The following post is a guest post by Michael S. If you are interested in guest posting, please contact me!
Digital multi-effects pedals. Plug-ins.
You probably just cringed. Most guitarists who consider themselves worth a lick (puns!) can’t stand the thought of running their ax through anything that boasts “modeling” as if it’s an adequate substitute. Because hey man, there’s nothing like the real thing, right?
There was an article in the November 2011 issue of Premier Guitar, “The Beauty of DI” by Paul Allen. It talks about how people typically trash talk digital effects and usually lack all the knowledge needed to make such statements. I’d like to add, as an aside, I think that people get a little pretentious about shit because they think that’s how gear heads are supposed to act. Been guilty of it myself at times. And with ads and reviews coming at us from everywhere, abusing and overusing words like “tone” and “boutique” until they’ve lost all meaning, who can blame us?
The article’s not bad. It’s the column Tone Tips From The Road. Cool insight from a working musician.
Later on in the issue, in an interview with the band, Mastodon, guitarist Bill Kelliher mentions that he recorded 20 seconds of a solo on the band’s recent album using AmpliTube, and the rest he did in studio, the traditional way. I’ve listened to the track’s solo and I’d like to be able to say “Oh man, I totally hear the difference! WHAT A TONE SUCKING DIFFERENCE!” But honestly, that’s just wishful thinking, and probably is related to the fact that I happen to “know” it’s digital modeling at play. Sounds just fine to me.
Finally, I want to talk from personal experience. I used to be the guitarist in an 80’s dance band that worked steadily. I’m no longer with them, but they’re still going strong, making tons of dough. Their music varied drastically in terms of sounds and effects. You had U2, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Prince, The Cult, Bon Jovi, Tears For Fears, Erasure…and I wanted to produce sounds as accurately to the record as possible.
Originally, I had a rig of about twelve pedals that gave me every sound I was looking for, but there was a huge problem, I had to change the settings drastically between songs, which amounts to wasted stage time. So I took a chance at the high school dance with a missy who was ready to play, and despite hating a Digitech RP50 I had owned years before, bought a Digitech RP1000.
In short, it rocked. It did the job well and it did it in a timely fashion. I won’t say “BEST THING EVER! TUBES ARE OBSOLETE! SUCK IT, TONE-WHORES!!!” but I will say that the Digitech RP1000, and other pedals like it, are exceptional tools that guitarists shouldn’t write-off.
Two videos to check. One is a video I made showcasing some of the 80’s sounds I created. I have speech bubble links up on the video so you can jump around easily to different sounds. If you like ’em, or think you can make ’em better. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll see what I can do to get you the X-edit file.
The second video is way better. Because the guitarist is better and has a better studio. It’s guitarist Llexi Leon recording the Eternal Descent album. He recorded the entire album using the Digitech RP1000 through the front of a Marshall and comes up with some amazing sounds. I owned the thing and I don’t know how he got sounds this effing good. Check it!
All I’m saying is, I know it’s tempting to write off digital multi-effects and plug-ins, but they can definitely be useful, and that ignoring the stigma around them might help you create, which is the important part of this whole musicians thing we do.
Michael S. is currently the bass player of Sam Cooper & The Sleepwalkers. You can check them out at . Also, he does pedal demos, reviews, and other music-type things here at http://www.youtube.com/user/StatusMusicDesign.