My guitar collection is happily out of control. I am particularly proud of Lammy (which I played in the video for “Arcade Gaming Shrine”) but for Palette-Swap Ninja recordings, I rely on the Line 6 Variax 500 modeling guitar and the Variax 700 bass. With zero noise and a digital personality disorder, they are fully-programmable studio tools that can mimic many famous instruments and tones. On a few tracks I’ve reached for my Taylor T5 or ESP XJ-6. For non-Variax bass recordings, I usually use the Fender American Precision Bass or my wife’s Ernie Ball Music Man Sterling.
For recording, we both use Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 interfaces and PreSonus Eris E5 monitors. We matched our gear to make the remote collaboration easier; that way, we can expect to hear roughly the same sounds. While we have used a variety of DAWs for previous projects, we’re currently very happy with Logic Pro X.
Most of what I do for Palette-Swap Ninja involves software instruments, and lately I have been using Logic Pro X as a DAW. In addition to the software instruments that come with Logic, I’m also using a number of software instruments from Native Instruments Komplete 11.
Software instruments are great, but I prefer to play my performances rather than type or draw them in. For a master MIDI controller keyboard, I am using a Kurzweil PC-88. It has a hammer-weighted action that’s great for piano parts. For synth and organ lines, I use a Roland AX-7 keytar. I also picked up a Korg PadKontrol, which I find much more responsive and expressive for recording drum lines.
Recently, I’ve had a few of my ‘stand alone’ keyboards in the studio. These include my Gibson G101 Portable Organ and Oberheim Matrix 1000 analog synthesizer. I’ve also been laying down some tracks with my Hohner Bravo 120 accordion.