Eric Gales gives a guided tour of his live and studio rig, and shows how he gets his "Darth Vader" tone

Eric Gales
(Image credit: Guitarist/YouTube)

Blues guitar legend Eric Gales recently sat down for a chat with Guitarist, during which he kindly gave viewers a tour of his current live and studio setup.

Wielding the Magneto Sonnet electric guitar that later inspired his own line of Magneto Sonnet Raw Dawg signature guitars, Gales runs through his pedalboard perennials, and when and how he typically uses each of them.

First up is what looks like a customized Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal, followed by a DigiTech Whammy. Then comes a Gales signature E.W.S. Brute Drive distortion pedal, a stompbox that the bluesman likes to use in conjunction with another of his signature pedals, the MXR Raw Dawg overdrive pedal.

The Raw Dawg, Gales points out in the video, was modeled off of a Tube Screamer, but has a bit more mid-boost and gain. That prefaces another MXR pedal, the Jimi Hendrix signature Octavio fuzz pedal

Gales particularly enjoys using the Octavio with big power chords, which – with a knob-driven volume surge – gives a kind of "Darth Vader sound," as he puts it.

Gales then leads viewers to his Tech 21 Boost D.L.A., which he says he always leaves on at a quarter-note setting. On a very different end of the spectrum though, is Gales's Mojo Hand FX Colossus, which, the guitarist says, is the "heaviest" effect on his board.

Housed in what looks like another custom enclosure, this pedal gives the blues guitar ace a "milky," "Clapton-ish" tone.

The TC Electronic Ditto looper pedal makes a mildly surprising appearance as well. Though he rarely uses it while onstage with his band, Gales says that the Ditto is perfect for storing ideas, like the very John Mayer-esque funk riff he's housed in it at the time of the interview.  

A Shure guitar wireless system, meanwhile, rounds out the pedalboard. 

Gales then touches on the Strat-style (with just a single tone knob, mind you) Magneto, revealing that he calls the guitar's neck pickup the "Albert King pickup" and the neck and middle single-coils position the "Stevie Ray" setting. That goes into his DV Mark guitar amp and his own DV Mark Raw Dawg signature head.

"It's not rocket science," Gales says of his rig, but it's still a treat to see how one of the best blues guitarists in the world today gets just about every aspect of his live and studio sound. 

To read Guitarist's full interview with Gales – which covers everything you need to know about the guitarist's phenomenal, Joe Bonamassa-produced new album, Crown – pick up a copy of the magazine's July issue at Magazines Direct.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.