Cake’s guitarist Xan McCurdy gets incredible tone from a basic rig.

For live work, McCurdy pairs a Gibson Chet Atkins Tennessean, which he customised by adding a Bigsby trem, with an old Fender Blues DeVille he got in 1998. The only other bit of kit in his rig, apart from a tuner, is a Rat Distortion pedal, which is always switched on and sits on top of his amp. He tends to set the bass on the Blues DeVille to 12 and the treble to 1, and uses his pickup selector switch to vary his tone. Simple, but in the right hands, effective.

In addition to great tone, what I love about the video above is Xan McCurdy checking his fingerboard patterns before he plays (30 secs in) – even great guitarists do it.