Gear

Michelle has a wide range of professional gear available to her for her rehearsals, session work and live gigs etc. Here are just some of the items that Michelle will use regularly in her performances whenever she is not using a  PA hire companies services etc.

Rig Rundown

Michelle is well known for her love of Blackstar Amplification and uses them exclusively in her performances.

Michelle has a number of Blackstar rigs to choose from and uses a number of them, however she usually tends to favour two main rigs so we will begin with those together with her full Rig Rundown including pedalboard an guitars.
Afterwards further down the page we will show you the other guitars, amps, and equipment that Michelle owns and uses at times.

Michelle has used Blackstar amps for a number of years and been a strong voice online in promoting their products, so much so that many people automatically believed that she must be endorsed by Blackstar (which she wasn´t for a number of years). 
Move on to 2020 however and things have changed. Michelle has now become so widely known as the "Blackstar woman" that its difficult to mention Blackstar without mentioning Michelle, and consequently she is now one of Blackstars officially endorsed artists.

You can find her on Blackstar Amplifications website by clicking on this link for her full bio. 

https://blackstaramps.com/uk/artists/m?page=2

Blackstar Limited Edition Anniversary Artist AE 10w

In celebration of 10 years of brilliant Blackstar tone, a limited edition 10W single-ended Artist valve amplifier was released. Only 1000 units of this amp were made worldwide and Michelle got two of them.

Michelle first started using this amp on a few of her smaller gigs and in the studio and continues to use the amp regularly for both of these things.

The Artist 10AE is similar to its big brother (The Artist 30) but in a simplified version. 

She grew to like it so much and enjoyed having a smaller amp to carry around that she actually started to use it as her main performance amp together with a Celestion Vintage 30 loaded extention cab and her pedalboard.

Michelle uses Blackstars emulated output to send the amps signal into the PA system too in order to get a little "spread" or extra volume too if necessary.

The Artist 10 AE deploys a 6L6 output valve and an ECC83 in the preamp stage to give the amp a characteristically bright clean and yet not harsh tone.

The lead sounds are enhanced by a built-in overdrive circuit inspired by Blackstar HT-Drive pedal.

As with the Artist 30 the amp is great for everything from Jazz, Country, Rock and more, and is specifically designed to take pedals extremely well.

Michelle sets the amp crystal clean with a warm full tone and adds pedals to sculpt her sound.

Special Edition Blackstar Artist 15

Another favourite which is used regularly by Michelle on her live gigs is her Special Edition Blonde Artist 15 with its Celestion Creamback loaded 1 x 12" extention cab. 

You can often see this amp behind Michelle onstage at her gigs and in publicity photos etc. 
You can see this amp being used by Michelle in the photo to the right together with the extra cab.

The Artist 15 is a two channel amp and has 2  6L6 power amp valves and a 12" Celestion V-Type speaker.

This special edition is covered in blonde tolex with a brown basketweave fret and a chunky brown leather handle, giving this vintage

sounding amp a lovely boutique, vintage look which Michelle loves.

When using the amp Michelle uses channel 2 and has the amp set crystal clean with a full warm tone and then adds her pedals to sculpt the sound she wants.

The vintage looking blonde extention cab that sits under Michelle´s Artist 15 was specially made for her by Zilla Cabs in the UK who did their best to match the look of this special edition Blackstar amp.

 

For all of her amps Michelle uses thickley padded custom covers made for her by Hotcovers in the UK which can be contacted via Blackstars website under the "Store" button.
 

"Olivia"

This is Michelle´s handmade custom Gordon Smith guitar which she named "Olivia".

It is also the guitar that she jokingly likes to call the "Michelle Taylor Signature Model" as it was custom designed for her by the craftsmen at Gordon Smith Guitars UK and was the first guitar they had ever made with a beautiful olive top. Many people now associate Michelle with this guitar. 

This stunning guitar has replaced all her other guitars and has become one of two main instruments. The guitar became so popular and well known online that people began to order copies of it from Gordon Smith Guitars.

Gordon Smith are the UKs longest running electric guitar manufacturer and are often hailed to be as the famous american made Gibson brand used to be at their peak in terms of top quality handmade premium instruments.

 

All Gordon Smith guitars are handcrafted in their workshop in Northamptonshire England and are amongst the top-rated manufacturers in the use of sustainable woods in guitar building.

Every guitar is handcrafted from raw timber in their CNC free workshop where they even wind and pot their own custom pick ups too.

Gordon Smith guitars have appeared in thousands of venues from pubs and clubs to stadiums and arenas for over 40 years! ( Among many others you often see David Bowie/Iggy Pops guitarist “Ken Armstrong” using them ).

Check out a video of Michelle´s Gordon Smith guitar here...

Michelle`s handmade Gordon Smith Guitar

This guitar became so popular that people ordered right handed copies to be made for them. 

"The Owl"

Michelle´s Second Gordon Smith Guitar  (The Owl)

Due to the fact that Michelle was constantly using her Gordon Smith guitar for all her session work and live gigs she decided that she needed to have a "back up" guitar incase anything happened to it.  Yes she had her Gibson´s and Fenders but she wanted to play purely Gordon Smith!

Once again she contacted Gordon Smith guitars and asked for something even more special than the first guitar that they had made for her.

This time Michelle wanted the guitar to have a very patterned burled walnut top ( her previous guitar had an olive top and was the first guitar that Gordon Smith guitars had ever made with an olive top).

Gordon Smith Guitars went out of their way to find the right piece of wood for Michelle´s guitar and searched all over the world until finally finding what they wanted in the USA! 

A few months later and this stunning instrument was sent out to Michelle, and she was blown over by how incredibly beautiful and unique it was. Michelle calls this guitar   "The Owl" as you can see the shape and face of an owl in the pattern of the burled walnut.

Like the guitar above it has stainless steel frets, Gotoh bridge and locking tuners, but this time Gordon Smith added a beautiful abalone inlay 

of Michelle´s initial.

Michelle`s Main Pedalboard

Michelle has a number of different pedalboards and pedals for different effects/tones etc.  Her main pedalboard below has two levels and  has pedals by her favourite brands such as Free The Tone,  Mad Professor,  Flattley,  Rockett, Keeley etc.

 

Top Level

* Radial Big Shot ABY

* Digitech Polara Reverb (rarely used)

* Flattley Signature Chorus & Tremolo

* Korg Custom Pitch Black Tuner

* Mad Professor Royal Blue Overdrive

* Rockett Blue Note Overdrive

* Free The Tone SOV-2 Overdrive

* Keeley Compressor Plus ( used as boost )

Bottom Level

* Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay ( short delay )

* Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay ( Long Delay )

* Proco Rat Turbo ( with LM308 chip )

* Palmer PWT 12 Power Unit

* Boss ES5 Lopper -Switcher

*Free The Tone Red Jasper Overdrive as seen in photo above.

At times Michelle use´s a Cry Baby Mini Wah as seen in this photo ( but not often ).

Michelle´s Favourite Pedals

Michelle is often asked in online groups and forums about her pedalboard set up and her favourite pedals, and so here we feature a few of them.

Free The Tone "Red Jasper"

"The Red Jasper by Free The Tone is often at the heart of my overdrive sound for soloing".

The Red Jasper is a low to medium gain transparent pedal with smooth highs, punchy mids and full but tight lows. It has a sensitive, responsive, and a natural and pleasing compression.

This pedal amplifies the guitar’s original sound faithfully, adopting a passive type tone circuit to minimize phase errors in the guitar signal to obtain a natural tone.

By implementing the HTS (Holistic Tonal Solution) Circuit that manages signals comprehensively from input to output, the effected sound and bypassed sound will always have the same sound quality, (which solves a problem that has plagued players for years).

Free The Tone SOV-2 Overdrive

The SOV-2 was handmade specially for me by Free The Tone and again it is a very transparent low to medium gain overdrive.

The SOV-2 uses a high performance DC-DC converter for its internal power supply circuit and drives its signal circuit by supplying ±15 Vdc, providing natural amplification of guitar sound and characteristics.

Check out the full background of the pedal at https://www.freethetone.com/en/products/detail26/
 

The Michelle Taylor Signature Series Pedals

Michelle has a high and respected presence in the hundreds of gear groups and forums online.

Many people contact her regularly with comments and questions and even via private messages to ask her opinions of gear and in particular her Blackstar amps,  Gordon Smith guitars, and about any pedals that she presently uses or recommends etc. 

Michelle was contacted recently by boutique custom pedal builder Paul Flattley of  Flattley pedals  (UK) asking if she would be interested in a series of signature pedals by his company.  Michelle was overjoyed to have the opportunity to work together with him, and they are now working on a number of new pedal designs which will be released in the near future as the "MT Signature series".

Michelle has already been sent a number of prototypes which have been fine tuned and adjusted to suit her taste and she actually uses 2 of these pedals on one of her main pedalboards at the moment. 

The "MT Royal Wave" which is a creamy analog dual chorus pedal , and the MT Quantum Dual Delay which is another warm analog pedal.

MT Royal Wave  Chorus & Tremolo
MT Quantum  Dual Analog Delay
Mad Professor Royal Blue

The Mad Professor Royal Blue Overdrive is used extensively by Michelle Taylor.


Michelle usually has this pedal set as seen in the photo and has her guitar volume rolled approximately half way down.

This setting offers Michelle her slightly dirty rhythm sound when connected to her Blackstar Artist amps which are set to a crystal clean warm full tone.

If she rolls the volume back a touch further the guitar cleans up altogether offering her a great clean tone, if she turns the volume up it adds a lot more volume and gain giving her a great solo sound.  Setting the guitar volume somewhere in between naturally offers her more options. 

Michelle likes this pedal because it is incredibly transparent, therefore it doesn´t color the tone of her guitar like most overdrives will do. Instead it allows your guitar & amp tone to remain the same and simply adds gain to the sound.

Michelle learned about this pedal from one of her guitar hero´s Matt Schofield!
 

Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay

Michelle Taylor uses two Mad Professor Deep Blue Delays on her pedalboard. Often these pedals are hidden away on the bottom level of her board and so are often missed by people.

Michelle uses two delays as she has one set for a short almost slap back delay which is an "always on" effect and the second for a longer delay used more in solos.

Michelle uses very little reverb in her sound and so the delays add the depth she needs without coloring her tone in the way that she feels reverb can do.
The Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay units are a combination of both analog and digital wizardry offering Michelle both the warmth and clarity the requires.

Blackstar Artist 30

The Blackstar Artist 30 is another favourite used by Michelle on her gigs.

The Artist 30 is a 30 watt 2 x 12" low gain valve amp which has been specially designed to to take effect pedals extremely well.
The Artist 30 uses 2 x 12" Celestion V-Type speakers and has 6L6 valves/tubes

The Artist 30 offers warm Jazz tones and glassy Country and Blues tone`s but without the usual Fender harshness at volume, and can be kicked into overdrive by adding pedals in the front or via the effects loop.

Just a few of the names using the Artist 30 are....

* Waddy Watchtel (top session player with Everly Brothers, Jackson Browne, 

Kim Carnes,  Bob Dylan, Bryan Ferry, Don Henley, Carole King, John Mayer,  Randy Newman, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Bob Seger, Carly Simon, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Tom Waits

Ted Nugent.   Warren Haynes ( The Allman Brothers) .  Jared James Nichols.   Billy Gibbons.   Chris Buck.  and Gus G to name but a few.

Blackstar ID260TVP

The Blackstar ID260TVP is a big favourite with Michelle and was one of the amps that she used a lot when doing sessions or when performing.

The amp is still used today for rehearsals and some gigs.

The Blackstar ID260TVP is a 2x 60watt stereo amplifier with 2 x 12" speakers and onboard multieffects in superwide stereo.

The amp is both incredibly powerful and very versatile, and is suitable for all kinds of music.

The secret to the ID260TVP amplifiers great tone is its TVP section which can authentically replicate the sound, feel, sag and dynamics of a number of valve types by simply selecting a valve of choice on the front panel.

Michelle uses this amp for everything from crystal clean Country sounds to both Blues and Rock tones.

Other Blackstar Amps

A number of other Blackstar amps that Michelle will use in rehearsals and practice are the following...

The ID100HP

HT40

The HT5R

HT20 MK II

The ID Core 20V2

The Limited Edition Fly

Michelle´s Guitars

During her long career Michelle has owned pretty much most brands of guitar over the years, and over time she had built up quite a collection.

Since then she has decided to keep just a handful of her favourites which you will see below.

1996 MIK Epiphone Les Paul

As you will see below, Michelle has a number of guitars that she can use on live gigs and tours etc, However until the arrival of Michelle´s Gordon Smith guitar above, it tended to be the same "favourite" that was always chosen as her main instrument.

Michelle´s guitar of choice was always her Desert Burst  Epiphone Les Paul Custom guitar named "Lady Maria".

Michelle has had ( and still has a number of top quality guitars such as Gibsons and Fenders etc and a number of custom guitars specially made for her) however out of them all she always preferred "Lady Maria".

This guitar has been customised throughout and is set up specially for Michelle by her guitar tech Per Andersson of www.söderutgitarr.se.

People often found it strange to see Michelle use an Epiphone when she has Gibsons and Fenders behind her onstage as "Back Up guitars" incase of string breaks etc, but as she explains..."This particular Epi is highly customized specially for me and is simply a better guitar".

There was however one part of the guitar that Michelle disliked....The headstock...

and so that was even customized too.

"Lady Maria" is a 1996 Epiphone Les Paul in Desert Burst which was made at the Samick factory in Korea under license of Gibson guitars.

"Lady Maria"

Here are just a few of the other guitars that Michelle still owns or has owned in the past 

Gibson Goldtop Les Paul

Fender Custom with B Bender

Custom Högberg Tele

Tom Mates Custom Tele

Limited Edition Custom Ibanez Artist 

Ibanez AS93FML_VLS
Graphtech Parts

A lot of Michelle´s guitars are enhanced with Graphtech parts to ensure better tone and reliability when on the road.
At the moment she has Graphtech Black Tusq nuts and saddles on a number of her guitars, Michelle also has the new Ratio locking machine heads fitted to one of her prized Gordon Smith guitars and is using  Graphtechs TD1.40 Deep picks which fine tune her tone even more.

PA System

The MAUI 28 G2 PA system used by Michelle is equipped with two 8" woofers, sixteen 3" full-range speakers and two 1" neodymium HF drivers. They are driven by a light Class-D power amplifier with an enormous 2,000 watts peak power and produce warm bass, balanced mids and precise and silky highs.

Michelle uses 2 of these systems in her live work.

The DynX® DSP technology from LD Systems provides a top-class performance every time and the highest level of freedom from distortion. It includes a multiband limiter which protects against overloading, an EQ, a compressor and a 3-way crossover with run time correction.

The design of the MAUI 28 G2 achieves a longer range, increased resistance to feedback and a wider space coverage.

The wave guide of the tweeters has been developed using the Boundary Element Method (BEM), a numerical simulation of the sound radiation and dispersion.

It reduces reflections from the floor and ceiling and prevents sidelobe levels and thus achieves an homogeneous dispersion.

Your audience hears you in the back row just as clearly as in the front.

PA Mixer

  • 16-Channel Mixing Console

  • Max. 10 Mic / 16 Line Inputs (8 mono + 4 stereo)

  • 4 GROUP Buses + 1 Stereo Bus

  • 4 AUX (incl. FX)

  • “D-PRE” mic preamps with an inverted Darlington circuit

  • 1-Knob compressors

  • High-grade effects: SPX with 24 programs

  • 24-bit/192kHz 2in/2out USB Audio functions

  • PAD switch on mono inputs

  • +48V phantom power

  • XLR balanced outputs

  • Internal universal power supply for world-wide use

Vocal Effects

Together with an Shure SM58 microphone, Michelle uses a TC Helicon studio quality vocal processor for reverb and live vocal harmonies. 

This unit also has legendary guitar effect styles from TC ELECTRONIC such as Flashback Delay, Hall of Fame Reverb, Corona Chorus and Vortex Flanger TonePrint pedals together with Compression, Detune, Tremolo, Distortion, Overdrive, together with a number of premium amp emulations, all of which serve as a great “back up system” incase Michelle´s usual guitar gear ever becomes moody during a live performance.

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