Mac DeMarco's Guitars and GearPublished : - Author : Dan Kopilovic
Summary of Mac DeMarco’s Equipment
Mac DeMarco plays a Fender Stratocaster guitar – usually. In the early years, however, he used an old Japanese-made Teisco guitar, that became known as his signature guitar, or among the fans – as the “Cardboard Queen”. But ever since started having problems with the Teisco, Mac DeMarco has primarily been relying on Stratocasters – his favorite one being a 1970 model in a clear finish.
Amplifiers that Mac DeMarco uses/used include a Fender Vibro-Champ which he inherited from his grandmother, a 1970s Fender Twin Reverb, a Roland JC-120, and a Roland KC-550. Mac DeMarco’s effect pedals include an Alesis MicroVerb 4, a Boss CE-2 Chorus, an MXR Micro-Amp, a Boss VB-2 Vibrato, an EHX Holy Grail Reverb/Polyphonic Octave Generator, and some others.
As far as guitar strings, Mac DeMarco usually uses the Ernie Ball Regular Slinky set.
List of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by Mac DeMarco
Mac DeMarco's Electric Guitars
Teisco/Kingston Custom GuitarSee images & more 2005
Mac DeMarco bought this guitar when he was around 15 years old for $30. He bought the guitar from Lillo’s Music, in Edmonton, Canada – which is where he grew up, and played a lot of his early gigs, presumably on this exact guitar.
Where did the infamous guitar come from then? I got that from Lillo’s Music, which I am banned from now because I stole an accordion when I was 17. I got it in my backpack and I got out on the street and I was thinking “fuck yeah I got an accordion” because I was really into Beirut at the time or something.
As far as why Mac bought this specific guitar, he explained that he was intentionally looking for something cheap and of lesser quality, even though he had already owned better guitars at that point.
Fender Mustang (Dakota Red)See images & more 2014
Mac Demarco started playing this Fender Mustang guitar around 2014. Presumably, he acquired the Mustang so he could have something reliable to use on the Salad Days promotional tour since his old Teisco by this time was everything but reliable.
Mac’s Fender Mustang was possibly a vintage model. but it’s very hard to tell for sure to which period it belongs. It had Fender F-style tuners with plastic knobs and an F-style neck plate – both of which are typical to models made after around 1965-66.
Gibson SGSee images & more 2014
Mac DeMarco used this Gibson SG briefly in 2014, alongside a Fender Mustang. The Mustang was likely his main guitar at that time, and the SG could’ve been just a backup. Or it could be that he picked up this SG while on tour in Europe, used it for a while, and decided it didn’t fit his style.
In any case, the guitar could only be seen on a few gigs, including one that was filmed and posted on YouTube – see Mac DeMarco – Annie & The Stars Keep On Calling My Name & Robson Girl (The Daily Indie).
Based on the looks, this was a newer guitar, based on a late 60s Gibson SG model – which has the same large “batwing” pickguard, and the Maestro Vibrola tremolo. The only things that Mac seemed to have done to the guitar was adding an orange sticker above the bridge, and removing the decorative plate from the Maestro Tremolo.
1970 Fender StratocasterSee images & more 2015
Mac DeMarco used this 1970 Fender Stratocaster as his main touring guitar in 2015. Sometime presumably in late 2015 or early 2016, he ended up breaking the body in half, rendering the guitar unplayable, at least for a while.
I had another Strat, a 1970 Strat. I loved this guitar, wood finish, but I gave it a little chuck chuck on the ground and it split form here to here (pointing at the guitar’s body). Right open, you can take a look right through it.
It seems however that Mac managed to glue the guitar back and continued using it starting in 2018. Although DeMarco never really mentioned that he reglued the guitar, this must’ve been the case, because in an interview with Reverb.com he tells the exact same story of breaking this guitar in Montreal but three years later, in 2019.
1992 Squier "Wayne's World" StratocasterSee images & more 2015
Mac DeMarco bought this guitar sometime in late 2015, before the 2016 spring tour, and started using it live after he broke his 1970 Stratocaster – which until that point was his main guitar.
This guitar here is a 1992 Squier Stratocaster which I purchased in Paris before we started this tour. Wayne’s World white – white on white, you know. “She will be mine”.
I got this guitar because I had another Stratocaster, a 1970 Strat, I loved this guitar, wood finish. But I gave it a little chuck-chuck on the ground and it split from here to here (pointing at the guitar’s body).
Although this is a Squier, which is generally considered to be a budget-friendly brand, the Stratocaster that Mac used was a 1992 model produced in Japan. These guitars are considered to be decent quality “copies”, especially when compared to some more modern Squiers, like the Squier Bullet.
1990s Squier Stratocaster (White, MIJ)See images & more 2017
Mac DeMarco used this white Squier Stratocaster on tour in 2017. The guitar looked nearly identical to his 1992 “Wayne’s World” Squier Stratocaster which he used a year prior but based on the wear on the body and the headstock, and the humbucker pickup instead of the single-coil in the bridge position, they were two separate guitars.
This guitar was probably a direct replacement for that guitar though, as Mac apparently broke the ’92 Squier at one of the shows, and gave what was left of it to the audience.
Unfortunately, not much is known about this guitar. It looks like a Made in Japan model, and it could be another “Wayne’s World” Squier, but they usually didn’t come with humbucking pickups. However, it’s not impossible that Mac modified the guitar, or that he bought it already modified.
1970s Fender Stratocaster (White)See images & more 2017
Mac DeMarco was seen playing this guitar briefly around September/October 2017. It was only filmed/photographed on a few occasions, one of which was of Mac handing the guitar to a random member of the audience, and letting him play “Freaking Out the Neighborhood”.
From the looks of it, this could be a vintage 1970s Stratocaster – but unfortunately, since Mac never mentioned it in any of the interviews, we don’t know much about it.
It probably got destroyed at one of the gigs and handed down to someone in the audience.
1974 Fender StratocasterSee images & more 2019
Mac DeMarco purchased this guitar in Cleveland, sometime in mid to late 2019. He intended it as a replacement for his cherished 1970 Strat, and he planned on using it for a while until he get used to it.
Got this in Cleveland the other day, I think it’s ’74. The one that I loved that I destroyed was a ’70 (model), and there was something about it.
(This one) feels pretty good. It doesn’t feel as good as the other one, but maybe if I got to play it for a longer while, it’ll get to know me.
But, based on this post on Reddit, it seems like Mac didn’t get to play the guitar for much longer, as he ended up destroying it on November 21, 2019, and gave the destroyed parts to random people from the audience.
Silvertone 1448See images & more 2019
Mac DeMarco started playing a black Silvertone guitar sometime around late 2019, and he seems to continue using it to this day as his main guitar. Based on the looks, the guitar is a vintage 60s Silvertone 1448 model.
This model came in two versions – 1449 which is the double-pickup model, and 1448, which is a single-pickup and the one Mac uses. Originally, these guitars were sold through Sears’s catalog and they came together with cases that had an amp built into them.
Mac DeMarco's Acoustic Guitars
1970s Simpsons-Sears Model 26148See images & more 2014
This is one of the early acoustic guitars owned by Mac DeMarco. It was seen in numerous photos taken at his house, and it seems that he started using it around the time he started working on “2”. Most likely, it was his main acoustic guitar on that record.
He also used the guitar occasionally live, for instance on Studio 360 at PRX, which was posted on YouTube on July 16, 2015.
Taylor 110CESee images & more 2014
Mac was seen playing this guitar live at the Bunny Glade during Pickathon, on August 3, 2014. Since this was his only public appearance with this guitar, it’s possible that he borrowed the guitar from someone just for this occasion.
Sigma DR-41See images & more 2016
Mac played this guitar in a video posted over at Indie88 YouTube channel where he played an acoustic version of “Without Me”. The video was filmed in Ontario, Canada, and was posted on Jul 27, 2016, and as far as one can tell, this was the only time that Mac appeared publically with this guitar.
The Sigma DR-41 is sort of a knock-off model of the Martin D-45/41 – which is among the more expensive and fancy guitars out there. The brand Sigma itself was actually owned by C.F. Martin until 2007, so the models they produced were basically budget versions of Martins, and people generally regard them as well-built instruments for people who don’t really care about brands. Since AMI became the new owner of Sigma guitars in 2007, they were not allowed to use the brand name “Sigma” in the U.S. market, and instead, they are sold there as “Kindred” guitars.
The DR-41 model that Mac was using features a solid Sitka spruce top with Indian rosewood back and sides, and a mahogany Indian rosewood fretboard. The guitar also features Abalone fretboard inlays, styled after the Martin D-45 model, and gold-plated Grover tuners. This specific model is no longer available, but a similar one named DT-41 currently sells for around $700 new.
1940s Gibson LG-2See images & more 2017
Mac DeMarco was seen using this guitar at the Pitchfork Live concert filmed on May 8, 2017, and on the gig he played for the Konbini YouTube channel sometime later that year.
Based on the looks, the guitar is a Gibson LG-2. Some sources have it listed as a J-45, but Mac’s guitar is smaller, and it has more pronounced body contours than a J-45. The two do look very alike though, so the confusion is understandable.
National 1155ESee images & more 2018
Mac DeMarco used this National 1155E acoustic guitar during the Live at Austin City Limits concert in February 2018 and at the Lollapalooza Chile that same year.
This guitar model, although branded as National, was actually produced by Gibson – or at least the body was. It is the exact same body that Gibson used on their J-45/J-50 model, and National just bolted their neck on it.
Mac DeMarco's Amps
1960s Fender Vibro ChampSee images & more 2005
This is the amplifier that Mac DeMarco used on his early records, at least up until Another One (2015). The amp belonged to Mac DeMarco’s grandmother, who aside from being an opera singer, was also a music teacher, and shed this exact amp to teach her student micing techniques.
The amplifier that I used to record my guitars – my grandmothter she gave me this, what is it, a Fender Vibro Champ. It’s a small 8-inch speaker guitar amp.
My grandmother once gave me an old amp, a Fender Vibro-Champ, which I’ve used to record all of the guitar parts on every one of my albums.
When she first offered it to me, I was like, “Wait! There’s no distortion switch? No reverb?” But it’s the best sounding amp I ever played through and I’ve come to appreciate it so much.
1970s Fender Twin Reverb SilverfaceSee images & more 2012
Mac used this amp around 2012/13 as his main live amp. In an interview with Reverb.com, Mac explained that in those days, he would his guitar straight to the amp, without any pedals.
I would just plug my gutiar, Into an old 70s Twin, like a Silverface one. Obviously, it has spring reverb on it, that’s an effect, but that was it. That was all I did.
Roland KC-550See images & more 2015
This is actually a keyboard amp, but Mac DeMarco used it as sort of a cabinet for his Fender Vibro Champ when playing live. He’d have the Vibro Champ miced up, and run the mic to the input of the KC-550.
What I’ve been doing recently is to bring a really big 200-watt keyboard amp, take a really small Fender amp — actually the one we use to record the albums with — and put that on top of the big one,
Then I’ll mic that small Fender amp with my own mic, which goes into the keyboard amp, so it’s just a giant cab for the little guy. Then I run all the keyboards on the stage into that big keyboard amp as well.
Mac DeMarco – original source needed.
Roland Jazz Chorus 120See images & more 2017
Mac DeMarco used a Roland Jazz Chorus 120 amp live around the time he released This Old Dog, in 2017. He didn’t use if for too long, and by 2018 he moved on to a Fender Twin Reverb.
Most notably, he was seen using the amp at the Sziget Festival in Budapest and at the Primavera Sound in Barcelona – both available for viewing on YouTube.
Mac DeMarco's Effects
Fostex VF80 Digital MultitrackerSee images & more 2009
This 8-track digital multitracker was what Mac DeMarco used to record his early stuff, and what introduced him to guitar effects.
A lot of my first records that I made when I was a kid were on this Fostex VF80 disk drive recorder thingy. It had built-in effects, so I decided one day to plug my guitar into it.
That was kind of my first guitar pedal, but it was like a giant primitive digital recorder. But it had a chorus on it, I think it had a flanger on it…
Akai Headrush E1 DelaySee images & more 2010
According to an interview Mac gave to Reverb.com in 2019, this is among the first, if not the first effect pedal that he used.
And then I think I got a delay pedal at some point. And I was like – okay, it sounds like John Lenon on the vocal, that’s cool. I like that.
It’s unclear when exactly Mac used this pedal, but it seems impossible to find any photos of it. In the same interview with Reverb, he sort of tells the story chronologically, how he first played straight into a Twin Reverb amp and then got this pedal after a while. The Twin Reverb he used from around 2011, so probably sometime in 2012 is when he got this delay.
Alesis MicroVerb 4See images & more 2011
Mac used this rack effect unit while recording his second solo album. According to an answer that he himself posted on Yahoo Answers (page now removed), he used the effect on “Cooking up Something Good” “Freaking out the Neighborhood” and “Ode to Viceroy”.
I ran my guitar through an alesis microverb 4 rack unit into a fender vibrochamp. preset 37 is the chorus from cooking up something good. preset 44 is the flanger from freaking out the neighborhood. and preset 84 is the weird delay flange from ode to viceroy.
Yahoo Answers – page now offline
In a 2019 interview with Reverb.com, Mac also explained how he fell in love with the unit because it had so many effects, and it had a mix knob that allowed him to get either just the clean guitar signal or the full effect signal. He discovered that he really liked the dry chorus, without the clean signal.
The thing that really got me into (guitar effects) I got from my friend Jasper this – and I used one a couple of years before because my bass player had one, John – it was an Alesis MicroVerb 4.
Fully rack, shallow little crummy stereo thing. But it had like a hundred different presets – amazing! I got addicted to the – there were choruses with delays going on, lot of modulation stuff. But the thing that really got me – there was a mix knob on it, so you could have either the dry effect, or just the signal.
If I could just the (chorus) jiggle – I liked that. I always though it was a chorus, but it turns out if you take out the dry signal, then that’s just vibrato.
Roland RE-201 Space EchoSee images & more 2013
This echo unit was seen at Mac’s home studio in the Pitchfork documentary filmed in 2014, and he occasionally used it live, although it seems very rarely (see Mac DeMarco performs at One Million Square Feet).
The Roland RE-210 is a tape echo unit that was produced until 1990. In case you’re unfamiliar with tape echos – they produce the echo effect by recording the signal to a tape, and playing it back with a delay.
Boss CE-2See images & more 2014
Mac used this chorus pedal for playing live around 2013/2014.
EHX Holy Grail ReverbSee images & more 2014
This pedal was seen on Mac’s pedalboard in the early years, circa 2013/2014. After that, he seemed to have switched to a Little Lanilei Spring Reverb for a brief period of time, and then onto a Boss RV-6 Reverb, again shorty, and then went back the Holy Grail. .
Little Lanilei Spring ReverbSee images & more 2014
Mac DeMarco used a Little Lanilei reverb pedal briefly around 2014. This is a pretty unique pedal, because it’s an actual spring reverb, while basically all other reverb pedals on the market are just digital emulators. However, for one reason or another Mac didn’t seem to use it for that long, and by 2015 he moved onto a Holy Grail reverb from EHX.
MXR Carbon CopySee images & more 2014
Mac DeMarco uses the MXR Carbon Copy (both the full-size version and the mini version) as his main delay pedal. He started them very early on, around 2014, and continues using them to this day. Occasionally, he even has two of them on his pedalboard (see photo below).
Mac also noted in an interview with Reverb.com that he only uses the pedals for live gigs, and never used them on any of the studio recordings.
I’ve always used these Carbon Copies – I’ve never used them on a record, but I’ve used them live forever.
MXR M-133 Micro AmpSee images & more 2014
This pedal was seen on Mac’s pedalboard around 2014, but he apparently also used it in 2017 during the “This Old Dog” tour. Towards 2020 he moved on to a JHS Colour Box, which essentially does the same thing – it boosts the signal, which is something guitarists usually do when they are about to play a solo.
Zoom G1uSee images & more 2015
Mac DeMarco used a Zoom multi-effects pedal in the early years when playing live, circa 2015. According to him, he loved the pedal, but it sounded terrible on the PA, so he got rid of it.
I used to play through this – it was a crappy plastic Zoom pedal with like a bunch of multi effects on it. I loved that thing. But, our front of house guy was like – it sounds like garbage.
Mac DeMarco Nerds Out About Music Gear | Reverb Interview
Based on the looks – the color of the pedal, and the chrome ring around the display, he used a G1u model.
Boss GE-7 EqualizerSee images & more 2015
This pedal was seen on Mac’s pedalboard around 2015. At that point, he was using it together with a Boss TU-3 tuner, Zoom G1u, and an MXR Carbon Copy delay.
Boss VB-2w Vibrato
TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Mini ReverbSee images & more 2017
This seems to be the reverb pedal that directly replaced the EHX Holy Grail that Mac was using up until around 2017-ish.
TC Electronics HyperGravity Mini CompressorSee images & more 2018
This pedal was seen on Mac’s pedalboard during the interview he did with Reverb.com in 2019. Unfortunately, he did not really go into much detail regarding his use of the pedal, but it’s worth noting that this is the first compressor pedal that he was seen using.
JHS Colour Box V1See images & more 2019
Mac was seen using this pedal in the 2019 interview with Reverb.com. The pedal is a DI box, preamp, and equalizer all-in-one, and its circuitry and the gain stages are based on a Neve recording console.
If you wanna get nasty, you get the Colour Box.
Mac DeMarco Nerds Out About Music Gear | Reverb Interview
TC Electronics Shaker VibratoSee images & more 2019
This is one of the more recent additions to Mac DeMarco’s pedalboard. It was first seen during the interview that Mac did with Reverb.com in 2019.
Mac uses the mini version of the TC Electronics Shaker, with three knobs.
I got this one recently, it’s called a shaker. Just makes it a little out of tune, you know.
Mac DeMarco Nerds Out About Music Gear | Reverb Interview
Mac DeMarco's Strings
Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Guitar StringsSee images & more 2003
According to Mac, he’s been mostly using Earnie Ball guitar strings since he was around 13. His main go-to choice is the Regular Slinky set, which is the 10-46, but he occasionally uses different gauges.
I remember being in Avenue guitars which is a guitar store my hometown in Edmonton looking over the counter and you see you know the pack and it’s got it like what is it a hawk or an eagle on the front nice design kind of psychedelic. I was like yeah I guess I’ll get those ones yeah.
I’ve gone through phases of using elevens or even when I wasn’t as on top of everything and a little bit more of a broke man I kind of whatever I had was like okay we’re playing 14s for the show.
Ernie Ball: String Theory featuring Mac DeMarco
Mac DeMarco's Accessories
Dunlop Tortex .60mmSee images & more 2004
Mac DeMarco usually uses these orange Dunlop Tortex .60mm guitar picks when playing live. On occasions he used custom made guitar picks with his own prints.
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