Equipment Checklist:

Note: Page updated January 11, 2015 to include equipment purchased or sold since the last update. Also, please note that I am looking fo a Sennheiser MD441 microphone in good condition. Contact me if you know of one for sale. Thanks!

September 17, 2012 update:

I am entering into a “partial” retirement, so most of the equipment listed here will be sold. The prices will be fair because I want to sell it fast rather than holding out for the best offer, but keep in mind that most of this equipment is highest quality for professional use, so it will be priced accordingly. If you are interested in anything, email me at tsmerk@sdccd.edu and I’ll be happy to answer questions or arrange for you to look at the equipment.

September 1, 2012 update:

New equipment added: Yamaha Pacifica EG-112 “Strat HSS” electric guitar, another Shure Beta 58 microphone, a great sounding RMS 912FTW 12 inch 150 watt monitor / flying PA speaker, Sansui 2 way SS-20 8 ohm headphones (with both volume and tone controls!), Olson dynamic stereo headphones (cool vintage vibe!), homemade 9V battery practice amp in small Epiphone cabinet, assorted microphone stands.

April 3, 2009 update:

I left all of the information at the bottom of the page as sort of a "historical" reference, but a lot has changed since I originally created this page. The following list and the photos refer to equipment that I currently own that was purchased after the fire.

On October 21, 2007, my house, my studio, and all my equipment and possessions were destroyed by the "Harris" fire during one of the worst firestorms in California history. Everything described below is gone except for 3 items, which I had with me in my car at the time of the fire: My Carvin AE-185 guitar, my Shure Beta-58 microphone, and my Jay Turser vintage-style Classic 25-RC guitar amp (which I traded to Joe Mc Gerald).

Since then, in addition to the above, I have purchased the following equipment so I can get back to work:

For the time being, the "Audio Barn" recording studio will occupy bedroom #3 in the new house until I can afford to have a separate building constructed. Because all of my MIDI backing tracks were destroyed in the fire, I am no longer performing as a single entertainer for dances. I am, however, available to perform folk & blues music as an acoustic act, and am also available to play with other bands, any style of music.

As always, thanks for your interest in my career!

Here are some photos of my new equipment for those of your who enjoy learning about amps and guitars:

Here are the guitars I am currently using:

(Note: The instruments marked with an *  are for sale. I decided I just have more equipment than I need (I’m not retiring or anything like that!). The listing below the photos has more items on it, some of which are not included with the photos. See descriptions below where all of the photos end.}

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: altilio_steel

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* Dan Altilio handmade steel-string acoustic-electric

* Dan Altilio handmade nylon-string acoustic-electric

Carvin AE-185 acoustic-electric

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: martin1

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Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: heritage

Martin D-42 K2 all koa acoustic guitar with Fishman preamp system

Closeup of the flamed Hawaiian koa wood top

Heritage Golden Eagle acoustic-electric “jazz” guitar

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: riviera

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: sunlite

1967 Epiphone Riviera guitar with Seymour Duncan pickups and stop tailpiece

Sunlite GW-2400GCP electric/acoustic bass with Shadow pickup (SOLD)

1974 Garcia Grade #3 nylon string classical guitar

* Epiphone Power Bass electric solid-body P-J bass

* Stagg SW205-12N 12-string acoustic guitar

* 2000 Robertson and Sons 4/4 Handmade Violin

 

Caravelle BBb Tuba

Blessing Trumpet (Sold)

*  Groove Percussion 5-piece
Drum Set

* Deering Goodtime 2
5-string banjo

* Xavier XV840 “Telecaster”

* Xavier XV-950

 

Not shown:

·         Yamaha DGX-205 “Portable Grand” MIDI keyboard

·         Yamaha PSR-S900 MIDI keyboard

·         Story & Clark Console Piano, Black Chinese violin

·         BOSS BR-600 Digital Recorder with Presonus Firestudio 26X26 firewire digital mixer

·         Roland U-220 MIDI sound module

* Epiphone Swingster White Royale

* Yamaha EG112

 

And here are some pictures of my guitar amps:

1967 Fender Twin Reverb

* 1980’s Music Man RD-50 with EV speaker

Jay Turser Classic 25-RC (SOLD)

Top view of the Jay Turser amp (SOLD)

Ampeg BA-115 bass amplifier

Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

Not shown:

·         Fender Passport PD-500 PA system

·         Two Califone PI30-PS powered speakers

·         Shure 4-channel mixer

·         Several microphones

·         1964 Ears stereo in-ear monitor system

 

Fender Mustang II guitar amplifier

 

DESCRIPTIONS OF EQUIPMENT THAT IS FOR SALE:

(Note: All of my guitars are professional quality and have been set up and adjusted for comfortable action and correct intonation. I did all that was needed to make each of these guitars, amps and other instruments play, look and sound as good as possible.)

Dan Altilio steel-string acoustic-electric – The perfect way to play acoustic guitar on-stage. It’s handmade by a respected builder, so all of the details are just as I like them! Great player, sound that rivals a Martin! With or without tween Fender case.

Dan Altilio nylon-string acoustic-electric – Perfect for Peter White style smooth jazz or loud classical guitar. Also nails Willie Nelson’s playing! With or without tween Fender case.

Epiphone Power Bass – Great playing, comfortable and great sounding. Has separate pickup volume controls. Great condition. Includes a softshell case.

Stagg 12-string acoustic guitar – Brand new, I just put on a set of premium strings. Comes with new hardshell case.

Robertson and Sons 4/4 Violin – The “house brand” of one of the most respected violin stores in the world. A very nice violin!

Groove Percussion 5-piece Drum Set – Like new, played very little. This is the house brand of Sam Ash music. Sabian ride cymbal and Zildjian hi-hats.

Deering Goodtime 2 5-string banjo – Brand new. One of the best brands of banjo available. I thought I would learn to play it, but never got around to it!

Xavier “Telecaster” – Brand new. One of the best Teles you’ll ever play! Upgraded with Neovin “Hard Vintage” overwound noiseless pickups and a 5-way switch that give the 3 Telecaster tones and also adds a Stratocaster neck pickup tone and a 90 degree out of phase Strat two-pickup tone, Can sound like both a Tele and a Strat!. Awesome sound, excellent workmanship! New flight case available for $150 extra.

Xavier XV-950 – Sort of a cross between a Gretsch White Falcon and an Ibanez George Benson GB-10. Beautiful white with gold hardware and a pearl pickguard. This is one of my favorite guitars – it sounds great, it is light and easy to play all night, and the size is very comfortable, smaller than most other jazz and rockabilly guitars. Great for all styles – jazz, country, rock, blues, etc. New flight case available for $150 extra.

Epiphone Swingster White Royale – This guitar is undoubtedly prettier than a Gretsch White Falcon. Subtle white sparkle finish with gold hardware and nice inlays. I removed the Bigbsy that came with it and installed the best Bigsby available. Each pickups has a series/parallel switch.

Yamaha EG112 – I’ve owned a lot of Strats, and this one is the best sounding, best playing of all of them! I added hardened steel roller bridge saddles, so it stays in tune and has better sustain! Awesome guitar! Comes with a gig bag.

1980’s Music Man RD-50 – Very popular amp. Can switch between solid-state or tube pre-amp. ElectrpVoice 12” speaker.

Ampeg BA-115 bass amplifier – Brand new. I bought it when a music store went out of business, but never got any calls to play bass! Still has store hang tags! Has a control that gives a variety of great tones. Loud! I’ve always believed that Ampeg made the best bass amps.

Yamaha DGX-205 “Portable Grand” MIDI keyboard - 73 keys, rhythm section, memories, etc. The tones are as good as anything I’ve heard at any price range!

Story & Clark Console Piano – This is a beautiful piece of furniture for your home. Great condition. Story & Clark pianos are one of the better brands.

Black Chinese violin – Nice student violin with hard case. Like new!

Two Califone PI30-PS powered speakers - 30 watts RMS each, Three speakers in each unit. Volume and tone controls and multiple inputs and outputs. Great for powered monitors, as a keyboard or guitar amp, or use with a mixer as a PA system for smaller rooms.

 

DESCRIPTIONS OF EQUIPMENT THAT IS NOT FOR SALE:

Carvin AE-185 acoustic-electric – My “go to” guitar. Has two Alan Holdsworth pickups and a LR Baggs ribbon transducer pickup for acoustic sound. Two coil splitting switches and an out-of-phase switch. Great sound for all styles, and very light!

Martin D-42 K2 – A limited edition model that was made special for a NAMM show. I installed a Fishman pickup that has a ribbon transducer as well as an internal microphone that can be blended. Beautiful flamed koa wood.

Heritage Golden Eagle – When Gibson moved its factory to Nashville, the Gibson employees that wanted to stay in Kalamazoo bought the factory and equipment and continued to make guitars under the name of “Heritage,” and continued the quality that made Gibson famous in the `50’s and `60’s. This guitar is essentially a Gibson L-5. The pickup and controls are mounted on the pickguard, so nothing touches the top. I added a tone control. I owned a 1959 L-5 and a 1960 L-7, and I can state for a fact that this guitar has better tone and better workmanship.

1967 Epiphone Riviera – Hardware replaced with Gibson bridge and stop tailpiece. Pickups are Seymour Duncans – JB in the bridge position and 59 neck pickup. A 1966 model made at the Gibson Kalamazoo factory, this guitar is now essentially the same as a 1959 Gibson ES-335, and you know how famous those are! Very low action comfortable neck. Has the original Epiphone case.

1974 Garcia Grade #3 nylon string classical – Distributed by the same company that sells Ramirez guitars (Sherry Brenner). I’ve owned classical guitars from Gibson, Garcia, Yamaha and Hernandez, and even though this is considered a student grade instrument, this one has the best tone and volume. It’s a keeper!

Caravelle BBb Tuba – I played tuba in school from 5th grade through college, and when I saw this at an auction, I knew I had to have it!

1967 Fender Twin Reverb – An original “blackface” Twin! I had it reconditioned at Top Gear music repair, and it is sweeeet! I had them add a variable neg. feedback pot, a mod I saw at a Nashville amp builder. This gives the power tube section a little more “soul.” Can be turned off for stock Fender bright tone.

Fishman Loudbox Acoustic Guitar Amp – With 60 watts, this is a great acoustic guitar amp for small venues and coffee houses. It has reverb and chorus, an XLR microphone input with separate volume, tone and reverb controls, and a 1/8 inch stereo input jack so I can connect my IPod and play along with tracks! I’ve even hooked up my Shure mixer and used it as a PA system for small rooms!

Fender Mustang II guitar amp – I bought this to use when I got tired lugging my heavy Twin Reverb amp to gigs. It has an amp modeling circuit that can make it sound like a Deluxe, Twin, Bassman, Vox, Marshall, and many other great amps. It has a USB jack to connect to a computer so that I can tweak the sounds. I made it sound exactly like my Twin! And it’s so light, you can pick it up with one finger! 40 watts and a 12” speaker.

Fender Passport PD-500 PA system - 500 watts. The mixer and two speakers clip together for easy transportation. I use it with speaker stands. Built-in multi-effects. Great clear tone!

Yamaha PSR-S900 MIDI keyboard – This is an “arranging” keyboard with multi-track MIDI recorder built in. Loaded with great tones and a great accompaniment section, this is the keyboard I used on my more recent CDs for the drums, bass, organ, piano, acoustic guitar. Brass, strings and woodwind tracks. It’s also a great keyboard for performing and can load and store complete songs from a computer through its USB port.

Plus – Harmonicas, Boss digital recorder and Presonus mixer, Shure wireless guitar system, Shure wireless headphone mic, 2 Shure Beta 58 mics, Shure SM-7. Shure Unidyne 545SD, AKG D1200E. 2 Fender mics, Shure 4-channel mixer, In-ears monitors, 2 JBL 12” 2-way monitors, Fender wedge monitor, other wedge monitor, etc.

 

June 2006 update (None of the following information is accurate because the fire destroyed all of the equipment mentioned. I am leaving the information on the page as a "historic" overview):

You'll notice below that in March 1966 I was playing a Silvertone guitar and amplifier. I kept the amplifier until May and traded the guitar in November of that same year. Last week I had the pleasure of purchasing the exact same model guitar (Silvertone 1478L 2-pickup "Jaguar") and amplifier (Silvertone 1482 15-watt 1X12") as a "set" from a local (San Diego) collector. Talk about a trip back to the past! I owe a debt of thanks to Robert who realized that I was not looking for such equipment at the time, so I was financially not in a good position to be buying more equipment. He made me a deal that was quite fair, and I have been happy ever since with both pieces of equipment. When I used the amp in 1966, it wasn't loud enough to use in a combo, but since then it has gained a reputation as a "blues" amp because of the warm distortion it gives when cranked up. I still wouldn't use it on a gig, but I might use it on a recording some day if I need a nice fat blues sound. The guitar turned out to be better than I remembered it to be, and I would have no reservations about using this guitar on a gig. I played some `60's songs and some surf music at a rehearsal this week, and it has the perfect tone for that type of music. I will probably take this to a few gigs as a backup guitar and try to play it once in awhile for sentimental value.

From the beginning . . .

My first guitar was a second-hand Stella acoustic. My dad paid $15 for this back in 1963 or 1964. When I was ready to play in bands in 1965, we bought one of the Sears (Danelectro) Silvertone guitars that had the amplifier built into the case - the one pickup black sparkle one! This seems to have been the first electric guitar for a lot of famous guitarists. Shortly after that (March 1966), I graduated into a nice 2-pickup Sears (Harmony) Silvertone "Jaguar" style guitar and a 15-watt amp. As my playing improved, I moved up to a new Fender Pro-Reverb amplifier in May 1966 and traded the guitar on a Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean in November 1966. This is the guitar I used until 1972, when I bought a Gibson ES-345TDC stereo guitar. The Gibson was my main guitar through the `70's until I bought a new Fender Telecaster in 1979. I used the Telecaster all through the `80's and `90's. At one point, I had a 1958 Gibson L5-CES stereo with PAF humbucking pickups and the original case. I sold that for $1500 one day when our family really needed the money. What a fool I was - that guitar today is worth $25,000!

During the late `60's and throughout the `70's, I used dozens of amplifiers, such as Fenders (Bandmaster, Super reverb, Twin Reverb, Dual Showman, Super Showman, Vibrolux reverb, etc.), Kustom, Sunn and a few others. Then I swapped an old Gibson 55 amp for a Norlin Lab L9 in 1979, and I loved that amp so much I used it all through the `80's and `90's. Somewhere around 1999 or 2000, I picked up a used Yamaha G100-112 (100 watt solid state amp with a HD 12" speaker). I've wanted one of these since I used to sell them in the early 1980's at Thearle Music. Then I bought a new Fender Twin Reverb "1965 reissue" in 2003. This has to be the best amp in the world! But something even better was around the corner. In 2004, I visited with Joe, the guy I sold my Fender Pro-Reverb amp to back in 1968. I asked about it, and he said it was stored in his attic, no longer working. He gave it to me. I spent $750 or $800 to get it playing the way I wanted, and now I am reunited with my first "good" amp! I recorded "Vandrell Stomp" with the Vandrells way back in 1966 using this amp, so I thought it would be fun to re-release that tune, so I just re-recorded "Vandrell Stomp" on my new CD. I used the same amp to record the song that I did on the original recording almost 40 years ago! I also have a Silvertone 100 watt 2X12" solid-state amp from around 1966 that I picked up along the way. Most of my amps are now for sale - let me know if you are looking for a good amp!

Over the years, I have used a lot of different guitars such as those I just mentioned, plus a Gibson L7C, Fender Stratocasters, Gretsch Anniversary, a Rickenbacker 340, a Fender Telecaster Custom, a Fender Telecaster thinline, a Fender Electric 12-string, a Hofner 175 solid body, a Tune electric bass, and several Ibanez and Epiphone guitars.

I currently play on a Martin 000-28EC (Eric Clapton Signature Model) acoustic with a Fishman Acoustic Matrix I pickup, a Carvin AE185 acoustic-electric with Alan Holdsworth pickups (it's like a light-weight hollow-body Telecaster), Hofner New President arch-top electric acoustic (jazz guitar), a vintage Harmony H78 electric with 3 D'Armond pickups (this guitar has some awesome tone!), an Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass model (jazz guitar), a Seagull acoustic 12-string acoustic, an Ibanez AS-50 thinline electric (like a Gibson ES-335), a Martin Sigma DT-22 dreadnaught, and my 1978 Fender Telecaster, which I still use occasionally for recording blues or country. I have a nice Les Paul solid body guitar. It is not a Gibson, I built it myself from parts. The body and neck are probably vintage "lawsuit era" Aria or similar, it has special-order Seymour Duncan split-coil (parallel or series) humbucking pickups. All hardware is genuine Gibson except the tuning keys which are Grover Imperial. It has a coil parallel-serial selector switch for each pickup, one volume and one tone control. The case is a genuine Gibson Victoria hard case. This instrument is for sale. I also have an old 1970 Yamaha FG-150 acoustic guitar that I played in college, an Art & Lutherie "Ami" parlor guitar, a nylon string M. Horabe Model 40 classical guitar with a Shadow bridge saddle pickup, and a Tune electric bass, which is a high-end Japanese instrument with active electronics that was built to compete with Alembic.

My current amplifier selection includes my 1966 Fender Pro Reverb (the one I bought new in May 1966), the "1965 Reissue" Fender Twin Reverb, a Fender Blues Deluxe "tweed" amp, the Norlin Lab L9, the Yamaha G100-112, and a Jay Turser vintage-style Classic 25-RC practice & recording amp. For bass, I use a Behringer Ultrabass BX1200.

My vocal microphone is a Shure Beta-58, and I mike the guitar amp with a Shure SM-57. My basic sound system consists of a Carvin PA-1200 12-channel mixer with 3 self-contained 333 watt amps, 2 Cetec-Gauss 15" speaker cabinets with Acoustic horns, and a Carvin 12" monitor, and a Roland M-GS64 Sound Expander synthesizer sound module connected to a Compaq computer by a Key MIDI interface. The microphone plugs in to a Digitech Vocalist VHM5 Vocalist harmonizer to split the vocal signal into 2 and 3 part harmonies.

The pedal effects I use are an Ernie Ball volume pedal, a Pro-Co Rat distortion, Digitech digital delay, Danelectro "Tuna Melt" tremolo, KMD chorus and a KMD phase shifter. I sometimes use an Ibanez Graphic EQ or a Boss Octave Splitter. The effects, are mounted to a pedal board.

My studio also includes a 5-piece drum set and two Yamaha keyboards, plus recording equipment, a stereo system, and a microwave and refrigerator!

If you took the time to read all this, then you must be a musician! I wanted to elaborate a little because I think equipment decisions affect the overall sound. While I definitely agree that an experienced musician can coax good music out of even the worst equipment, I have noticed that I can get a sound closer to what I am looking for by changing a guitar or an amp. I usually take 3 or 4 guitars with me on a gig. To get a good jazz sound, I grab a big-bodied jazz arch-top. For blues and rock, I like my Carvin, for folk and country swing I play the Martin, and the old 1966 Harmony is a great rock-a-billy guitar. Turning to amplifiers, the new Fender Twin-Reverb is super clean and super loud, but the 1966 Fender Pro-Reverb or my 40 watt tweed Fender Blues Deluxe has a warmer tone. Even if this all sounds like a bit too much (and perhaps it is), I must admit I like to collect guitars and amps. If you know of any for sale that I might be interested in. please let me know. Thanks!

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