Video: Bones' Carmen Vandenberg Talks Playing with Jeff Beck and Effects

"The main thing is being able to plug into an amp and being happy with that sound," Carmen Vandenberg says. Pointing to her pedalboard, she continues, "This is decorations."

Vandenberg is one half of the rock duo Bones, whose songs feature big riffs influenced by classic blues and hard rock icons with an ear toward more contemporary sounds. The combination caught the attention of Jeff Beck, who enlisted the group to co-write and perform on his 2016 album Loud Hailer and embark on a lengthy world tour, meaning Vandenberg had to learn how to play much of the legendary guitarist's discography.

"Every day was a free lesson," she says of her time with Beck. "He plays constantly on the guitar, like seven or eight hours a day. He'll be playing guitar when he's making breakfast." While she's picked up plenty of tricks, there's one—using the vibrato arm—she won't attempt. "Never use a whammy though, 'cause he can do it better than anyone else."

Vandenberg sets her foundational tone with either her re-made '63 Telecaster or her Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster plugged into Blackstar amps. But then she makes great use of the decorations that adorn her pedalboard. They include an MXR M300 Reverb, a Catalinbread Belle Epoch Tape Echo, and an EP103 Echoplex Delay. "I've kind of always not trusted digital stuff. When it comes to delays, it's so much easier," she says.

One of the keys to Bones' large riffs, in addition to dirt pedals like the Supro Drive and an Archer Ikon, is stacking octaves—so Vanbenberg uses a Boss OC-3 to add lower registers to the riffs she plays higher on the fretboard.

Be sure to watch the full video above, and check out Bones' website for more info.


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