Blur at the Brits 2012: the gear guide
Blur's performance at the Brits last night wasn't universally loved - Adele fans were upset that she was rushed off-stage for them and even Damon Albarn himself would admit his voice has sounded better. But whatever you thought of their set, tracks like Parklife and Song 2 reminded everyone of what a powerhouse they can be when at their best.
So how have they achieved their classic sounds throughout the years?
Graham Coxon (Guitar)
While some of the guitar nerds at Dolphin were watching every indie-kid's guitar hero, there was much debate as to whether Song 2's chorus is powered by one of Electro-Harmonix's Big Muff pedals, or the classic Pro Co Rat. There was one thing we were all certain of though: he was playing a standard-issue Fender Telecaster, the likes of which he's been toting for years. Unfortunately his limited-edition signature model is no longer available, but you can approximate its look and sound at a far more pocket-friendly price with a blonde Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Telecaster Special.
Damon Albarn (Vocals - and iPad!)
Blur's frontman stuck mainly to vocals at his Brits performance, but we couldn't miss an opportunity to talk about some of the interesting things he's been doing away from the band. Did you know, for example, that he did a lot of the work for Gorillaz's
"Plastic Beach" "The Fall" album on the iPad? (Oops, thanks to Mike Hillier on Twitter for the album title correction). He said it allowed him to create "a completely different kind of record" - and with tools like the Akai MPC Fly Music Production Controller, Numark iDJ Live Controller and Alesis IO Dock Pro you can see how it'd be easy to get inspired!
Alex James (Bass)
In his band's 90s heyday the foppish bassist rocked a classic Fender Standard Precision Bass - on every album up until 1995's "The Great Escape", in fact.
James has changed a bit since then (you've heard about his exploits in opera and cheesemaking, right?) ; since the later "Think Tank" album he's been seen using an Epiphone El Capitan Semi-Acoustic bass and even the occasional Gibson Thunderbird.
In a quick show of hands around the Dolphin office, Rowntree was the Blur member fewest of us could name, which is a shame as he's one of the most uniquely interesting rock stars of recent memory. He trained as a computer programmer, contributing to the Linux operating system, holds a full pilot's licence, stood as a Labour MP in 2007 and 2008, and is now training to be a lawyer. Oh, and he plays drums quite well too...
For all Blur albums up until 1997's self-titled record he was sat behind a Yamaha kit. (Shame he missed out on Dolphin's £100 off electronic kits offer, or one of our free stools...) Between the albums "Blur" and "Think Tank" he used Pearl gear, subsequently moving on to Slingerland. And of course, all these were accompanied by Zildjian cymbals, like our matched cymbal pack with free 18" ride.
See for yourself...
Plenty of this gear can be seen in this footage of Blur's Brit Awards 2012 performance. Look out for one of Yamaha's ace Motif XS series of synths too. And if you like what you see, we've got them with free copies of Cubase AI.