Gear Rundown: Kid Congo Powers

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Gear Rundown: Kid Congo Powers

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Gretsch Streamliner Semi-Hollow

Despite being ‘a Strat guy’, Kid Congo moved over to a Gretsch for the new album, citing problems with clashing with his bandmate’s Mosrite as the reason. “He’s very twangy and very high end-ey and I think we were just torturing people with high end… I always wanted to try a Gretsch, and I love their sound,” he says. In his search for a more complementary guitar the Gretsch seemed like the perfect fit, and whilst he’s still finding out all its particulars it is firming as a solid replacement for his beloved Strats. “It’s a much warmer sound, so it’s different.”



Fender Squier E Series Stratocaster

The Strats that Kid Congo likes specifically are the original Fender Squier’s from the mid-‘80s, the Japanese made E Series. “They just sound amazing, they’re great. I’ve tried other ones and they just never sounded the same, so I always seek them out when I can.” Though he enjoys the warmer sound of the Gretsch, there is a clear preference for these guitars, as he has used them for many years.



Fender Pro Reverb

Kid Congo’s go to amp at the moment is a Fender Pro Reverb, an amp which is highly sought after these days. Although not super successful when it was first made and released in the ‘60s and ‘70s due to its lower output, it has seen a recent resurgence from players who want a Fender amp that is dirtier than the usual Twins or Deluxes.


Fender Twin

When a Pro Reverb isn’t available, Kid Congo will happily use a Fender Twin, which is actually also what he used during his years in The Cramps and the Bad Seeds. “We hire a lot, so it’s sometimes harder to get things, so I use a Twin. For years in The Cramps I used a Twin, and I think in the Bad Seeds I also used a Twin. For me [now]… I like more a Deluxe or a Pro Reverb.”



Univox Super Fuzz

Seemingly with a penchant for revered gear, Kid Congo used a Univox Super Fuzz as his main fuzz for many years. “For years I also was using the Univox Super Fuzz, but they kept breaking,” says Kid Congo, “They’re really great, but they break, only because they’re old, not because they’re bad. I’m hard on them, I’m a stomper.” Though its production stopped in the late ‘70s, the Super Fuzz circuit has been used on a heap of other pedals over the years, none of which seem to have taken Kid Congo’s fancy though.


Death By Audio Fuzz War

Replacing the somewhat irreplaceable Super Fuzz on Kid Congo’s pedal board is the Death By Audio Fuzz War. “I find [it] very useful, and very lovely the kind of fuzz I can get out of that. It actually works really well with the Gretsch, I like it a lot. A lot of fuzzes just kind of fly away, the minute it comes out of your amp it dissipates, but that is actually a much nicer fuzz.”


Sioux Villa Ave Distortion

Made by a small guitar company from Iowa, this pedal was given to Kid Congo a while ago, but sat unused for years and is now having its day in the sun. “It has two buttons, two levels on it, and that’s really good. They gave me one at a music conference, and it sat in my bag for like three years [until] I pulled it out and was like ‘This is great!’ So I’ve been using that.”


Boss TR-2 Tremolo

Another pedal on Kid Congo’s board is a Boss Tremolo which has been Keeley modded to compensate for the volume drop when in use. “I’ve got a Keeley modded-out Boss Tremolo, because those too would fall away when you pressed the tremolo, so now it just gets much louder.” 


This month we had a chat with Kid Congo. Read the interview here.