BRMC Down Here

A Black Rebel Motorcycle Club fan website


What kind of gear do they use?

This is an expanded question from the FAQ – which the musicians posting on the BRMC forum have helped a lot in creating).

From Stage to Studio with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: An Interview with Leah Shapiro and Peter Hayes

[MM] As a HARMAN Brand Ambassador, are there specific products that the band relies on?

[Peter] In our home studio, we use a pair of JBL 3 Series reference speakers for mixing and recording. At our rehearsal studio, we have a few sets of JBL monitor wedges. For the bass and guitar live sound, we use the [DigiTech] Whammy and Bass Whammy.

On the first record [B.R.M.C.], we used a DBX compressor on almost everything; it’s what we had at home, didn’t really know how to use it properly, but we put it on every vocal and drum track we did at home, and most of that record was done at home.

We’ve used a few different Lexicon and DBX products in studios throughout the years; the sub-harmonic synth is always fun, and you can get lost in the Lexicon reverb for a few hours at a time, which is nice.

For a long time, I used the orange back JBL speakers in my Fender Twins, and I had four going at a time. It was a bit much, but fun for me anyway. I think our FOH mixer just left me out of the PA.

The very first piece of gear I saved up for at 16 was a DigiTech RP1. I loved it and, if I remember correctly, it had a headphone jack, so you didn’t need an amp, and I’d be up all night swimming in that!

TC Electronic has a couple videos of Peter Hayes creating loops with the Ditto X2 Looper:

TC Electronic posted some info on Robert Levon Been’s pedals (Ditto X2 Looper, Flashback Delay) along with this quote:

“Toneprint feels like a strange utopian future where whatever you picture in your mind you can immediately manifest, which would be very disturbing if it wasn’t so cool.”

Paiste Cymbals website has bio page on Leah Shapiro, where they also list her cymbals setup (and a nice selection of photos):

14″ 2002 Heavy Hi-Hat
18″ Giant Beat Multi-Functional
22″ 2002 Ride
18″ Twenty Crash

Paiste also posted a brief video compilation of Leah’s drumming in action:

Leah has a SONOR custom drum kit and uses Vater sticks, as seen in this interview with her from YouTube.

Peter has a programmable pedal board – a Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro, Marshall 2 x 12 cab, Marshall JCM 900 head, and Fender Bassmans, according to TheMusicalElitist. posted this interview with Peter discussing his pedal and amp setup:

And this one is about Peter’s guitars and strings:

Epiphone interviewed Robert about his choice of bass (and guitar). Here’s what he said about one of his Epiphone Rivoli II’s:

“I found this pawn shop in San Francisco, and it was the only bass on the wall apart from modern plastic things. It was $800, and had loads of scars all over it. I complained to the guy that it was scratched and a bit messed up. He didn’t know basses at all, and I was “complaining” about the things I really loved about it! I knocked him down to 400 bucks.”

From Guitar Player in October 2003: Rebel Gear Traders

  • Guitar: Gibson ES-335.
  • Bass: Epiphone EB-2.
  • Amps: Fender Super Twin and Twin Reverb, Hiwatt, Ampeg SVT.
  • FX: Ibanez Tube Screamer, Dunlop TS-1 Tremolo Stereo Pan.
  • Strings: Dean Markley, gauged .013, .014, .018, .036, .052, .056 (“I like them because I can almost feel the ridges, says Hayes. “Some strings feel too elastic.”)

One “secret” tuning used on Take Them On, On Your Own: [low to high] D, D, D, F#, A, D. The official forum used to discuss this often:

  • “Rob’s amp is an Ampeg Svt-II 300W tube amp, which drives two Ampeg 8×10 speaker cabinets. Sometimes he adds an Ampeg Svt Classic (also 300W) for the second cabinet.
  • Rob’s pedalboard contains several hard to identify distortion pedals. The big one on the right seems to be an Electro Harmonix Tube Zipper. He likes to run several pedals at once in order to achieve different layers and shades of distortion.
  • Rob plays with a pick. This, the shortscale instument, using distortion, etc, it all reflects his way of playing the bass more like a low-tuned guitar.”

from the german fansite of brmc!!!
Here’s a video of Peter Hayes demonstrating ToneWave’s Apollo Digital Volume Controller at NAMM 2010:

Peter’s setup (2001) according to Guitar Geek:

brmc_peter_2001GEAR: MODEL
Amps: Fender Twin Reverb Combo 1965 Reissue/ 2×12
Guitars: Gibson ES-335 Electric Guitar

  • Dunlop TS-1 Tremolo Stereo Pan
  • Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer Overdrive
  • TC Electronic TCF Chorus/Flanger

Rack: Roland GP-8 Preamp / Multi-FX Strings: Daddario Strings

Gear info from Guitar One Magazine (November 2005):
“Hayes made the record with a hand-me down Suzuki acoustic and a few unplugged Gibson archtops. Been polished his acoustic chops on his ’74 Yamaha dreadnought, and used a Telecaster for lead licks.”

Rocky_Raccoon Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:49:12 am
“Peter uses mainly Gibsons. He has many different versions of ES’s, probaly all vintage. Some have vibrato’s some don’t. Both have been sporting some really old Gibson ES 125 style guitars recently that are very expensive and hard to come by.

He also uses Gibson’s for his acoustics, he seems to have a couple of J200′s. He has also been using a Fender Telecaster 1972 deluxe reissue (kojboj) in black. Robert uses a couple of Epiphone Rivoli’s which aren’t produced anymore and again are hard to come by.”

Rob’s pedal board, from rrmc (Posted Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:19 AM):

“the right one ond the third picture is defenetily a tube zipper, right. the next one (left of it) is a tube screamer the next one could be a pro co rat but i’m not quite sure. maybe an early issue. or i could be a voodoo axe(fuzz) or an voodoo 1(distortion) hmm and the three boss pedals? the left one is a just a tuner.

the one with the black knobs might be an boss sd2 the one with the blue knobs could be a boss dd3 or dd6 digital delay only three left one is just a simple a/b box (maybe self-made), but i don’t have any clue about the big one with the 5 knobs and the small black one (which is blue red in the first picture)”

Comments (2)

  1. Arjun Rajan

    I’ve been researching Petes tone and technique for years so I’d love to contribute to this article.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.