Gearbox

Thomas Larsson is not only famous for his playing ability. Thru the years he’s done incredible mods of all his gears. He has also built numerous of self designed amps and effects. Thomas knowledge in electrical circuitry and polarity comes from several years of studies in school and by now he’s electronic-engineer.

– I have always chased the ultimate sound; I believe it helps to express yourself. I’m actually not a big fan of effects. Reverb, echoes and wahwah´s are about what I use. Most of my time experimenting with sounds is mainly to find good original, clean and distorted sounds.

In his workshop where songs and sounds are created you’ll find amps and effects built into everything from old beercans to shoe-boxes. A visit here is dangerous due to the risk of getting electrified by some of his crazy experiments. Thomas is always equipped with his soldering iron and most electronically devices that comes in his way gets updated.

– I feel naked without my favourite tool, there’s always something that can be tuned up, everywhere.

Thomases is using a big variety of amplifiers although Fender and Marshall are the two most common brands in his gearbox. On stage Thomas is mainly working with a one-amp setup.

– Right now I am using a Boogie MK III (50W top) with some modifications made. I´ve opened up the poweramp and made the clean channel more like a Fender Twin. The amp sounded pretty good from the start but now it sounds great.I have also modified the switching-system so that I can use one stereo cable intead of two mono´s. I have also three switches for three sounds (memory) ,instead of two switches for three sounds ,witch can be a drag usually.

On the Harmonic Passion album I used four different amps. The Boogie , the 100W Marshall (with my Geezerpreamp) . I also used the floor gezeer amp for the middle solo of ”8 min to start”. Some songs used the Rack gezzer amp (”Tomahawk” and ”8 min to start” and ”Olympic Ride”.

Another homemade amplifier often used by Thomas is the ”GEEZER”, a 4 stage preamp with 2x12ax7`s and a Fender tone stack.

– It has a Marshall tone stack and a 5W power amp with one EL84. The ”GEEZER” was mainly made for home recordings. If I use it with the Marshall I simply take the preamp signal to feed the Marshall. The ”GEEZER” gives a more defined and bluesier sound than those old fuzzboxes, pretty much like a Boogie or a Dumble.

Together with a friend Thomas was once serious into building pre-amps for business. The amplifier named ”Gaywhore” got very popular among professional players and was also used by Thomas for many years.

– It really worked great with my playing style. In a moment of weakness we gave it the funny name ”Gaywhore”. I used it from -88 to -94 including on the Glenn Hughes albums.

Among speakers Thomas has been trying all kinds thru the years. Since he is always looking for a soft and pure tone he prefers the Vintage 30s and Greenbacks.

– I mainly use the G12M (Greenbacks) and Vintage 30s. In my Concert combo I have a Vintage 30 speaker, it can handle the power and it has lots of bass and soft treble, which I like. When I record at low levels I use a Blue-speaker with an alnico magnet.

Generally you see Thomas using Stratocasters as his #1 instrument. He is also playing a Les Paul. When I need a very allround guitar I use my new POTBELLY wich I´ll be talking about soon. Like all his amps Thomas also modifies his guitars very hard.

– My main guitar is my 57-reissue Fender strat. It’s equipped with a Van Zandt pickup in the bridge and two ESP SS120 pickups in mid and neck position. Those pickups deliver the warmest sound I’ve ever heard. ´The Van Zant pickup is a pretty fat (7Kohm) ”blues” pickup ,wich can be good on a strat if you´re wanna play some rock´n roll.

Nowaday´s I have a very special guitar from ESP that´s called ”POTBELLY”. The first time I saw the guitar on a picture ,I Imagened that could see how great it sounded. This time I was right , It sounds absolutly fantastic. It´s really the perfect guitar between a strat and a Les Paul. I didn´t even touch the set up screws , I didn´t have to, It was perfect from day one. People who know me also know´s that I´m almost never completly satisfied with anything . That means that ESP shure did a great job on this one.

I also use a LesPaul 58 plaintop reissue. I´ve tried some different pickups on that one but right now I´m back with the original Burstbuckers t,hey sound great most of the time , depending on my own mood i suppose.I bought some interesting pickups from WCR pickups ,called the ”crossroads” -pickup. I´m defenitly gonna try theese again in the future.

Potbelly guitar from ESP

This is the new guitar that Thomas has come to like very much.

The body is made of mahogny with a maple top. The neck is made of mahogny with a rosewood fretboard. The neck has a LP-59 profile and the scale is 24-3/4 like a gibson. Still there is a certain strat feeling to this guitar. Maybe due to the flicker tremolo. The right hand can rest with a similar feeling to a strat. The tremolo is a very basic design wich looks very vintage ,but is hung up lika a door hinge.

There is a coil split function on the two amazing ESP humbuckers. For once the coil split sounds good. The DC resistance for these humbuckers are around 7,6 kohm, wich is kind of vintage. The sound very balanced. The sound is fat enough for leads and also clean enough for playing a some nice chords without mudding your sound up. This guitar is ”one of the best sounding guitars ever heard”.