So I've noticed that a lot of people like to use direct boxes and amp modelers on this site. That's all well and good. Are there any fellow snobs out there? I'm I alone? Don't be afraid, stand up and be recognized! Stage volume be darned...we need our TONE!
Share your stories, tips, gear and generally snobby comments here. It's a safe place!
Let me clarify: This discussion for guitarists who are always chasing that perfect tone; who think the name "Tone Snobs" is funny because it doesn't reflect what we are; who believe that great tone can be and should be reached at any venue, at any volume level; and who want to help each other out in finding the best solutions and gear for the job (that is, of course, appropriate).
Just to recap: VOLUME does not equal TONE
I'm not a SNOB...well at least not yet. Having read all the comments..I can't wait to start my guitar lessons. I've always wanted to play the Electric guitar. Right now, I play the piano and sing for my church.
I CAN'T WAIT! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!! And to know this discussion exists just makes it all more fun!!! And with all the help too!!
I play with my Egnater Rebel 20 at 1W or 2W for the church service because it's mic'd. When I lead at the youth service, we're in a smaller room and I'm not mic'd so I turn it up to 20W. Same tone, same break. Sa-weet.
Goodness, yes!!!!!! I'm a tone snob! The only problem is, I'm just graduated from high school and only working a part-time job. I can't afford the awesome tube amps and the nice pedals. So I have to stick with what I've got - a Digi Tech Rp350 multi effects processor. I love it, and it works great for its purpose of providing a huge array of tonal possibilities right at your feet, but, oh, how I would love to have a colorful, sparkling tube head with a vintage celestian inside a top grade iso box! I've been thinking about the possibility of adding on a Blackstar HT Dual Distortion pedal because it is powered with a real tube, and it's supposed to have a lot of tonal options. I've also thought about getting a decent, low-wattage tube amp head with an emulated line out to go straight into the PA, but I'm not sure how this would compare to miking the actual cab.
I have a decent 60 watt solid state combo by Raven that I like, and I tried miking it for a couple weeks, but I received A LOT of grief from our sound guy about sound bleed, feedback, and lack of control on his part. This frustrates the mess out of me! I'm all for being able to be in complete control of my own tone since I'm the musician. My philosophy about tone is this - yeah, the congregation probably won't be able to tell the difference between you using a multi-effects board and a real amp, BUT...if you settle for one option that isn't quite top-grade, it just works, and they could care less about your sound. If you venture and find your perfect tone, I believe that it will make your music sweeter and more natural. Your ideal tone may be more effective than you would've thought in setting the mood and preparing the people's hearts for worship.
I just wish that I could afford to reach for that perfect tone in my head! lol
Don't feel too bad. I played through a solid state Fender Princeton 65 for about 10 years before I got my Egnater tube amp. Though to compensate I stuck mainly to acoustic. It takes time to acquire decent gear, unless you're fabulously wealthy (and if you are, hello! My name is Daniel and I want to be your benefactor, uh...I mean friend!).
One of the other worship leaders in our church has been in bands for a long time and he has also been leading from an electric for a lot longer. He has some really nice gear, and a lot of it. Sometimes I find myself coveting his rig, but I just remind myself that I just started to accumulate gear and I'll catch up eventually.
Hang in there. Don't buy crap just to have stuff. Wait to buy the good stuff. In the end you'll be happier with one decent pedal than 3 crap ones.
And on the subject of amps, think small. If you're playing in a church you should look any higher that 15-20W. If you can find a smaller one that gives you the tone you want, go with that.
About your sound guy:
It's always rough to deal with sound techs that act like that. Talk with your worship leader and let him/her understand where you're coming from. If you can get him/her on your side that will help with the dealings with the sound guy. When I played on a different worship team, we had a female leader and the sound guy didn't like the way her voice sounded so he would turn her down. I'm not saying that your guy is this extreme, but all sound techs need to realize that they are there to help the worship team, not rule over them like a dictator.
On the other hand, he may be right. Your church may be too small a venue for live amps, but then again, your church may be too small to have an electric guitar at all! I don't know your situation, but try to think about it from the tech's point of view.
Just make sure that your attitude is in check whenever you deal with the techie.
I had a peavey 5150 combo which sounded absolutely awesome, but was so heavy and impractical to move around, and also the effect send/return didn't work that well (you lost the pure, 5150 tone when inserting my fx rig) and had ground loop problems to top it off.
Well last summer I decided to change my guitar rig completely. I foolishly believed a work colleague who told me that amp modelers are so good these days you can't tell the difference between them and the authentic valve amps they simulate. I decided to go with the Boss GT Pro (which has had rave reviews) alongside a Mesa Boogie 20/20 (to give it some valve tone) and a Mesa Rectifier 4x12 cab (which is easier to move around than the 5150 because it's on wheels, but only just fits in my car).
The GT Pro's amp simulations are pretty good, but there's no way it sounds anywhere near as good as any of the valve amps it emulates. You hit a chord or some notes on the guitar and it just sounds loud - no real dynamic response to how hard or soft you play, simulated throbbing valves which sound fake, and fuzzy distortion uurrrgggh! The fx on the GT Pro are amazing (pretty much all the Boss pedals in one box - more than you're ever going to need) and can be controlled really easily, so that part of the unit was great.
I was so unsatisfied with the tone I decided to splash out on a Marshall JMP 1, skipping the amp emulators just using the fx on the GT Pro. My rig now sounds totally amazing with a real pure valve tone, nearly all the Marshall tones you can get in one rack unit (up to about 1995), and with MIDI control.
Maybe this seems totally over the top - not too many people have come up to me in church and said "wow, your guitar rig sounds so much better than before you bought that Marshall JMP 1!" But tone is totally important in terms of how I play and the overall sound I produce. I'm sure God doesn't give a monkeys whether I use a valve amp or 10 watt battery operated transistor. But the tone of my guitar and sounds I produce have a massive impact on the sound of the worship band. The sound I produce is me, and the gift God has given me to glorify Him in worship. I think every serious guitarist will be snobby about their own tone in a similar way!
So yes, I am a tone snob! I can't even listen to music in my car without a decent stereo, so now I'm turning into a boy racer though have managed to resist getting a sub in the back of my car - besides, I would never get my guitar rig in there if I had a sub!
"Verily I say unto you; there shalt be no solid state amplifiers in the paradise which Thine Father has prepared for his faithful children. In the valley of death the fires whilt never cease, and there shalt be weeping and gnashing of teeth for the luke warm believers that play through amp modelers!" - Epistle to the Celestions 2.12
Oh yes! Purely anology signal path (which means a $300 Maxon analog delay because it's the only one that I can find that gives enough delay time and it analog), Monster cables, 5 watt EL-84 amp that can be cranked to the power tubes compress sweetly, PRS Singlecut, Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive and a Lovepedal Les Lius, Vox wah(cause they seem to last about a week longer than the Crybaby...HAHA). I don't like any of thos modeling amps or anything digital. Our ears hear in analog and anything digital is actuallly heard only in blips.
I read an interview with Lincoln Brewster and he stated that he is using the POD and that he doesn't see a difference, but I can hear it on his recordings. I just can't dig them. Anything with a PCB need not apply!!
I can't wait to get to heaven... I bet the tone there will be awesome!!!!!