digitech digital delay, Danelectro "Tuna Melt" tremolo, KMD chorus and a KMD phase shifter. I sometimes use an Ibanez Graphic EQ or a Boss Octave Splitter. The effects, are mounted to a pedal board.

My studio also includes a 5-piece drum set and two Yamaha keyboards, plus recording equipment, a stereo system, and a microwave and refrigerator!

If you took the time to read all this, then you must be a musician! I wanted to elaborate a little because I think equipment decisions affect the overall sound. While I definitely agree that an experienced musician can coax good music out of even the worst equipment, I have noticed that I can get a sound closer to what I am looking for by changing a guitar or an amp. I usually take 3 or 4 guitars with me on a gig. To get a good jazz sound, I grab a big-bodied jazz arch-top. For blues and rock, I like my Carvin, for folk and country swing I play the Martin, and the old 1966 Harmony is a great rock-a-billy guitar. Turning to amplifiers, the new Fender Twin-Reverb is super clean and super loud, but the 1966 Fender Pro-Reverb or my 40 watt tweed Fender Blues Deluxe has a warmer tone. Even if this all sounds like a bit too much (and perhaps it is), I must admit I like to collect guitars and amps. If you know of any for sale that I might be interested in. please let me know. Thanks!

"What would you like to do next?"

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Back to Home Page

Back to the Home Page

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: The Starting Line

Check out "The Starting Line"

Copyright © 1996-2013 by Thomas M. Smerk