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Ribbons on the Road | Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr.

Photo: Joe Koch

Stellar blues/R&B guitarist/singer Gary Clark Jr. is on the road for just a few more dates before he goes back to work on his next full-length album. His FOH engineer is Bharath “Cheex” Ramanath, who says he brings a stash of ribbon mics on the road to capture the timeless warmth of Clark’s guitar rig: an Epiphone Casino through a Fender Vibro-King amp. “All the guys in Gary’s band start with really incredible tone,” Ramanath says. “So the main thing for me is to preserve that for the audience. I like to bring along mics that some people would say are studio mics—Royer 121s; Blue makes a really nice ribbon called a Woodpecker; and then I use a variety of Sennheisers. On Gary’s amp, I use a Sennheiser 609, because it’s warm and true to his original sound, and then use what I would call subtractive EQ; instead of boosting frequencies, I’ll subtract until it all works for the particular room.”

Watch Gary Clark Jr. perform Catfish Blues at In Performance at the White House: Red, White & Blues, hosted by President and Mrs. Obama.