Your Board: Ben Hosking’s groovy metal rig

From Down Under, our reader Ben Hosking is chugging out his brand of "heavy groove" metal – check out the pedals he's using to get that tight tone.

ben hosking where the devil pedalboard

Hi, Ben! Tell us about yourself as a guitarist.

I’m a 40-year-old guitarist from Newcastle, Australia. I’ve been playing since I was about 11, but after playing in bands throughout my teens, I moved away to find work and put the guitar down for about eight years. Besides one reunion gig seven years ago with an old band, I haven’t played live since 1998.

However, that’s about to change. I’m now in a band again with a great group of people around the same age who I used to know in the scene way back when. We’re called Where The Devil – like that old saying, “Where the devil did I leave my…” We’ve been busy writing a bunch of original songs in a style that we like to call ‘heavy groove’. Shared influences among the group include Helmet, Machine Head and Fear Factory, but also a host of more [contemporary] groups.

ben hosking pedalboard where the devil

And moving on to the pedalboard…

This is really my first pedalboard – however, it’s probably the second or third slight variation of it. I built it to replace a Line 6 HD500 multi-effects that I just couldn’t get to play nicely with my then-new Peavey 6505+ head. Two-cable, four-cable… it didn’t matter. The tone suck was horrendous. So, my aim was to replicate what I was doing with the HD500.

The 6505+ is an excellent head for what I’m playing. I even like the semi-clean tones I get from the crunch setting in the clean channel (albeit with some reverb and delay). For the rhythm tone that I’m using most, I wanted something thick, but also something that cuts through the mix. The Precision Drive is pretty good at tightening up the bottom end with the chuggy stuff, and the built-in gate works well.

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[Besides the DigiTech Whammy Ricochet and Precision Drive], the pedals go into the effects loop, with [that loop] exiting through a TC Electronic Ditto before hitting the amp – so all the effects are printed into the loop beforehand.

Finally, it’s all controlled by the Joyo PXL-PRO loop pedal. I was interested in the loop pedal because first, I suck at tap dancing. And second, [as] I initially built the board to replace a Line 6 HD500, [I] was used to having presets set up.

ben hosking where the devil
Where The Devil

Any other interesting uses of your pedals?

I use a Line 6 Relay G30 wireless when gigging, but just remove it from the system when jamming. As you might be able to tell from the settings, the EQ is used for a telephone-type sound. And the TC Electronic ND-1 Nova Delay has been modified for a separate tap tempo pedal, which allows you to scroll through the presets with the old tap tempo button.

Which pedal can’t you live without?

The only pedal I couldn’t live without would be a tuner. I spent my youth plugging straight into my old US-built Crate Vintage Club 50 and it sounded awesome, but wasn’t doing so well with the lower tunings I’m using now, which is drop B.

What guitars do you use?

ben hosking ibanez talman prs 408 10-top
Ben’s PRS 408 10-Top (left) and his modded Ibanez Talman

I am currently using a stock PRS 408 10-Top and a heavily modded 1994 Ibanez Talman TC420 in this band, both using 12-54 strings and tuned to drop B. The Talman has had the trem filled with a Gotoh Strat-style hardtail, refretted with jumbos, single volume, toggle (with killswitch) and a single Seymour Duncan Blackout.

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