I had a productive hour of practicing guitar today. After I came out of the studio, I said to my wife, "I felt really one with the music and played well. My instruments are connecting me to what I'm playing in such an incredible way that I'm getting greater satisfaction out of the whole experience."
Today's rig was an SC58 with 53/10s and an ebony board, through the HX/DA amp.
For me, this is a magical combination. Notes come out of the speakers as instantly as I think them, sounding exactly like how I want them to sound. That's a beautiful thing. It connects my entire being to the process of creating each note, and each phrase. Great instruments that speak to you help you to achieve that. There is a warmth, there is the sound of the room itself, and there are intangibles that add up.
For me - I can only speak for myself here - playing through a real amp in the room is a necessary part of achieving this immersive experience. I feel the same way about playing a real piano vs a digital piano, as great as some of the digital re-creations sound (my digital piano samples take 36 Gigs, and sound amazing on tape), but playing the sampler in a room is still a different experience than playing an actual piano in the same room. Friends often ask me, "Geez, you can barely tell the difference on tape, why not get an Axe-FX or something similar and have all those sounds for your recording projects?" Well, for me the answer is, "I've got modelers, and use them sometimes. I've used the Axe-FX and admire it. But for me, the musical experience isn't the same. I just don't play as well via a modeler." I have to go with what works.
The reason has to do with this feeling of immersion into the music and into each note. It's something I can't describe.
But my point isn't really about what works for me, tubes, acoustic or digital - your mileage may vary. My point is that becoming truly engaged in the process of making music makes things better, no matter what gets you there.
It's pretty clear what blows the doors off for me: a great sounding PRS and a truly great PRS amp. I couldn't be any more involved with what I'm doing.
Is there gear that helps you engage the music that you feel this way about?