Robert Smith’s Live Setup
It’s been a while since The Cure stepped out with a new record however; last week the group announced that they will shortly be releasing their 14th studio album, the “tentatively” titled ‘4:14 Scream’.
As yet, the band hasn’t released much information about what’s to come, but sources state that a live concert DVD will soon be made available and another ‘Trilogy’ style show will take place around the world at the end of the year.
In celebration of The Cure’s return, we decided to take some time out to look at the gear Robert smith uses to perform live.
Formed in 1976, The Cure suffered many line-up changes during their 38 year existence, however Robert Smith remained front-man throughout. With 13 albums and more than 30 singles released, the bands style has understandably shifted throughout their career, and after being defined as a post-punk band in the early days, The Cure were later given many labels including new wave and gothic rock. Everything from atmospheric soundscapes to perfectly formed pop songs became part of their set and Robert Smith‘s live gear had to cater for them all.
Robert Smith certainly liked his vintage gear and for his live setup, his guitar of choice was a vintage classic, the Chet Atkins Classic Country Gentleman guitar.
This double-cutaway style guitar was released back in 1958 and was a popular model during the British invasion of the 1960s. The Chet Akins Classic Country Gentleman guitar was frequently used by Smith to create rich twangy sounds whilst its 22 medium-jumbo frets made it the perfect guitar for fast fretwork.
The Fender BASS VI and the Schecter Ultra bass were two more guitars frequently chosen to accompany Robert Smith onstage and later in The Cure’s career, Schecter made the UltraCure, a custom Robert Smith version of their Schecter Ultra six-string bass. Smith enjoyed performing with this bass guitar as it’s said to have made the chorus and flanger sound fuller.
Though not the heaviest pedal user we’ve seen, Robert Smith likes to perform with a good selection of effects pedals, and everything from the Cry Baby Wah Wah to distortion and chorus pedals are part of his live setup.
The Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Wah Pedal sounds just like would expect it to, twisting and tweaking guitar riffs to give them a more full and distorted sound. One of Jim Dunlop‘s biggest sellers, this guitar pedal is up there with the best and since being released in 1966, the pedal has been used by many guitarists, including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. More Info
The Boss DS-1 Distortion is a classic when it comes to distorting sounds and it’s not surprising that we found this in The Cure’s stage gear. Whether it’s keyboards or guitars you want to distort, this pedal provides hard distorted sounds without the unwanted interruptions. More Info
The BOSS Super Overdrive pedal is being used to produce subtle and smooth overdrive and is perfect for use on the the Cure’s more atmospheric tracks. This compact FX pedal produces rich, warm distortion without drowning out the nuances of the Smith’s picking technique. More Info
The Dunlop Super Phaser is a phaser pedal which produces incredibly thick tone. This versatile guitar FX pedal can be used to create chorus sounds and is great for producing thick rich chords and frequency effects. More pedals from Jim Dunlop
Robert Smith’s use of the BOSS Super Chorus FX pedal, enables him to create rich, heavy chorus sounds with a single strum. The super chorus pedal is a great addition to any setup as it makes any guitar performance sound lusciously rich. More Info
It’s no surprise that Robert Smith’s pedal setup includes a Flanger pedal as distressed warped guitars feature on a good selection of the Cure’s tracks. The BOSS BF-2 Flanger delivers thick stereo flanging, adding life to guitar riffs through a selection of delay, chorus and vibrato effects. More Info
The Boss Tremolo Pan was only in short distribution between 1990 and 1995 and is a very sought after model today due to its ability to emulate tremolo effects of vintage guitar amps. Tremolo settings allowed users to create a fantastic collection of tremolo effects from throbbing amp-like tones through to hard tremolo tones and on-off stutter effects. The Boss Tremolo pan has since been replaced by the Boss TR-2 pedal. More Info
As we’ve seen, Smith is a fan of Boss FX pedals and this is the 6th and final Boss pedal in his live setup. The Boss Digital Delay Pedal has been named many a time as one of the best digital delay FX pedals on the market. This compact stomp box offers 3 different delay modes which offer guitarists the ability to add instant ambiance and atmosphere to any guitar performance. More Info
The Cure altered their live setup over the years and Robert Smith often added to his pedal board. It’ll be interesting to see how the band has evolved since their last tour and whether the band has amended their live setup for their 2014 performances.