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> To Gear Or Not To Gear ?, What Role Does it Play ?
Ben Higgins
post Oct 14 2014, 07:05 PM
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What role does gear play in your guitar life ?

We all need a certain amount of gear to provide our sound. We start off with whatever equipment we can acquire when we first start learning the instrument. For most of us, it was probably a small practise amp. Pedals if you were lucky ! For many years, I relied on a tiny practise amp and a fuzzy distortion pedal that would probably make my ears bleed if I heard it now ! At that time in my life, gear just provided the ability to be able to get closer to replicating the distorted sounds that I was hearing from my favourite metal bands.

Distortion was quite intoxicating to a youngster... it would be interesting to hear if it was the same with you guys ? The only gear quest that I was on in those days was something that provided even more distortion. I used to look at the adverts in guitar magazines and drool over the stomp boxes on the pages, imagining what levels of sonic brutality I could achieve with them. To me, the level of sheer saturation was an indicator of heaviness. But it's understandable... when we're younger and naive we latch on to the things which are most tangible to us.. and the ferocity of the guitar sound was equatable to a badge of honour.. the more distorted the better I thought ! How times change rolleyes.gif

As I got older and progressed into playing in bands, I began to feel more dissatisfied with my tone. All the following years involved the quest to find the tone I wanted. A story which is probably familiar to us all. I'm sure you've all treaded that path or are doing so.

So... 2 roles that gear has played so far are:

Necessity in learning / playing

Providing our ideal tone.


So let's assume that we've found our ideal tone. What further possible benefits could we get from gear ?

Well, how about inspiration ? A new instrument or piece of gear can bring out something entirely new and different to anything we'd done before. A different piece of gear can have us thinking in entirely different ways.

Is this the case with you ? Are you quite happy with gear providing your tone and no more or do you like to hunt for new toys and get excited by new possibilities ? What roles do gear play in your guitar life and have I missed any ?


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 15 2014, 07:56 AM
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Heh! Great points here smile.gif

Ben, I for one have no need of I don't know what nifty gadgets at THIS point as my stage duties are fairly rhythmic - overdrive riffing, clean chords with some reverb and delay based themes or overdriven ones. After seeing some of my favorite bands live this year - Karnivool, Tesseract and Animals as Leaders, we started thinking that we need to get some Axe FX/ Kemper units in order to achieve that particular sound with less ruckus onstage and from the logistic perspective.

Imagine that in our situation, there are three heads, cables, three cabs and three pedalboards - we have two techs and ourselves, but still, moving from one place to another is pretty costly and complicated due to all the backline we have to carry around. So we thought that maybe if we'll use these units, we'll cut out a lot of effort in carrying stuff around and maybe cut costs with only one tech instead of two.. See, for us it's a problem that relates not only to sounding amazing but it also relates to the logistics and costs. I think that's a very important perspective, once you are a part of a band that gigs often and is also tone conscious.


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Ben Higgins
post Oct 15 2014, 08:47 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 15 2014, 07:56 AM) *
Heh! Great points here smile.gif

Ben, I for one have no need of I don't know what nifty gadgets at THIS point as my stage duties are fairly rhythmic - overdrive riffing, clean chords with some reverb and delay based themes or overdriven ones. After seeing some of my favorite bands live this year - Karnivool, Tesseract and Animals as Leaders, we started thinking that we need to get some Axe FX/ Kemper units in order to achieve that particular sound with less ruckus onstage and from the logistic perspective.

Imagine that in our situation, there are three heads, cables, three cabs and three pedalboards - we have two techs and ourselves, but still, moving from one place to another is pretty costly and complicated due to all the backline we have to carry around. So we thought that maybe if we'll use these units, we'll cut out a lot of effort in carrying stuff around and maybe cut costs with only one tech instead of two.. See, for us it's a problem that relates not only to sounding amazing but it also relates to the logistics and costs. I think that's a very important perspective, once you are a part of a band that gigs often and is also tone conscious.


Very good points here, man... this is a great example of how the gear you use can literally make your life easier and cut the workload down and reduce physical space taken up.

If I had the means I would definitely be tempted with an Axe FX !


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Mith
post Oct 15 2014, 09:41 AM
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The Logistics side of using something like the AxeFX is a big thing for gigging and touring bands.


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PosterBoy
post Oct 15 2014, 10:13 AM
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I have some very good guitars that help lessen my want for more (though that desire still exists, it's down to pure lust rather than anything resembling a need) and the Axe Fx Ultra which has so much potential for different tones.

I haven't done any experimenting with the Axe Fx for a long time now, I have my set go to patches that I'm happy with for clean, crunch, high gain and solo, and some ambient ones. Maybe 10 patches all together, they also have the same set up of effects that I use, Chorus/Phaser, Flanger, Tremolo, Rotary, delay and overdrive.

I think it's now down to me to sound better not the gear.


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klasaine
post Oct 15 2014, 04:47 PM
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My gear 'needs these days are similar to Cosmin's in that they are more logistical.
Cases, direct boxes, cables and gig bags are generally what I look for.

*I will purchase a guitar, amp, cab or pedal if it's something I've wanted that comes up at a great price.


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Ben Higgins
post Oct 15 2014, 06:35 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Oct 15 2014, 10:13 AM) *
I think it's now down to me to sound better not the gear.


Yeah there's always that point where we've got to knuckle down and start putting more into our end of the deal. I think a lot of people never reach that point, or I should say they refuse to see it.. and spend their time constantly on gear acquisition.

QUOTE (klasaine @ Oct 15 2014, 04:47 PM) *
My gear 'needs these days are similar to Cosmin's in that they are more logistical.
Cases, direct boxes, cables and gig bags are generally what I look for.


Yep. If something does a job and it it's smaller, easier to use and makes one's life easier then I'm on the side of convenience rather than elitism.. it just makes sense.


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 16 2014, 05:51 AM
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I LOVE GEAR!! smile.gif I love trying out new gear, testing new year, tweaking new gear, I"m a gear nut.

My "personal" gear is very simple.

1.)Ibanez Guitar
2.)Eleven Rack (with foot control)
3.)Velocity 300 power amp
4.)Genz Benz George Lynch Edition 2x12.


Thats it. I can get pretty much any tone under heaven from that simple rig so I don't "need" anything more at all. Better yet, anyone can buy that rig for UNDER $1,000 U.S. (buying used like I do) and be ready to Gig, Record, Etc. with Pro Quality Tone on ANY genre under the sun from Jazz to Grindcore.


Having said that, I recently bought and sold no less than 4 separate Digitech processors stretching over 20 years of production. From the Genesis/2112/GSP2101/GNX300/GNX1, etc.in addition to a POD XT and Rocktron Chameleon and others. All of which confirmed my view that the GNX3 is the best cheap modeling processor EVER BUILT and remains unbeatable for the price despite being more than 10 years old.

What I really like now is trying out guitar sims/plugins in software. The ability of software these days is amazing and recently I've been on the BETA TEST team for the DESKTOP version of BIAS and WOW. Game Changer. So much flexibility. Like SGEAR but with more headroom and gain potential.

So in short, the question continues!


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 16 2014, 08:09 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Oct 15 2014, 07:47 AM) *
Very good points here, man... this is a great example of how the gear you use can literally make your life easier and cut the workload down and reduce physical space taken up.

If I had the means I would definitely be tempted with an Axe FX !


Those are cheaper on eBay nowadays and you only have one foot controller that takes up little space onstage plus just one cable. Now that I am using a wireless unit, I have no need to worry about cables either smile.gif The only thing which I need to take care of, is get a high quality guitar cable for my wireless unit (the one going out of the guitar and into the receiver, as I've had a lot of trouble with the cable that came with the unit - very bad quality indeed..). It's weird because I'm starting to change my mind about these units - remember, I'm a tube guy smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 22 2014, 04:15 AM
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Have you ever tried HESU cables? They are higher end cables than my usual SPECTRAFLEX choice and very sturdy. I've ordered a couple of patch cables that are on the way. I've had patch cables give me problems in the past as well. More so than regular length guitar cables. After researching it at length, it seems the overall view is that these HESU cables are built to withstand a Nuclear Bomb.

THese are the ones I got. They come in 90 degree angled plugs on both ends which is what I wanted.

http://hesu-amps.com/products/instrument-c...s/black-series/
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 16 2014, 03:09 AM) *
Those are cheaper on eBay nowadays and you only have one foot controller that takes up little space onstage plus just one cable. Now that I am using a wireless unit, I have no need to worry about cables either smile.gif The only thing which I need to take care of, is get a high quality guitar cable for my wireless unit (the one going out of the guitar and into the receiver, as I've had a lot of trouble with the cable that came with the unit - very bad quality indeed..). It's weird because I'm starting to change my mind about these units - remember, I'm a tube guy smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 22 2014, 08:05 AM
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Hey Todd! Thank you very much for the suggestion, man!

I was thinking about ordering some cables from Spectraflex soon and I think that since they offered me the endorsement deal, I will take the opportunity and try some of their cables for my wireless. I'll let you know how it goes smile.gif


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Yash
post Oct 22 2014, 02:46 PM
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Well, I am a pretty young guitarist smile.gif Been playing for around practically 2 years now, but, through the times and situations that forced me into positions in which I could not play my instrument, it pushed me into gear, because, I guess I want to be involved with it all the time. Since I can't play a guitar, I got into gear, became a gear nut kinda guy smile.gif Even though I own just one low quality cheapest one available on the market Indian guitar, and right now, no amps, because they are too loud for the hostel. Even a 10 watt one. tongue.gif So, my gear is basically just for practicing and getting my skills up a big notch for the moment. I play my guitar through my laptop with a Behringer UCA interface unit smile.gif And I get all my tones from a TH2 smile.gif

Now, I recently ordered a Jackson King V guitar biggrin.gif So, that's gonna take my playing a lot better smile.gif And I hope to spend a lot of time with it, no matter what others say tongue.gif So, the role gear has fulfilled in my life yet is - making me play, and get me into music, which didn't exist for me, literally till I was 13. I kinda despised music before that for reasons I don't remember. Because I thought it was a showoff probably laugh.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 23 2014, 10:11 AM
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QUOTE (Yash @ Oct 22 2014, 01:46 PM) *
Now, I recently ordered a Jackson King V guitar biggrin.gif So, that's gonna take my playing a lot better smile.gif And I hope to spend a lot of time with it, no matter what others say tongue.gif So, the role gear has fulfilled in my life yet is - making me play, and get me into music, which didn't exist for me, literally till I was 13. I kinda despised music before that for reasons I don't remember. Because I thought it was a showoff probably laugh.gif


I know how much you have waited for that guitar and I really hope it will be what you wish for smile.gif On the funny side of things, when I was in the 5th grade, I was in the music class (I had no idea about what would happen in the future, mind you laugh.gif ) and I started drawing a big moustache on Beethoven's and Mozart's pictures in the music manual. The teacher caught me and she was angry with me, asking me how dare I do such a foul act... I answered: I don't like music smile.gif laugh.gif

She lives close to my house and over the years, she has seen my evolution and when we met last year at the 1o year anniversary of the highschool graduation (she taught music in my highschool too - what a coincidence, right?) she burst into tears, because we both remembered that silly happening, back in '95 laugh.gif Incredible, right?


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Yash
post Oct 23 2014, 12:46 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 23 2014, 01:11 PM) *
I know how much you have waited for that guitar and I really hope it will be what you wish for smile.gif On the funny side of things, when I was in the 5th grade, I was in the music class (I had no idea about what would happen in the future, mind you laugh.gif ) and I started drawing a big moustache on Beethoven's and Mozart's pictures in the music manual. The teacher caught me and she was angry with me, asking me how dare I do such a foul act... I answered: I don't like music smile.gif laugh.gif

She lives close to my house and over the years, she has seen my evolution and when we met last year at the 1o year anniversary of the highschool graduation (she taught music in my highschool too - what a coincidence, right?) she burst into tears, because we both remembered that silly happening, back in '95 laugh.gif Incredible, right?


laugh.gif The things we think when we are little. We didn't like music !! laugh.gif Icredible incident Cosmin. And, were they tears of joy. I for one have never had music teachers, except you, Gab, Alex, Todd, Ben, and everyone else at GMC smile.gif For us music class was a way to just roam around in school laugh.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 24 2014, 09:25 AM
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Glad to hear we can make a change for you, mate smile.gif Just keep it up, remember to always be patient and never stop, even if life throws some challenges along the way.

Gear is important, but it shouldn't become the most important aspect - imagine that artists such as Al Di Meola are expressing themselves fully with only an acoustic guitar sometimes. Keep this in mind as well smile.gif Of course, it's a very nice acoustic, but it's just a guitar - he doesn't use a huge rack and tons of effects or pedals and all that.


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Zynicon
post Nov 4 2014, 02:27 PM
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oh, i love my gear and i love checking out new guitars, amps and pedals.

New gear gives me new motivation and sometimes new possibilities but that doesn't mean that i have to buy new gear every year. biggrin.gif

i started with a cheap ebay marathon strat. That guitar was horrible when i think about it nowadays.
The first amp i had was a Peavey Bandit 112. It was a nice practice amp and i started my first band with it.
Over the years i had a lot of amps: Engl Fireball, Marshall JCM800, Marshall JCM2000 DSL, Peavey 5150, Mesa Single Rectifier.
I had some Ibanez, LTD, Epiphone, BC Rich guitars.

My main amp at the moment (since 2010 and i hope for a very long time in the future) is a Diezel Einstein with a Mesa Rectifier 2x12 vertical.
My main guitars for the band are a Ibanez RGT42FMDR and a Ibanez RG7620, tuned to drop A.
I have also a Maxon OD808, Line6 Relay G30, ISP Decimator G String and a Korg Pitchblack Tuner.

My main guitar at home is a Ibanez RGR465m. I was out to buy a high end guitar (ESP, Ibanez Prestige, PRS etc) but went with the rgr, since it felt better in my hand than the other axes and responded very well. I modified it with an inlay sticker (tree of life), a seymour duncan distortion and an original floyd rose. Now its my favorite axe of all my guitars (3 Ibanez, 2 Bc Rich Jrv) and perfectly set up for standard tuning with 009-046 strings.

My practise Amp at home is a Line6 Toneport.

I always check out new gear, when i have the opportunity and i doesn't matter if it cost 500€ or 3000€.

cheers
Nico


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Cosmin Lupu
post Nov 4 2014, 06:35 PM
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Howdy Nico smile.gif it seems like we share some gear:

The ISP, the Relay G30 and the pitchblack - tell us mate, what did you feel about each head that you owned, on a scale from one to 10 which would've been the most player friendly and why? smile.gif

I know Mesa is not that player friendly and you need a lot of work to get used to it - how about the Diezel? I never had the opportunity to lay my hands on one..


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SpaseMoonkey
post Nov 4 2014, 08:09 PM
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The role of gear in my life.. Hmm To go broke? laugh.gif

I'm like Todd, I loved buying stuff just to try it. I have owned 2 Line 6 pods, 1 Boss GT-10, some old DOD rack gear. I've owned a few different amps. Ranging from solid state to a staple tube amp. All the choices because I wanted to sound like guitarists that I looked up to. I never really did the stomp boxes, because of the multi-effects. Anymore I would like to say I've had my Kemper over a year now and I haven't bought a single piece of equipment since.

I was the same with guitars. I've gone from mid range to high end. Now I will say that I'm a hunter for the Ibanez Grail Guitars. They are cheap due to age, but are the best feeling guitars to my hands. Now I'm just into getting pickups to give each guitar a unique tone. But I am quite happy with the guitars I currently own.


Mesa, you just need to get a nice boost up front to tighten them up and they sound amazing.

Diezel, wow! If you want hi-gain, that is truly an amp that will get you there. I played on a VH4 once, it got loud fast and there was an over abundance of gain on tap at all times. Sounded amazing tho.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Nov 5 2014, 08:52 AM
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Hey Travis smile.gif

I agree with you in respect to the Mesa Boogie amps - my band mates own a Road King and a Roadster so I had plenty of time to try them both onstage and in the studio and that's the conclusion we all went for - they need the boost biggrin.gif

Diezel, hmmm, haven't tried those .. yet, but I heard only great things about them, that's for certain. Now to be frank, we are seriously thinking about getting Kempers, but it's a longshot as they are pretty expenisve. We'll live and see what happens smile.gif Does yours feel natural? I mean does it really feel like playing a tube amp in respect to the dynamics and response you get when playing? What is it that you DON'T like about it? smile.gif I am curious to find out more smile.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Nov 5 2014, 10:03 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Nov 5 2014, 08:52 AM) *
Now to be frank, we are seriously thinking about getting Kempers, but it's a longshot as they are pretty expenisve. We'll live and see what happens smile.gif Does yours feel natural? I mean does it really feel like playing a tube amp in respect to the dynamics and response you get when playing? What is it that you DON'T like about it? smile.gif I am curious to find out more smile.gif


Do you have the opportunity to try them out anywhere ?

What about Axe FX ?


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