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“I’ve been trying to build the world’s smallest fly rig”: Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher says he’s open to going fully digital on tour

“You don’t need a giant Marshall full stack and all that stuff.”

As fun as a full-stack setup might sound on stage, lugging it around on tours is a lot less so, which has prompted many artists to turn to digital rigs in an attempt to travel light.

Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher, for one, is on a quest to “build the world’s smallest fly rig” for when he’s on the road.

Asked if he’ll ever consider going fully digital in a recent chat with Thomann’s Guitars & Basses, Kelliher replies: “Honestly, I’ve been trying to build the world’s smallest fly rig. [Laughs] Like, really small.”

“To answer your question – yes. I’ve been using Synergy, which I really love. [It] sounds really, really good. Every module they come out with is sounding even better and better.”

The guitarist adds that while he enjoys his good old tube-driven amps, those beasts can be a logistical nightmare when travelling.

“I mean, I love my Friedman,” says Kelliher. “It’s awesome. When I’m at home in the States, I use that; I use a Victory Super Kraken, and the sound of those two things together is… Nothing sounds that good.”

“But when I’m flying in, for instance, to South America. We’re touring there in November. I’m trying to bring the smallest rig possible, so it’s easy to steal. [Laughs]”

Describing his current guitar rig, Kelliher says: “But right now, I’ve got a Victory Dutchess pedal and a Friedman BE-OD pedal and I’m just plugging those in direct to a Ffryette power amp, and using those as the actual amps. They’re controlled in settings in the [Line 6] Helix.”

“So basically, I’m switching between the two – one’s a clean amp, like a preamp, and the other is a dirty amp. If you’re not looking at it, you’d be like, ‘That sounds like a real giant amp.’ They’re now making preamps and little tiny pedals that, I’m like, ‘Man!’”

He continues: “So those are my amps. Giant amps shrunk down to these little pedals. And then, inside the Helix, I’ve got all my effects. That goes into a little lunchbox, and you’re good to go. That’s great. I just want to show up one day with a little tiny [rig], open up, and like ‘Here’s my stuff!'”

“You can do that these days. You don’t need a giant Marshall full-stack and all that stuff.”

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