My studio – a tour

I’m always really curious about how people organize their work environments, because (to me) it can reflect so closely what they’re working towards artistically (and if The medium is the message, then the context from which that message sprung is doubly important). I took a picture of my studio and labeled it below with more information about how everything fits together. My setup is fairly modular, and is always changing (right now it’s focused more on editing and demos, occasionally it veers more towards recording). Favorite workspaces? Hit me up in the comments and let me know.



  1. Glockenspiel
  2. Flight case for keyboard (never get an instrument without a decent case)
  3. Pick Puncher – like a hole punch, but in the shape of a guitar pick. A perfect way to make those unused loyalty cards useful.
  4. Fender Super Champ XD – most of my guitar recording is DI, and I take it to a studio later to reamp at a higher volume. I use an amp to both monitor and excite the guitar (reamping a guitar that wasn’t originally played with an amp in the room sounds pretty strange)
  5. Ibanez Artcore (6-string electric hollowbody). I traded an old microphone for this and a really weird amplifier (that I call the fart machine, which I’ll talk about later). The hollow body makes it really useful for getting feedback tones, which is mostly what I use it for.
  6. Seagull Excursion (12-string acoustic with stock onboard pickup). This pickup also has a tone control on the top with a tuner on it, which is super useful for a 12-string (oh, the tuning). Seagull is the budget model of Godin guitars, based out of Canada. I’ve used their guitars for a while (and endorse for them). When I needed an acoustic 12-string for a recording I called them up and they sent this over, and it’s gotten a ton of use both recording and live.
  7. Martin 000-15S (6-string acoustic). This is my primary acoustic guitar for recording, so I don’t keep a pickup in it. It came to me from Action Music in Falls Church, where I had an Excalibur-like moment when I started playing it.
  8. Squier Bass Guitar. This is a fabulously crappy bass I got about ten years ago (and have yet to change the strings on). The action is really high, which is great for getting those P-bass sounds, but the intonation is so bad that I only use it for demos.
  9. Mike Ramsey “Woody” Banjo (5-string, open-back banjo). Mike Ramsey makes ridiculously beautiful instruments out of his Chantrelle workshop in Pittsboro, NC. Its got a really nice, earthy tone when played without fingerpicks, and has been used on a bunch of recordings. Unfortunately it’s a little fragile, so I don’t take it out on the road.
  10. Seagull S6 Folk (6-string acoustic). This is my beater acoustic (as should be evident by the lacquer on the neck that’s been mostly worn off). I’ve got an LR Baggs Anthem pickup in there, which is decent, but still pretty synthetic. It’s a concertina-size, which is a bit smaller than the average dreadnought, but eliminates a lot of that boomy low-mid range you see in slightly larger acoustics.
  11. Fender ’72 Telecaster Thinline Replica (6-string electric). This is my primary recording and live electric guitar. My favorite thing about it is it’s versatility – it’s got dual humbuckers, so it can be really meaty or really twangy.
  12. Danelectro 12-String Semi-Hollow Electric. This is the most recent addition to the guitar arsenal, and is all chimey and wonderful. The pickup configuration is just right for that jangly Byrds’y thing, and so far I love it.
  13. SE Reflexion Filter, Mic stands, cables. The Reflexion Filter was the first of the portable acoustic treatment products, and I’ve found it really useful for recording small things at home or other weird places where you don’t have a ton of control over the room. Not perfect, but really useful for the right situation.
  14. Akai MPK-61 MIDI controller, wired up to control Pro Tools.
  15. Atruria Microbrute, wired into patch bay (that’s out of view behind the laptop). I use this for sketching out stuff, playing leads, and as an external effects unit that I bus random stuff to (and the internal patching system in it is really nice).
  16. Presonus Studiolive 14.0.2 – this is our brain when we’re on the road. All of our DI’s, microphones, MIDI, monitoring, etc. are routed through here, and we run a 16 track dump of each show. I want to integrate it into the studio setup, but haven’t yet had the time.
  17. Studiophile BX8 powered monitors – nothing flashy, but they do the job nicely.
  18. Glyph drives – my primary recording drive is a obile 3TB Glyph drive. I keep an exact replica that I carbon copy weekly for backup.
  19. The main brain of the studio – pretty vanilla Macbook Pro (running OSX 10.9, PT10, Max/MSP, etc.)
  20. Lexicon PCM-60 (rackmount reverb unit) – for those ridiculous mid-90′s reverb sounds
  21. RME Fireface 800 – solid soundcard with lots of I/O options, wonderful pres, and flexible routing.
  22. Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro – I’ve had these now for coming on 5 years, and wear them for several hours each day. They sound great and are phenomenally comfortable.
  23. Native Instruments Maschine. I run Native Instruments Komplete 8, which is incredibly useful for scoping out demos (their keyboard, string, and bass sounds are excellent) and doing more refined sound design. I’ve yet to get into Reaktor very much (most of my patching I just do in Max/MSP) but it’s on the list.
  24. Kaotica Eyeball – this was a giveaway for CMJ artists last year, and I honestly haven’t used it yet (though it looks awesome).
  25. Various percussion toys – a few tambourines, maracas, guiro, etc.
  26. Mason Jar guitar amp – a friend of mine gave me this, and it creates some really interesting sounds. It basically uses the glass section of the mason jar as a resonator for the amp, but I’ve found if you unscrew it and mess around with the position of the top, you can create some really interesting wah-like sounds.
  27. Tascam Portastudio 414 MK2 – I’m using this for some experiments right now. I was inspired from a video of the Nine Inch Nails keyboard played playing the tape machine like a mixer – could be an interesting way to get some guitar tones.
  28. Pioneer SR-202 – An old reverb unit I got off eBay for $40. It used to be part of component stereo systems, but it’s a great standalone reverb unit for weird shoegaze-y sounds.
  29. Ammo box of instrument strings. I’ve got a bunch of different instruments, and instead of running off to the guitar store every time I need to change out a string, I keep a reasonable backlog of stuff on-hand. Ammo boxes are great for this (and can be picked up at an army-navy store for ~$10). They’re waterproof, nicely constructed, and a good form factor.
  30. Fart Machine. This is a guitar amplifier I got off Craigslist recently that really is a reel-to-reel tape machine with a speaker in the side of it. It sounds absolutely awful, but in a really wonderful way (if all you want is good feedback tones, which is pretty much all I useĀ it for).

Not pictured

  • Fender banjo. A beater, but useful for live stuff
  • 1930′s Playtime student model mandolin – used on a few recordings on Blue and Blue Shift
  • Autoharp
  • Charango – this really beautiful South American instrument popularized in the West by Paul Simon in the S&G song “El Condor Pasa”
  • Vox AC-30 guitar amplifier (which lives at the main studio, because it’s too big/loud for the house)
  • Various Guitar Pedals

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There are 3 Comments to “My studio – a tour”

  • Wed01


    I dig seeing all the toys/tools. Makes me want to document in the same way. Great setup!

    • Wed01


      Thanks Bobbo! You should definitely similarly document – I’d love to see what you’re working with.

  • Sat10


    Not much help, but I’m in the same boat man. I’m in 11th grade and bought my first elctreic guitar a week after Christmas. Ever since then I’ve been just teaching myself and have a couple friends help me. I just started off by getting used to the fret board and then covering a lot of songs. Good luck dude