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Dan Swanö - Exclusive Interview!

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September 2010 - Dan Swanö, friend and partner of the Musician’s Navigator and one of the most respected musicians and producers on the hard & heavy scene, revealed the secret of his live sound. Dan is obviously not a fan of huge and complicated guitar rig setups. Contrariwise, his setup can be described as an easy to set-up and control, efficient all in one (all in a few :-)) stage solution.  We asked Dan questions concerning his guitar gear used for his live shows. You will get detailed description of Dan Swanö’s current guitar gear setup built for his gigs. Dan explained to us what guitar gear he uses, why he chose that exact setup as well as how he uses all gear reconnected together during his live shows. In order to give you the opportunity to look at nice and inspiring pictures we also developed Dan’s guitar rig chart.

More information about Dan Swanö and his Unisound Studio in Dan’s exclusive section – Here

So, let’s rock…

Dan, could you please tell us which music gear do you use during your live shows?

Dan: In my pedalboard is following: Roland VG-99 with Tech 21 Midi Moose, Boss FS-6, Boss AB-2.

MN: I am not sure about how you use it all together? Could you explain how do you have connected this gear in your rig during your live performance?

Dan: Midi Moose is connected thru MIDI to change patch in the VG99. The FS-6 switch is connect to the VG99 thru a stereo cable and controls parameters in the patch. Sometimes it's switching between rhythm and solo, sometimes to activate to tuning function.
In the VG99 I have a custom made pickup which is based on a single coil (hum free!!) and it's really close to the bridge at the thick string but then angled toward the middle for a more round and not so spiky sound in the plain string. Would look really weird IRL but it sounds amazing. This is an virtual pickup created within the VG99.

In the VG99 I use the Red channel on a Mesa Boogie Rectifier. No speaker cabinet filtering is added. Just straight line out (with all treble intact) right into the power amp of any good valve amp.

Alt popisFor clean sound I have a Fender Twin with a polyphonic limiter (!!!) and chorus and sometimes a nice delay.
I also have the possibility to switch to D-Drop tuning or tune the whole guitar down to A# using one pedal click. The VG99 really kick ass here and perform the best polyphonic pitch-shifting ever! No latency or weird shit what-so-ever!

There are also some nice sounds where I can add a mini-moog like lead sound (made from the guitar sound thru filters...no MIDI stuff) or add an acoustic to the electric for a nice doubling (Sounds not so good on their own though).

Also present on my pedalboard is a small headphone amp from Behringer (Behringer MA-400) that goes into the AB-2 box. Whenever I need a click-track in my in-ears
Dan Swanö Guitar Rig Scheme:
- BC Rich ST-3 guitar with Roland GK3 pickup connected to Roland VG-99 guitar-system - 2. Roland VG-99 is connected straight line out (with all treble intact) right into the power amp of any good valve amp - 3. Tech21 MIDI Moose - 4 is connected thru MIDI to change patch in the VG99. Boss FS-6 - 5 switch is connected to the VG99 thru a stereo cable and controls parameters in the patch. Sometimes it's switching between rhythm and solo, sometimes to activate tuning function. Backing tracks come into from the Apple iBook - 9. Output from the Apple iBook goes one channel (L) to the headphone amp Behringer MA-400 - 6 and Boss AB-2 box - 7 into Dan’s in-ear (and to the drummer’s in-ear) - 8 and the other channel (R) goes to the passive DI box Behringer DI-600P – 10 and then direct line into the mix - 11.
I just stomp on it. Due to the non existing wireless set-up for the VG99 I made a special 10 meter cable with a VG99 cable and a headphone extension in one.

There is also a Behringer passive DI box (Behringer DI-600P) where the backing tracks come into from the iBook. Thus I don't have to worry about the DI box from the gigging place if it’s shitty or have some weird filter on it so the keyboards sound like crap.
Apple iBook go 1 channel (L) to my InEar (and to the drummers in-ear) and the other channel (R) to the Behringer DI.

Do you use some synchronization between iBook and VG-99?

Dan: I actually started to look into the idea of having the iBook switching the sounds on the VG-99 (and also Dag's Pod) but when something unexpected would happen and our rigs start switching sounds on its own...oh fuck...I don't wanna be on that stage ;)
It already happened to me when I played a gig with high fever and oceans of sweat dripped down on my pedalboard and made the pedals go nuts and turned the distortion on and off when it felt like it...Bad times....

I was quite surprised when I heard first time from you about your setup which doesn’t contain your own guitar amp. As you mentioned, when on a gig you just send line out of your VG99, with all treble intact, straight right into the power amp of any good valve amp. So question is, don't you have any favorite guitar amp? And have you had ever one?

Dan: I think my fave amp for metal is Engl Fireball because it's simple and sounds amazing on chunky stuff without being too screechy. For more rock sound an old JCM800 is hard to beat.

What guitar do you use on stage with your current guitar rig?

Dan: I use a GK3 pickup on the BC Rich ST-3 guitar and the pickup on my guitar is used for back up if disaster strikes.

Do you use only one guitar on stage, or are you changing guitars during your performance according the song/composition you are about to play? Do you use some backup guitars on the stage?

Dan: I have no spare guitar with me. I haven't yet broken a string live, and I hope that will go on ;)

Thank you Dan and hopefully we will hear from you soon again.

! Dan recently made changes in his gear setup. To find out more please follow this link !

- Martin "Lucky" Lukáč -

Have you used the same music gear like Dan?

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