Chris Cain Rig and Gear Rundown (Amps, Pedals, Guitars)
Chris Cain is simply one of the best blues guitarists I have ever heard. Not only does he have some of the best and most unique playing today, he also is loaded with a huge voice which is along the same lines as BB King. If you’re into blues and you don’t know this guy, he’s simply full of great chops, great vibes, and a positive stage presence. I once read that “Santana speaks through his guitar while Chris Cain has a two way conversation!”. Chris is the best example of tone, chops, feel and technicality that I believe is pretty much unmatched. He also has a very simple approach to gear on stage. Guitar, Lead, and Amplifier.
In this video below we get to listen to Chris Cain jam with the house band as well as talk about his gear.
(On a side note: the video above is the one and only video that Guitar Showcase have done that’s of any quality. They should seriously consider removing a large portion of their gear demos and reviews as they are so badly put together they feel comical..and not in a good way – see this video if you dare to!).
Chris Cain plays a 1970’s Music Man RD-12 with a EV Speaker. The amp is half tube and half solid state. He doesn’t seem too phased by “the gear side of music” – he just loves to play. He says in the video above “It goes good with that guitar for some reason” which is reason enough to settle on a sound if it works for your style, and it does. If he’s on tour I have seen him play a few amplifiers including a Fender Twin, Fender Super-Reverb, Peavey Bandit, and other Fender combo amplifiers. When he’s in the US you’ll generally see the Music Man RD-12. The tone is great, it’s fairly lightweight, and because he mic’s up his amp for the type of shows he does, it’s generally plenty loud. From what I can tell, he also doesn’t use any Reverb.
Chris’s main guitar is a Gibson 335 guitar is a 1980’s reissue and features a set of pickups from another older 335 that was destroyed. He replaced the pickups and never looked back. Chris can get tones that combine the best elements of BB King and Albert King which can go from clean to creamy overdrive. I’ve seen picture and video of him playing a Gibson Les Paul, a Gibson Flying V, but never a Fender Guitar which is why I think he sounds so unique.
Chris Cain doesn’t use any pedals live on stage, he just uses the volume control on his guitar to control the gain and output. If he needs more sustain, he’ll just walk over to the amplifier and turn it up more.
If you’re new to Chris Cain check out the playing and tone on this clip with his Music Man RD-12 amplifier and Gibson ES-335.
This video shows what his guitar and amplifier sound like together playing live with the Tommy Castro Band. Tommy and Chris play together quite a lot from what I can see on YouTube.
This is a killer slow blues clip from Chris Cain playing his favorite Gibson ES-335 into a Super-Reverb and a Fender Twin.
This last clip is Chris jamming with Larry Carlton. Check out the vocal and guitar playing on this one.
Chris Cain is noted by Tommy Castro as the “Baddest Blues Player Alive!” which I totally agree with. I think his live stuff is the best as there’s something special with blues and playing live that sometimes aren’t quite as well captured on albums.