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LSchefman
09-17-2012, 02:08 PM
We've all had 'em, things that really changed the guitar-playing experience for us. The idea here is to talk about true game-changers, gear that affected our playing to the point of changing our style or approach to musical self-expression. Here are mine:

1991 - PRS Custom. I'd been a Gibson SG Special player for 25 years by this time. Playing my first PRS was a complete game-changer. First guitar I ever had that could do pretty much anything. It played great, the humbuckers could be split for truly useful tones, and I rarely picked up the SG again.

1992 - Mesa Tremoverb. This amp was the main one in my work for 11 years, despite having several other amps in the studio at the time. No pedals, straight into the amp became my mantra. I've had amps that IMHO outdid it at its own game, such as the Two-Rock Onyx, but this one set a stylistic standard for me and changed my thinking in a way that was different from the way I used any previous amp.

2000 - PRS Singlecut. After finishing up a bunch of tracks for North American International Auto Show and nearly killing myself from lack of sleep in the process due to many last minute client picture changes, I treated myself to the SC as kind of a reward. For me, the guitar sounded even more vintage than the original McCarty, and I loved the pickups. This guitar taught me the glory of using a guitar's volume and tone controls, because it was so tremendously responsive. Because of it, my style changed some.

2002 - PRS McCarty Soapbar. I wasn't a fan of soapbar pickups even though they were what was in my old SG. This guitar changed my thinking, and for the next 6-7 years, I mostly recorded with PRS soapbars. And my playing changed to take advantage of the "hard edge" I got at the point of attack with the pickups. This forced me to start playing more precisely and to take advantage of this edge, begin using cleaner tones on the amps.

2012 - PRS HX/DA. I'd never been a Plexi or "M-style" player. Great amps, but not my cuppa meat, right? However, this amp has completely changed my approach, and is starting to turn the way I think about amplified guitar tones upside-down. It'll do everything I needed to do in the past, but it has a voice that really speaks to me in a different but very good way. I can see and hear my playing style move a little bit to take advantage of the amp's strengths.

As I said, this thread is about game-changing, getting you to do something different from what you're used to. I didn't mention my #1 PRS, which is my favorite PRS of all time, the Artist V; I didn't mention the Tonare Grand, which is absolutely the best acoustic I've ever played or owned. Or the CU22 SH Ltd that introduced me to the 57/08s. These things are great, interesting, and though I love them, they didn't change my approach to playing like the other things I mentioned did, they simply made what I was doing better (and that's a good thing, too!).

Dirty Bob
09-17-2012, 02:19 PM
New Strings!!! (folks remember to change them before you go to flip a guitar!):top:

I'll add my real ones later today when I get a minute!

Good idea for a post Les.

CoreyT
09-17-2012, 02:25 PM
Cables that disconnect input when pull them out of the jack.
I never knew they existed until I got one in my "Thank You" package from PRS.

solacematt
09-17-2012, 02:54 PM
2001 - When I got my first PRS at Sam Ash (back when they were a store worth going to). I bought a standard, which was a big change for me, not just in brand since I had only been a Gibson player up until this point, but in shape since my main guitar was a Hendrix edition Flying V. For whatever reason I could never play my favorite band (Smashing Pumpkins) songs and have them sound good at all, despite me playing them right on my V. Something about the PRS was completly different from my V...oh yeah, it wasn't so one-dimensional, and the guitar really did help bring out much more. It actually did inspire me with it's sound and opened my writing up :)

2004 - The band I was in was starting to get attention so my amp was upgraded to a Mesa Triple Rectifier. Even though the thing **** the bed three weeks into a 3 and a half month tour, it opened up more playing possibilities than my Marshall did.

2005 - Got a Big Muff pedal. I know a lot of people think they're crap, but for certain types of music, playing, it has it's own niche.

2009 - Inspired by playing a Custom 24 through a Mesa again. Switched back to playing a PRS through a Mesa :)

2010 - Absolutly fell in love with the sound of a hollowbody PRS. Who knew the hollowbody made downtuned music sound so much better :)

LSchefman
09-17-2012, 02:58 PM
Cables that disconnect input when pull them out of the jack.
I never knew they existed until I got one in my "Thank You" package from PRS.

Yeah...mmm...I dunno if this changes your playing style unless you suddenly started changing guitars in the middle of songs...so..does not really qualify.

Cool cables, though!

hippietim
09-17-2012, 03:04 PM
The biggest game changers in recent years for me have been PRS electronics and the Axe-FX.

The PRS Narrowfield and 408 pickups are the most innovative/interesting thing I've witnessed in guitar electronics in years. The 5708, 5909 and 5310 pickups are great additions as well.

The Axe-FX makes modeling a choice for me that does not involve a compromise in tone or feel - and it keeps getting better.

LSchefman
09-17-2012, 03:10 PM
2005 - Got a Big Muff pedal. I know a lot of people think they're crap, but for certain types of music, playing, it has it's own niche.

I truly get this!

People tend to be all about ODs these days, and fuzzes have become somewhat of an anachronism for many players, but a good fuzz does something that nothing else does, and that "special fuzz sauce" is why players like Hendrix used them, and EJ and Bonamassa still rely on them. I mean, a good amp can do lots of great OD tones, but only a fuzz can do what a fuzz does, namely, pure square waves. And even with the volume rolled off, it gives you something on nearly clean tones that most people never even try!

I tend toward classic Fuzz Face sounds, and as a result use a Fulltone '69 when I need fuzz tones, but the Muffs have always been a great flavor as well.

I probably should have mentioned discovering Fulltone pedals in the mid-00s in my own post, because for a long time, I couldn't *stand* 99% of the pedals on the market (except a couple of wahs); actually, there aren't many so-called vintage style pedals I like even now, including most of the highly-touted ones I read about on TGP.

I was used to the originals I had back in the late 60s-early 70s, and honestly, so much of what's out there doesn't come close to stacking up except that they now have "cool" names and more colorful packaging. Most of the digital pedals have been dreadful except Strymon (just my opinion), and I've been uniformly disappointed with the TGP-approved flavors of the week.

What I like about Fulltone pedals is that they're pretty close to the originals, and most importantly, they work in a musical context really well. That's a side note, but suffice it to say that I completely like your thinking!



The biggest game changers in recent years for me have been PRS electronics and the Axe-FX.

The PRS Narrowfield and 408 pickups are the most innovative/interesting thing I've witnessed in guitar electronics in years. The 5708, 5909 and 5310 pickups are great additions as well.

The Axe-FX makes modeling a choice for me that does not involve a compromise in tone or feel - and it keeps getting better.

I agree about the new PRS pickups being a really wonderful thing! And though I'm not an Axe-FX user (I guess I'm just that contrary guy), I know a lot of fine players who find it a truly useful tool. Players I hire for sessions use them on certain tracks very successfully. Oddly enough, I do occasionally use software modelers, go figure.

MOBirds
09-17-2012, 03:37 PM
1984 - Picked up a strange little thing called an AxStar AX-70 (Ibanez spinoff brand). It was basically a Steinberger bridge/headless system with a body shape like a - mini PRS actually. I pulled out the crap stock pickups and put in a pair of EMGs and had a guitar I just clicked with. I played it for nearly 20 years exclusively until it was stolen. Still miss this one, it was an interesting little monster that had tones of tone to it for how small it was. Convenient as #$!% too due to size. Solidified my core style while playing with several bands over about 16 years.

2002 - finally receive a custom Ric 370 after what felt like forever (technically only10 months) but well worth the wait. It was the insurance co.'s replacement for the stolen AxStar. I'd been a primarily rhythm player for - by then 21 years, but with the tone I got from it I really started to expand my style. Much more arpeggio fills with 7ths and dims incorporated. Didn't realize how limited I had been until then.

2010 - First PRS, a Johnny Hiland signature. Introduced me to the neck carve and playability I had longed for. This opened me up to work on scales and expand from strictly rhythm playing. Felt a bit held back by pickups, but it was the most comfortable guitar I had ever had up to that point.

2012 - Sold the Hiland and picked up a Custom 24, P22, and 2 Channel H. The tone - OMG! Finally I had a tone I could really work blues scales on. My playing over past 8 months or so has changed dramatically with this combination. I wish I had started on this track decades ago - I'd be further along and far better. But I can at least jam for an hour and feel really good about what I played. The P22 has me trying things that I never dreamed of just because you can do so much with the combined piezo/mag tones. The game has truly changed a great deal this year.

sergiodeblanc
09-17-2012, 04:47 PM
Late 1993 I got my first PRS, up until then I was either playing LP's or ESP's and always with EMG pups and P.I.T.A double-locking trem systems. I loved the ease of changing strings and the scale length that sat happily between the Gibson's and Superstrats I had been used to, it was also the first guitar I ever bought without changing pups the second I got home.

That same year I got the first Digitech GSP 2101 in Illinois, it introduced me to using MIDI continuous controllers to control multiple parameters, no more static on/off effects for me, and way easier to dive for a huge Ernie Ball volume pedal mid-song than hovering over a tiny switch. Severe reliability problems, but when it worked, nothing could touch it until the AXE-FX came along.(I'm still not even sure about that)

2011- Logic Pro. ProTools user up till then, absolutely changed how I mix, make, and record music. I am in awe at the amount of useable tones available in Amp Designer, music by typewriter has never been more intuitive.

Unrelated to guitar, but still worthy of mention in regards to work - Korg Triton and Pioneer CDJ800's in the early 2000's changed everything for me.

Future? I don't know, maybe I'll ditch the LP for something similar by a different manufacturer, any ideas?

Mikegarveyblues
09-17-2012, 05:07 PM
Early 2000's: I finally helped form a decent band. Playing with other good musicians in a live setting is one of the best things you can do to improve your playing.

Early 2000's: Doing music at college and later Uni forced me to learn some of the finer details of music. Forgot a lot but I improved a lot quicker than had I not done it.

Mid 2000's: Giving up for a while after feeling burned out with guitar. When i got back into it I felt refreshed and had a different approach which was more about the music rather than just guitar.

Since: Getting my head around mixing, mastering, video editing, etc. Still bores me but it's enabled me to push my own music at a much lower cost than had I paid other people to do it. Good fun too - When it's done and it comes out how you wanted. Boring when you're getting your head around something!

There are many others such as ditching the modelling gear and going back to analogue.

butterfly
09-17-2012, 08:24 PM
late 70s, see Ramones, realize "I can do this">buy LP Special DC>form punk band

2002, PRS CU22>introduction to a whole new world

2009/10 Axe F/X

somewhere along the line realize its not what you play but how you play it

Cool posts everybody. I enjoyed sharing your journeys.

kingsleyd
09-17-2012, 10:10 PM
Hmmm... ...innaresting thread, Les.

For me, it seems like guitars and amps have always kinda traveled in the wake of my imaginings; it's always seemed as if I had something that I wanted to be able to do and I had to find gear that would do it, so the new ideas have always preceded the arrival of new gear for me. There have occasionally been guitars that seemed better by leaps and bounds [whatever that means] than anything I'd previously owned, but not in a way that substantially impacted the way I play or how I think about playing. The first Collection Electric is one of those.

That said, the new Ken Parker Archtop is definitely a "game changer" by any definition. It's clearly changed my concept of what is possible with a guitar. And I'm just scratching the surface with that one.

While I'm thinking about it, another guitar that might could fit this description for me is the Scott Walker Phoenix. The big thing with that guitar (besides the late-in-the-game realization that the Jazzmaster shape/platform is a good one for me!) is the electronics. Over the past few years (thanks in no small part to being friends with Steve Kimock) I've become a lot more sensitive to the issues we create by plugging all kinds of s**t in between the guitar and the amp. I've never found a pedal-based strategy that truly recovers the lost headroom and dynamic range. The unity gain buffer in the Phoenix actually solves that conundrum, which is (in my world) a big, fat, hairy deal.

MA Pete
09-17-2012, 11:15 PM
Well, I don't know about "Game Changing", but this thread at least inspires me to share some milestones of events and gear for me over the past 4 years:

2001: Ditched my 10 pound Les Paul and got a Tremonti

2008: Started playing more. Sold the Tremonti and started my journey of the past four years of experiencing many many PRSi. Discovered two magical things that I have loved so much ever since - (1) the PRS Doublecut Shape, awesome ergonomics and feel, and (2) the magical PRS PAF pickups, first 5708, then in 2009 DGT's, then 5909's! Tone!

July 2009: Joined my first band, was forced to get way better at playing guitar to keep up.

Fall of 2009: Discovered the amazing DC 245 Ted!

2010: Entered the Fortune Magazine Battle of the Corporate Bands, made the finals and got the honor to perform and compete at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Our drummer won "Best Drummer". I rocked a Willcutt's Wood Library DGT for the semifinals and a Shootout McCarty for the finals. Moved to Chicago and found new PRS/BAM buds in BrianC and yankeebulldog.

2011: Started focusing more on amps, Sewell, HXDA, 2 Channel C. Confirmed that I dislike pedals. I like just tube amp tone, and an OD for solos. Well, not that I dislike pedals, I just dislike figuring out how to figure them out, I guess, and I am fine with just a guitar, and OD and an amp. Also, I do a lot of traveling gigs, rent amps and cabs and like a simple setup. Played a cool show at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Went through an SC 58 Phase, and later an Artist V phase.

2012: Rediscovered the Ted's. Got my first Private Stocks, they ROCK! While ordering a PS, had the opportunity to go to Paul's studio and played his Custom MDT and his Sig, a great time. Entered the Fortune Magazine Battle of the Corporate Bands again, made the finals again. My buds BrianC and yankeebulldog supported me in the crowd in the Semifinals. Finals at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame again in October. Had a Marshall AFD100 and JVM410, no thanks, went back to PRS amps. Went CAD amp crazy, new Blistertone, MDT, 2-Channel H. The 2-Channel H rocks, my new favorite gigging amp, ordered another one for home. Discovered the clean boost, love that (EP Booster). My gigging pedalboard is now just a tuner, an OD and a clean boost, sometimes a wireless, nice and simple!

My latest discovery, which probably does meet Les' "Game Changer" definition - Obeche and Ultralight Weight Guitars! My 5.5 pound Earth Cu24 is a game changer for me, my back has been bothering me, and it takes that off the table, I can practice at home more standing up with a strap without bothering my back, and handle long rehearsals and full gigs with it with little challenge. But I am also finding it does change the way I play a bit, I can push the envelope a little more in showmanship while playing out, more easily and more comfortably do some classic and and roll guitar moves! ;) I have my Earth Cu24, and also an SC 245 Ted PS on order in the same formula with the Obeche Back and lightweight curly Maple neck, Brent figures it will weigh about 6.5 pounds. If I dig that as much as I think I will, I plan to then order a PS DC 245 Ted with 408's. The best part is, no sacrifice in tone, amazing, the Earth Cu24 is a tone monster. And aristotle's demo of his Earth McCarty versus a Les Paul showed it hung in there with the Les Paul for tone as well. Different, but very tasty! (Thanks, Brent, can't wait for the SC 245 PS!)

The adventure continues!

LSchefman
09-17-2012, 11:26 PM
I've become a lot more sensitive to the issues we create by plugging all kinds of s**t in between the guitar and the amp. I've never found a pedal-based strategy that truly recovers the lost headroom and dynamic range. The unity gain buffer in the Phoenix actually solves that conundrum, which is (in my world) a big, fat, hairy deal.

A buffer circuit early in the signal chain does preserve the frequencies coming from the guitar's pickups, and the sooner it's in the chain, signal loss from cable and connector capacitance, and mismatched impedances, is pretty much eliminated. But I'd like to point out something about dynamic range: buffers don't increase, restore or affect dynamic range.

Dynamic range is the range of the very softest to the very loudest tones. A buffer doesn't act like an expander circuit, which can increase the dynamic range, and it doesn't compress the signal unless it's a bad one.

What happens when you use a buffer is that you are no longer losing detail in the high frequencies due to cable capacitance rolloff. This greater preservation of high frequency detail may in fact give you the impression of greater dynamics, because you're hearing more overtones, and everything sounds crisper, even the low end as a result (low frequency instruments having plenty of overtones, just EQ a bass guitar at 7KHz and you'll see!). This crispness and preserved detail gives the impression of increased dynamic range simply because now you're hearing HF information at its intended level. The Fletcher-Munson curve tells us that the ear doesn't hear very low or high frequencies at softer volumes as well as it hears mid frequencies, so when you hear that HF information at the same levels you usually hear only midrange at, suddenly you're hearing more sound, and it seems more dynamic. But it's a psychoacoustic impression.

I use a true bypass strip to completely take all the pedals out of the circuit for most of the work I do with the guitar. I also use a buffer circuit early in the signal chain. Buffers are great things. Even a single cable starts to affect the high frequencies after only a foot or two; it becomes much more noticeable after around ten feet. Early in my recording career, I had my tech make up cable lengths of 2 feet, 5 feet, ten feet, fifteen feet, and twenty feet. The difference between 2 feet and 10 feet was noticeable on an AB comparison, startling even. But in normal use, no one's going to play a two foot cable. However, anything longer than 10 feet, I usually want a buffer in the chain.

So if you've got a buffer built into a guitar, that's obviously a very unusually good thing!

I'll also point out that there are times I don't want a buffer, when I want a "warmer" sound with less high frequency content. So it is good to be able to switch or take a buffer out of the circuit on demand. And some people like the sound of what I consider a not-very-good buffer, that comes in Boss pedals. It's very highly colored and seems to take out what it's supposed to keep in. But that's just me.

wilerty
09-17-2012, 11:46 PM
I've been doing this so long I can't remember many of the game changers ... but a few are ...

1962 - My ordered Fender Jazzmaster, Bandmaster, and reverb ... of course ... my setup for 10 years
1964 - Echochord tape delay ... so cool
1988 - Fender Strat Plus - for 18 years
2007 - PRS Custom 22 AP 20th - my first PRS
2009 - Hollowbody Spruce Piezo
2012 - Private Stock P22 - This guitar has blown me away and will be a tough act to beat. With a dual amp setup and my Strymon delay, it can get me right where I want to be.

Dirty Bob
09-18-2012, 12:38 AM
I'll add a couple of quick game changers for me...the PRS trem system and locking tuners....first encounter was 1994....I was using either strats with vintage trems or an ibanez with a Floyd Rose. the PRS was the First guitar I could beat the hell out of using a trem while keeping perfect tune and that I could restring and tune up quickly!!!

The guitar grimoire series of books....amazing....then having a chance to apply and explore these lessons in a laid back environment with creative musicians. Gotta also mention Jack Zucker's sheets of sound books too,,,,phenomenonal tools.

The absolute glory of tube amps!!!

Another one is learning how to properly eq my amps once I started really playing with other musicians...especially the importance of your mids as opposed to bedroom scooping....learning not to play in anyone else's frequency space...the guitar is a mid focused instrument.

Learning to listen to the other musicians that I play with.

Learning to turn gain down rather than up.

I second the learning how to use volume and tone controls on the guitar as a game changer...PRS helped me do this big time.

I was only kinda sort of kidding about the strings...strings and pick material, thickness, flexibility, etc...make a huge difference on tone, attack, etc...and are often overlooked.

I could go on and on!

I'll add a couple more...first encounters with different types of pickups....especially p90's...who knew something that looks so awkward could sound so good?!?!

Exploring different scale lengths and fretboard radiuses was a big one for me...

LSchefman
09-18-2012, 12:51 AM
OK, I just deleted a very long post about my old band history starting when I was a very small boy in the 1950s. It was completely boring and way off topic.

Except to say I got started in music at 4, and there have been lots of musical experiences that really changed life for me. Say, did I ever tell you about the time...

Woundtight
09-18-2012, 01:14 AM
Early 90's- Mesa Boogie Mark IV- Swiss Army Amp

Early 90's- The Fender Custom Shop and being able to get flatter radius necks (9.5) and 6105 Frets

Late 90's- Taylor Guitars- fast feel and bright sound,-the 'PRS' of Acoustics

Today- Kemper Profiling Amp- Modern Swiss Army Amp

However,

#1 game changer: Peterson Strobostomp- Playing is a joy when you are in tune!

#2 game changer: Tablature, the internet

sergiodeblanc
09-18-2012, 02:24 AM
OK, I just deleted a very long post about my old band history starting when I was a very small boy in the 1950s. It was completely boring and way off topic.

Except to say I got started in music at 4, and there have been lots of musical experiences that really changed life for me. Say, did I ever tell you about the time...

I'm sorry I missed it.

LSchefman
09-18-2012, 04:01 AM
I'm sorry I missed it.

There may have been mention of an accordion.

docbennett
09-18-2012, 08:06 AM
My musical and gear related epiphanies......

1965: Discovered "Music" AKA "The Monkees"

1972: Discovered "Real Music" AKA Blue Oyster Cult

1995: Got my first "real guitar"....a $600 Fender American Standard, after playing various POS for the prior 30+ years.

2002: Got my first Tube amp....a Peavey Classic 30, but I finally realized that some amps did not use solid state circuitry and needed a minute or so to "warm up".

2003: First quality guitar....2000 CU 24

And the rest, as they say, is history.

kingsleyd
09-18-2012, 09:06 AM
Yeah, Les, I know what you're saying about dynamic range. What I'm really talking about is the connection between the guitar and amp, by which I mean "finger dynamics" (what I do to the guitar) translate as directly as possible to "sound dynamics," i.e., what comes out of the speaker.

In terms of the pedalboard thing, I've typically eschewed getting into the kind of complexity that I would actually need, given that I am very fond of vintage (or vintage-type) fuzzes and wahs, which only work right if they see an unbuffered signal directly from the guitar, and at the other end I typically run two amps, where it's desirable to have an A/B switch where I can lift the ground on the signal to one amp and flip the phase, but that means an active switcher which ends up being pretty lossy even when there's a buffer ahead of it.

The unity gain buffer in the Walker seems to work better than a buffer in the pedal loop, not sure why, maybe because the one I have actually adds a little high end. (note: of course it's switchable so when I want to use my fuzz it works) With other guitars, I use a Bob Burt Clean Boost which effectively does the same thing -- I set it at more or less unity gain, level-wise, so it adds a bit of high-end definition without adding gain.

More and more, though, I've adopted the Kimockian strategy of "unplug the s**t when you're not using it." I've always done that for recording, but playing live with my rock band I've adopted that strategy as well. It helps that the majority of what we play is the kind of thing that you SHOULD be plugging straight into the amp. (which seems to be a lost art, based on the live music I've seen over the past bunch of years anyway!)

kingsleyd
09-18-2012, 09:09 AM
Oh, btw, one gear-related epiphany that popped into mind when I read docbennett's post:

1971: at a cast party following a production of Jesus Christ Superstar (for which I'd played the acoustic guitar parts) I heard The Allman Brothers at Fillmore East for the first time. I was mesmerized by the sound of those guitars, and the guy (several years older than me) who had played the electric guitars in the show explained to me that those were old Gibson Les Paul Standards. Although by then I was very into electric guitars and guitarists, that was the first time I connected a particular sound with a particular model of guitar.

BostonGuitar
09-18-2012, 10:00 AM
My game changer was in 1995... Walked into EU Wurlitzer in Boston with a pocket full of kryptonite, fully prepared to buy a Les Paul Classic goldtop. Saw 2 brand new McCartys hanging together, one in Emerald Green(my fave color since childhood) and a goldtop. I was kinda smitten, especially since I had sampled a '94 McCarty the year previous at a shop and was pretty impressed. Fate was kind that day, and there was a REALLY good Marshall JMP from the 70's with a light mod that sounded MAGIC and was a GREAT platform for testing tone. I plugged all three in, and the McCartys OWNED that Les Paul Classic. Then it was a matter of which one to buy. Bought the Green one for $1700 and it was so good in the next month of gigs that I didn't play my other guitars anymore(a different Les Paul and an Ibenhad USA custom with mahog/maple). I sold the ibenhad for $700, took that cash in with the Les Paul and worked out a deal for the goldtop mcccarty for $1500 with $800 trade value on the Les Paul and out the door I went with the goldtop sister to the emerald green mccarty that I had bought the month before. At that time, the goldtop and black opaque versions were called McCarty Standards and were priced less, even though they still had maple tops. SWEET deal. Those two mccartys tought me what vintage tone could be, and got me into the wonderful world of playability and vibe of PRS. I gigged the snot out of that pair till 2001, and even managed to find and reepurchase the green one again in the late 2000's.

GAME-CHANGERS:
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u66/BostonGuitar/DSC00024.jpg
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u66/BostonGuitar/DSC00026.jpg
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u66/BostonGuitar/DSC00025.jpg
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u66/BostonGuitar/DSC00027.jpg

docbennett
09-18-2012, 10:13 AM
Forgot another much more recent epiphany.....reading "Dave Hunter's Guide to Pedals". Explains why different effects go in front of the amp vs. the effects loop...helps one to really understand how to get the most out of various pedals and provides interesting history and interviews with the most prominant pedal manufactures from the '60's to the present.

http://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Effects-Practical-Handbook-Softcover/dp/0879308060

LSchefman
09-18-2012, 11:38 AM
In terms of the pedalboard thing, I've typically eschewed getting into the kind of complexity that I would actually need, given that I am very fond of vintage (or vintage-type) fuzzes and wahs, which only work right if they see an unbuffered signal directly from the guitar, and at the other end I typically run two amps, where it's desirable to have an A/B switch where I can lift the ground on the signal to one amp and flip the phase, but that means an active switcher which ends up being pretty lossy even when there's a buffer ahead of it.

Vintage type fuzzes and wahs are my favorites, too. But a vintage type fuzz works fine with a buffered signal ahead of it; for a long time my own signal chain has been vintage style wah, buffer, vintage fuzz. The buffer eliminates the squeal you get when a vintage fuzz follows a wah.

This is also what Fulltone has done by adding a switchable buffer in line with the output of their Clyde Deluxe, so vintage fuzzes can follow it. Teese also incorporates a buffer into their vintage style wahs' outputs for the same purpose, though I don't remember if it's switchable. I once had one.

The vintage style fuzzes I've used successfully with buffers have been the Austone Fuzz Nutz (wonderful pedal) and the Fulltone '69, both of which use the old style germanium transistors, and both of which do crazy squealing if they follow an unbuffered wah. But the buffer seems to need to be between the wah and the fuzz. Like you, I've not had good luck with vintage wahs following buffers.

Then again, I loaned my true original '66 Maestro Fuzz to a nephew quite a few years ago, and he lost it! But the modern versions of the vintage fuzzes do work well.

I do like the Kimock strategy, but there's another one that's not bad given how little I enjoy crawling around on the floor adjusting pedals during a session: bypass the whole pedalboard (or just take out what you're not using) with a switch box! Is there a very slight difference in tone? Not sure it's much different than using a cable that's a few feet longer, and it goes away with a buffered signal. Anyway, that's my solution.

kingsleyd
09-18-2012, 11:46 AM
Les, in the scenario you describe (wah, buffer, fuzz) do you get the same interactivity between guitar volume and fuzz that you do when plugged directly into the fuzz? The whole thing I love about vintage or vintage-type fuzzes (btw, I'm partial to the Analog SunFace and AstroTone, as well as Theo Hartman's germanium fuzz) is the dynamic behavior they exhibit when I change the volume level coming from the guitar. I lose that with the Walker's buffered output. (which, happily, can be switched out; the guitar can be run in passive/high-impedance mode as well as active/low-Z)

LSchefman
09-18-2012, 02:07 PM
Les, in the scenario you describe (wah, buffer, fuzz) do you get the same interactivity between guitar volume and fuzz that you do when plugged directly into the fuzz? The whole thing I love about vintage or vintage-type fuzzes (btw, I'm partial to the Analog SunFace and AstroTone, as well as Theo Hartman's germanium fuzz) is the dynamic behavior they exhibit when I change the volume level coming from the guitar. I lose that with the Walker's buffered output. (which, happily, can be switched out; the guitar can be run in passive/high-impedance mode as well as active/low-Z)

I haven't noticed a major difference from what I expected when putting pedals on the board, but honestly also haven't tried it both ways in a very long time. I'll put the buffer in a bypass loop to be able to switch it in and out, and that should provide an answer. The bypass switch box is a passive device and adds nothing to the signal, so it should be a pretty good test. I'll report back on how that works with my buffer box (which of course might be different from yours anyway).

I like the Analogman Sunface a lot. Great fuzz. Haven't tried the others!

dallasprsguy
09-18-2012, 02:16 PM
Narrowfield pickups... total game changer for me.

markie
09-18-2012, 02:30 PM
Modern Eagle 1, NF P-ups, 408 P-ups, Pernny Necks.................................. I'm sure there are more for me :rock:

hemantooth
09-18-2012, 04:23 PM
Back in 2004 my dad wanted to build me a proper pedalboard, so I shipped him all my stuff (he was in WA and I was in CA). This is when I actually learned how to play guitar. Without overdrive and delay/wah distractions, I dug in with my '03 McCarty straight into a Dr. Carmen Ghia and learned the beauty of a clean amp, power tube overdrive, using my volume knob to clean things up, etc. My chops improved substantially and my whole outlook on things changed. I was a ham-fisted metal guy then, and for the first time I understood DYNAMICS. I ended up with a lovely pedalboard, but the clarity I found in my playing was the real gift.

vchizzle
09-20-2012, 10:51 AM
Custom 22 really changed everything for me, rid me of the bulk of a LP - much easier and comfortable playing.

For me the biggest was a McCarty Standard - I'm not sure if it altered my playing so much, but really helped me focus and hone in my tone and what I was after. Still my favorite model overall. I have one with 5708s as my "classic" and one with HFS for my "metal".