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Big Guy, Big Gear
by Bill Leigh
Guitar Player, National
Oct 1st, 1997



"I'm not huge, but I could kick your ass," jokes 6-foot-5 Chan Kinchla. The former high school footballer is a rather physical musician as well, and his guitar takes a beating. "I tend to wrestle with my guitar," he says. "It's not pretty, but it's the only way I've ever been able to play. My sweat is also very acidic, so I found wood necks just didn't take well to being wrestled every night. So I switched to graphite guitars." Chan liked the pair of graphite-neck custom Model T's built for him by Modulus in '94, but after years of dwarfing his instruments and deflecting suggestions that he was playing "baby" instruments, Chan wanted something bigger.

"He asked if we would build him a guitar the size of a P-Bass," recalls Modulus product manager Joe Perman. "I said no, but asked him to try a guitar I'd been working on." Somewhat larger than most Modulus guitars, the instrument so impressed Chan that he kept it and ordered a second. The newer model has become Kinchla's main ax. It sports a graphite throughbody neck, a maple top with royal-velvet finish, and a pair of EMG-SA single-coil alnico pickups with an EMG-89 humbucker. Chan strings it up with D'Addario .013s; D'Addario supplies him with special heavy unwound G strings.

Kinchla plugs into a Soldano Super Lead Overdrive 100 head powering Mesa Rectifier 4x12 cabinets with low-wattage speakers (one 4x12 indoors, two outdoors). Chan's been using effects more and more: a TC Electronic 2290 rack processor for subtle delays, flange and phasing, and a pedalboard-mounted Boss flanger, Morley and Vox wahs, and an Ibanez Tube Screamer. "I hunted all over the country and got one from the '70s, not the reissue," he says. His favorite new effect is the Dunlop reissue Univibe, and he also cards a Mesa/Boogie Revolver, a Leslie-type speaker he used for the "Carolina Blues" riff.

Chan will grab "whatever it takes" in the studio - from a Les Paul to a Rickenbacker - but the "Big Modulus" is his main road guitar. And with Blues Traveler, the road is where it counts.