A good point, well made

For all things relating to guitars, basses, amps, pedals & accessories.

Moderator: Moderators

A good point, well made

Post by SecretSam »

From a session guitarist writing a column called 'Lean & Mean' in a well-known guitar mag:

"I think there’s satisfaction in looking down and seeing a bunch of expensive pedals through a true bypass looper, but in reality there’s no way your audience will hear any difference during a live gig, and your money is probably better spent on guitar lessons if your aim is to ultimately make better music."

Shame about the split infinitive, but you can't have everything.
SecretSam
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2730 Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 12:00 am Location: Officially, I do not exist.
Instant gratification is actually pretty good. It's fast as well.

Re: A good point, well made

Post by awjoe »

I came to the same conclusion a few years ago via plugins rather than guitar pedals. Shifted the emphasis almost completely to writing and performing to see if it would get better. It has done, slowly. Well worth the effort.

The heart of the craft is musical skill, whatever form that takes.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4624 Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:00 am
I long for the days when I knew what nostalgia was.

Re: A good point, well made

Post by SecretSam »

Agreed. There is a local busker who sings a groovy Cape Carnival-style 'My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,' using a plastic bottle containing fine gravel as percussion. It's quite convincing. Annoying if you have heard it every few weeks for twenty years, but the tourists seem to keep paying him.

In many respects, lots of gear is actually a hindrance. Your head is in analysis mode while you think about how it works and what to tweak, instead of using it instinctively like, well, a musical instrument.
SecretSam
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2730 Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 12:00 am Location: Officially, I do not exist.
Instant gratification is actually pretty good. It's fast as well.

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Drew Stephenson »

If guitarists* spent as much time practising as they did worrying/talking/tweaking about their tone... no-one would be worrying about their tone. ;)

* Also applies to some other instruments, but guitarists are the worst. ;)
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 24591 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I still have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: A good point, well made

Post by ManFromGlass »

But then how good would their tone be? Hmm? :tongue:
And some of us aren’t meant to be good guitarists, we’re meant for listeners to say - Lousy player but really cool sound!
On a serious note - The few times I drive now I listen to jazz again. There is a fantastic station near me. Sometimes the DJ focuses on guitar players. Some brilliant players but the tone of the players is mostly the same. It get’s boring really quickly to my ear no matter how fantastic the player. Then some cat will solo with FX and that brings the magic!
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Longtime Poster
Posts: 6672 Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am Location: O Canada

Re: A good point, well made

Post by adrian_k »

Hmm…. I’m actually a bit intentionally awkward about this and have taken pleasure in gigging with the cheapest kit I can lay my hands on. It just needs to be good enough, and you have to play to its strengths. Sometimes it hasn’t worked out but years ago I was gigging with a £50 Chinese Strat copy and an old solid state Fender amp I was given for free and regularly had other guitarists asking about the gear and how I got that ‘tone’.
adrian_k
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2653 Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 12:00 am Location: Gloucestershire
Above all, be kind.

Re: A good point, well made

Post by The Elf »

The best guitar tone I ever heard in a soundcheck was a Line 6 Helix straight into the PA. I can still see the looks of amazement on the faces of the other guitarists in that hall! :lol:
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20032 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: A good point, well made

Post by SecretSam »

blinddrew wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:31 pm If guitarists* spent as much time practising as they did worrying/talking/tweaking about their tone... no-one would be worrying about their tone. ;)

Nice one. I shall use that at the first opportunity.
SecretSam
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2730 Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 12:00 am Location: Officially, I do not exist.
Instant gratification is actually pretty good. It's fast as well.

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Music Wolf »

The Elf wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:48 pm The best guitar tone I ever heard in a soundcheck was a Line 6 Helix straight into the PA. I can still see the looks of amazement on the faces of the other guitarists in that hall! :lol:

Very much my approach. A Helix (or Kemper etc) isn’t quite the same as having a ‘real’ amp a few feet away from you but, out front (where it matters), they certainly do the business.
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2755 Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:00 am Location: Exiled to St Helens

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Dave.P »

There are plenty of stories of big name players with signature sounds swapping kit and still sounding like themselves.
Does not stop people - including myself trying out everything they can.
I suspect the truth is you just need to feel comfortable with what you have to sound good and accept that practice is the real magic ingredient....
User avatar
Dave.P
Regular
Posts: 316 Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:53 pm Location: Scotland

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Music Wolf »

A guitarist's 'sound' is made up of their technique / style and their tone which comes from the gear they use and how they use it.

It's like me signing my name. The tone is the type of pen. I can use a fountain pen, a ballpoint or a pencil but it will always be recognisable as my signature.
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2755 Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:00 am Location: Exiled to St Helens

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Arpangel »

blinddrew wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:31 pm * Also applies to some other instruments, but guitarists are the worst. ;)

OMG, keyboard players make guitarists look positively monogamous when it comes to gear.
I know a couple of guitarists, and they haven’t bought anything new for years, one still has the same guitar he was using in the early 80’s, the other only got a new guitar recently because his wife bought it for him as a birthday present, unbeknown to him.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16549 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Random Guitarist »

Music Wolf wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:56 pm A Helix (or Kemper etc) isn’t quite the same as having a ‘real’ amp a few feet away from you but, out front (where it matters), they certainly do the business.

Amen to this. I recently started doing a new covers band thing, the first time using a Helix. It sounds very good, and it frees up my focus for playing. With the snapshots feature I just need to select the right patch, tap the tempo on the count in if needed, and play. As sounds change through the song I have a single press to move snapshots. I can focus on what I'm playing what others are playing. Even if the tone wasn't stellar it would still be the thing to use because it frees me up to be a better player.
Random Guitarist
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1028 Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:00 am Location: West Sussex UK
I've never liked a solo violin, you need at least five for a proper fire.

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Music Wolf »

Random Guitarist wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:30 am
Music Wolf wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:56 pm A Helix (or Kemper etc) isn’t quite the same as having a ‘real’ amp a few feet away from you but, out front (where it matters), they certainly do the business.

Amen to this. I recently started doing a new covers band thing, the first time using a Helix. It sounds very good, and it frees up my focus for playing. With the snapshots feature I just need to select the right patch, tap the tempo on the count in if needed, and play. As sounds change through the song I have a single press to move snapshots. I can focus on what I'm playing what others are playing. Even if the tone wasn't stellar it would still be the thing to use because it frees me up to be a better player.

Something that I like to do with my Helix, and I used to empoly a similar technique when I gigged my Kemper, is to set up two paths and either switch between them or bring in the second path using the expresion pedal (with the Kemper I used the morph feature). Typically one path is rhythm and the other lead.

The idea is that the expression pedal is a much bigger target to aim for, as opposed to a footswitch, especially if you are covering any vocal duties.
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2755 Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:00 am Location: Exiled to St Helens

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I would love to get to this point, I'm practically tap-dancing through some songs and switching between vocal mics as well.
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 24591 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I still have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Music Wolf »

blinddrew wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 11:25 am I would love to get to this point, I'm practically tap-dancing through some songs and switching between vocal mics as well.

There are pros and cons.

When it's all set up and working the possibilities are endless. I use my Helix as a controller for two external MIDI effects, a digital mixer and record / playback from my laptop. I select a patch from the Helix (one patch per song, so my Helix is also my set list - no more bits of paper), this pulls up the corresponding song in Cantabile software on my laptop, it selects the scene on the mixer and calls up the correct patches on the SY-300 and VoiceLive VL-2. I have footswitches set up as 'play', 'stop' and 'mute'. 'Play' starts the 'song' running in Cantabile. A couple of songs have a pre-recorded intro / count-in which starts but I also have it set to begin a multi-track recording of everything running through the PA. 'Stop' ends the recoding and 'Mute' kills the PA in case of uncontrolled feedback or at the end of a set.

Next step - controling the lighting.

Cons - Learning curve, it takes a while to 'tune' things (an amp and a couple of pedals are so much easier, especially in the beginning) and more complexity increases the risk of something going wrong.
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2755 Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:00 am Location: Exiled to St Helens

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Drew Stephenson »

The other 'con' is the cost of the system in the first place. ;)
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 24591 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I still have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: A good point, well made

Post by BigRedX »

blinddrew wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 1:06 pm The other 'con' is the cost of the system in the first place. ;)

I spent less money on my latest bass rig - a Line6 Helix Floor and an RCF 745 powered cab (approximately £2k) than I had on the rig it replaced that was composed mainly of items bought second hand.

And when you consider the fact that I also use this rig for Bass VI and guitar, I actually came away with a profit after selling all the stuff it replaced.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2273 Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: A good point, well made

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I'm much more of a cheapskate so that equation really wouldn't work out for me! :D
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 24591 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I still have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: A good point, well made

Post by merlyn »

The good point in question was whether the £1000 is better spent on gear or guitar lessons.

Or you could save yourself some money and practice.

Taking time at £30 per hour £1000 is ~33hrs practice, or 3hrs a day for 11 days.

A year's practice at 3 hrs a day is then worth £32850. (OK, take Christmas Day off -- £32820)
merlyn
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1233 Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:15 am
It ain't what you don't know. It's what you know that ain't so.
Post Reply