Back in the Barrel of the Gun Pt 2 - managing my guitar sounds for so many styles...
by, 03-10-2011 at 09:44 PM (2662 Views)
So part of the battle in the current band that I am in is trying to get cool sounds for music ranging from Etta James to Elvis to Bon Jovi to Garth Brooks to the Ramones to K.C. and the Sunshine band and on and on and on....at a low enough volume that I can pull it all off at a wedding gig or the "Dinner Set" of a 3 set night.
At the moment my main rig is my Suhr Classic Strat that I've had since 2002, a 1971 Fender Deluxe Reverb with a Celestion Greenback speaker in it and the pedalboard in this video:
I usually run the amp between 2 and three on the volume, 5 on the treble and 6 on the bass with the reverb and vibrato off. This provides me with a nice "canvas" to use my pedals on that is not too loud but still not thin sounding. The most I'll run the amp on is 3 and then if things start getting louder I can start stacking pedals a bit.
For gain and overdrive sounds here is what I'm doing:
For my basic clean sound I usually leave the RC Booster on the whole time to give the amp a little bit of a "cranked" feel without the volume. It's not too overdriven and I can roll the volume on my guitar back a notch to clean it up if I need to. I can dig in and my clean sound can growl a little, too.
The EP Booster is my basic solo boost..whatever sound I have going on I can kick that on to push the amp and get a bit more volume to get above the mix. It's not completely transparent but it adds a nice smoothness and presence to my boosted sounds.
The BB Preamp takes the place of a Tube Screamer sort of thing without the midrangey-ness that a Tube Screamer has. It's not my favorite pedal at the moment but it does the job and can clean up when I roll the volume back on the guitar. I use it for my "non-heavy" overdrives...more classic rock kind of stuff and bluesier lead tones.
The Barber Direct Drive SS is my main "Distortion" even though it's really more of a hopped up TS-9 variant.
Most of these pedals are used in some way with the RC Booster on and sometimes with the EP on as well...piling the pedals on top of each other gives me all kinds of textures and possible volume levels for my over drivesounds without having twice as many pedals or a programmable multi-effects unit (of which I am never satisfied with for distortion sounds).
The other pedals get used much less but are just as important.
The Fulltone Wah pedal is just a good basic pedal. You can't play a cover gig without having one in your rig and while I'm not someone who would use Wah for my own music all that much this is a great sounding wah pedal that also has a good feel to the treadle.
The Sonic Research Turbo Tuner is a strobe tuner that I can also program the offsets for the Buzz Fieten intonation system that the Suhr uses. It's very accurate and without those offsets the guitar can't really be tuned properly. It has several different modes so I can switch from standard tuning to the Feiten program quickly if I am using different instruments on the same gig.
The MXR Phase 90 is the 1974 custom shop version. Once again it's simple and gets a great washy sound that I end up using in places to emulate or fill the space of keyboard sounds more than anything else. I used to have an Electro Harmonix Small Stone that I really like but when it died I figured I would look for a smaller replacement.
The chorus I'm using is the Malekko Omicron Chorus...it's tiny, only has two knobs and the only thing it does is get a simple chorus sound that I like. It's great for songs like "Purple Rain" or "Message in a Bottle". Chorus is another effect I'm not too into on a personal level but it's necessary for a cover gig like this.
Finally we have the Eventide Time Factor. It's a really nice digital delay that does a million things. I use three sounds out of it, though. I had grand intentions when I bought it but it turns out that I use a general long delay, a Rockabilly slap echo and an awesome Leslie rotating speaker cabinet sound out of it. And that is all. I love how it sounds though and if I needed to do tap tempos or other more complicated delay sounds I am covered. One thing that I had to invest in was an auxiliary switch for the Timefactor so that I could more easily access my presets. For some reason they have a button that allows you to scroll up the banks of presets but as it comes stock you need to go up through all of the banks before you can get to banks that are numbered lower than the one you are in. There is no "down" button. Kind of a PITA but the ability to use the aux switch makes the point moot. If I had to replace it I would still spend the money on one.
Overall I am happy with what I have for the moment. I'm always hearing things and wanting to try them out but I'm able to do everything I need with what I have here.
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