AMPS & GEAR 1
Solid-state Gear Breakdowns
Speaking of the show, what was up with Ronnie's tone. I thought it was horrible. All midrange with those POD's. For some reason it seems he prefers that solid state gear.
Ronnie confessed to me that he just went through one of the worst tone performances ever. His rack-mounted Pods went crazy, or someone screwed up. He said his tone was like a wah-wah pedal stuck in the mid position for the whole set. He was totally upset about it, but didn't know how to fix it.
That's one reason why I won't use that stuff - it has a much higher potential to screw up at shows than a good old tube amp. I remember many shows that Stef's rig would mess up in the middle of a show & it was always related to rack-mounted solid state outboard gear. That stuff isn't made to take touring abuse & extreme temperatures. Just give me a good sounding amp & a few pedals for chorus & delay with batteries in them & that's all anyone needs. Besides, as good as the Line 6 stuff sounds, get the best tone you can get with one live, then plug into a Marshall or Rectifier at the same volumes & all of a sudden it sounds much more like a real guitar! The Line 6 is all good stuff, but as soon as I go back to my rig, I realize immediately that it is never going to have the same impact as a powerful tube amp with good preamp circuitry. I "do" use a pod for writing because it's easier than hooking up an amp, micing it, etc & it works great for me for that usage
- but live? I don't need it, I have a good sounding amp. Another thing that cracks me up is when these guys go out & find the most exotic custom made tube amps, all hand wired, costing multiple thousands of dollars, then they stick a rack of multi-effects, distortion boxes & amp modelers in front of them. They could have made that same sound happen with a cheap solid state Fender combo & could have saved the dough on the amp. Those super expensive hand-wired amps are supposed to be so cool because of the sound "they" have without anything else changing the tonality.
Hey - different strokes . . .
I'm sticking with my good old tube stuff. Besides, I like to "work" the guitar to get the tone. Gives you much more control over the expression of your sound & tonality to your playing.
I used to tell Neal (Schon) to cut out all the bs pedals he used because he played so brilliantly without them. I tried to convince him by telling him that no one could understand all the great notes he was playing live because all the pedal garbage was blending his tone together & masking his notes & some of his playing ability. He thought hard about that one & still went on with it. This was 20 years ago & I still hear the same stuff from guitar player friends that have seen him lately.
I don't mean to put anyone down for using lots of toys, it's just that the soul of the player needs to come through & sometimes all the effects tend to water that down, rather than enhance it. There are guys out there that get those Bradshaw racks filled with toys & know how to use them correctly to enhance, but it's far & few that do it right. Besides the fact that that shit is the stuff that always breaks down. But that's just my opinion.
Using the Pod
I've been using the Pod a lot for songwriting for this new CD. I keep it on one patch pretty much exclusively. Just so it's clean enough when I turn the guitar down & has enough balls when I turn the guitar up full. Nothing too special, because I hate tweeking with crap when I'm writing. Just get a decent tone & roll with it.
Here's what I have my Pod on right now:
(In case you can't make it out, it's on "Black Panel". This tone works great for my Clapton model strats, White Kramer Baretta & my Les Paul) ============================================
The Garage Sale Man:
I want a "cheap man's" Meniketti sound. if all you had was $2,500 and you needed a guitar, mic, & an amp, effects, and you had to get as close as you could get to your preferred sounds & record tunes on your multitrack program like cool edit on your computer, what would you buy & where would you go or look for what you need?
DAVE: I would say - try the POD to record direct into the computer. You can get good sound with just about any guitar that has good pickups & it's a cheap way to get decent tone with very little messing around. A lot of it's in the attack & how comfortable the neck feels to you, so with this setup, you don't have to spend $2500+ to get good sound & get tune ideas on the hard drive.
Now when you start tracking through an amp & speakers with a mic, through a preamp direct to computer - that's different. Then you need a good amp (ie: Fender, Mesa, Marshall, etc), a really good guitar helps here & a decent mic pre is pretty important (some tube mic pre's are great, but they can cost you all your dough just for the pre if you don't watch it). The mic is also important, but you can do great things with the industry standard mic for electric guitar - the Shure SM57! Just shove it up against the grill cloth, either pointing straight at the cone, or slightly off-center. Either way works well with a good cabinet with Celestion's (or whatever speaker you like). Everyone's touch is different, so it's not always true that you need a popular make guitar or amp to get a decent sound. I've gotten great tone out of a 15 watt 1x12 Fender Blues Jr & a $300 Mexican Strat, without pedals. A rig like that would set you back about $600. Add some pedals for more sustain & chorus, etc & you have a great setup for under a grand. You wouldn't play a colliseum with it, but it's great for the studio, small gigs & practicing. Step up to a Marshall, Mesa, Fender, Crate, or whatever, combo amp with 2x12's & you add about $200 to 800 more, but you can play anywhere. Add a 4x12 cab to any of those combo's and you can deafen your next door neighbor. OK - it doesn't look as cool as a stack, but who cares, as long as you're rocking out! There are so many ways to get good sound without having to go bankrupt. Used gear is always a good idea too.
I could go on forever about this stuff, because there are so many ways to go about this.
But I won't - so good luck.
Dave's 1st Amp
Hi Dave, I was wondering if you remembered your first amp? Where it all started Amps have come along ways in tone over the years I think the Mesa's are incredible sounding.
The first amp I ever owned was a Baldwin Exterminator! A really ugly behemoth looking thing with (I think) 2 12", 2 10", 2 8" speakers & some slider tone controls & reverb.
My dad wouldn't let me buy an amp for the first year I played, so I used to beg my dad to co-sign rentals (that I paid for) of small amps at a local music store. I would usually get like a Fender deluxe, or something small to rent for a weekend. This would happen about every other month. Finally a friend of my parents, who owned a Baldwin Organ store, took us out to dinner one night. The conversation came up (by me) that I wanted to buy a guitar amp. The friend told my dad that Baldwin had amps for organs that worked great as guitar amps & took me & my dad down to his San Francisco store after dinner & showed it to us. I was excited because it was a weird huge all-in-one thing, my dad agreed because it was a friend pushing it. Needless to say, I bought it with whatever savings I had accumulated & used that amp for the first couple of years.
When I met up with Leonard & we started Yesterday and Today a few years later, I purchased a Peavey standard amp with a large 4x12 Peavey cab (later I bought 2 4x12 Peavey cabs). I used that with an LPB-1 booster & a wah-wah pedal (and later added an EchoPlex & Maestro Phase Shifter) the first year that we played together.
After we were playing on a regular basis (cover tunes at that time) we all made enough money to buy other gear. I purchased a 100 watt HiWatt with 2 4x12 Ampeg cabs. At that time we had started to write originals & were playing even more. The HiWatt blew up & never was the same after I got it fixed. Around that time we got our first record deal & I bought my first Marshall - the one I still have today - 1974 MkII. I bought that one, a 50 watt MkII & Marshall cabs with the front money. I never bought another amp for 15 years until I gave my manager my 50 watt & found another 1974 MkII in a local used music shop in 1989. I still have those 2 100 watt amps & all my original Marshall cabs. I bought a Mesa Boogie tremoverb Rectifier in 1997 & another one a few months ago, along with a 4x12 Mesa cab & 2x12 cab. Although I tried a lot of other amps & speakers through the years, those are all the amps I ever purchased throughout my career. I would have to commend Marshall for having an extremely reliable product. Those MkII's have been around the world a ton of times & stood up through the years. -Dave
I usually play with my live rig when practicing. However, I have also used this amp called a "Little Lanilei". It's a 33watt tube amp the size of about a 10" square. It has incredible tone & volume, especially if you plug it into a Marshall cab, or extension speaker. It's built-in 6.5" speaker is good for general purposes. And it's LOUD for a little amp. The designer, Tris, is a great guy & knows how to voice these things to rock.
I have also played with a Fender Blues Junior lately when messing around or jamming with my wife's band. It gets a more organic tone with a good warm clean sound & can have fairly decent crunch & sustain without using a pedal.