We offer up a quick Annie Clark of St. Vincent gear guide and show you some of the instruments this legendary guitar player and Grammy award winning artist chooses when creating music
Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent is widely regarded as one of the most inspiring and unique guitarists in the world of music today - which is why we had to put together a St Vincent gear guide!
Her technique, song-writing style and her choice of guitars have long been a talking point in the guitar community and she has become a guitar hero to which a lot of us look up to due to her off kilter chord progressions, cool lead lines and sonic style. So influential has her style become that Ernie Ball Music Man have even collaborated with the legendary guitarist to create her own line of signature guitars – in fact, Annie Clark of St. Vincent is actually the first woman to design her own line of signature guitars! So, we decided to take a look at the guitars St. Vincent has used throughout her career, pedals and amps she relies upon and of course take a closer look at the new Music Man St. Vincent signature guitars.
Presenting: our St. Vincent Gear Guide.
St. Vincent’s guitar guide
At time of this publication, Annie Clark was promoting her new album ‘Masseduction’ which reached 6 in the UK and 10 in the US. St. Vincent embarked on a worldwide tour entitled “Fear the Future” which stretched right the way through 2018 and was revered as an incrdible live show.
On said tour, the guitarist has brought along a selection of her new Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent signature guitars announced back in 2016. You can see her playing (and the dancers using in the background) and talking about the specs below:
Check out St. Vincent playing the guitar on the Graham Norton Show:
St. Vincent (or Annie Clark) has stated that the design was intended to be more ergonomic and easier to play based on her needs and what she thought really helped bring out the best in a player. She jokingly said in an Instagram post that it was designed for women specifically, but the asymmetrical angles of the guitar, higher access to the upper frets and overall weight of the guitar at 7lb 5oz (3.31kg) means you won’t suffer that horrible shoulder ache after hours of playing. Whether you’re sitting down or standing, it’s a beautifully designed and completely comfortable guitar to play no matter what your body shape.
Pictured below; St Vincent's announcement of her signature guitar!
St Vincent Signature Guitars
Each of the Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent guitars feature an African Mahogany body wood, providing a warm resonance that provides plenty of snap – ideal for Annie Clark’s style of playing of course, but a feature that guitarists of all genres will love. The African Mahogany accentuates the mid-range frequencies making it a great lead guitar and for those who like to bust out some riffs. Considering St. Vincent’s love for the likes of Pantera and Dimebag Darrell, there’s no wonder she chose this wood.
Interestingly, the entire neck of the range features a select rosewood neck and fingerboard – which is a fantastic feature especially when coupled with the gunstock oil and hand rubbed special wax blend making it a joy to play. However, to give the Stealth Black model a more menacing and snappy tonality this features a Maple Neck with Ebony fingerboard with ultra-light satin polyurethane finish.
The guitar features Custom St. Vincent inlays as well as a cool looking headstock design transfer to top off the custom look. As for pickups, the series features a HHH setup of 3 DiMarzio custom mini-humbucking pickups with chrome covers (Black covers for Stealth Black). And a 5-way lever pickup selector with custom configuration for added control over your sound.
Since the launch of the Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent guitars, players of all genres have flocked to get hold of one. They're now extremely hard to come by and are quickly becoming collectors items.
If you see one available in the wild - you're pretty lucky!
Critically acclaimed by Guitar World and Premier guitar, these signature models are consistently popping up on the stages of the world with the likes of Omar Alfredo Rodríguez-López of At The Drive-In and Mars Volta also requesting a custom left handed model (above).
The Music Man St. Vincent HH Sea Breeze Electric Guitar is one of the last remaining (and coolest looking) St Vincent signature guitars that you can get your hands on (at the moment).
This is from the higher priced Music man section, so it's a little more expensive but totally worth the extra investment thanks to the two custom-wound Music Man humbucker pickups, with Chrome covers, and a 5-way selector switch that allows for a variety of different tones.
The sleek roasted Maple neck, topped with an Ebony fingerboard is supremely comfortable to play and a signature part of the St Vincent guitars that really encourages a positive playing experience.
Power? You've got it. Style? Absolutely.
WHAT GUITARS DOES ST. VINCENT PLAY?
Being a particularly prolific guitarist and carving out a career for over a decade in music means that St. Vincent’s guitar collection has undoubtedly grown. As well as her signature St Vincent guitars She has appeared on the stages of the world playing a myriad of other guitar models, so to list them all would be impossible.
However, there has been a selection that she has relied upon more than others – here’s our top 5 other favourite guitars Annie Clark plays.
GIBSON SG STANDARD / GIBSON SG SPECIAL
Before she was known as St. Vincent, Annie Clark started her touring career as a member of The Polyphonic Spree playing guitar for the band, which included anywhere from 12-24+ musicians. Here she is with a Gibson SG Standard Electric Guitar.
FENDER TELECASTER NASHVILLE DELUXE
The Fender Telecaster Nashville Deluxe has been a mainstay in St. Vincent’s career since the release of ‘Marry Me’ back in 2007. Here she is on stage with a sunburst version.
1967 HARMONY BOBKAT
The 1967 Harmony Bobkat is perhaps the guitar that was most associated with the artist from around 2011 until production of the Music Man signature series in 2016, and no - St. Vincent Gear Guide would be complete without it.
Although they are out of production, this particular guitar has seen a resurgence of interest on the 2nd hand market thanks in part to her use of them. “I played a ’67 Harmony Bobkat through a Death by Audio Interstellar Overdriver Supreme pedal, usually straight into a late-’70s Fender Princeton— not lots of pedals, more driving the amp pretty hard" - St. Vincent, via an interview with Guitar Player talking about the recording process of ‘Strange Mercy’ You can see her playing the guitar at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in which Nirvana were inducted.
1980 HAGSTRÖM SWEDE
For many years, the main stage guitar for St. Vincent live shows was the 1980 Hagström Swede. "The only other guitar I play on stage is a 1980 Hagström Swede. It’s like a Les Paul but it’s lighter and Swedish. That’s the only difference that I know of. It has two humbuckers."
St Vincent has also been seen sporting a Fender Jaguar from around 2012 onwards. Choosing it for live tours. Here’s a pretty awesome in-action shot featuring a bunch of cool pedals.
ST. VINCENT PEDAL GUIDE - What Pedals Does St Vincent Use?
Obviously as guitarists we all experiment with a myriad of different pedals, so nailing down the exact pedal board for our St. Vincent gear guide was a little difficult! Annie Clark has used a variety of different pedal board set ups, but here’s the most notable St. Vincent pedal boards and effects pedals we could find that'll get you started if you're wondering how to sound like St. Vincent.
As we can see above and in the photo with the Fender Jaguar, St. Vincent is using a myriad of different pedals. Starting at top right clockwise:
- Electro Harmonix Holy Grail
- Unknown custom pedal?
- Digitech Whammy
- Boss TU-2 (Now a TU-3)
- Line 6 DL4
- Eventide Space Reverb
- Zvex Fuzz factory (We recommend the Big Muff or Fender The Pelt Fuzz Pedal)
- Fulltone Fulldrive 2
- Ernie Ball expression/Volume pedal (Now available Ernie Ball 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal)
Here we have the pedal board from around 2013 Pedals used:
- Moog EP-2 Expression PedalTap Tempo (Nice Rack Canada)
- Tuner Bypass Loop (Nice Rack Canada)
- Korg Pitchblack Tuner
- RJM Music MasterMind
- Death By Audio Instersteller Deluxe Overdrive
- ZVex Mastotron
- Boss PS-5 Super Shifter (alternative - Boss PS-6)
- Eventide Pitch Factor
- Eventide Space
- Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2+
These days Annie Clark uses a different pedal board which was again put together by Nice Rack’s Mike Vegas. The Custom pedal board allows for multiple triggering of pedals, allowing her to focus on playing rather than hitting pedals on and off and doing that tap dance we all do on stage. Clockwise from top left:
ST. VINCENT AMPLIFIERS GUIDE - What Amps Does St Vincent use?
Although these days Annie Clark chooses to hide the amps out of sight when playing live or on TV, she often sites a selection of different amps to get her sound. Here’s our guide to a few of the amplifiers St. Vincent uses.
’70S FENDER PRINCETON
n an interview with GuitarPlayer St. Vincent stated "I played a ’67 Harmony Bobkat through a Death by Audio Interstellar Overdriver Supreme pedal, usually straight into a late-’70s Fender Princeton— not lots of pedals, more driving the amp pretty hard." Here’s a Fender 68 Custom Princeton Reverb Combo Amplifier that’ll help you get the same sound.
FENDER VINTAGE REISSUE '65 DELUXE REVERB
In this video below from the very popular Vice Noisey, guitar Moves series, we can see her playing the 1967 Harmony Bobkat guitar through a Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Vintage Reissue Guitar Combo Amp.
Here’s the Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Vintage Reissue Guitar Combo in all it's glory (if you want to know how to sound like St. Vincent, this is a great start):
KEMPER PROFILER RACK GUITAR AMP SYSTEM
The Kemper Profiler Rack-Mounted Digital Guitar Amplifier or Kemper Profiling Amplifier Head is a great choice if you have a smaller rig.
Annie Clark of St. Vincent has also stated that she bought 2 Kemper amps from Nine Inch Nails. Thanks to the fact they’re easy to carry and packed full of sounds, she now uses them on the live circuit. "I’m using a Kemper modeling amplifier for live work. Originally I was bringing out vintage ’66 Kalamazoo kind of small amps—the kind of little guy that you could ram a lot of signal through and get a nice breakup and saturation and all of that. But I just stopped." - St. Vincent says in a Guitar World interview.
Have we missed any gear in our St. Vincent gear guide you think should be included? Let us know in the comments below!