Frank van den Berg
I was born in 1972 in the Netherlands. My father was a huge Elvis Presley fan, so I was familiar with this music. He was one of the first to have a video recorder and an Elvis Presley tape of the Las Vegas live performance in 1970. I was particularly interested in the sound an look of the Pink Paisley Telecaster of James Burton. Since then that became one of my dream guitars.
At the age of six my parents rented the Queen album “News Of The World” from the local library for me because I asked for it. At the time, it was 1978, my dad had one of those huge stereo towers with a separate LP player, amplifier, tuner and casette deck. I was sitting in front of the two big speakers, right in the middle. I remember myself sitting there and listening to the whole album from start to end. I was fascinated by the guitar sound of Brian May and somehow knew that it was different than all the other guitar sounds I heard at the time. In the same year a new Boston album came out “Don’t Look Back”. To remind the people of Boston the radio stations played the 1976 song “More Than A Feeling” wich was a huge hit at the time. But I was only six years old an never heard it before. It had a great impact on me and since then I wanted to start playing guitar. I didn’t know anything about electric guitars and amps, how the work, but somehow I felt that Tom Scholz’s playing and sound was special. His tone was bigger, and had a lot more sustain and distortion. And like Brian May was full of harmony.The solo’s added something to the song. They were nog just there to fill up space. Later I found that I was right about that and that Tom Scholz was an engineering genius using self made Power Soaks en self invented amps.
I started on a 3/4 acoustic nylon string classical guitar. My first electric guitar was a Gibson S1 with single coils. My brother gave it to me for my birthday. At that time I had a Novanex amp, which is a brand form the Netherlands, but somehow I blew it up. After that I had a Marshall transistor amp because I couldn’t affort a tube amp. In the eighties guitarists like Eddie van Halen, Steve Vai, Joe Stariani, Yngwie Malmsteen, Greg Howe and many many others were very popular. If you were a rocker, and I was, you really needed a big distorted sound and play as fast and technical as you could. My Gibson S1 was not capable of making these distorted sounds, so I sold it. My brother and I went to the mysic store and he blindfolded me. This way I had to choose a guitar for its sound and not the looks. I ended up with a terrible looking, very bright yellow Ibanez RG550. But it was a very good and versatile guitar to learn all the licks and tricks. It was 1989 and the “Thirst Stage” came out, the third album of Boston.Tom Scholz invented the Rockman modules and I was one of the first, if not the first person in The Netherlands to buy the sustainor module. I used it with the Marschall amp together for some time.
My Destination Studio
I was playing in bands with friends, at school and with my brother and at that time we had a lot of live gigs. We also rehearsed a lot and that is where my frustration grew bigger and bigger. I wrote most of the music with my brother and we both were very serious about practicing the songs. But unfortunately the other bandmates didn’t. In the end I was telling the drummer how to drum, the bass player where to fill in and mostly where to back up, the drummer to keep the rhythm steady (instead of going faster and faster towards the end of the song…) And when the keyboard player started a misplaced, terrible sounding organ solo that shouldn’t be there in the first place, I have had it. I decided to quit the band and start a homestudio to record my own mysic the way it was meant to be and do it all by myself.
It’s now the early nineties. The studio was called from the very beginning “My Destination Studio”. Because it was my destination to record my own music the way I had it in mind. It was my destination to make music. And it was also a hommage to the song “My destination” of Boston, the band that inspired me to play the guitar. I had to learn how to build a studio. What equipment I needed and what it was doing. How to solve technical problems. I studied many books and professional magazines. I bought and sold stuff through the years to make it better and tried to make the next recording better than the last one. I transformed the studio from analog to digital, from tape decks to digital workstations. In the meanwhile I also had to learn drummming, playing keyboards and bass guitar.
My Tube Amps
I started out testing a lot of “boutiques” amps: The Soldano SLO, Bogner Extacy, Matchless, ToneKing, BadCat, Diezel, Hook and many others. I also tested Blackstar, Peavey, Carvin, ENGL Steve Morse, Laney, Hughes and Kettner amps and more. In the end, two years later…… I was struggeling to choose between the Fender Supersonic 22 and the Egnater Renegade. I bought the Fender Supersonic 22 amp. A Limited Edition black/gold version with a vintage 30 speaker in the back. Like it’s name suggest it had a big sonic spectrum. And because of an extra gain control and the vintage 30 speaker it sounds more british with distorted tones. But the amp has still the typical Fender clean tones too. I still own this amp. I also bought a Vox AC15C1 (Red) for the more class A crunch tones like for instance the Brad Paisley tones. Also a great amp and you really get the memorable sounds of many records out of these amps. Recently I fell in love with my new amp; the Egnater Tweaker 40 with Egnater 112x cabinet.