Alex Lifeson on why he’s ditched wireless units: “Cable makes such a big difference in the way the guitar is speaking to the amp”

Lifeson has released a range of his own amplifiers under the name of Lerxst.

Alex Lifeson playing a red Les Paul. He has his eyes closed and is playing with a passionate expression on his face.

Image: Scott Dudelson / Getty

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Alex Lifeson says he’s gone back to a traditional approach with his guitar rig, deciding to ditch wireless gear that he used for years in Rush in favour of good old fashioned cables.

Lifeson has been busy crafting gear of his own lately under the name of Lerxst. So far, he’s launched a range of amplifiers, two effects pedals and even a guitar – an S-style model called Limelight.

In an interview with Guitarist for its latest print edition, Lifeson gives an update on his current set up since Rush played their final show in 2015. He begins, “It’s certainly not what it was when we were touring. I think I’ve gone back to more of a traditionalist approach with a short cable into the front-end of the amp. I’ve really come to appreciate that, after using radios [wireless] for so many years just out of necessity and convenience.

“Cable makes such a big difference in the way the guitar is speaking to the amp; you feel more connected. I use some pedals, but generally I like to record everything direct and then add plugins or whatever. If I’m doing a live gig, I’ll take a delay pedal and maybe a chorus.”

He goes on to add, “I had such an addiction to chorus that I’m trying to avoid it as much as I can. It started with the Roland JC-120 on A Farewell To Kings.

“In the studio when we were finished recording, I would just sit in front of that amp, maybe had a little puff of something, and just play in front of this beautiful shifting Stereo Chorus that was mind blowing. That’s when my addiction started and it was a little overwhelming. I used chorus on everything for most of the 80s.”

Despite being a gear addict, Lifeson has formerly argued that when it comes to tone, what really matters is who’s playing rather than the amount or worth of their gear. “You know, they’re all tools, right?” He told American Musical Supply. “We love them, we collect them, we hang on to them, but at the end of the day, they’re just a bunch of tools, so they do different jobs. You don’t use a screwdriver for what a hammer is going to do.

“And all the guitars have their own characteristics. One to the next will always have something that’s not very different but is different. You can have the same amp, the same guitar, but [between] five guys – it’ll sound different,” he explained. “Just because of the way you pick and the way your left hand works.”

Check out the full range of gear available from Lerxst.

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