Types of guitarists - digital processing vs analog/traditional pedals

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by ShadowImage, Jun 19, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ShadowImage

    ShadowImage SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    There seem to be two types of guitarists I have ever played with. One uses solid state and/or tube amps, cabinet and has an array of effects pedals and buys guitars which cost $1k+ in order to get the perfect tone.

    The other plays cheap guitars at or under $1k, uses a single digital effects processor which can plug into anything like a powered speaker, can recreate most any sound with decent but imperfect tone.

    After many years of playing with these two types, it has come to the point where I only care to play with those who use digital processing. Here are some anecdotal situations I have ran into which stand for the reason why:

    We need to rehearse but are short on time. Guitar player comes over, plugs digital processor pedal into a small monitor at my apartment, I on another, and we practice comfortably at around 60dB. I can sing with no mic needed.

    Arrive at venue and realize it's very small, so small they don't bother to mic the guitar cabs. Guitarist who brought his tube amp has to turn down to 1 and complains about his tone.

    Recently blew PA speakers trying to get PA loud enough so my voice can get over the levels of guitarist's tube amp which he has to set loud enough so he is happy with his tone.

    Tells guitarist new song has a section which needs delay and chorus. Rather than make a new patch on a digital processor he insists on buying an expensive new delay pedal but never actually does. Part doesn't sound right.

    Spending an hour before traveling to a gig loading up cabinets and amp heads into rented ($$$) vehicle or borrowed truck/van and taking multiple vehicles.

    Honestly I'm frustrated with constantly dealing with this. My 'musician wanted ads' in the future will say, "Digital effects processor preferred, NO TUBE AMPS PLEASE". My feeling is that as time progresses, bringing cabinets and amps to a gig is just impractical and unneeded. Save getting the "perfect tone" for recordings when people will have time to actually dissect it and won't be too drunk to tell the difference. There seems to be some kind of mental complex that tells people "you're not a real guitar player unless you have a half stack and some day you might actually need to play at 150dBs! :shred:".

    What are you thoughts and experiences on this?
     
  2. Pooluke41

    Pooluke41 H. Maddas

    Messages:
    2,257
    Likes Received:
    588
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    sounds like you're just stuck with shitty band members
     
  3. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    182
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    Location:
    same corn field, different state
    tube amp and a couple pedals suit my needs just fine, but thats probably because i only use 2 tones: clean and dirty and the only pedal I use other than a 10 band EQ is a boss DD20 that does (almost) everything I need it too. Just have to buy a separate switch so I can use the tap tempo and scroll through the memory.
    IMO digital modelers are good for their convenience and their versatility, but since I don't have a problem loading my gear like a normal person and I don't need 1000 different tones in 1 box then they aren't for me. I suppose what it boils down to is I'd rather have 1 rig that does what I need it to do really well than 1 rig-n-a-box that what I do + a million other things, but only does them just ok. :shrug:
     
  4. GiveUpGuitar

    GiveUpGuitar Give Up the Goods!

    Messages:
    541
    Likes Received:
    56
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I have never played at a venue that required me to turn my tube amp down to 1. As a matter of fact, I've played dozens and dozens of places, and my tube amp and I have never been part of anything you described. You're basically insulting the whole conventional style of amplification because one person didn't get along with you.
     
  5. Cyn__Theia

    Cyn__Theia They freak you out

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    I was having a discussion yesterday with a friend who basically put it like this; pedals are archaic technology and that while I could stand to learn much from building a board, it's inconvenient, impractical, and expensive (in the long run) when compared to the availability of digital patches. This is just a summary of our discussion, as it was a discussion about tone and tone chasing and the best ways to make investments without becoming obsessed with all this gear you can throw in front of your setup.
     
  6. bhakan

    bhakan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,647
    Likes Received:
    253
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I think your experience just happens to be bad with people using tube amps. I've had plenty of both good and bad experiences with both.

    As far as levels at practice, if you have a tube amp just turn down. Nobody cares about your tone at practice. If a guitarist with a tube amp won't turn down at practice and suffer with a slightly worse tone, that's completely him just being unreasonable.

    Again with levels, if at a gig you have to turn down to one to have a good balance, that's what you need to do. A well balanced mix of instruments makes way more of a difference then power tube saturation. For the music that I'm playing right now though, a slightly quieter tube amp still fits the bill better than a modeller, so a tube amp still makes sense. I personally have never had the problem of having to turn down too much though, because my drummer plays incredibly loud so to match him we normally have to be at least a decent volume.

    I will admit to it being a pain if a part calls for an effect I don't have, that is absolutely an advantage of digital.

    As far as lugging cabs, for my band, just bringing a modeller wouldn't work, as we play on a lot of shitty setups in basements and stuff. A lot of the times we're lucky if the PA can handle vocals over the band, let alone guitars and bass as well. Someone with just a modeller would be a huge pain in those situations as they'd need to borrow someone else's amp to amplify their modeller.

    In my experience, I've normally seen bands using all digital to take much longer to set up, because they have to run everything through the PA and set up samples and all kinds of other stuff, while other turn on their tube amp, plug in their pedalboard and play. For me with my band running all analog, it is easy to come in and set up all our gear quickly because for the smaller venues we play we don't mic cabs, so we're entirely self sufficient with the exception of vocals.

    I personally really like tones from both analog and digital stuff, but for the music I'm playing right now analog is way more fitting. Basically, you've just described shitty musicians, which use all kinds of gear.
     
  7. Mike

    Mike The Traveler

    Messages:
    2,567
    Likes Received:
    419
    Joined:
    May 18, 2013
    Location:
    OH
    I think it's stupid to limit yourself to who you can and can't play with just based on their rig.

    I've played with guitarists who don't have half of what I have, but they had twice my skill and I've played with axe-fx frfr bros who should still be learning fundamentals.

    If you find someone to play with, just make sure they have a travel friendly rig, regardless of what technology it uses.
     
  8. Vhyle

    Vhyle Jackson Shill

    Messages:
    1,253
    Likes Received:
    135
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    If he had to turn his tube amp down to 1, couldn't he run his amp at his normal volume and run it through a volume pedal instead? That way his tone is preserved? I'm honestly asking, because I've never done that with a tube amp, so I don't know if that would work or not.

    And also, I think you need to realize that "perfect tone" is entirely subjective.
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

    Messages:
    5,143
    Likes Received:
    1,402
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    To be honest, I still think digital guitar tones sound like crap compared to real amps. I don't like most of the AxeFX and Pod-whatever based sounds I hear all over the place- and a lot of those devices require incredibly expensive investments to get a good sound out of them.

    On the other hand, I can grab pretty much any ol' tube amp (my current head was less than $500 CAD and I've never felt the need to replace it), throw a boost in front if need be, dial something decent into it and have usable tone without spending hours digging through patches and parameters that, lets face it, are trying to emulate the same sound I get out of my crappy tube head. My setup cost me less than $1k for head, cab, pedals, etc- by buying used gear of lesser-known brands, stuff that's under appreciated because it doesn't say "mesa" or "marshall" on it- and I'd take this rig over AxeFx any day.

    The advantage to the traditional approach is that it's much easier to start small and build on your sound by making small investments over time. It's not uncommon for people to start with a rig that's the best they could afford at the time, and replace it piece by piece over time.
     
  10. silent suicide

    silent suicide Winter is coming

    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    165
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Location:
    Hörnsjö, Sweden
    Imo a combination of both sounds best to me, I use a tube amp with a multieffect and I can get anything I need from those things. preferably I would like a pedalboard with a switcher but the multieffect gives me all I need for a lesser price.
    Hell, lately I don't even turn on my multieffect unless I need some delay and verb for some lead playing.
     
  11. Cyn__Theia

    Cyn__Theia They freak you out

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    This is exactly what I was trying to stress in the conversation I was having with said friend, and he agreed. He suggested that it was best for me to start minimal and to do what is affordable while still sounding good to me, and if I wanted to refine it from a barebones setup and start building a board that I shouldn't really care what everyone else is using unless I truly want my tone to sound like (most) everyone else.

    I intend on making gradual steps before committing to something grand, as I feel that this will not only be the best way to figure out what I like, but will also have an easier entry price. Although I may spend more in the long run, I feel as if the experience and what I may learn through the process is worth it, versus just downloading patches crafted by someone else and running with it.

    Really glad that this discussion came up on here today, though, as it is really relevant to my current interests. :yesway:
     
  12. ShadowImage

    ShadowImage SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    It's true, maybe I have just been playing with difficult musicians but it's been an ongoing problem for 10+ years now.

    As a singer (and guitars and bass and keyboards as well on gigs) there isn't much more frustrating to me than getting levels right and having the vocals audible over the guitar. I'm probably speaking heresy saying this on a guitar forum but if you can't hear the vocals then there is no point in playing. To me it's like watching a "silent film" with a sound track and trying to guess what people are saying/doing. I certainly won't bother singing and straining myself if I realize it's inaudible.

    For set up it's incredibly easy. I plug my guitar into my volume pedal, plug it into the effects processor which has a balanced output and run that to the PA or speakers. Its probably possible to carry the gear on stage and set it up in 60 seconds or less.

    Vhyle, I think turning down on a volume pedal would create issues with gain reduction and thus loss of tone similar to turning down your volume pedal on the guitar.
     
  13. spawnofthesith

    spawnofthesith SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    165
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Location:
    Denver, CO
  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

    Messages:
    5,143
    Likes Received:
    1,402
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    Way to sh*t on your band mates. :lol: Sounds to me like you're just being too picky. I've played tons of shows that turned out great even though you could barely hear the singer- some places just don't have a good PA, or maybe a bad sound person- or maybe the people you jam with are inconsiderate to the needs of the other in the band, but that could just as easily be you.

    Drummers are always having to fight to have kick drums be audible properly during shows and jams. Bassists get tons of flak from guitarists just for being audible over their 20 string chuggs into oversizes mesas with the bass knob cranked up. I've played so many shows "deaf" from a bad monitor mix, or from being overpowered by another band members stage volume, or just because I play bass most of the time (ha), but who cares?

    Long story short, if you adjust your attitude, so will everyone else.
     
  15. ShadowImage

    ShadowImage SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    Lol, sorry did I just collectively insult every guitar player who insists on clinging to their traditional values of amplification and tone?

    Probably shouldn't say how I feel about vinyl records then... :lol:
     
  16. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,060
    Likes Received:
    586
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Location:
    Never Neverland
    The problems you have experienced are not the fault of the technology used by the players, it is the fault of the people themselves.
     
  17. stevexc

    stevexc Contributor

    Messages:
    3,102
    Likes Received:
    529
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    Well this is a fairly creatively dressed up "tube vs digital" flame-war thread...

    Dude. You've played with douchey guitarists and you've played with good guitarists. By coincidence, the douchey guitarists you've played with have tube amps and the good ones have digital setups.

    Yes, there are advantages to digital setups. But that doesn't mean that every guitarist with a tube amp is a douche and every guitarist with a digital setup is good.

    "Collectively insulting" any large portion of the userbase here or anywhere else is not going to make you friends. You should probably keep that in mind.
     
  18. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade Unhindered by Talent

    Messages:
    4,247
    Likes Received:
    1,181
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    Joe's Garage
    Bring the right tools to the jobsite. I have a vintage 1965 Fender Bassman that sounds great when pushed hard, but I'm not going to bring to that to a coffee house gig. With the amount of signal processing and amp choices out there, there is no excuse to get caught up in the volume wars.
     
  19. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,060
    Likes Received:
    586
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Location:
    Never Neverland
    That was my biggest issue when I was using modelers. It's not a big deal if you're playing in your bedroom or whatever, though you still end up wasting a lot of time tweaking. But when you play live, every show sounds different: the room is different, there are a different number of people in the room, etc., so you have to tweak the thing to sound right in that room on that day, which is a pain when dealing with those tiny LCD screens and menus. I can dial in a tube amp and some stomp boxes much quicker.
     
  20. fps

    fps Kit

    Messages:
    2,989
    Likes Received:
    215
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Brighton
    Sounds like nonsense to me, and I hear more stories about people buying $2k+ instruments then sticking them through digital modelling, and for almost every guitar application I can think of I find that concept megalulz personally.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page