by Barry Cleveland
Reposted courtesy of Model Citizens, the Line 6 blog
Touch guitarists Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn are singular artists who play extended-range instruments that encompass both the guitar and bass registers, and which are played by tapping the strings with both hands, much like the Chapman Stick (from which they were derived conceptually). Reuter and Gunn also deftly deploy Helix amp and effects processors when crafting their idiosyncratic tones and expansive soundscapes.
Reuter has been a member of Stick Men (alongside Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto) for more than a decade, as well as performing solo and with a variety other adventurous ensembles, including Centrozoon and Tuner. He has released eight albums as a leader; collaborated on recordings with Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Stephan Thelen, and other artists; and appeared as a guest on dozens of additional recordings. He is also an educator and hosts the video program Living the Dream. Reuter primarily plays 8- and 10-string Touch Guitars, which he designed, and currently relies on Helix Floor and HX Stomp processors to generate nearly all of his extraordinary sounds.
Gunn was a member of King Crimson from 1994 to 2003, as well as recording and performing with dozens of other luminaries, such as David Sylvian, Vernon Reid, Brian Eno, John Paul Jones, Steven Wilson, and Robert Fripp. He is a member of TU, KTU, 3Below, Quodia, and The Security Project, and has released 14 solo albums. Gunn also composes music for film and television, teaches, and runs the 7d Media label. His principal instrument is the 10-string Warr Guitar, which he developed with Mark Warr, and he has incorporated Helix Native into his live and recording rigs.
Both musicians studied Guitar Craft with Robert Fripp for a number of years and were active in the associated community in various roles.
When did you first begin using Line 6 processors?
Trey: I began using the original red POD back in 1999 or 2000. I can’t remember exactly why I was drawn to it, other than that it was the first amp-simulation device and there was nothing else like it at the time. That was also about the time that Tony Levin and I were both playing around with using distortion on the bass and we were trying to figure out how to do it without losing the bottom end. So, I ran the dry signal parallel to the distorted POD signal, using a giant rig with 16 audio loops, which is ridiculous by today’s standards, when you can do the same thing within Helix. And I actually used two PODs, one for each side of the instrument, as there are individual outputs for the guitar and bass sides. The PODs were mounted on a shelf with zip ties.
Markus: Stick Men has been touring the world for the past decade and I have used Line 6 gear for nearly the entire time, beginning with the POD HD500 on the second or third tour. It had that small display, but at least you could modify the signal path a little bit, and I liked the way it sounded. For me, all the concerns about “authentic” tones are really irrelevant, as when I plug my instrument into a modeler, it isn’t going to sound like anything else anyway. So, with that I was able to find my own sounds, including synth sounds, as there was an onboard monophonic string synth that was very useful for doing soundscape stuff. I also liked the distortions, as they were grittier and more raw-sounding than those in other processors, in a way that really worked for me. But even back then, I was already dreaming about something very much like Helix, so when it appeared it was literally a dream come true. The inserts, the four effects loops, the multiple outputs, Snapshots—all those things. And the ease of use is still unmatched. I could go on and on, because I really love that thing!