Rig Rundown: DENIS ROTH (Their Dogs Were Astronauts & Once We Emerged)

Denis Roth - live


Hi, my name is Denis Roth from Austria. I’m 23 years old and I play guitars since I’ve been 5. I currently play guitars in Their Dogs Were Astronauts and Once We Emerged.

I’ve had several bands in many different genres until I finally discovered that I want to focus myself on audio production and audio engineering. I did my bachelor degree in audio engineering and am just finishing my master degree in the same field, both at a university in Salzburg, Austria.

While studying I started to write music again, this time in the metal/djent genre and founded my project Their Dogs Were Astronauts together with my brother Leo, who studies jazz piano and also plays the guitar.

Gear Review

Over the years I’ve acquired quite a collection of guitars. In total, I guess it will be 15 guitars, or even more but there are quite a few which I don’t really use anymore. So as this is a gear review, I will tell you a little bit about my main guitars:

The 6 String


Harley Benton Rosewood Telecaster

I tried and played a lot of different 6-string guitars so far, especially cause I started off learning classical guitar for about 13 years and started taking electric guitar lessons when I was about 10/11. So, back to my guitar, it’s actually a little embarrassing, but my go-to 6-string is a Harley Benton Rosewood Telecaster. I initially bought it for the cool looks and stayed with it because it just is a stunning instrument both tone wise and handling-wise. After playing a few shows with it I started to modify it a bit. I switched out the bridge pickup for a Bareknuckle Pickups Cobra T, which is an awesome single-coil pickup by the way, especially if you do metal and or djent, and I added some cool PRS-style inlay stickers which are actually much cooler than you’d expect from putting something onto your fingerboard.

I know that Harley Benton has the reputation of pretty a varying quality control and yeah, I also bought almost unusable guitars from them but since that is a Deluxe model (whatever that means); it’s a great, solid Tele for an incredible price. I somehow really love the mix between the stock pickup in the neck position and the Bareknuckle one in the bridge position, you can use that for almost every genre out there and you’ll get a great tone out of this combination. I have to add though, that I’m a huge fan of single coil pickups, ESPECIALLY for metal and high gain sounds, because it really keeps the “twangyness” of the Tele alive.

The 7 String

Ibanez Iron Label RGIF7 multiscale

Ibanez Iron Label RGIF7 multiscale

My 7-string is the newest addition to my collection, I have it about half a year now and it’s probably one of the most talked-about guitar models in the last few years, the Ibanez multiscale Iron Label model RGIF7. Actually, there’s not that much to tell you about that guitar, because I left it completely stock (so far). What I can tell you though, is that it feels a little bit like cheating compared to my other guitars because it just feels absolutely amazing. It’s by far the lightest guitar I own, which is great if you play live a lot and the hype around the whole multiscale thing is not a lie. While I was waiting for it to ship I always thought about how long it will take me to get used to those frets – and surprisingly it didn’t even take one minute to feel like I’ve always played that guitar.

I’m thinking about maybe changing the pickups though because I’m not the biggest fan of active pickups, even less a fan of EMGs but I do have to add that the EMG X series is really a big up compared to other EMGs I came across. Other than that, there really is nothing more to add, except that I’m absolutely in love with that guitar!

The 8 String

Ibanez RG8

Ibanez RG8

Most things I said about my 7-string apply to my 8-string too because it’s a standard Ibanez RG8 exactly like my 7-string it’s still completely stock, even though I’m thinking about changing the pickups too, maybe to some DiMarzio Ionizers or Bareknuckle Pickups Juggernauts but I didn’t have the money for it at the moment so I just go with what I have. I was pretty lucky though, because I got a blue one, which isn’t for sale anymore! Other than that I don’t think that I have to explain the details of an RG8, because it’s the standard accessoire for every djent kid ;)

My Amp(s)


As you may already suspected, I try to keep everything as simple as possible without modifying too much about my instruments. The same goes for my amps. In one of my earlier bands we used Orange Rockerverb 50s with a matching Orange 4×12 Cabinet but that was simply too much for most of the shows we played and absolutely backbreaking to carry around if you don’t tour in a nightliner with a trailer and a crew of roadies. That was, except a small Zoom 15W modeling amp, the only real amp I ever owned. I really got into the whole amp-simulation software thing pretty early and did most of my stuff using IK Multimedia Amplitube and later Native Instruments Guitar Rig in combination with Positive Grid BIAS (which is by far the best amp simulation software out there in my opinion) but since I started to play shows again I had to get something portable without the need of an interface or computer again. So I bought a Fractal Audio AxeFx II XL, I was lucky to get one of the last XLs before they dumped it for the unnecessarily more expensive XL+ model. Well, I do not need to add much to this, it’s a well known device and there’s nothing I can’t do with it, it’s just the dream of every guitarist who wants a small, handy and lightweight amp and have the same exact sound at every venue. Also the possibility to program patch changes is absolutely amazing.