Thoughts on Gear and GAS

I have a Mooer Radar on the output of my pedal board;
For Headphones or PA system, turn it on and dial an amp.
When I want to go through an amp, just stick it on bypass and plug into FX RTN.
I also have a SND/RTN on my board so I can pull the amp's pre-amp into the signal chain as well using three cable method.

The Radar is such a tiny pedal; it's silly not to have one on a board IMO.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
I received the Palmer Pocket Amp MKII yesterday. Plugged it in. The sounds are actually pretty good through my headphones. The only downside is that the footswitch is not a channel switch, but an on/off switch, meaning, if I dial in a good high gain tone, turning the unit off will give me clean, because it's the direct sound of the guitar with cab sim, but I cannot control the level. BUT, the sound is good. If I need to play with just one sound, then it's fine, but at this point I wasn't sure if I'm keeping it.

Then I thought, what if I treat the Pocket Amp as if it were my Fender Hot Rod and use it as a pedal platform. So I hooked up my pedalboard with the HX Effects on it and dialed in a good clean tone that I can use. Then I turned on my Wampler Catapulp, matched the volume, messed with the EQ a lot and in the end, I ended up with a very usable sound. The effects actually sound pretty good through the Pocket Amp as well. I did some ambient reverbs and big delays. It's quite good.

Next up, I hooked up my tablet to the Aux in and played along with some tracks. I did some songs which required a lot of switching between clean and drive. Worked like a charm and it sounded really good. The final test came with my Ibanez K-7 tuned to A. I never liked playing this guitar at home at low volumes, because it just sounded muddy. I've played it at band volume and that's when it comes alive. I plugged in the K-7. Not muddy. I played a Korn song through my tablet via the aux in and played along with the K-7. Not muddy. The tone was actually really good.

I think I may have found the solution for practicing at home with headphones and it takes up a space of about 15cmx15cm. The unit is so small. I love it! You just need to play with the EQ on your drives a lot and then find the right mic position for the cab sim. It's amazing. I had fun playing at home for the first time in a long time.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
I've watched a clinic by Devin Townsend on YouTube and he said something very interesting about the way he thinks about gear. It sounds logical and I'm going to try it.

There's three environments where a musician works.

  1. Studio
  2. Live
  3. Songwriting
For studio and live you need a workhorse. Something that works for you playability wise and sound wise. Of course you can do overdubs with different guitars, but your main guitar should be this workhorse. It should meet all your demands to be able to do the things that you do with just the one guitar. These two environments are considered work.

Song writing is something he does in his free time, as do I. Chilling on the couch with a guitar on your lap or in your office. Just relaxing, noodling away, just playing. He does not use his work guitars for this, because they remind him of work. This adds stress and pressure to the song writing process, because you have work in mind. Also these guitars will tend to lead you into a certain direction in writing style, where during the writing process you want to be completely free. For this purpose he will grab guitars out of his collection that he would never use live, like a tele, or a strat or a Les Paul. Whatever he's feeling like.

This makes complete sense to me. My Purple Strat is my band guitar. Whenever I play it at home, I tend to gravitate towards songs that I thing would fit in the band. It also my main studio guitar. Whenever I grab other guitars at home, especially the ones with single coils (I uses humbuckers in the band), I tend to write things that are way more out of the box. When these songs start taking shape I can fit them into the band's style easier. We usually bring ideas to the practice room, jam on them and finish writing together. So if I write something on a strat that is out of the box, by jamming on it together we can still turn it into a song that fits the band.

It kind of sucks that most of my guitars are still in the studio, except for the purple one. I will be going there Saturday and I will be bringing back home my Strat, Tele and PRS. I'm going to consciencely write like this and see where it leads me. I've had a bit of writer's block for a while now. It's worth a shot!
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
I've identified my main issue concerning gear and GAS.

Since my last post I've gotten all guitars but my Strat back. The Strat needs some work done, so my friend offered to do it, but he keeps forgetting.
I've been playing my PRS Tremonti with the band lately, using an EMG 81 & 60 set in it. I like the tightness and the modern sound a lot. I just don't want to use the Tremonti as my main guitar. I love it and it has sentimental value for various reasons, but the neck makes my hand cramp and I just don't want anything to happen to it. It's a home and studio guitar. That's it.

My solution for this was ordering a Jim Root Tele, the Mexican Fender version with EMG 81 & 60's as well. It was backordered and during the wait I started doubting my choice. Jim Root is one of my favorite guitar players and I've wanted one of his sigs for 10 years. I first fell in love with the Strats, but I'm not into black guitars anymore, so I shifted to the white tele. Still, I followed my feelings and cancelled the order to rethink what I want and need.

I've been listening to a lot of Incubus, Foo Fighters, Stone Sour, Korn, Slipknot and Trivium in the past weeks. This has helped me identify my issue. On the one side you have Foo Fighters and Incubus who use more vintage type guitars (ES-models, Tele's, Jazzmasters and a PRS with PAF-type pickups). On the other side you have guys using modern guitars with Fishman or EMG pickups. I seem to flip flop between the two approaches a lot and I can't seem to decide on one for the band. For home and studio I have both options. For the band, I want to keep it consistent, but it's so hard to decide.

Amp-wise most of these guys use some sort of Mesa, 6505/5150 or Orange. I use a pedal that emulates an Orange and I might look into the Mesa sounds as well. I'm good on that level. I still use my Fender HotRod Deluxe III as a pedal platform.

Next week, I'm bring my custom Tele with the TV Jones filtertron and tele neck pickup in it to try the vintage sound with the band again. I am also looking for a way to get a guitar with some PAF type humbuckers, especially a neck humbucker, to try out as well. I will compare that with the PRS with the EMG's and try to get my band involved in the choice. My Tele should work, but my main concern is the neck pickup with gain. Mike from Incubus used his neck humbucker for Morning View and that's kind of the sound I've been trying to go for for a while now.

I think it's time to visit one of the big German Guitar Shops again and just pull everything off the wall.
 

Felix

Addicted to Grunge
Since getting my Les Paul Custom and modding it, I've been really good at being content with having one guitar and didn't have the desire to get myself another high end guitar. That worked really well for me until I saw my online guitar buddies GumTree guitar shop and came across a 2018 MIJ FSR Stratocaster. A black Strat with a painted headstock and gold hardware, that will look awesome next to my Les Paul.

With my folks and I moving away from Oxford, I'm about to have a lot more space for myself, as we're trying to find a house where it possible for me to have two rooms knocked into one, so I can have my own living space, rather than being stuck on my bed most of the day. After chatting with one of my closest friends this evening about how I want to decorate, I've decided that I will use wall hangers for my guitars, so even if I am not playing them, they will be wall art. I typically hate seeing really good instruments just "sitting" around not being played. Now I can have a use that prevents me from feeling guilty about unplayed guitars.

Ever since I joined these forums, I have typically had a main guitar and used my 2nd guitar position as a way to experiment with lots of different types. I had owned my Fender Jag-Stang for 18 years and never once felt the need to change guitar. After watching a load of Rob's videos, I finally got hit with the GAS syndrome.

Ever since I was 18, I had a very clear goal for my dream rig. When I was finally able to get my dream amp and a high end (for me) guitar, I have never felt a need to chase after some mythical tone. Before I was able to get a Marshall Silver Jubilee, I had owned a few Marshall amps, trying to emulate a Silver Jubilee. On the night I was about to spend over £2000 on an '87 Marshall Silver Jubilee 2x12 50w Combo, a member on here linked me to an article where Marshall announced they were going to reissues the Silver Jubilee. The first thing I did once the x2555 was in the shops was go down to my local PMT and secure the only unit they had.

The point I am trying to make is, if you don't really know what you want, you will always be in the cycle of buying and selling, chasing some tone that might not even exist in the first place. I like to think I am one of the most straightforward members on here, as I am only really wanting the most basic of tones and rigs. I think @Chu would agree that I like really low tech stuff, which has meant I didn't have much of a struggle to get what I wanted. Knowing @Chu and his rig setup, I wouldn't have the skill required to build his rig or even have the remotest of idea how to even use the damn thing, let alone dial in the tones I want. Too often, people try and get really complex gear and typically add in more than one new device at a time.

Even though I am a self confessed Grunge lover, I actually love a lot of Alternative Rock and because I have always wanted an amp/rig, rather than chasing a tone, I have been able to be content with having the item, rather than hunting something as complex as a tone. For me, I really like visual stuff and having a certain name on the headstock or front panel. Some of my buddies on here, were surprised to find out, that when I modded my guitar, it was because I wanted my main production line LP Classic Custom, to match the look and specs of a full blown LP Custom (which was almost double the value of mine). Robstafairan got bemused one time when I was installing new humbuckers in my LP, as the only reason I choose them, was because the £3300 LP Custom had them/or I only put parts on from say Gibson or Fender, rather than going 3rd party.


After I get my MIJ FSR Strat over the coming weeks and month, I have expressed my interest in getting a 2007 American Deluxe Strat, that my guitar dealer friend is selling. I stupidly sold off a couple of Strat's I owned, as they were not being played enough. I'm now doing what so many of us are doing, which is chase my own tail, by getting gear I've already owned. Thankfully, I have never used my main (or could I say most valuable) guitar to do trades with. I would be seriously pissed at myself if I had let my LP Custom be used so I could get my next fancey. Some people on here have lost so much money from constantly buying and selling gear (I have done the same with the rotation of my second guitar). To me, it seems some people spend more time searching for gear, than they do playing.
 
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Chu

Well-Known Member
Good for you mate, I can definitely vouch for having guitars on a wall versus in cases. I do suggest trying to make sure the guitars aren't in direct sunshine too much to look after the finishes.

Regarding my rig, don't forget that it wasn't something I bought in one go, I learned each component by itself before realising that something else had now become a weak link and was holding me back. I was also programming MIDI before I ever played an electric guitar (yes, I was a synth player!) and I have qualifications in the field but it's not really that different than if you went and bought a bunch of stomp pedals at once, cables and PSUs. I'd not know where to start with that either or how it all gets on together.

My rig is for recording, playing with a band and bedroom use and I got tired of using one rig for each. When I'm playing with a bigger band, I keep my sounds pretty simple but in a three piece, there's so much space to play and frankly I'm not good enough to rely on my guitar skills to fill the void. I've always loved bands that sound massive, with huge walls of sound and as someone raised on a heavy diet of Pink Floyd and electronic stuff, i love delays and spacey sounds too. I could dial in some great stuff with a couple of basic pedals but it would become a matter of having to change the controls between songs and I can't live with that as I can never remember what I'm supposed to change it to. So the logical step is either having a number of delay pedals or buying programmable ones like Strymon. Then it just keeps getting more and more complicated using different makes and models and I throw a hissy fit.

If I decided I was never playing in a band again, I'd likely ditch the whole thing and get a little practice rig and a delay pedal. Until then.....
 

Felix

Addicted to Grunge
Good for you mate, I can definitely vouch for having guitars on a wall versus in cases. I do suggest trying to make sure the guitars aren't in direct sunshine too much to look after the finishes.

Regarding my rig, don't forget that it wasn't something I bought in one go, I learned each component by itself before realising that something else had now become a weak link and was holding me back. I was also programming MIDI before I ever played an electric guitar (yes, I was a synth player!) and I have qualifications in the field but it's not really that different than if you went and bought a bunch of stomp pedals at once, cables and PSUs. I'd not know where to start with that either or how it all gets on together.

My rig is for recording, playing with a band and bedroom use and I got tired of using one rig for each. When I'm playing with a bigger band, I keep my sounds pretty simple but in a three piece, there's so much space to play and frankly I'm not good enough to rely on my guitar skills to fill the void. I've always loved bands that sound massive, with huge walls of sound and as someone raised on a heavy diet of Pink Floyd and electronic stuff, i love delays and spacey sounds too. I could dial in some great stuff with a couple of basic pedals but it would become a matter of having to change the controls between songs and I can't live with that as I can never remember what I'm supposed to change it to. So the logical step is either having a number of delay pedals or buying programmable ones like Strymon. Then it just keeps getting more and more complicated using different makes and models and I throw a hissy fit.

If I decided I was never playing in a band again, I'd likely ditch the whole thing and get a little practice rig and a delay pedal. Until then.....
It's very unlikely I will ever manage to start a band up and gig, so in many ways it's always going to be more straightforward for me. Now my Silver Jubilee is working properly (seems I had a bad valve from new) , I am learning that a 50w Marshall running through a 2x12 , is a tad extreme for a bedroom setting. I am using much fewer pedals these days, as I just didn't use them very much. As you know, I only get Boss pedals, because I love the way they look and are built, rather than any unique tone they give over another brands pedal.


While your rig is very much built for a purpose, it's still rather fucking impressive from my point of view. I often wonder if it's because Grunge was what got me into not just music, but playing guitar, that I favorite such basic adjustment options with my gear? If I had been inspired to start playing from listening to Pink Floyd, would I still have the same simple taste, or would I have built a rig similar to yours, just to match Gilmours sound from "Dark Side of The Moon" and "Wish You Were Here".
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
I sort of know what I want, but I just can't decide between the two approaches I mentioned. I know half the band prefers the more vintage type gear and the other half like the modern stuff. The modern stuff tends to make things shift more towards a metal vibe, but we are a Alternative Rock band, so we want to keep that from happening. The thing is, on the modern side, I know what to go for. On the vintage side, I have no clue. I have my TV Jones loaded tele. I want something HH to compare.

I've been watching the evolution of Mike Einziger's guitars and it seems he doesn't care what pickups are in his guitar. He's played the PRS hollowbodies with the 58/15 pickups, Tele's with single coils, Jazzmasters, SG's with P90's. He doesn't care. He just plays it. I have experimented with this. I played high output humbuckers for over a year and then brought a SSS Strat to band practice and played everything with that. It worked. It could handle the higher gain stuff and of course also the cleaner stuff. I just need to settle on modern or vintage and I feel in order to do that I want to compare something HH with my HS Tele and my SSS Strat.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
I sort of know what I want, but I just can't decide between the two approaches I mentioned. I know half the band prefers the more vintage type gear and the other half like the modern stuff. The modern stuff tends to make things shift more towards a metal vibe, but we are a Alternative Rock band, so we want to keep that from happening. The thing is, on the modern side, I know what to go for. On the vintage side, I have no clue. I have my TV Jones loaded tele. I want something HH to compare.

I've been watching the evolution of Mike Einziger's guitars and it seems he doesn't care what pickups are in his guitar. He's played the PRS hollowbodies with the 58/15 pickups, Tele's with single coils, Jazzmasters, SG's with P90's. He doesn't care. He just plays it. I have experimented with this. I played high output humbuckers for over a year and then brought a SSS Strat to band practice and played everything with that. It worked. It could handle the higher gain stuff and of course also the cleaner stuff. I just need to settle on modern or vintage and I feel in order to do that I want to compare something HH with my HS Tele and my SSS Strat.
To add to the above. What also factors into my constant flipflopping is my long history of loving modern guitars and the more recent history (2-3 years) of me starting to like modern guitars less and liking vintage gear more. I just have not been able to settle on a specific guitar that I like.
 

mirage2101

Well-Known Member
or even have the remotest of idea how to even use the damn thing, let alone dial in the tones I want. Too often, people try and get really complex gear and typically add in more than one new device at a time.

To me, it seems some people spend more time searching for gear, than they do playing.
I'm one of those people who doesn't know what he wants so I tend to go for quite all-round rigs. Or rather, there's a lot of music I like in different genres so I like to have some reach tonewise.

About that complexity.. There's a factor we're leaving out. Gear is only complex if it doesn't easily do what you expect from it. You could have 15 pedals on your board and know with utter confidence what will change in your sound when you press one. Is that complex?
On the other hand, a pod500 is a BEAST to learn because it requires so much tweaking to sound good. A kemper doesn't have less settings but to me is a lot less complex because it fits my sensibilities and is easy to dial in. The HX effects is the same, a couple of twists and I've got a great sound. So for me they're not complex regardless of the amount of buttons.
People flipping gear is partially caused by this. If your budget means you have to make consession and it turns out it doesn't really do what you want, you'll have to flip it. That also leads into the grass is greener. "that other XXX will do what I want" Yeah maybe.. Or accept what you have and enjoy it.
Acceptance of tone is another thing. After years and years of playing I've been able to let go of exactly wanting to replicate tone X. I just want a tone that works for me in the context of a song. I don't mind if it isn't exactly Gilmour.
Learning curve is another one. If I'd known what I know now. I might never have sold my blackstar ht5. I know a lot better how to get different sounds from my guitars and how to leverage pedals to change my sound and help an amp get into a certain space. On the other hand I needed that journey to gain that knowledge and get where I am.


As for the time spend on hunting gear.. For me the rig is part of the hobby. Playing guitar for me is where tech meets creativity. Twist knobs, change settings, poke around and see what happens. I've said in the past I loved the episode of that pedalshow where Ed O'brien was. That really inspired me to map wierd settings to my expression pedal and go for it.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
I'm one of those people who doesn't know what he wants so I tend to go for quite all-round rigs. Or rather, there's a lot of music I like in different genres so I like to have some reach tonewise.

About that complexity.. There's a factor we're leaving out. Gear is only complex if it doesn't easily do what you expect from it. You could have 15 pedals on your board and know with utter confidence what will change in your sound when you press one. Is that complex?
On the other hand, a pod500 is a BEAST to learn because it requires so much tweaking to sound good. A kemper doesn't have less settings but to me is a lot less complex because it fits my sensibilities and is easy to dial in. The HX effects is the same, a couple of twists and I've got a great sound. So for me they're not complex regardless of the amount of buttons.
People flipping gear is partially caused by this. If your budget means you have to make consession and it turns out it doesn't really do what you want, you'll have to flip it. That also leads into the grass is greener. "that other XXX will do what I want" Yeah maybe.. Or accept what you have and enjoy it.
Acceptance of tone is another thing. After years and years of playing I've been able to let go of exactly wanting to replicate tone X. I just want a tone that works for me in the context of a song. I don't mind if it isn't exactly Gilmour.
Learning curve is another one. If I'd known what I know now. I might never have sold my blackstar ht5. I know a lot better how to get different sounds from my guitars and how to leverage pedals to change my sound and help an amp get into a certain space. On the other hand I needed that journey to gain that knowledge and get where I am.


As for the time spend on hunting gear.. For me the rig is part of the hobby. Playing guitar for me is where tech meets creativity. Twist knobs, change settings, poke around and see what happens. I've said in the past I loved the episode of that pedalshow where Ed O'brien was. That really inspired me to map wierd settings to my expression pedal and go for it.
I am very glad to say that I've been satisfied on the Amp and Pedal side for a while now and I don't plan to change that. The only reason I would have to change it is my band would blow up and I would go for a Head and Cab setup again, but that's a dream in a distant future.

I also want to point out that for noodling at home, I have both modern and vintage options. It's mainly what I use in the band that gets to me. I can't settle on one type of guitar to keep everything consistent. I have looked into the Ibanez AZ series for their versatility and sort of vintage looks, but modern features. It seems like a great option, but I don't feel like spending €2000 on a MIJ one, and I'm not that fond of the Indonesian ones for €1200 either.

To point out the guitars I've used in the band are:
  • My customer Tele (Mahogany body, maple neck, TV Jones Filtertron bridge and tele neck pickups) I wrote most of the songs on this guitar
  • Custom Purple Strat (first with a filtertron, then with a Bareknuckle Holy Diver)
  • Ibanez FR320 (Modded with an Ibanez Super 58 in the bridge and some P-94 type pickup in the neck)
  • Tokai MIJ Les Paul (with PAF style pickups), Loved this guitar. My back did not. A Les Paul does still interest me.
  • PRS Tremonti SE (First with EMG HetSet, now with EMG 81 & 60)
  • Fender MIM Classic 50's Strat (50's style Fender single coils, very Frusciante)
  • My bass player's handmade 7-string
  • Ibanez K-7, but the lows got too heavy for this band
Besides the FR and Tokai, I still own all of the above.

I've been mostly curious about Jazzmasters with actual Jazzmaster pickups and HH Paf Style pickups to try out.
 

mirage2101

Well-Known Member
I can't settle on one type of guitar to keep everything consistent. I have looked into the Ibanez AZ series for their versatility and sort of vintage looks, but
So don't?
I mean don't take 12 guitars to a show. But nobody would blink an eye if you take two. Between my strat and the stoney creek with P90 and HB I can cover a huge area of sounds.
Personaly I love it when bands sound different live. You don't need to recreate every sound to the letter. You're allowed to use a bit more (or less) dirt for some songs. That's the thing about live. You're allowed to take some freedom. Sure you can't go from a lows spacey P90 so play it on a bridge single coil. But there's a lot of room in between that you could use.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
So don't?
I mean don't take 12 guitars to a show. But nobody would blink an eye if you take two. Between my strat and the stoney creek with P90 and HB I can cover a huge area of sounds.
Personaly I love it when bands sound different live. You don't need to recreate every sound to the letter. You're allowed to use a bit more (or less) dirt for some songs. That's the thing about live. You're allowed to take some freedom. Sure you can't go from a lows spacey P90 so play it on a bridge single coil. But there's a lot of room in between that you could use.
That's something I have not fully considered. My worry with that, which could also be related to a bit of OCD is that I don't want to play single coils one time, and humbuckers the next. The sound would be too drastically different. I want to keep a certain level of consistency and I know my bandmates appreciate if I don't drastically change sounds all the time. It usually means they have to get used to a new mix as well. But I have to say, it is an interesting approach.
 

Felix

Addicted to Grunge
I'm one of those people who doesn't know what he wants so I tend to go for quite all-round rigs. Or rather, there's a lot of music I like in different genres so I like to have some reach tonewise.

About that complexity.. There's a factor we're leaving out. Gear is only complex if it doesn't easily do what you expect from it. You could have 15 pedals on your board and know with utter confidence what will change in your sound when you press one. Is that complex?
On the other hand, a pod500 is a BEAST to learn because it requires so much tweaking to sound good. A kemper doesn't have less settings but to me is a lot less complex because it fits my sensibilities and is easy to dial in. The HX effects is the same, a couple of twists and I've got a great sound. So for me they're not complex regardless of the amount of buttons.
People flipping gear is partially caused by this. If your budget means you have to make consession and it turns out it doesn't really do what you want, you'll have to flip it. That also leads into the grass is greener. "that other XXX will do what I want" Yeah maybe.. Or accept what you have and enjoy it.
Acceptance of tone is another thing. After years and years of playing I've been able to let go of exactly wanting to replicate tone X. I just want a tone that works for me in the context of a song. I don't mind if it isn't exactly Gilmour.
Learning curve is another one. If I'd known what I know now. I might never have sold my blackstar ht5. I know a lot better how to get different sounds from my guitars and how to leverage pedals to change my sound and help an amp get into a certain space. On the other hand I needed that journey to gain that knowledge and get where I am.


As for the time spend on hunting gear.. For me the rig is part of the hobby. Playing guitar for me is where tech meets creativity. Twist knobs, change settings, poke around and see what happens. I've said in the past I loved the episode of that pedalshow where Ed O'brien was. That really inspired me to map wierd settings to my expression pedal and go for it.

I've been very lucky that I've only owned 3 different Marshall amps in the last 18 years I think. I had a Marshall ValveState amp for a good number of years and I was none the wiser about it not being a valve amp or bothering with FX pedals until I started watching Rob and Lee on YouTube. I only had always known that I wanted a Silver Jubilee, but original '87 models were just so overpriced. I had gotten my JCM2000 DSL 401C or a DSL40 combo I think a year or so before I changed over to the Jubilee reissue. But truth be told, as long as its an Marshall valve amp, I would have been pretty happy with it. Since I got my amp fixed and discovering I had been using it with a duff valve for years, I have been a tad blown away with just how fucking loud it is, even on 50w mode running through the matching 2x12 cab. Thinking back to my early days playing, bar my first amp, all my amps have been Marshall's , which I have owned 4 in total since '95-'96. With my current cab, I traded a Victory 4x12 Cab with celestion vintage 30's. The guy I bought it from on here, wanted to get the cab back, as he had just gotten himself another Victory Silverback and I wanted to get a matching cab, just become it looks better all in the same colour.

What I love about my Jubilee is I have a bass, mid and treble that is shared between the clean channel and the overdrive/distortion. Bar the presence and gain levels, I don't worry about fine tuning the EQ's or doing a multi channel ( 3 or more) settings, like the JVM gives. The only going for Boss FX pedals, was just purely an aesthetic thing, but also bits of guitar equipment I always wanted when I was in my teens, but too broke to buy them. I only ever use my TU-3 tuner, my DC-3 Chorus and a RV-5 reverb, as the Jubilee doesn't have one. Even my pedals are pretty basic with the different elements that are adjustable. I am the type of person who finds it overwhelming when there are tons of parameters that require fine tuning. Also, I loath having to bend forward in the slightest with my back problems, so fucking around with different knobs for 15-20 mins, it not something I could ever get away with. (this is with me on my chair right next to the head and cab)

With the sort of stuff I play on my guitar, I've never had to use my pedals that much. Grunge or I should say Nirvana if I'm being honest, only needs a bridge pickup and distortion, to sound close enough to the CD.

Because I had basically had the same guitar from 1996 through to 2014, I wanted to try owning several different brands and models. I had totally forgotten that a Fender Jag-Stang, Mustang and Jaguar are all short scale necks, so when I got my first Gibson Flying V, I was in total panic mode. Because of the satin cherry finish on the V, I decided to get an LPJ Les Paul in worn cherry, as I thought they would match (they didn't). Since going over to Gibson, I have always made sure I have at least one quality guitar and rotated/traded/sold my "back up" guitar over and over again. I don't think using your main guitar in trades is every a good way to go about things. The amount of money people can lose via buying and selling in a short period and needing a quick sale on the main guitar to raise funds for the next one. I have let some really rare/special Fender Strat's go over the years and I really regret letting my Plus-Deluxe and American Standard Colour edition go. I had gotten myself a brand new Fender Strat Professional in a blue mist burst pain scheme. I got it because of how amazing it looked, but because it had the new Fender switching system (the top of one of the tone knobs) which just gave me too many damn choices that I spent more time trying to get it in the best pickup condition, than I did playing the thing.
 

Felix

Addicted to Grunge
I am very glad to say that I've been satisfied on the Amp and Pedal side for a while now and I don't plan to change that. The only reason I would have to change it is my band would blow up and I would go for a Head and Cab setup again, but that's a dream in a distant future.

I also want to point out that for noodling at home, I have both modern and vintage options. It's mainly what I use in the band that gets to me. I can't settle on one type of guitar to keep everything consistent. I have looked into the Ibanez AZ series for their versatility and sort of vintage looks, but modern features. It seems like a great option, but I don't feel like spending €2000 on a MIJ one, and I'm not that fond of the Indonesian ones for €1200 either.

Some years ago, I was in the ownership of an Ibanez RG350 made in Indonesia and a '93 RG550 MIJ (I think it was a Fuji-gen built guitar) , I was amazed at how similar they were to each other. Ibanez is one of those brands I would struggle to spend mega bucks on. The RG25XX is possibly the only one I would spend a larger amount of money for. But it's more to do with my weakness for bright yellow Strat/Super-Strat guitars.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
Some years ago, I was in the ownership of an Ibanez RG350 made in Indonesia and a '93 RG550 MIJ (I think it was a Fuji-gen built guitar) , I was amazed at how similar they were to each other. Ibanez is one of those brands I would struggle to spend mega bucks on. The RG25XX is possibly the only one I would spend a larger amount of money for. But it's more to do with my weakness for bright yellow Strat/Super-Strat guitars.
I used to own an RG350 as well and was surprised at the quality. It was upgraded with Dimarzio Evolutions I think. I ended up trading it for a stack of pedals because double locking/floating/floyd rose type trems and I don't go together very well. I like them. I like to play them. I hate to set them up. I can do it relatively quickly, but I just hate it. That, And i switch between Drop D and Standard tunings a lot. I have looked into hardtail Ibanez Guitars as well, but most of those are too metal for my liking. The AZ fits the bill. I spent an entire band practice on a borrowed one once and loved it. I would need to block off the trem, though. And I would also need to look at the switching. The mini switch is kind of in an inconvenient position between te speed knobs. I kept turning off volume and/or tone every time I hit it.
 

Felix

Addicted to Grunge
I used to own an RG350 as well and was surprised at the quality. It was upgraded with Dimarzio Evolutions I think. I ended up trading it for a stack of pedals because double locking/floating/floyd rose type trems and I don't go together very well. I like them. I like to play them. I hate to set them up. I can do it relatively quickly, but I just hate it. That, And i switch between Drop D and Standard tunings a lot. I have looked into hardtail Ibanez Guitars as well, but most of those are too metal for my liking. The AZ fits the bill. I spent an entire band practice on a borrowed one once and loved it. I would need to block off the trem, though. And I would also need to look at the switching. The mini switch is kind of in an inconvenient position between the speed knobs. I kept turning off volume and/or tone every time I hit it.
I'm with you on the Floyd-Rose thing. The larger hardware on the bridge, seems to always be in the way of my hand and makes palm muting tricky. The Floyd equipped guitars I have had in, all were sold on in a few weeks. Also restringing an RG with that type of trem system, was something I did not want to tackle on my own, regardless of how "easy" others claim it to be.

There are some really great quality guitars that are made in places like Indonesia and S.Korea, at super low prices. My first guitar was £100 and a pile of crap Strat copy, now . for around the same amount of money, I could get a really good quality Squire or even a Yamaha Pacifica.
 

Chu

Well-Known Member
It's very unlikely I will ever manage to start a band up and gig, so in many ways it's always going to be more straightforward for me. Now my Silver Jubilee is working properly (seems I had a bad valve from new) , I am learning that a 50w Marshall running through a 2x12 , is a tad extreme for a bedroom setting. I am using much fewer pedals these days, as I just didn't use them very much. As you know, I only get Boss pedals, because I love the way they look and are built, rather than any unique tone they give over another brands pedal.


While your rig is very much built for a purpose, it's still rather fucking impressive from my point of view. I often wonder if it's because Grunge was what got me into not just music, but playing guitar, that I favorite such basic adjustment options with my gear? If I had been inspired to start playing from listening to Pink Floyd, would I still have the same simple taste, or would I have built a rig similar to yours, just to match Gilmours sound from "Dark Side of The Moon" and "Wish You Were Here".
Thank you mate. I completely get where you're coming from and understand why it isn't easy to see but my rig is very simple to use. Ok, the addition of the digital mixer and the midi foot controller takes it into the realms of silliness but the hard bit is coming up with ways in which to use it all to do creative, interesting things. I've even got a page on the foot controller that allows anyone to use it at a gig with simple clean, crunch and lead with switchable delay and reverb.

It's only in the current format of my band that it really is worth it, if we had a second guitarist there wouldn't be much point. I'm totally a youth of the grunge era, it had a massive impact on me which I totally see in my playing style. 90% of the time I am just hitting big, dirty power chords through a dirty tone with a hint of delay. But that 20 second bit in every other song that sounds great when you write it, record it with overdubs but which sounds shit with a three piece band? That's when the gear steps in. I love punk and grunge and all that kind of raw, noisy music but I just always hated seeing a band live and realising how they fail to recreate their studio performances.

But also, my rig isn't really just a guitar rig. It's my in ear monitor rig for gigging. Yeah, that's overkill right now and was much more important when I was playing with other guitarists and was struggling to hear myself. There's an old saying that if it sounds great on stage, it usually sounds terrible to the audience and vice versa. I remember getting into an argument with someone here regarding on stage monitoring and some of the tricks I have picked up over the years to help when playing with others. So many of the skills you learn at home are counter productive on stage and there is nothing like thinking you sound like the absolute tits only to listen to everyone tell you how awful it sounded in the audience. So my rig goes a big way to consistently reduce those issues and it's also the whole band's front of house PA and monitor rig too.

So in summary, yes it's flash and complex. But it's doing the role of a much bigger setup in a much simpler way. Win, win.

I'm one of those people who doesn't know what he wants so I tend to go for quite all-round rigs. Or rather, there's a lot of music I like in different genres so I like to have some reach tonewise.

About that complexity.. There's a factor we're leaving out. Gear is only complex if it doesn't easily do what you expect from it. You could have 15 pedals on your board and know with utter confidence what will change in your sound when you press one. Is that complex?
On the other hand, a pod500 is a BEAST to learn because it requires so much tweaking to sound good. A kemper doesn't have less settings but to me is a lot less complex because it fits my sensibilities and is easy to dial in. The HX effects is the same, a couple of twists and I've got a great sound. So for me they're not complex regardless of the amount of buttons.
People flipping gear is partially caused by this. If your budget means you have to make consession and it turns out it doesn't really do what you want, you'll have to flip it. That also leads into the grass is greener. "that other XXX will do what I want" Yeah maybe.. Or accept what you have and enjoy it.
Acceptance of tone is another thing. After years and years of playing I've been able to let go of exactly wanting to replicate tone X. I just want a tone that works for me in the context of a song. I don't mind if it isn't exactly Gilmour.
Learning curve is another one. If I'd known what I know now. I might never have sold my blackstar ht5. I know a lot better how to get different sounds from my guitars and how to leverage pedals to change my sound and help an amp get into a certain space. On the other hand I needed that journey to gain that knowledge and get where I am.


As for the time spend on hunting gear.. For me the rig is part of the hobby. Playing guitar for me is where tech meets creativity. Twist knobs, change settings, poke around and see what happens. I've said in the past I loved the episode of that pedalshow where Ed O'brien was. That really inspired me to map wierd settings to my expression pedal and go for it.
I too love playing with my rig (oo-er!) Coming up with flash ideas for little bits in my band is really self gratifying. And you're spot on about the complexity of gear; I had a HD500 and spent forever delving deeply, using parallel paths and weird switching ideas to make it do certain things which I mistakenly assumed it would do. I never found the Kemper so problematic. It just does what I expect.

Once I was settled with it, I quickly grew frustrated with my foot controller though (the same HD500) as I could see potential in the Kemper that I couldn't make use of. I ended up with a FAMC Liquid Foot as I really liked the scribble strips on the Helix and could only find it on a couple of devices and lurked around until I could pick one up second hand. Due to the vast flexibility, it does get a bit overwhelming as it really is designed to do so much more than be a guitar rig board. I can see that it was designed for theatre, lighting, orchestral and other stage performance as much as to control guitar amps.
 

ed lespaul

Well-Known Member
Over the years, there have been many times that I resisted the impulse buy to satisfy my GAS. The latest was ordering a Kramer NightSwan reissue. I even got my wife's blessing to order it. I had it in the cart, but held off on pressing the buy button. I am thankful that I did. Since they are special order items, you can't return them to the seller. Nobody has them in stock.

There are a ton of reports where the people who preordered the NightSwan stated that the finish is really lacking. The masking was horrible during the painting process, and the lines are not sharp. The only thing you can do is call Gibson customer service. I dealt with them in the past regarding a problem with my Beretta neck, and they did a fantastic job on it. But this is paint. If it's wrong, are they going to re-paint it, or give you a new body?

Just glad that I don't have to go through that, because I'd be on the phone with customer service immediately, and screaming that their quality control should be WAY more diligent in their checking for imperfections.....especially on special order items.

 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
OK, I'm making progress. To quote myself from another thread:

I had what I thought was my dream guitar on backorder. My gut said to cancel it. So after thinking hard about it, I did. Marie Kondo explains this as the spark of joy. If you don't feel that spark of joy with an item, it is time to say goodbye. So i grabbed each guitar I own one by one to see if I have the spark of joy. Three electrics were left. My PRS, My custom Tele and my Ibanez K7. Those are staying. Out of those three, I the biggest spark of joy came from the Tele. That will be my main guitar in my band for the foreseeable future. My purple strat is for sale. My other strat is not giving the spark of joy I hoped for, but it was a gift, so it's staying for now. So I took a decluttering method to make decisions guitar-wise.

I've been wathing a lot of Incubus footage over the weeked and I noticed Mike Einziger probably uses the same approach to gear. He plays what makes him happy. In the end, this means he played a Hollowbody PRS, A Jazzmaster, Gibson SG, Music Man and even a Squier Thinline Tele. What amazed me most is that he actually wrote, recorded and toured the Tele. He did change out the neck for a Fender Roadworn neck, but the body and electronics are still Squier. What also amazed me is that he plays all the material he wrote on humbuckers, single coils, Jazzmaster pickups, P90's. It doesn't matter. It all sounds great. Of course, if you listen closely, you hear the difference, but it all works just fine.

I think I will stop looking for something else and use what I have. That tele I own is what I wrote most of our material with before I decided to try more modern guitars like my Purple Strat and the PRS with EMG's. I don't even remember why I thought that was a good idea.
 
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