Golden age of competition/innovation for guitarists

burntfrijoles

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
9,680
Location
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Competition in the industry is benefiting guitarist immensely.


Competition is a good thing for all us. It’s well know that the iPhone sent Google back to the drawing board to rework Android and since then Android has pushed Apple to continuously enhance iOS.

In the guitar industry Line 6 (Helix), Kemper, Fractal, Neural DSP, Strymon, UAFX, Origin have all spurred each other into pushing the envelope with modeling. It’s challenged Fender to up its game to produce the Tone Master line. (Marshall and Vox seem to be sitting on the sideline.)

Although I’m not ready to jump on the UAFX waiting list for a Dream 65, Ruby, Woodrow etc, the demos suggest that UAFX has raised the bar. How long can I resist. Personally I like this approach to have a device just model a single amp and then use it as you would a regular amp with your own pedalboard. Plus, I think it muddies the water when you try to model multiple stomp pedals and cram it into a single device.

Regardless, the companies are pushing each other forward. Helix and Kemper were considered major breakthrough products and Strymon seemed to rule the high end for delays, reverbs and modulation for a time. Now the buzz is for Origin and UAFX.

Are we at a point where innovation finally convinces folks to really give up tubes in large numbers? I know that I rarely use my lone tube amp, a PRRI SE with 12” speaker. I was thinking about a TM Deluxe Reverb but I’m not sure I would use it anymore than I do the PRRI. I’m happy with the Iridium right now but that may change.
Could we be past the “tip of the iceberg”?
 

stxrus

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
May 25, 2007
Posts
10,175
Age
70
Location
St. Croix, USVI
I can’t see me buying another amp unless my Reinhardt glue up in flames
I have owned only one SS guitar amp. A Peavey Musician 400 if I recall correctly. Got it in 1969-1070 and sold the head in 1973 and got a PR. Still have the PR and the two 2x12 Peavey cabs
 

Fenderdad1950

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 4, 2019
Posts
3,047
Age
71
Location
Albuquerque
The first competition between players, perpetuated by the fans and or the media, was in the British Invasion in the early 60s. It was between Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck. I remember someone had painted 'Clapton is God' on some wall ..... which is silly. Because we all knew that Jeff was better. LOL
 

VonBonfire

Tele-Holic
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Posts
826
Age
101
Location
Texas
Are we at a point where innovation finally convinces folks to really give up tubes in large numbers? I know that I rarely use my lone tube amp, a PRRI SE with 12” speaker. I was thinking about a TM Deluxe Reverb but I’m not sure I would use it anymore than I do the PRRI. I’m happy with the Iridium right now but that may change.
Could we be past the “tip of the iceberg”?
People have been asking the same question on guitar forums for well over a decade. The answer is always "no". Modeling tech isn't very tech because it's simply copying tube amplification tones. Electric guitar and tube amps are a go-together instrument designed to work in conjunction with each other. Modeling carries with it no inherent superior tone of it's own. In reality it's mostly a gimmick for guys who are too cheap or lazy to carry an amp or whose wife or apartment bros complains about the noise. On the professional side someone doing fly dates can have a less than ideal tone i.e not tubes that will fit in their luggage and have the gear to be ready to knuckle under to some overbearing psychotic "no stage volume" bandleader or production engineer. I would rather make a scene about it.

If I am going to have to play through one of those to make my money I'm going to tie a rope around my neck and the other end around a branch and jump from a tall live oak. Tube amps, real meat, beaver hats, whiskey, cigars, guns that go bang, wooden coffins, women that act like women, and cars that burn real fuel. There is no good substitute for any of those things. Sorry bruv!
 

uriah1

Telefied
Gold Supporter
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Posts
27,307
Location
Around
I am a tube guy through and through.
For me

However some of those new samplers simulators seem neat. Kemper and Fractal audio
 

bottlenecker

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
5,959
Location
Wisconsin
Competition in the industry is benefiting guitarist immensely.


Competition is a good thing for all us. It’s well know that the iPhone sent Google back to the drawing board to rework Android and since then Android has pushed Apple to continuously enhance iOS.

In the guitar industry Line 6 (Helix), Kemper, Fractal, Neural DSP, Strymon, UAFX, Origin have all spurred each other into pushing the envelope with modeling. It’s challenged Fender to up its game to produce the Tone Master line. (Marshall and Vox seem to be sitting on the sideline.)

Although I’m not ready to jump on the UAFX waiting list for a Dream 65, Ruby, Woodrow etc, the demos suggest that UAFX has raised the bar. How long can I resist. Personally I like this approach to have a device just model a single amp and then use it as you would a regular amp with your own pedalboard. Plus, I think it muddies the water when you try to model multiple stomp pedals and cram it into a single device.

Regardless, the companies are pushing each other forward. Helix and Kemper were considered major breakthrough products and Strymon seemed to rule the high end for delays, reverbs and modulation for a time. Now the buzz is for Origin and UAFX.

Are we at a point where innovation finally convinces folks to really give up tubes in large numbers? I know that I rarely use my lone tube amp, a PRRI SE with 12” speaker. I was thinking about a TM Deluxe Reverb but I’m not sure I would use it anymore than I do the PRRI. I’m happy with the Iridium right now but that may change.
Could we be past the “tip of the iceberg”?

Why build a physical amp to model amps? If you're going to digitally model amps, then digitally model them.
I think in the near future physical amps that model amps will go extinct. Amp modelling rigs are going to be loaded on a laptop, tablet, or phone and be backed up as a snapshot on some media that lets a person load their setup on any machine if theirs goes down. This solves reliabiliy issues, and it at least passes the unrepairable/landfill buck to the rest of the tech industry.

If I were going digital today, I'd use ableton. If I'm going to carry a fender amp for instance, I may as well carry a real one that 1. is truly wonderful sounding, and 2. is indefinitely repairable. Two things tonemasters are not.
 

Preacher

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Posts
5,537
Location
Big D
As a P&W guitarist the modeling options are all the rage now. With stages going amp less the options with the modelers open up a world of possibilities.
When the Line 6 gear came out (especially the stomp and helix) I saw a lot of guitarist selling all of their pedals and moving into a one box setup with a really small board. Simplicity at it's best, but we like to tweak and I think the turning of knobs is in our DNA. The advent of the specific amps in a box I am seeing everyone go back to the large pedal boards and use a Ruby/Dream/Woodrow or an IR loaded into an amp simulator even in stereo applications.

However, Tele>Deluxe Tube amp is just so good...
 

raito

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 22, 2010
Posts
6,668
Location
Madison, WI
Competition in the industry is benefiting guitarist immensely.


Competition is a good thing for all us. It’s well know that the iPhone sent Google back to the drawing board to rework Android and since then Android has pushed Apple to continuously enhance iOS.
Interesting, since iPhone predates Android. I recall Android being a response to IOS, not the other way around.
 

Alter

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Posts
457
Location
Greece
It's golden age for solid state, analog and digital modeling gear, effects, etc. Tube amps have seen better days, quality wise..

They're still by far better sounding to my ears than anything else though.
 

VonBonfire

Tele-Holic
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Posts
826
Age
101
Location
Texas
It's golden age for solid state, analog and digital modeling gear, effects, etc. Tube amps have seen better days, quality wise..
Yep. The golden age for electric guitar was the 60's. By the 70's it became a downhill run of cost cutting and limited innovation. Everything else has been small peanuts ever since.
 

burntfrijoles

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
9,680
Location
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
People have been asking the same question on guitar forums for well over a decade.
A decade is a long time. Many things change in a decade. The evidence is all around.
If I am going to have to play through one of those to make my money I'm going to tie a rope around my neck and the other end around a branch and jump from a tall live oak.
A little severe?
 

burntfrijoles

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
9,680
Location
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Interesting, since iPhone predates Android. I recall Android being a response to IOS, not the other way around.

That’s what I attempted to say. Sorry I wasn’t clear. The iPhone did indeed pre-date android. It was ground breaking with multi touch, no physical keyboard, a real browser, etc. Google reportedly was set to release android when Steve Jobs demoed the iPhone. It’s sent android developers back to the drawing board to include multi touch and ape the UI of the iPhone.
 

Texicaster

Friend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
May 9, 2018
Posts
3,528
Location
It Varies.....
It's golden age for solid state, analog and digital modeling gear, effects, etc. Tube amps have seen better days, quality wise..

They're still by far better sounding to my ears than anything else though.

There's more high quality boutique amp builder now than ever! Carr, Benson, Swart plenty more! Used to be a handful of factory built Fender, Supro, Gibson etc....

I think it's golden age for tube amps!

I'm still curious about modelers and want to try one! I have a Spark 40 and it's remarkable for the tone to money ratio! $250 and it's just amazing! I play my Swart 99% of the time but the Spark is a fun toy!
 

Cyberi4n

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Posts
984
Age
49
Location
Chester, Uk
Bought more tube amps this last two years than any digital gear. My Line6 POD HD Pro coupled with a wireless unit and power amp lies redundant and hasn’t had a run out since a gig I did in late 2019.

All modellers try to replicate the feel of tube amps, and the nuances that go with using tubes. Are they close? Yes. Are they 100% there? Very very nearly. Will they replace tube amps? No, not a hope. Not in my opinion.
 

burntfrijoles

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
9,680
Location
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
There's more high quality boutique amp builder now than ever! Carr, Benson, Swart plenty more! Used to be a handful of factory built Fender, Supro, Gibson etc....

I think it's golden age for tube amps!
There’s no doubt there are more builders. You left out Bartel who also makes a great amp. They’re still a small segment of the market and out of reach price wise for many.
Will they replace tube amps? No, not a hope. Not in my opinion
Oh, I don’t expect tube amps to go away, far from it. However it’s obvious that more folks see modeling as an viable option. I don’t gig and, as I said, I’m using my amp less and less but I still like it. I just don’t see it as indispensable.
 

VonBonfire

Tele-Holic
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Posts
826
Age
101
Location
Texas
A decade is a long time. Many things change in a decade. The evidence is all around.

A little severe?
People were saying that the tech was "that good" a decade ago so "the evidence is all around" is the same echo chamber long decay repeat it was then. Johnson Millenium anyone? How many guys are gigging those these days? Where can I get it serviced? Modeling units and modeling amps are disposable items, junk essentially, just the same as all digital tech is.

Yes, it's a little severe. I'm not interested in a world of synthetic items that replace organic ones. I like real red meat and tubes. I can name many subject topics that would apply to. Smart appliances are what those other guys buy. I'm not stopping them.

Are they close? Yes. Are they 100% there? Very very nearly. Will they replace tube amps? No, not a hope. Not in my opinion.
People were saying they were close on guitar forums a decade ago and you are saying it now. That means they still aren't close.
 




Top