<music: performing: instruments>

"Below are some of the instruments that I've used on stage and recordings. Since 2005, I've primarily used Parker Fly guitars unless a project specifically requires me to use another type of guitar. As noted in the descriptions below, I'm not opposed to modifying my instruments in order to accommodate my needs as a performer and composer, though I do try to avoid irreversible modifications if it's possible. My guitars are serviced regularly by Andy and Eddie Hulse of Hulse Guitars and by the talented people involved in my Electric Guitar Innovation Lab . I hope you enjoy looking around." ~V.J.

Parker Guitars

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Parker Fly Mojo

(2005)

Description: "My first Parker Fly, which I bought new from Parker Guitars in 2005. I had been reading about the Fly Mojo, but had to drive about two hours outside of NYC just to find a music shop that had one in stock that I could play; I’ve been enamored with Parker Fly guitars ever since! After I placed the order to Parker through that shop, I remember how excited I was when, a few days later, Parker called and said that they were building my guitar for me and asked me what string gauge I used; it was a very different and special guitar-purchasing experience. This guitar has the thin Fly neck profile and the Jazz neck pickup sounds particularly great for finger-style playing with clean amp settings."

In Action:
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Other Info:
Serial Number: 1130305MM
Notes: all original; stock pickups: Seymour Duncan Jazz pickup (neck), Seymour Duncan JB pickup (bridge), Fishman Piezo in bridge.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings
Finish: Ice Blue Sun Burst
Instrument Name: Verve

Parker Fly Deluxe

(2007)

Description: "My second Parker Fly, which I bought used in 2009 for the purpose of installing a Sustainiac driver in the neck position. My days of using an EBow came to a screeching (yet sustained!) halt when I got this up and running. I like the Sustainiac so much that I also got the Sustainman external version of the driver (with custom drive modifications by the inventor Alan Hoover). This Fly has the slightly chunkier Fly neck profile."

In Action:
Guitar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Number: P0703060
Notes: modified; replaced original Dimarzio "Gen 2" neck pickup with Sustainiac driver (neck) with added on/off toggle switch and harmonic mode three-way toggle switch. Sustainiac "drive" level mapped to knob that formerly controlled piezo volume; now operates a 25k pot. Magnetic pickup/piezo pickup selector switch removed and replaced with a momentary killswitch. Original stock pickups remain: Dimarzio #PHWP2 "Gen 2" pickup (bridge), Fishman piezo (preamp removed).Replaced low E string tuner with Sperzel D Thing drop-D tuner
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings
Finish: Ice Blue Sun Burst
Instrument Name: Viceroy

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Parker Fly Mojo

(2008)

Description: "A third Parker Fly?! I love my 2005 Fly Mojo and I also love the Sustainiac driver I had installed in my 2007 Fly Deluxe, so, why not get the best of both and modify a Fly Mojo with a Sustainiac? I bought this 2008 Fly Mojo used in 2012. This Fly has the slightly chunkier Fly neck profile."

In Action:
Guitar In Action Guitar In Action Guitar In Action Guitar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Number: P0803218
Notes: modified; original Seymour Duncan Jazz pickup (neck) replaced with a Sustainiac driver with added on/off toggle switch and harmonic mode three-way toggle switch. Added a mini 25k pot and knob to control the Sustainiac "drive". Both stock pickup selector and magnetic/piezo selectors were replaced with Electroswitch toggles. Original stock pickups remain: Seymour Duncan JB pickup (bridge), and Fishman piezo in bridge. All controls are mapped according to the original configuration.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge flatwound strings
Finish: Trans Blue Burst with Quilted Maple
Instrument Name: Venom

Parker Fly Concert

(1997)

Description: "Later known as the Fly Bronze, this Fly model is somewhat of a unicorn in terms of rarity, but I was fortunate enough to find this one in great condition on the used market in 2017. What an innovative design: it plays like my other Parker Fly guitars (same neck profile, same body shape, etc.), sounds like a mic'ed acoustic, and weighs almost nothing. This Fly has the thin Fly neck profile."

In Action:
Guitar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Number: 199017BSS
Notes: all original; stock Fishman Piezo in bridge.
Current Setup: D'Addario .011 gauge bronze strings
Finish: Cedar (Natural)
Instrument Name: Vapor

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Parker Fly Classic

(2003)

Description: "My fourth Parker Fly; the Fly Classic. I bought this guitar used in 2017. Terrific guitar that, I feel, sounds somewhere in between the Fly Mojo and the Fly Deluxe. This Fly has the thin Fly neck profile.

In Action:
Guitar In Action Guitar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Number: 343023BMH
Notes: all original; Dimarzio #PHWP1 and #PHWP2 pickups installed (neck and bridge) and original Fishman piezo in bridge. All controls are mapped according to the original configuration.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings
Finish: Natural Mahogany (front), Root Beer (back)
Instrument Name: Vex

Parker Fly Deluxe

(1997)

Description: "A so-called pre-refined Fly Deluxe from 1997; I bought this used in 2018. It was in less-than-stellar condition within dings, chips, and scratches , but I bought it for the purpose of using it as a Franken-Fly with my Electric Guitar Innovation Lab research, and with my company, Fuse . I received it with the original "Gen 1" DiMarzio stock pickups installed, which was the first time I had a chance to play/hear those in action; sound great! This Fly has the slightly chunkier Fly neck profile."

Other Info:
Serial Number: 099117BP
Notes: all original; "Gen 1" DiMarzio stock pickups; stock Fishman Piezo in bridge.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings
Finish: Dusty Black
Instrument Name: Viper

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Parker Fly Artist

(2010)

Description: "The Fly Artist is like the Fly Concert with magnetic pickups. I purchased this particular guitar second-hand in 2018; it was originally ordered from the Parker Custom Shop with chrome hardware, a natural matte finish front, and a matte emerald green back; a color scheme influenced by the so-called "Norse Fly". This Fly has the thin Fly neck profile and sounds particularly good with moderate overdrive and clean amp settings.

Other Info:
Serial Number: P1011009
Notes: Parker Guitars Custom shop/modified; "Gen 2" Dimarzio pickups. All controls are mapped according to the original configuration.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings.
Finish: Natural Sitka Spruce matte (front), Emerald Green matte (back)
Instrument Name: Valkyrie

Parker Fly Deluxe (Redwood)

(1993)

Description: "There you have it: the first-year Parker Fly Deluxe. The very first Fly models, including this one, shipped with redwood necks . According to what Ken Parker told me directly in 2018, using redwood required too much oversight in order to maintain quality control, so, after the first batch of redwood neck Flys (without any issues!) were sold, he switched to basswood necks. This guitar has the thin Fly neck profile and sounds different from my other Fly Deluxe guitars (with basswood necks); very lively guitar (even compared to other Flys). I had been looking for one of these to surface on the used market and was able to obtain this in 2018; the original Flys came in either black or white, and I was fortunate to find this beautiful white one."

Other Info:
Serial Number: 147033RP
Notes: all original; "Gen 1" DiMarzio stock pickups; stock Fishman Piezo in bridge.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings
Finish: Cream White
Instrument Name: Valient

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Parker Fly Bass (FB-4)

(2003)

Description: "Seriously?! Yes! This bass was made during the few month period when Ken Parker was still in charge of Parker Guitars before they were redesigned by U.S. Music Corp. How does it play? Great! How does it sound? Great! It's a dream in my studio, which is primarily where I use it."

Other Info:
Serial Number: 0303122
Notes: all original; DiMarzio stock pickups; stock Fishman Piezo in bridge.
Current Setup: Fodera 45-105 nickel strings.
Finish: Natural
Instrument Name: Vamp

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Other Guitars

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Fender Stratocaster '68 Reissue

(1997)

Description: "I was given this Strat in 2000 as a high school graduation gift from a friend who had picked it up in a pawn shop. Neck says Crafted in Japan on the back. This was my go-to guitar before I got into Parker Fly guitars. I've replaced the original stock pickups several times through the years (as one does with a Strat!). Though I appreciate the 'reissue' look of the original tuners, I replaced them with Sperzel locking tuners."

In Action:
Guitar In Action Guitar In Action Guitar In Action Guitar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Number: A029121
Notes: modified; original pickups replaced with a Sustainiac driver (Neck), added sustain on/off and harmonic mode three-way switches, SD Little '59 (Middle), SD JB Jr. (Bridge) and black pickguard from "white". Original tuners replaced with Sperzel locking tuners.
Finish: Natural
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings with five bridge springs

Fender Stratocaster Squier (Hybrid)

(1995)

Description: "My very first electric guitar that received new as a kid for Christmas in 1995! This "Made in Korea" Fender Squier came bundled with a 15-watt Champ-G amp (thought to be as part of an SE-100 "Strat Pack"), which I blew one day by playing along too loudly to Weezer's "blue album" ("Say It Ain't So"). I used this guitar (in my first band "Sunflowers" !) until 2000 when I got another Strat. The body is made of plywood (yup!) and, today, is the only original component left in the guitar other than the tremolo system. I was obsessed with Wayne's World at the time ("party time"), and I referred to this guitar as "Excalibur" given its similarities to Wayne's Strat in the movie (my guitar used to be much whiter than it is now); I used the slightly edgier "Excaliber" spelling—those kinds of details are important when you're 13 years old. In 2017, I began modding the hell out of it; sounds and plays great and I primarily use it on recordings when a Strat sound is needed. Strangely, it seems to sound worse to other guitarists after I tell them it's made of plywood."

Pictured here prior to 2017 modifications."

In Action:
Guitar In Action Guitar In Action Guitar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Number: VN579443
Notes: modified; Warmoth Wizard Maple Neck with Indian Rosewood Fretboard. SD Cool Rails pickup (Neck), SD Hot Rails Middle, SD Hot Rails (Bridge). New wiring, jack, pots, knobs, selector switch, saddles. Sperzel locking tuners and Sperzel "D-Thing".
Finish: Arctic White
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings with three bridge springs
Instrument Name: Excaliber

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Fender Telecaster '52 Reissue

(1998)

Description: "Purchased used in 2017 for a project that required an authentic Telecaster. Such an iconic sound (and look and feel). Shown here prior to some modest modifications."

Other Info:
Serial Number: 30118
Neck stamped 12/24/97 assembled 1998.
Notes: modified; Original tuners replaced with Sperzel locking tuners. Stock Fender 52 Reissue pickups.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings

In Action:
Guitar In Action Guitar In Action

Gibson SG Standard T

(2017)

Description: "Purchased used in 2017 for a project that required an SG. A truly beautiful guitar with a tapered neck; even sounds great when played unplugged."

Other Info:
Serial Number: 170039053
Notes: all original; stock Gibson 57 Classic Humbuckers.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings

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Godin Multiac Grand Concert

(2015)

Description: "I bought this guitar in 2016 to address the difficulty of mic'ing a nylon string guitar in a noisy, live environment. I liked it so much that I've used it many times in recording situations in place of mic'ing a traditional nylon string guitar."

Other Info:
Serial Number: 15152158
Notes: all original.
Current Setup: La Bella 500P Recording Concert strings.

In Action:
Guitar In Action Guitar In Action

Ruben Flores 500 Cedar

(2002)

Description: "This was my first better-quality nylon string guitar, which I bought in 2003 when I was in college. It's a decent classical guitar that I happily used live and in my studio for many years. Now, I use it primarily for composing and live performances where amplification isn't necessary."

In Action:
Guitar In Action Guitar In Action Guitar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Number: 44010040
Notes: all original; 500 rosewood back and sides, ebony fingerboard, solid cedar top.
Current Setup: La Bella Medium-hard tension strings.

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Takamine G Series

(2010)

Description: "I bought this guitar new in 2010 for live performances with Second Contact and have used it live through the pickup and mic'ed in the studio. It's an all-around good-sounding guitar through both the internal pickup and mic'ed."

In Action:
Guitar In Action Guitar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Number: 8031428
Notes: modified; Model No. EG523SC. Replaced nut, and installed a custom "bridge doctor". (Shown with a highly-coveted non-OEM after-market owl sticker on the headstock.)
Current Setup: D'Addario .011 gauge strings.

Switch Vibracell Wild I Custom

(2004)

Description: "The perfect guitar for outdoor gigs with questionable weather; unaffected by temperature and humidity changes because...well: it's made of plastic (it's fantastic!)! I purchased this guitar used to explore the novelty of its innovation: a one-piece injection-molded guitar made from a new, resonant material the manufacturers, Switch, invented called Vibracell; very unique! You might think this guitar would sound cold and thin, but it doesn't; it sounds like a normal guitar with a completely abnormal (in a good way) amount of sustain! After a setup and a fret-level, this guitar was ready to be left in direct sunlight on an outdoor stage in the middle of the summer and still hold tune (though, to me, it vaguely resembles a partially-melted Parker Fly). This is a custom version of the Wild I guitar with an Ebonol fingerboard instead of rosewood, so, in short: it's made entirely of synthetic materials."

Other Info:
Serial Number: None.
Notes: all original; solid one-piece Vibracell body and neck with Ebonol fingerboard.
Current Setup: D'Addario .010 gauge strings.

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Other Instruments

Roland AX-7

(2002)

Description: "In 2010, when I was first asked to join the 70s and 80s rock collective Second Contact , I bought two identical AX-7 keyboards (a.k.a keytars) because...why not?! Is it the ideal instrument for playing difficult and sophisticated keyboard parts in a live performance? No! Am I capable of playing difficult and sophisticated keyboard parts in a live performance? Also no!! Are all eyes on this simultaneously futuristic and retro instrument when I play the keyboard lick to Xanadu? You know it! Play one-handed keyboard parts in an unusually inefficient but fabulously ostentatious way with a Roland AX-7! I even did this Q&A interview with my publisher about my keytarist experiences!

In Action:
Keytar In Action Keytar In Action Keytar In Action
Other Info:
Serial Numbers: ZP51005 & ZU17934
Notes: all original.

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Performing

An overview of V.J.'s performance styles and ensembles

Compositions

An overview of works composed, performed, or produced by V.J.