NHC MUSIC - In The Head Of The Artists Volume 1 - Martin McCann - Guitarist / Sux Pastels

This is the first of a series of in depth looks at what makes guitarists tick. We have a close look at what they use, what they can't live without and the players who influenced them on the way.

First up is NHC's resident guitar geek and pedal addict Martin McCann, guitarist with the Sux Pastels. We have a look at what he uses and why.

'Being left handed, I always struggled to get a really good guitar when I was young and still learning. I resorted to turning normal ones upside down and re-stringing them until I could afford or even find a proper left handed one. So, that's my excuse for having so many now!'

We look at the two guitars Martin uses live most often - a 1999 fender stratocaster and a 1995 Gibson Les Paul special dc.

'The strat is a jack of all trades. I stripped the finish a few years ago and sprayed it surf green, and losing the thick poly finish really made it sing to me. I have a Duncan hot rail in the bridge and fender noiseless in the other two positions. It's never let me down and is my go-to live guitar right now'

'The Gibson is an old favourite, but doesn't come out as much these days. The p90 pick ups are good for cutting through a live mix, and go well with my fellow guitarist Andy Methvens les Paul custom. I favour my strat over this just now but it won't be a stranger for long.'

We look at amplifiers next - and for live use Martin favours a tried and true British classic combination with a range of pedals to get his sound.

'Most the time if I'm supplying my own gear I use an old Marshall 100watt valve state head and a standard 4x12 cabinet. They are more reliable than an all valve version and are easier to carry around. You can't go wrong with them - I've got a couple and don't have any issues with them. I set them up clean and get all the dirt from my pedalboard, because if you use a venue back line you never know what you will get. This way I know where ever I'm playing I'm going to be in the ballpark'

'I've had a few different combinations of effects but seem to have stayed with this set up for a while now. To keep things simple I use a standard boss board (bcb-60) with my favourite pedals going into one power supply. Makes it easier at gigs because sometimes power can be an issue'

'Boss tu-3 tuner first - does what it should with good enough accuracy. Next up is a boss da-2 adaptive distortion. This is my current favourite but I swap the drive pedal often, just to keep things interesting. Next up is my secret weapon - an old ibanez cs-9 chorus pedal I've has since I was 14. I set it to have a wide but slow sweep and it really pushes through and gets you heard. After that is a standard boo clean boost for solos, a boss bf-3 flanger for some colour when needed and finally an old boss dsd-2 when I need a splash of delay'

So we have seen the gear, what about influential guitar players ?? What sounds and styles got you started and how have they shaped your own playing ??

'Too many to list frankly but there are a few that still give me inspiration and make me practice harder !! East Bay Ray from the Dead Kennedys has to be mentioned for his surf styled scratchy lines. As a kid I was baffled trying to figure them out and play them. The Clash of course - Strummer and Jones for the twin guitar attack, and the full range sound of the later albums. To me they had the perfect combination of rhythm and lead, and it always served the song. But to this day the top of the pile is still John McGeoch - I never tire of his playing. He was peerless at the time to me and still sounds great now. But Glasgow has a lot of great players and always has, the bar right now is very high and a lot of local bands have exceptional musicians playing locally. That's the great thing about music, your always learning and being inspired by those around you'

Fancy getting in on the action and telling us what makes YOU tick as a musician? Get as technical as you want and PM us on Facebook if you want to take part!