Same as it ever was......
But with a bit more besides..
The heart of my guitar set up is the amazing Roland VG88-V2. This unit is a Roland Guitar Synth System and as such allows me the "synthesize" a whole host of different types of guitar, amp and effects combinations from a single controller, which is a real godsend as Alex has used a whole heap of gear over the three decades that Rush have been together, and nailing an authentic Alex sound is what it's all about.
The VG88 uses COSM sound modelling software which allows me to very accurately reproduce the nuances of various combinations of different types of gear and really does faithfully recreate everything from Alex's raw tone on the early albums to his most processed guitar sounds of "Hold Your Fire" for example all from a single floor mounted unit.
In order to get the flexibility I need, I run an additional expression pedal with the VG88-V2 which I use to adjust parameters of various patches in real time, bringing delays in and out or adjusting the set up of an amp model etc.
The VG88-V2 is controlled by a Roland GK2A hexa pickup which I have mounted onto two of my guitars - both Ibanez Custom Models. In fact I have been lucky enough to have had Ibanez build me a special Lo-Pro edge trem unit which uses Piezo transducers in the bridge saddles as the driving force behind the Roland hardware in the guitar, which means I have been able to do away with the controller housing of the GK2A.
Another real plus point with the VG88-V2 is that it can accept a signal from a regular magnetic pickup and still give you access to all the amp modelling and effects. In fact the only think you lose is the ability to model different instruments. This means I can still use my trusty guitars. I run them through a volume pedal which has a Korg tuner in line, then into the VG88-V2.
Talking of trusty guitars my trusty gig guitars are as follows:-
Ibanez J-Custom #1 Roland ready
Plus a smattering of other guitars depending on what is called for.
As well as the guitar side of things in YYZ, I also take care of the sampling duties and for that I use an E-MU Ultrasynth - which is a very cool piece of kit which combines the best sampling capabilities around plus some cool Emulator patches. This is housed in an SKB X rack which also acts as a stand for my little Behringer UB1204 FX Pro mixer.
The Behringer is used to supply the FOH with the VG88-V2 guitar signal as well as supplying me with my personal monitoring signal which is sent to a Laney CP15 powered monitor. The EM-U sample signal is sent direct to FOH and the headphone feed is used for my on stage monitoring.
The EM-U is triggered by my trusty pair of Roland PK5 bass pedals which I have had for years.
Everything is cabled using Monster Cables.
Strings - Ernie Ball Super Slinky
Picks - Pickboy - reefer design .88mm carbon picks
Additional gear - Ebow Plus and FastFret.