I will start by stating Adrian developed problems with his back that cause him pain while playing guitar in concert. To alleviate this problem he has gone to great lengths to have an ergonomic guitar created. He elicited this task to U.K. luthier Bill Puplett, The instruments unique design keeps him from having to bend over the guitars body while seated and keeps his back straight.
|Klein & Ovation|
The guitars body is made of two-piece swamp ash, with a cavity hollowed out before joining and then vented on the treble side cutaway.
Legg states this flared soundhole helps with the out of phase coupling of the guitars sound chamber and opens out the high-end harmonics the instrument produces.
The neck is made of two-piece black walnut with an ebony fingerboard. The acoustic bridge is made of walnut. The pick-ups are Graph Techs with a specially made Waffair Theene Dimarzio.
The sweeping upper bout provides plenty of right hand support. The lower boat indentation helps support the guitar neck at the proper angle, since Legg always plays in a seated position. The chambered body provides some acoustic properties, but mainly reduces the instruments weight.
The headstock is non-unique, except for the Scruggs style banjo. Bill Keith at the Beacon Banjo Company in Woodstock, NY, USA makes these. They allow Legg to change tunings quickly between or during songs.
|Ibanez prototype made for Legg|
|Ibanez prototype headstock|
As his guitar is not an acoustic guitar, Legg states this eliminates sound problems that amplification can cause with acoustic instruments.
One of Legg’s favorite tunings is D-A-D-G-A-D. This is a tuning that is used extensively in Celtic music. Legg tells a story about playing at a Canadian folk festival.
John Renbourn, a British folk guitarist that was also at the festival said that Davey Graham, another British folk musician had traveled to Morocco and hung out with some of the local Oud players. The only way he could play music with them was to tune his guitar to DADGAD. Graham brought this tuning back to the U.K. and influenced a number of British and American folk musicians, including Paul Simon, Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch and Jimmy Page. This tuning has been popular ever since.
|VG-88 with Hex Pickup|
For travel Legg had a velcro-topped board built that could break down in 3 sections to enable a setup that could be easily carried in a small package.
Early on in Adrian Legg’s career he was known for his relationship with Ovation Guitars.
He extensively played a modified Ovation Adamas with a super-shallow body and extra light strings to assist in the steel guitar-like bends that are common in his songs.
This guitar was also equipped with a set of Keith banjo tuners to accomodate Legg’s unusual tunings and string bends. The guitars saddle was equipped with the Ovation transducer that ran through the on-board Ovation Optima preamp and then to a Fishman parametric direct input equalizer. The Fishman allowed the guitar to change to low impedance, thus filtering out feedback. During that time frame Legg employed a Zoom 9000 unit for reverb and chorus and to split his signal from mono to stereo.
The signals ran to a Trace Elliot TA-50 acoustic guitar amp (Ovation owned Trace Elliot at the time) for a stage monitor and then went to the house system.
Although Legg has stated in the past how much he appreciated the Ovation connection, his chronic back problems have since worsened with age. Therefore it is difficult for him to play the Adamas in concert. Hence he relies on the Puplett guitar.
He was also an instructor at the Guitar Institute of Technology and has shared his playing with students on DVD’s and videos.