The Great White North has given us plenty of fine gifts… poutine… hockey… maple syrup… but the pinnacle of Canadian offerings comes in a bald, bespeckled, genre-bending package… today on Geared:

Devin Townsend.

Sir Devin (he should be knighted by now, shouldn’t he?) has an extensive and storied discography starting as a vocalist and guitarist for Steve Vai’s band back in the early 90’s, and continuing on through one of the heaviest and most creative metal acts of all time – Strapping Young Lad.

Today he spends his creative genius on his eponymous Devin Townsend Project, which is no stranger to cross-genre composition. With genre-defying songwriting, a voice that can compete equally with an operatic singer or death metal frontman, and finely crafted guitar tones, Devin’s universe is just begging to be explored on today’s edition of Geared!


Devin’s main axe is his signature Devin Townsend Framus. Calling this guitar a work of art would be an understatement… with most signature guitars being either simple and practical or extremely flashy, Devin decided “Why not both?” The 24.75’’ monster of a guitar features Devin’ signature Fishman Fluence pickups – which we’ll come back to – illuminated side dots, and a gorgeous set of LED illuminated inlays both on the neck and body of the instrument.

The body is made from AAA Flamed Maple sides with gorgeous redwood middle and a mahogany back, with a matching flamed maple neck and rosewood burl headstock. The fretboard is made from stunning tigerstripe ebony, features 22 jumbo frets, and is backed by a set neck construction for tons of sustain.

The staple of practical features on this guitar is the famous Evertune Bridge, allowing Devin’s guitars to stay perfectly in tune, removing the need to constantly check his tuning during shows or worry about hitting a note too hard and causing it to go sharp. The pinnacle of tuning stability and accuracy is at the forefront. To round out the hardware, the guitar has a black Graph Tech TUSQ nut, Warwick Strap Locks, and Grover Rotomatic tuning pegs.

The most interesting feature on this guitar by far is the addition of Devin’s ground-breaking signature Fishman Fluence Transcendence Pickups. These pickups are designed to give Devin three distinct voicings thanks to a combination of ceramic blade and pole piece construction. The three-way toggle allows him to get a single coil clean sound, a passive humbucker rock sound, and a face-melting active pickup metal sound all with one pickup, no modeling required. They also feature rechargeable batteries, making your “last-minute-9V-battery-run-before-the-big-show” a thing of the past.

Devin’s signature model comes in three varieties, with different finishes and slightly different aesthetic options, all of which he uses both in the studio and on tour.

He also has an older model from Framus which Devin calls his “Ziltoid” Guitar. It’s a custom design quite similar to his signature guitar, but with a more traditional Gibson-style body shape, custom “Ziltoid” illuminated inlays work, and prototype Fishman Fluence pickups. His final main guitar on this tour is a combination of these two, with the look, features, and construction of his signature model but the body shape of the “Ziltoid” guitar. The last addition to his lineup is a backup guitar, a custom solid body version of the Framus AK1974.

Seriously fantastic guitar. Framus.

A photo posted by Devin Townsend (@dvntownsend) on

Devin uses custom made Dunlop Tortex Triangle 0.73mm guitar picks with his signature on one side and gorgeous Transcendence album artwork on the other. He plays in Open C (from low to high, C-G-C-G-C-E) and Open B (B-F#-B-F#-B-D#) tunings.

Amps and Effects

The only consistency seen in Devin’s rig throughout the years is his use of a two-amplifier setup. For most of his work – including demos, professional records, and touring – Devin points to the Fractal Audio AxeFX II XL as his other constant, his main “do-it-all” machine. However, due to time constraints, on his most recent tour he has taken a Kemper Profiler with him to handle the dry amp sound, leaving the AxeFX II to handle the second amp sound, as well as all of his effects.

There’s a reason many touring artists are switching to amp modelers now. If you aren’t convinced, be sure to check out our 5 Reasons You Need a Digital Guitar Unit.

The tone-genius from up North admits that even he has yet to find his own perfect dry sound, with past attempts including a Mesa Dual Rectifier with Maxon OD808 set as a clean boost, and even a Roland GP-100. His current Fractal unit includes a GP-100 sound that was a staple in his rig for years, one that was dialed in by Fractal’s own Matt Picone.

All of his patch changes are done automatically via MIDI from Ableton Live, meaning the only piece of equipment on his humble pedalboard setup is a Mission Engineering Expression Pedal that sits at the front of the stage, acting as a wah controller for the AxeFX II.

Cabs and Monitoring

Devin employs a wet/dry/wet setup, meaning he runs a single dry amp sound in addition to two stereo signals for all of his effects. In order to make the 3-signal tone work on stage, he runs a 1500W Line 6 Firehawk. While this unit does have extensive modeling capabilities inside it, Devin uses it only as a specialized power amp and 6-speaker cabinet, running his dry sound through the middle speaker and the effected signals through the rest of the speakers.

Devin’s rocking a Matrix Q12 Active Monitor right up front and center for every show… only it’s not for him, it’s for you. Because the band uses in-ear monitors there aren’t many amps on stage, so if you’re in the first few rows then the speakers are blasting past you, or behind you. Rather than have the first few rows miss half of the sonic masterpiece the band and crew have painstakingly crafted, Devin’s wet/dry/wet guitar signal is condensed down to a mono signal and pumped through this speaker.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out some more! We upload new articles, guides, reviews, and interviews daily, such as our Tosin Abasi piece!

Also, we are a dealer for many beloved brands such as PRS, Ibanez, Mayones, Schecter, ESP, and more! Feel free to stop by our shop and we can help you find the right guitar for you at the best price possible.

This article was written by Connor Gilkinson, our editor located in Canada.


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