Should your rig fight with you a little, or help you out?

Sparky472

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I don’t understand this oft-repeated concept of your guitar (or any other gear) fighting you. Does not compute for me. I understand some players like heavier strings or higher action than others (I lean in that direction) but I don’t equate that with my guitar fighting me. That’s what feels good for me, matches my playing style, enables me to get the sound I want. It’s not a fight.

I want pedals to do what I want them to do. I want an amp to sound the way I want it to sound. The easier it is to do that, the better.
 

cousinpaul

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My strings are as heavy as I can manage without having to edit my playing. I've had pretty much the same amps and pedals for years and try to get the maximum dynamic range out of them but, like 11 Gauge says, the sweet spot cab be a moving target. I anticipate that and give myself a little extra to apply if needed.
 

Burning Fingers

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I don't fight my gear or expect it to make me sound great cause it's down to me to sound good and not blame any gear I use.

I do notice too many novice players using way too much of their effects ( mainly reverb and distortion ) thinking it makes them sound great..but all I hear is their effects not their playing.

I learnt to play on an acoustic guitar for 5 years and didn't have effects to hide behind or to fool me into thinking I sounded great so I developed my own picking angles to get the sound I wanted... I still learn new material on an acoustic as if you can make it sound good on an acoustic then you really understand the material and can translate that onto an electric.

Give a good guitarist an ordinary guitar and amp and they will still sound good...give a not so good guitarist the best gear available and they will still sound no so good.

There was a guy who came to a monthly 'Old Farts" music session who had the latest expensive gear..even his guitar was self tuning and his amp had every effect known to mankind built into it...but wow he sounded so bad... a mess of reverb and distortion... that it was hard to hear what he was playing...he ended up being uninvited to the music sessions despite me trying to help him get a decent sound...it just wasn't in his soul to sound good unfortunately.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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I prefer a guitarist that doesn't make it look simple. Although, it does get annoying to see a player turn around and fiddle with his amp every time the song ends. Saw Clapton once. He looked like he wasn't even trying or even acknowledged there was an amp for him on the stage, whereas Jerry Garcia looked as if every note he played was an experiment and stood in front of his rig tuning & twisting knobs for a few minutes before any song ever made it to the house mains. Some nights it was, but that is an entirely different thread.
 

Mr. St. Paul

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Mar 26, 2013
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Saint Paul, MN
To me, it's not fighting with my gear, or finding it easy. It's more like...playing a Tele is like driving a sports car with a manual transmission, and playing a Les Paul is like driving a huge hunk of rolling Detroit iron with an automatic transmission. Not a struggle, just different results with different effort.
 

AAT65

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I don’t understand this oft-repeated concept of your guitar (or any other gear) fighting you. Does not compute for me. I understand some players like heavier strings or higher action than others (I lean in that direction) but I don’t equate that with my guitar fighting me. That’s what feels good for me, matches my playing style, enables me to get the sound I want. It’s not a fight.

I want pedals to do what I want them to do. I want an amp to sound the way I want it to sound. The easier it is to do that, the better.
I would say that I agree with this post completely - like @Sparky472 I do find my guitars more rewarding to play with 10s than 9s (and I used to use 8s once upon a time). I would not call it ”fighting back” or anything like that, it’s just what’s comfortable…
I switched to 10s when I got a Jazzmaster, which came with 10s (slightly heavier strings are better for the low break-angle bridge) - and I just enjoyed playing those strings more than the 9s I had on my other electrics.
 

Sparky472

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May 22, 2011
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Austin, TX
To me, it's not fighting with my gear, or finding it easy. It's more like...playing a Tele is like driving a sports car with a manual transmission, and playing a Les Paul is like driving a huge hunk of rolling Detroit iron with an automatic transmission. Not a struggle, just different results with different effort.
I just don’t understand the analogy.
 

Skyhook

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Aug 12, 2014
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Turku, Finland
When you have to fight with your gear to make it work keeps you keen in your hunt for good tone observations.
[...] it keeps you keen in your hunt for a replacement. :lol:

Ken Rockwell said this about cameras and it applies well to this situation also(paraphrased):
"The job of the camera is to get out of the way so that the photographer can take his picture".
His point is that as soon as you need to think about the tool you're using instead of what you're doing with it,
your creativity will be hampered. He also said something like "All cameras take good pictures but the pro cameras
get out of the way quicker".

So... IMO he's got a point there although he comes across as a bit of a zealot when it comes to these things.
 

Barquentine

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UK
I used to play mainly pretty overdriven Marshall type amps with Gibson type guitars. Now I'm playing Teles through Quilter Cub. I'm using WAY less gain than I used to living on the edge of break-up - play lighly and it's clean, hit harder and there's plenty of punch and sustain. I have to work harder but I have so much more control over the sound. I love it.
 

57joonya

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I like a little fight , I like to be able to really dig in ,and if the action is too low that’s not going to happen . 10 and 11 gauge strings for me . On the amp side of things im starting to think I would like a little less fight. I have a hand wired Goodsell amp that is simple and fantastic sounding , but a fast response type amp . And it does highlight everything , the good and bad parts of my technique. Where I feel like I might sound better with a fender Princeton type. Maybe it’s just my OCD/GAS kicking in . But the amp is probably made for a better player than myself is what I’m saying .
 

dougstrum

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blu ridge mtn cabin
I don't like to fight, I just want to play and have fun!
It was a fight for me Saturday, power tubes were going, and it sounded like I was playing through an OD all afternoon~no fun! I like to play pretty clean. Why didn't I think to grab my backup out of the car🙄
 

msalama

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EUnistan
Neither. It should amplify what I play, with a sound that's appropriate for the stuff I'm playing at the moment.
 

Midgetje94

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Jack White talked about this in It Might Get Loud. He likes a bit of a fight. While the Edge has is techs set up every thing perfect.
 

Happy Enchilada

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God's Country
Life is too short to be constantly fighting. Just ask my first wife ... 👿

Seriously folks, I prefer gear that works and isn't finnicky.
Which is why I like solid state amps these days.
Besides that they are easier on my olde back at closin' time.

But what frosts my cookies is this.
You have an amp and a couple guitars that sound OK>great.
Then you hop into Ye Olde Lute Shoppe for some strings.
You admire a guitar on the wall.
You plug it into an amp you have heard great things about.
And the heavens part ... the tone is AMAZING ...
So you come back the next day and put some of your gear on consignment ...

That's the story of ... that's the glory of ... GAS. 😎
 

Blue Bill

Doctor of Teleocity
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Maine
I like a balance. A little fight, and a little butter. I play mostly Teles and Strats. For me, Teles have more fight. I practice mostly on Teles, the fight is part of the training, like wearing ankle weights. For gigs or rehearsals, I'm usually on a Strat, for the extra butter; you don't wear ankle weights in a race, right?

Here's my analogy: I used to ski a lot, I raced in high school. Since then, I've always preferred racing skis and boots, which are stiff, aggressive, and not very unforgiving. They're not very comfortable, and you need to watch your balance and technique, or they will catch an edge and fling you around. But on a steep, icy hill, if you work them properly, you can do fun things that softer gear just can't do.
 




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