When I occasionally need conventional or traditional guitar sounds I use a Lexicon MPX G2. This unit has recreations of a huge range of analog boxes as well as conventional modern sounds. These days I don't have much call for those sorts of sounds, but I do use this unit when creating feedback. I also make use of the reverb for monitoring and live work.
I use the T.C. Electronic Studiokonnekt 48 as a digital mixer as it is immaculately clean and noise free and gives me an on-screen mixer on the laptop of the levels and routing of all my gear. This unit also serves as my audio interface to the laptop for precessing and recording. It contains the T.C. 3000 reverb which I use for monitoring and live work.
When I playing with samples or synths I use the Waves Ground Control to control parameters in synths and effects on the laptop.
I also have this Korg Nano Kontrol next to the laptop to live mix and control parameters in synths and effects. Its an extremely handy little device. I use this and the Ground Control both live and while recording.
I use MainStage which is part of Logic for my synth based sounds and sample sounds as well as reverb and other effects. I like MainStage because its so flexible, you can design your own control screen to do pretty much anything and use it to link all your controllers to any parameters in your synths or effects.
Most of my guitar sounds are just that, guitar or guitar with effects. However when I do use synth sounds or if I want to play samples in need too convert my guitar signal into midi, for this I use an AXON AX 50.
I don't use a guitar amplifier as the sounds I've designed in the VG-88 don't need additional distortion or tone variation. Nor do the sounds coming out of my laptop.
I see guitar amps as a type of processor, which just happens to be very large heavy. We all know a good guitar amp can sound great, but to me its still equivalent to a type of processor or plugin. Each type of amp has a certain sound and within that a set of tonal and distortion variations. The same is true of a good hardware processor or software plugin. As much craft, skill, care and innovation goes into the building of good plugins nowadays as goes into the very best guitar amps.
Some people think there is almost a kind of magic contained in the combination of hardware components and materials contained in a guitar amplifier, who's quality cannot be matched by software. I don't hear it that way. A great guitar amp can sound great to me, but when I see it as a type of processor or plugin, its range of sounds is extremely limited. What is possible today with processors and plugins allows a much bigger sound pallet, which also sounds great, and its one I find suits what I want to hear.
So live, everything goes into my Studiokonnekt 48, and then from balanced outputs straight into the PA. This system also allows me to give the live mixer either separate outs for both VGs, and the laptop or several stereo mixes; one for my monitors, one for recording (with no reverb) and one for the audience.
Information about Mark's guitars, equipment, effects and philosophy on guitar sounds
My main guitar is a Patrick Eggle LA Plus. This is one of the original first run Eggle gutars, I chose it from a set of seven LA Plus guitars for its particular tonal properties. The guys at Eggle were incredibly helpful in making changes to the guitar to suit me. I no longer use the pickups or the internal electronics on the guitar as my audio signal goes out via the Roland hex pickup. This gives me six separate audio signals, one for each string, which makes audio processing a lot cleaner and more controllable and also allows conversion to midi when I need it.
This guitar is entirely maple and I love sound as well as the playability.
The guitar also comes fitted with an anti-gravity device as you can see from the photo. This makes playing a lot easier but can cause alarm.
I use for Roland VG-88 for most of my guitar sounds. What I like about this unit is that is allows you to build your guitar sound virtually from scratch without loosing any of the subtleties of what you play. Unlike a guitar synth, the VG-88 works with the audio signal of your guitar so even things like the angle of your pick, the difference in tone between picking near the bridge or the neck, or even the sound of scraping the string or tapping the body remain in tact. In fact in many ways I find the VG retains more of this detail than many conventional processors and amps. Running two units together allows me to lay down a sustaining harmonic backdrop with one unit and then play over that using the other unit. I switch between the two using the US-20 on the left. Boss stereo volume pedal is used to balance the volume of the sustaining VG-88 as it's pedal is often routed to other parameters within the unit.