Golden age of competition/innovation for guitarists

dconeill

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... 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.

And where are you going to find a new "indefinitely repairable" amp? Manufacturing techniques have changed in the last 50 years, and manufacturers deliberately design their products not to be field-serviceable, or at least not to be owner-serviceable. They do this so that the products are cheaper to manufacture; field repair is not top-of-mind for them.

Have you not heard about farmers who are unable to repair their own tractors, due to manufacturers' restrictions? For these and other products, there's a "right-to-repair" movement going on now to try to force manufacturers to make things that are repairable. Perhaps someday the movement will yield a result, but that day is not yet.
 

P Thought

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Not for me, thanks. I have the luxury of playing in venues that let me play my big primitive amps for my big primitive music. If the day comes when I can't, I'll probably just start playing trombone again.

I tried that one time, picking up trombone again I mean, and ended up with the mother of all fat lips!

All this started with the tire industry. Curses on those newfangled tubeless tires.
 

Timbresmith1

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I say yes and no. I’m firmly in the camp that thinks that techno-Utopianism is a load of fertilizer.
BUT, the right tool for the job (for the arts, anyway) is the one that gets you where you want to go.
As a person that writes/records, inspiration is where you find it. Where I WANT to go is often secondary to where the gear leads me. I don’t have any gear lust for a Quilter Kemper deal, but I would totally futz around with one if it was here. I poo-pood the Pod until one arrived as a throw in on a trade. Had quite a bit of fun with it,
but I’ve seen too much new tech go obsolete because a growing machine needs to keep feeding itself at my expense.
 

bottlenecker

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And where are you going to find a new "indefinitely repairable" amp? Manufacturing techniques have changed in the last 50 years, and manufacturers deliberately design their products not to be field-serviceable, or at least not to be owner-serviceable. They do this so that the products are cheaper to manufacture; field repair is not top-of-mind for them.

Have you not heard about farmers who are unable to repair their own tractors, due to manufacturers' restrictions? For these and other products, there's a "right-to-repair" movement going on now to try to force manufacturers to make things that are repairable. Perhaps someday the movement will yield a result, but that day is not yet.

Yes, I'm aware.
I don't necessarilly intend to buy new amps, but there are certainly new boutique amps with turret board construction that is as repair friendly as any amp ever. There are also people who repair pcb amps, so even my pro jr is probably repairable for a long time before it would need a hand wired rebuild, if ever.
I've heard Tone Kings are repair friendly, even though I think they're pcb. They're desirable enough that they will probably be repaired for as long as people play electric guitar. New handwired fenders have some funny issues due to CE safety stuff, but it can all be fixed even by old school techs who don't work on pcbs.

The only thing I don't know any repair people to fix is surface mount stuff.
 

bottlenecker

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I would imagine this is the future of modelling amps.

 

KC

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Digital is good for what it's good for: practice at low volumes, recording at home, stadium shows if you've got the tech to run it for you. And I expect it'll last about as long as a laptop, which isn't bad. I bought a Fractal FM3 during the Recent Interruption and it's been a great companion. Lots of good sounds in that box. No perceivable latency -- I can play along with a backing track and forget that it's not an amp.

Would I gig with it? It sounds good enough, I guess. But where's the fun in it? 50 watt Marshall with a dirt box in front of it and a dance floor full of people, that's a blast. Red meat and V8 motors and so on. I don't need that many different sounds during a gig and I can get them all from an amp and a little pedal board that I can control with the tip of a cowboy boot. If I needed to totally change my sound every song, then the versatility of digital might come into play, but I would want to be fussing with it onstage.
 

VonBonfire

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And where are you going to find a new "indefinitely repairable" amp?
They are everywhere on craigslist. You can get a handwired Twin for well under a grand if you shop around with cash in hand.

Now is always better than the past for music, because I can listen to all the previous music and do whatever I want.
I just can't get paid for it.
Music has never been an easy business and the nature of business is change and so you have to adjust to those changes or close up shop. Read the BB King bio. He got to Memphis and Bukka White his cousin told him "now you need a job". He thought he was gonna be playing blues everyday after he moved and this was the heyday of Beale, lol. You gotta pay your dues if you wanna play the blues.

Post-that which is not to be mentioned I took up a small side job doing ranch hand/handyman work a couple half days a week to make beer money. Long game I am going to put another acoustic blues set together again and start booking for that during the week when I don't have band gigs but that is probably something that will happen late this year or early next in a best-case scenario unless I force it.
 

tele_pathic

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Today's innovations in amps doesn't mean that a modeling amp will one day lead to the extinction of tube amps. It means that the options for use are much more today than in the past. Meaning, if you love a tube amp, there are lots to choose from. If you want an all-in-one box for effects, expression pedals, and amps, there are options. If you want a pedal-sized amp on your pedalboard feeding into a cab, OR into front of house, there are options.

I have a quilter micro amp 45w amp that can sit on my board and feed into my 1x12 cab, but I also have an old Fender Mustang III that I use most because it has aux in and headphone out for playing at home without the wife complaining.
 

bottlenecker

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Music has never been an easy business and the nature of business is change and so you have to adjust to those changes or close up shop.

Some people, in any business, are ok with being small and doing things exactly how they want to.
There is plenty of music work I could get that is drudgery to me. No thanks. Not doing any dog and pony show either. I have one product to offer the world, and I can afford to sit on my hill and let people choose to climb it or not.
 

VonBonfire

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Some people, in any business, are ok with being small and doing things exactly how they want to.
There is plenty of music work I could get that is drudgery to me. No thanks. Not doing any dog and pony show either. I have one product to offer the world, and I can afford to sit on my hill and let people choose to climb it or not.
Agree 100%. I would rather do specialty music and have a more limited set of venues than just play florida-georgia line and other revolting bro-country and get paid good six nights per week because ultimately the ceiling is higher for what I'm doing. Playing top 40 country covers is better pay off the bat, but has no room for growth.
 

Buzzgrowl

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So the other evening we played a small garden gig with two other bands. Our band was easy to mix and sounded good. Two tube amps (40w and 60w) and decent not-boutique pedals on guitars, with the bass player going into his 700w head and a 4x10.

The other band's two guitarists had helix and some other digital pedal and transistor amps.
It sounded tiny and fizzy. I was a bit surprised, frankly. The hype about digital and ampless playing is strong. Maybe it sounds good at home in the mancave or bedroom.

It was our first post-crisis gig. After this, I've definitely given up on getting a Boss GT 1000. Sticking with tubes, my Rat and a Carbon Copy.
 

VonBonfire

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The other band's two guitarists had helix and some other digital pedal and transistor amps.
It sounded tiny and fizzy. I was a bit surprised, frankly. The hype about digital and ampless playing is strong. Maybe it sounds good at home in the mancave or bedroom.
In the last two decades of local and regional gigging I've seen one band using the modelers and electronic drumkits. They were amateurs. Also, for whatever reason they were playing sideways on the stage. I think some guys are scared of offending anyone with volume hence modeling and electronic drums. He who dares, wins.
 

Doe74

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Modelers sound good. At home. By themselves. At low volumes. As soon as you turn one up it sounds like garbage.
 

raito

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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.
Then we're on the same page.
 

Alex_C

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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”?
I really enjoy modelers. I had a Helix LT and a Headrush board. Now I have a Hotone Ampero II Stomp (really good modeler). I also have a Laney L5S tube amp. The tube amp has something that I haven't found in a DSP. When I'm lacking inspiration, the tube amp is what makes me smile. In the next few generations, the modeler will become impossible to beat, imo.
 

Alex_C

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So the other evening we played a small garden gig with two other bands. Our band was easy to mix and sounded good. Two tube amps (40w and 60w) and decent not-boutique pedals on guitars, with the bass player going into his 700w head and a 4x10.

The other band's two guitarists had helix and some other digital pedal and transistor amps.
It sounded tiny and fizzy. I was a bit surprised, frankly. The hype about digital and ampless playing is strong. Maybe it sounds good at home in the mancave or bedroom.

It was our first post-crisis gig. After this, I've definitely given up on getting a Boss GT 1000. Sticking with tubes, my Rat and a Carbon Copy.
A modeler can sound amazing or awful, same goes for a tube amp or SS amp. You need to know how to set them up. A modeler has so many options that it takes time to get it right. My guess is the other bands at your last gig did not setup their modelers properly. I use both a modeler and a tube amp, both are sound great.
 

burntfrijoles

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My overall impression is that modeling continues to evolve. We've come a long way since the POD. Each generation seems to be an improvement.

In the end I guess it's a question of utility. As some have said, it may work in a bedroom, or recording etc but it's less appealing for gigging. Then again, there have been a lot of posts on this forum of people gigging with their Tone Master, etc and being quite satisfied with it. I have always felt that modelers had this "digital artifact" sound with the fizzy, tinny after tones, etc. I have to say that I don't hear that as much with my Iridium and TM users don't seem to report it.

As for tube amp innovation, that's smoke and mirrors. It's great marketing. The differences, though they may be real, are too subtle for most folks to discern.
 

Spooky88

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As for tube amp innovation, that's smoke and mirrors. It's great marketing. The differences, though they may be real, are too subtle for most folks to discern.
Hmm, good point. Not all tube amps sound the same, of course it doesn’t require a sound engineer to distinguish between a Marshall and a Fender amp but maybe between a 65’ and a 68’ DRRI. I, myself can hear less than a 3 cycle difference at 440 hz. Comes in handy when Master tuning DIGITAL keyboards! SAY WHAT! 440hz isn’t equal in all digital formats. Look no further than retuning my Hammond XK3 and Waldorf Quantum to PAIR up. One set at 440 hz the other at 443 hz, I must say it sounds like the gates of heaven have opened when running those through my fearful cabinet. New technology presents new “issues” and if you have the “ears” you’ll intuitively find answers. I’m definitely a tube guy and love tweaking my Marshall to its potential. Now about that Fluke 8808A…..
 

burntfrijoles

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Comes in handy when Master tuning DIGITAL keyboards!
Ahhh digital keyboards. I have a close friend who is a professional blues piano/B3 player. He hates digital keyboards. Of course he uses his “plastic fantastic” performing but he says regardless Of how good the emulations are nothing beats the sound of his piano or B3.
I guess that’s somewhat analogous to the tube vs modeling amp discussion.
As for amps, the typical gigging guitarist isn’t using a $5,000 Bartel boutique amp on stage and the home guitarist can’t hear the difference.
 




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