Leonard's Gear

posted 06-22-2003
Hey Marty, I'd be happy to answer your questions. First off thanks for the praise and it's really great to be doing what I'm doing. Making music with Y&T is the greatest hi there is and I'm enjoying it as if it was when we first started playing together in 1974. To me it feels that fresh and exciting. Now about playing with John Nymann. I feel we have the potential to be the best sounding Y & T lineup yet. The reason I say that is the vocals with John are our best sounding blends in my opinion. Also John is a great guitar player that knows how to compliment Dave well. I also want to make it clear that I'm not taking anything away from Joey or Stef, they are great players and what they both did with this band was exceptional. I just feel if we continue as we have the potential is un-real. Now about the kit I'm using. In the U.S. I'm using a 1994 Ludwig Classic 6 ply maple kit. I'd got it to tour with Ian Gillan but Ian re-joined Deep Purple and this kit just stayed packed away. One thing different about this kit is it has one piece marching drum lugs on it instead of Ludwig's regular lugs. With these lugs on it is the closest I could come to the look of Ludwig's mid to late 70's Super Classic's. The sizes are very John Bonham inspired. The kick is a 14x26, the rack is either 12x15 or (with this kit the one I prefer)10x14. The floor toms are 16x16 and 16x18. All with Ludwig Rocker heads. The snare is a metal 6 1/2 x 14 Supraphonic 400. I use all Paiste Cymbals. A 22" heavy 1000 series ride, 20" Rude power ride (as a crash), 18" Rude crash ride, 16" rude power crash, 15" 2002 medium (as a crash), 10" rude splash, 8" 2002 splash, 20" rude China, 22" rude China and for hi-hats 2 14" rude heavy bottoms. I recently tried the Axis Percussion hi-hat stand and Axis A kick pedal. WOW SHIT!!!!!!! THE BEST. There are no words for them other than those. Best I've ever played, and for the first time ever I'm not looking at any other pedals. I'm totally satisfied. I use Vic Firth MS3 sticks. Vic's are the only stick for me. They outlast every other I've tried, and they are extremely consistant in weight and balance. As for the blue sparkle kit. I kick myself in the ass every time I think about it, but I sold it years ago. I never should have, it was a great kit, probably the best playing kit I've ever had. As for where I'd like to see Y&T's direction go. I just want this feeling to go on. To be able to play with Dave, Phil, & John, enjoy whatever we do, and play with the passion we have. To me what separates Y&T from everyone else is our passion and energy. With that going on, everything else will fall into place. Thanks for the questions.
Cheers, Leonard
Stacks and PA Systems

posted 08-12-2003
Dave Meniketti:
Y&T used to have the wall of Marshalls look on stage. I made 27 cabinets myself & we used to stack them 3 high & 5 wide on each side of the stage. I agree, it looks cool. I currently own 3 and 1/2 stacks worth of gear right now. I own 2 full stacks of Marshalls & a stack & a half of Boogies with 2 heads. That's 4 100 watt heads & 7 cabs, along with a few misc combos, etc. I would love to get all that stuff on stage, but I just haven't concentrated as much on making that happen recently. As someone explained above, it's all for show with 95% of the bands you see. Hell, most of the Marshall heads you see onstage have no guts in them, just an led for the "on" light to fake out the public. ACDC & countless other bands, display tons of stacks on stage, while actually getting the tone the crowd hears coming from combos that are mic'ed off behind the stacks. It's done more often than not. The first 10 rows hear the stage volume & the rest of the audience hears that single speaker being amplified through the PA. So, if you don't like the sound of the guitars live, you most either don't like the tone of the guitarists rig, or (more likely) the way the "front of house" mixer is making the band sound. You can actually make a powerful band sound wimpy very easily by cocking up the mix at a live show, and vice versa. In the old days, the headline band would actually "limit" the PA system for the opening acts so that when they (the headliner) came out on stage they always sounded bigger & more powerful. Some acts still practice this shitty policy, but most don't do that anymore. The Whitesnake show you saw was probably due to a bad mix, or the seat you were in with relation to the on stage cabinets, etc.
The modern day thinking about sounding BIG out front is to get a great sounding amp, no matter how loud it is or what size, and concentrate on getting a balanced sound for your on stage volume. Loud enough to get you off, but not too loud to mess up the mix out front or make it too hard to hear each other for the vibe & cues. If ya just insist on playing too loud on stage, then you can't get the guitars in the PA & you tend to sound great to about 20% of the people who are close enough to the stage to hear it coming off the stage, but crappy to everyone else that hears it as a wimpy guitar sounding band. That's why Queensryche & Dream Theater turned their cabinets around to face the back of the stage. So the soundman could get their guitars loud in the PA without the sound coming off the stage affecting the mix. Many use "in-ear" monitors so they have their own headphone-like mixes & it doesn't matter how loud they play on stage. Satriani, and many other guitarists that have a big sound are actually whisper quiet on stage.