Massive Cumulative NGD story thread

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by yingmin, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

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    I'm usually fairly slow to post NGD threads for stuff I buy, because I like to work up the skill to make an at least halfway decent demo video of it beforehand, and also because I'm just basically lazy about it. However, I've accumulated a pretty impressive stockpile of gear for the same purpose, and didn't make a thread for any of them, so here's the big 'un.

    But first, a little background...

    As I've mentioned in a couple threads around here, I've been on a quest to simplify my rig, in any number of possible configurations. I used to run a G System with a few pedals, and a Soldano tube overdrive pedal as a preamp, into a Marshall 9200 2x100W tube power amp that powered two Mesa 2x12 Recto cabs. I was using that in conjunction with a Roland GR55 guitar synth pedal direct into the PA, for acoustic guitar, clean electric tones and some other synth sounds. See homemade pedalboard below:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I considered a Pod HD500X for a while, but ultimately decided against it for various reasons. Then, a while later, a thought suddenly occurred to me, and I have no idea why I didn't think of it before: a Boss GT100 would work. Then I can still get all my guitar tones in a single board, without having to rely on my synth, and it carried certain advantages over the HD500 (although, off hand, I'd have a hard time remembering what they were). So I got the GT100, and found that the effects built into it were sufficiently good that I no longer needed the stompboxes (but I still used the Soldano for my main distorted tone). Here it is, along with a picture of my entire setup at the time (minus the synth).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Well, not too long after I got that, a used Eleven Rack popped up used at my local GC. Curiosity got the best of me, and I gave it a shot. Plugged into a QSC K8, which is what I use for my band, it sounded awesome. I was quickly dialing in the best tones I'd ever had from plugging a modeler directly into a speaker. I put it on layaway, and picked it up as soon as it was available.

    [​IMG]

    However, when I took it and my existing rig to my practice space (a.k.a. drummer's shop, seen above), all fell flat running direct through a powered speaker vs. going through my power amp and cabs. However, what I did discover was that I could get a tone out of the Eleven Rack, GR55 or GT100 modeled preamps that was comparable to, if not better than, the sound of my actual tube preamp. However, as much as I love the power amp and speakers I have, I was kind of hoping I'd be able to replace them with a single unit that could give me satisfactory tone running direct.

    That's when I broke down and decided that I needed to just get an AxeFX. If the AxeFX couldn't replace my rig, nothing would. I did a lot of research, decided that an AxeFX II best suited my needs, and tried to find the best possible deal on one. I made a couple offers on Axe IIs on eBay, one or two on this forum, but couldn't get quite the deal I was looking for.

    It was then that I had a completely different idea. By this time, I was losing faith in the idea that any fully modeled signal could give me the tone and feel I got out of my actual power amp and cabs. Since the GR55 got satisfactory tone running through an amp, I could have just used that as my entire rig, but it wouldn't be flexible enough, and would be difficult to use effectively live.

    So I bought a Roland VG99.

    [​IMG]

    I'd owned one before, and sold it in favor of the GR55 when it was released. While it made sense at the time, I began to somewhat regret the decision down the road, especially when I was no longer using the music player functionality. The VG99 is much more powerful than the GR55, easier to use, and offers some really nice features that are unavailable on the GR55 and GP10. I also remembered the sounds being slightly better, but at present can't confirm that with any conviction. And, since I didn't really need a lot of the synthesis options the GR55 offered, the VG99 was more suited to my current situation anyway. The VG99 came in yesterday, and I immediately set about to find out if a crazy theory of mine would work. The VG99 has a string bend function that one can use to get pedal steel-like sounds, basically a B-bender feature but much more flexible and powerful. I wanted to see if multiple expression pedals used in conjunction could allow me to use a regular 6-string exactly like a pedal steel. To that end, I also experimented with piano-style sustain pedals as expression pedals, because those have a feel much closer to the pedals on a pedal steel, and are more pleasing to use than expression pedals for many uses anyway. Most sustain pedals don't work like that, but I found one that did: the Yamaha FC3. So I bought one of those.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, though, the string bend function is more limited than I had hoped, and I can't get as in-depth with it as I wanted. Oh well, having B-bender and/or G-bender functionality on any guitar I want is still pretty good.


    So the next opportunity I had, I took all that stuff up to my drummer's again. The VG99 was comparable to if not better than all the other options, and I had fun playing around with all the functionality I'd been missing. The VG99 is, currently, the best solution for all the various things I do, and I'm glad I have one again. Of course, now I have all this stuff to get rid of:

    [​IMG]

    And now, a taste of the VG99's functionality:

    Splitting the strings, assigning one sound to half the strings and a different sound to the other.



    Using picking dynamics to toggle between two different sounds.



    Alternating between drop C and D standard.



    Using the sustain pedal to use the string bending feature.



    I still need to buy an FC300 to control this, but I now have the simplest rig I've had since the early days when I just plugged my guitar straight into a half-stack.
     
    mnemonic likes this.
  2. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

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    I make the best threads.
     
  3. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    Cool story. :yesway:

    Reminds me of why it's probably a good thing that I'm not in a band any more. I'd be swapping pedals/pre-amps out every other week. :lol: Since I'm not, the wife has me on a pretty short leash when it comes to buying new stuff.
     
  4. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

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    This was definitely the fastest shuffling of gear I've ever done. Having potentially eight different rig configurations available to me at once is definitely a new experience for me. For the most part, I'm one-in-one-out when it comes to my main rig.
     
  5. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    I don't have the pictures for it but back around '04-'05 when I joined a local band, my rig was in a constant state of flux, let alone pedals.

    I had started out with an Ampeg SVT200T head and a Peavey Supreme XL. I was playing bass in the band & the Ampeg was acting tweaky, so I swapped it at a local store for a Trace Elliot head that went wonky within a day or 2. In the end, I wound up with a Behringer 4500 head & a Sansamp Bass Driver. A year or two later, I changed over to guitar (in the same band), so the rig went and I got a Marshall 4x12 back from a friend I had sold it to and bought a Crate Shockwave head that I ran a Pod XTL into the loop.

    After a few months of that, the Crate went bye-bye and I replaced it with a Tube Works MosValve power amp and an MXR 10 Band eq. That rig lasted for about a year until I got a Randall T2 head. Sadly, a few months after finally getting that, the guys wanted me to go back to bass.

    So I sold that stuff off & ended up with what I have now, a Mark Bass LMII head, a Peavey TVX410 cab along with various pedals but the best one being the Tech 21 VT Bass pedal. So yeah, I'm no stranger to swapping stuff out left & right. It's just a matter of determining when to be satisfied with what you have and when you really do need to upgrade.
     
  6. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

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    For me, it's not even a matter of upgrading my tone; it's more about retaining a satisfactory tone while simplifying my setup. I could have been perfectly with the tone from any of those setups, but it was about having the fewest pieces of gear and the fewest connections.
     
  7. 155

    155 SS.org Regular

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    most reasonable thing ive ever heard round here...
     
  8. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

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    Finally cracked the code on the guitar modeling in the VG99. The stock sounds are pretty muddy and dead sounding, but a couple days ago I did a deep dive on the extra EQ available on the modeled guitars, and got them sounding comparable to or possibly even better than the Dimarzios in my synth-equipped Strat. I'll post sound clips or a video soon.
     

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