Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal
Written by Rob Sandall on December 2, 2010

Interview courtesy of TC Electronic. Scroll to the bottom for a video taking us through Ron’s rig.

Ron Thal, aka Bumblefoot, started playing the guitar at age 6 after hearing the Kiss Alive! album. That was some 35 years ago, and since then, he just continued to play, start bands, write music, make demos, play gigs, teach, build his own guitars, engineer and produce other bands. In fact, he has been releasing music for 20 years, and he is now one of the guitarists in the legendary rock band Guns N’ Roses.

“When I’m touring with Guns N’ Roses, I use my trusty Nova System for all my guitar effects. In fact, the only additional piece of effects gear I use is a wah-pedal,” Ron says.

“When I was preparing for the Guns N’ Roses tour in 2009, I set out to build the ultimate FX-board, so I tried out every stomp-box and multi-FX board i could get my hands on over a couple of months, and it turned out that Nova System had exactly what I wanted and needed. Also, Nova System hasn’t changed the way I work, and that’s a huge compliment!

“In the past, I was using digital amps with built-in effects, and I was constantly changing all my gear. Then, I switched to tube amps and needed something that would give me all the effects I was used to with easy access. Fortunately, I was able to adapt to the Nova System very quickly. No awkward adjustments, so I was able to get right back to doing what I do. I plug into the amp, have a wah-pedal and the Nova System in the FX Loop of the amp, a MIDI floorboard to switch presets and an expression pedal connected. That’s it!

“The one thing I like the most? It was Nova System’s compressor that won me over. You can get the release to snap back at such a fast rate – faster than any other gear I checked out.

“None of the other analog or digital stomp-boxes or multi-FX rack gear had the control like Nova System. Instead of using the ‘Boost’ button for solos, I like to boost by hitting the compressor. With a little gain and a very fast attack and release, all the notes are pulled forward and more ‘in your face’.

“It’s great for keeping consistent levels between picking and tapping, especially with Guns N’ Roses where there’s three guitarists, bass, two keyboardists, drums, vocals, loops, etc… When it’s my turn to step forward, Nova System makes it happen.”

“As for my approach to playing, writing and producing music, it’s really pretty simple: Don’t overthink it. Whatever you’re working on – songwriting, gigging, laying guitar tracks, mixing a song – trust your instincts, trust your gut. It’s so easy to think yourself into an unproductive mental place, don’t take it that far – if it sounds good, if it feels right, go with it!”

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