I spent today sprucing up my first guitar, a 1993 Mexican Fender Stratocaster, giving it a full clean and replacement pickguard.
Fender’s popular Hot Rod range of valve combo amps are loud. Great fun for guitarists but potentially annoying to bandmates and sound engineers. Nobody needs that bassy woof thrapping your trousers and smashing your ribs as you focus on nailing that tricky flute solo.
After reading Paul Allen’s post on tone stacking with two amps and Rich Tozzoli’s tips on multiple amp mics, I wanted to try these techniques with both my amps. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to use two amps simultaneously while recording with Rhino and The Ranters at Base Studios, Stourbridge.
There are many ways to change your guitar’s volume or tone in live situations to create dynamics. Simmering through breakdowns, dialling down behind a vocal, cranking up for a solo, chorus or outro – all require control. Overdrive and boost pedals, or switching amp channels, are both options. Combining the two offers even more scope.
My main effects board is heavy. It’s also too wide for gigs in small pubs without a dedicated stage. So, I’ve built a micro-sized pedalboard that’s ideal for practising the guitar at home, rehearsing and performing.
At the end of 2012 I made a resolution to play guitar in a band regularly by the end of 2013. Four months on and things are coming together. I’ve played two gigs with Rhino & The Ranters and I’m starting a blues rock band with Alistair Jones. After two Ranters gigs and rehearsing with Alistair at Highbury Studios, I’ve found that I need a better guitar amp.