Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mail Order Inspiration

From time-to-time I descend into this place were I don't like any of my guitar equipment and I feel like, for life to continue, I need all new stuff. The malaise presents itself as a creeping and unrelenting dissatisfaction with my tone, my playing, and a general lack of creative inspiration. In effect, it is a slump.

It shouldn't be about the gear, I know, but when sound is your palette, it really helps to get some new colors once in a while.  For the last 6 years or so, my primary tonal effects device is a Boss GT-6:


The GT-6 is a very versatile, fully professional, and great sounding tool. There is a lot of serious processing going on under the hood and it really does a good job. In terms of my regular gig, in particular, playing contemporary praise and worship styles in our church, it works very well. Stylistically, in the course of one service, it is not uncommon for me to have to quickly switch sounds from jazz to country to hard rock, from ambient sound effects to rhythm to lead, and all shades in between.

If there is a weakness in the Boss, and in most all-inclusive integrated effects devices, it is simply that, though they do many things well, they seem to lack a certain, idiosyncratic character that I am more and more trying to find in my playing.

So, I need new stuff. I am willing to concede that this is quite likely a sign of mental illness or, at least, moral weakness.  

But the refreshing winds of change are a-blowin', I am happy to say.   Lord willing, one of these babies will arrive on my doorstep today:



This is an Epiphone Valve Jr. Half-Stack. It is a 5-watt all-tube amplifier. I expect it will be awesome.  It is an early Father's Day present.  I am very pleased.

Now, to be precise, I am not replacing my Boss multi-effects with this new amp.  In fact, for the foreseeable future, the GT-6 will remain my "front-end", effectively driving this amp.  I am replacing a very faithful, 20-year old customized Peavey Stereo Chorus solid-state dual-12 amp (no pic available on Google - it's that old!) that I've used for a long, long time.  But my expectation (and hope) is that the Epiphone is going to change my sound quite dramatically.  

I'm also customizing my Strat a bit, too, going to a custom, hand-wound pickup made by a friend of mine.  That is an exciting prospect, too, and deserves its own post later in the week after I've installed it.

4 comments:

IzzyBeth said...

Every now and then - you just need new stuff. ;-)

DaveG said...

Is the Epiphone a trendy retro look, or did retro wrap around and catch up with a really old design? Either way, looks great!

Barry Pike said...

Heh. It doesn't get any more trendy or retro than this.

On the control panel it has an on/off switch and a volume knob. I LOVE that! That's soooo cool.

And it did arrive a little bit ago. I'm going to wait for Nancy to get home before cranking it up, though.

NP said...

Happy Father's Day!! Looking forward to many happy sounds to come.