Video: Checking Out Franz Ferdinand's Live Rig

Since their inception twenty years ago in the wake of the new-millennium rock revival, Glasgow's Franz Ferdinand have taken their sophisticated synthesis of post-punk and dance music around the world.

Before they took the stage and played the hits at The Vic in Chicago this summer, we caught up with their founding frontman Alex Kapranos, guitarist Dino Bardot, and multi-instrumentalist Julian Corrie as they walked us through their respective rigs.

"I'm not the kind of person who's precious about their guitars," Kapranos explains. "I hate that collector (habit of) sticking them on the wall and never touching it. I like for instruments to be played." From their humble beginnings, the band's singer and rhythm guitarist has taken a preference for Deluxe Telecasters—the early 70s model he played out with the band also happened to be the first guitar he bought online.

The first of the two electrics Alex showed off to us was a self-described "frankensteined version of a Deluxe" assembled by Glasgow builder Jimmy Moon in 2018. Equipped with a swamp ash body, a tortoiseshell scratchplate, wide-range Thinline humbuckers, and a neck from a 1960s Fender Coronado, it's much lighter than his original Telecaster. "It's super lightweight and really fun to play on stage," he says. "I move around quite a lot on stage and I don't like having a big, heavy guitar, so this is perfect for me."

The concept for Alex's other Deluxe-inspired guitar—built by Chicago's own Ian Schneller—emerged from a desire to bring together all of the elements of his favorite guitars in one versatile instrument. The three handmade pickups—a Thinline humbucker, a Les Paul-style P-90, and a Telecaster neck pickup—come courtesy of Mancunian company Creamery, wired with an unconventional switching system placed where the volume and tone controls would normally be. The scratchplate is also unusual: it was embedded with hundreds of emerald beetle wings.

Alex's guitars are run through a Carr Slant 6V, a 40-watt combo amp with two channels: a clean tone based on a 1964 Fender Deluxe Reverb, and an overdrive based on an early 70's Marshall JMP 50. As far as effects are concerned, Karpanos likes to keep things minimal. "I don't like loads of pedals on stage because I tend to trip over them." The few units he keeps on his board include a Gurus Echosex delay, a Telenordia TA-24 treble booster, and a reverb stompbox handbuilt by their former guitar tech David ‘Slouch’ Vaughan.

Of all the members, Dino Bardot's setup is the most simplistic—he claims that his Stratocaster is the most interesting thing about it. To keep up with spontaneous changes to the setlist, he deploys a Line 6 HX Stomp multi-effect processor. "We tend to not leave space between songs," Bardot admits. "We like to keep it flowing… so it's great just having everything completely in the box—but not very exciting for your viewers, probably!"

Meanwhile, Julian Corrie's keyboard rig is centered around a two-tier setup: a Moog Voyager up top and a Roland RD-64 digital piano connected to Ableton Live, which he uses to map a few patches and sequences across the span of the keyboard. The Voyager is not only run through a Strymon Timeline delay but is also side-chained to the kick drum mic to recreate the four-on-the-floor pulse of Always Ascending's title track.

Follow Franz Ferdinand's mailing list and keep up to date with the band at their website.

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