Guitarist Bob Pratte is a man of few words. So, he didn’t spend a lot of time boasting about his favorite gear. Pratte, from the Manchester, New Hampshire area, has been on the music scene for over three decades. After spending years and years trying this, that, and the other thing from the gear market, Pratte has got his live rig down to a simple unit.
Pratte actually has two bands. One is the Bob Pratte Band and the other is Mirage. BPB is just guitar-bass-drums with a lead vocalist. Mirage band is the BPB band with keyboards and horns. For his smaller band, Pratte plays a Fender Telecaster most times because he likes its twang which allows him to play country, rock, chicken picking to jazz. “I’m in the process of buying A PRS right now, Paul Reed Smith,” he said. “I’ve played Gretches and all kinds of stuff.”
Pratte plays through a Doctor Z Amp Maz 18 Jr., which is made in Ohio. From there, he uses a Line 6 M13 Effects Modeler. “I’ve used everything under the sun, but that works really well for me,” Pratt said. “It emulates everything from classic delays to flangers. Even some distortion boxes that sound really well with it.”
Pratte also uses a Dunlop Jimi Hendrix model wah-wah pedal and a Maxon 808 distortion pedal that’s been modified by Robert Keeley. “That’s pretty much my whole live rig that I’m using,” Pratte said. Pratte also uses this simple set up for when he plays with the Wantu Blues Jam, of which he is a regular participant. Years ago, Pratte hosted a jam at the Boston Trading Company in Manchester. He is still well-respected on his local blues scene today.
For Pratte’s seven piece Mirage band, which is a big band with more of a funk style. Pratte uses a Line 6 Pod HD500. “That emulates stomp boxes and it emulates amplifiers,” Pratte said. “It gives me the sound of playing through an amplifier without having to carry an amp through the door,” Pratte said. “The whole band plays through monitors. In Mirage, we have no amps on the stage whatsoever. “
Pratte sets up the entire pieces of equipment for Mirage in about 45 minutes. “The whole band’s miked,” Pratte said. “I just bring the PA,” he said.
When playing with his Bob Pratte Band, the amp is the most important because that’s what most gives him his tone. “Everybody likes using a different amp for different tones. I like my Dr. Z. It has a nice, clean robust tone that sounds like an old, old amplifier with modern specs,” Pratte said. “If I’m doing classic rock or any kind of blues or rockabilly, that amp covers all that very well.”
Out of all of his devices, Partte cannot pick a favorite. “They’re all my favorite toy,” he said. “I’ve been doing this now for close to 30 something year. I’ve tried everything under the sun, and I finally got a collection of stuff that helps build my tone.”