Monday, December 9, 2013

Ok, just one more.

I know this is boring as hell for everyone else, but it's fun for me. One more post about my musical instruments: I know rig rundowns serve a purpose entirely counter to what I do here, but I promise I'll make this worth just a little of your time.
I've got a few guitars, and two amps, and several pedals- I've had an electric guitar since I was about 14, so, of course I've got some gear. I've also got a couple of keyboards, a bass, and recording equipment- nothing really all that pro- just enough that I have a hobby kit.
So, I do expect anyone to care about my main rig, but I'm going to explain it to get to my point. My main rig is a modded out 1995 lefty Epiphone G-310 into a 1978 Script logo Distortion plus, into a 1980 Crate CR65 with a Celestion speaker.  The mods to the guitar are as follows- I put a Dimarzio super distortion on the neck, and split the coils on the bridge, with a push-pull on the volume knob, and Gotoh tuners. The Script logo pedal was a gift, and is pretty much the same model used on several classic LPs, because it was bought as a replacement for that same MXR used on those LPs. I keep the out dialed on max, and the distortion level dialed at 2 PM. The Crate is a pretty transparent solid state, so almost all my distortion comes from pick up and pedal- I never use the built in reverb, and I keep the brightness switch dialed on. I slightly scoop the mids on the amp's EQ, but it's mostly flat.  Pretty basic small rig, and cheap, too, right?
The edifying part is why- I'm a lefty. There aren't very many sub-$1000 lefty guitars in the 1990's, and only one with a mahogany neck- and that mattered to me- see, I like the feel of rosewood, sure, but if you play a lot of arpeggiated chords a mahogany neck is as comfortable as it gets. So, the Epiphone was actually a step up for me, going from a Mexican made right handed Strat flipped over. I don't think I need to explain the pick up mods, though, right? Stock Epiphone pick ups are just hot enough to be muddy. Why the neck, and not the bridge? Because I'm not much of a lead guitar player. So, I wanted to play rhythm with gusto, and for those rare times I play a lead line, I wanted to be able to get noisey and brittle, like a garage strat. Get the idea? The Script Logo MXR is, in my opinion, the perfect mix between overdrive and fuzz, leaving "distortion" in the classic Metal sense out, entirely. Yes, Mr. Rhoads used it for metal, but it's much more suited for fuzzing up some notes, but leaving enough articulation that I can do the same stunt as Greg Sage and Bob Mould- bass strings play chords, while treble strings play melodies.  If you're a hobby guitar player, playing by yourself, it's really the best way to go. Finally, the CR 65 allows just enough volume that I can move a little air, clean but it never gets to stage volume.
See, the point is this- the tools get done what I want to do, and nothing else. They surmount my challenges, but do not dictate my direction. My favorite rig less about the rig, and much more about me. I don't think I would have this rig, if not for my being a lefty, who didn't want to take it to the stage, any more. That's the kind of thing that I look for in other people's Art, too- how have they turned their limitations into idiosyncrasies, and how far have they gone with following their own muse? It's why I think some bunch of Metalheads from Romania are far more likely to come up with Art than a bunch of Brooklyn Hipstars - In Romania, you have much less opportunity to duplicate James Hetfield's rig than our Brooklyn heroes have to duplicate Bryce Dessner's- So, even though I prefer the National to Metallica, I'll be more inclined to give Kultika a shot. I know that their limitations virtually promise that they'll end up sounding entirely different, and new, and idiosyncratic. So, yes, I really would suggest that all these American bands playing a PRS into a Mesa Boogie, or a Les Paul Custom into a Marshall JCM 800 just dump their equipment. I really do think it holds you back to be able to track down the exact same specs as your heroes.
But, that's just me. I'm a freak who plays a rig that sounds good only to me, because I'm the only audience I care about.

1 comment:

  1. Just a quick note to say I got two new additions, completely randomly- I got two Danelectro Fab pedals- a Fab Chorus, and 600MS Delay- a friend had them, still new in box, and offered both for 20 bucks. So, yes, they're cheap, and so on, but the chorus pedal is probably all the chorus I'll ever need ( I don't mind it mixed really low, with a long sweep) and I'm not exactly the Edge, here- 600MS is probably about as much delay as I can artfully use. Oh, sure I can goof around with some 5 second, backwards repeating delay, but too much more than slapback, and I can't make it really work musically. So, cool- cheap gear! Maybe I should buy a 50 dollar Strat copy, and a Peavey Rage amp, and see what I can do with the ultra budget rig?