Holy Grail? what do you think...

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by gitpicker, Oct 12, 2005.


  1. gitpicker

    gitpicker Member

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    I'll try to keep this short and sweet, and leave room for others to chime in...

    I play through a 1965 Super Reverb - have since 1981... the same one - paid $350 for it at a local music store - they needed to move it cause it was blowing the doors off of the new solid state Peavey's they were making money off of.

    My amp has been making a funny sound, so I took it to my buddy who fixes my **** (Kevin Silva aka Uncle Alberts - the inventor of the Pro Analog Dual Drive). I had a rehersal tonight so I pulled a 100 watt JPM Marshall head that belongs to my bass player off of the trailer and hooked it up to a 1-12 cabinet loaded with a Mesa Boogie 90 watt Celestion Black Shadow.

    My point: plugged my Les Paul Special with stock P-90's straight into the Marshall - after about an hour I decided that OD pedals SUCK! This is the sound! Don't get me wrong - I love my Fender, and I will probably be buried with it - and I love effects pedals, even OD's - but the bottom line is that there is nothing as beautiful as a good guitar plugged into a great amp. Sure, effects pedals can enhance the tone and sound, I'm not arguing that point, but sometimes I think that we (or at least I) get a little carried away with all of these great pedals. We try to capture a little of the magic we have grown up hearing - try to grasp the whirlwind... sometimes it helps to get back to basics and remember where we come from (you remember don't you... your first guitar and amplifier, yeah, you really couldn't play very well, but thankfully you were blissfully unaware of that fact. But you knew, deep down inside, that the sounds you were producing lacked something. But every once in a while, you would hit a note or a chord that just "rang like a bell", and that inspired you to play just a little longer...).

    So my friends, every once in a while, just for a hoot, leave the pedals at home - show up to a gig or rehersal with 1 guitar, 1 cord, and one amp... and just play. Get back to basics. Then, after you have grounded your perspective in reality, add a pedal or two... and ROCK!

    The Gitpicker
     
  2. britishampsrock

    britishampsrock Member

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    what does this have to do with the holy grail?
     
  3. Ben C.

    Ben C. Member

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    I think he means he found his personal 'holy grail' of tone, not referring to the actual EH Holy Grail reverb pedal.

    -Ben
     
  4. britishampsrock

    britishampsrock Member

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    you're probably right. i guess it's just when i look in the "effects" section and see the words holy grail i think electro harmonix.
     
  5. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Yes, surely this should be on the lines of "epiphany" rather than "Holy Grail"?:D

    Actually I agree with him, I hate OD's too.........

    Best, Pete
     
  6. KLB

    KLB Member

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    Tone issues aside, perhaps the best part about using just one guitar - cord - amp is how it disciplines us to focus on the music. We like to think we are limited by our gear, but it is usually our imagination and lack of creativity that is limited.

    Guitarists use pedals to get more/different overdrive or distortion than the amps' base tone. Often it is because the volume that the amp breaks up and sounds "good" is too loud to be practical. Some amps simply don't sound good when pushed into distortion.

    I agree that a 50 or 100w Bassman/JTM/Plexi is about as good as it gets for a single channel amp to use with guitar and cord only. Unfortunately, they are too LOUD in most situations and are not good for the long-term health of our hearing.

    This is an old subject that has been... beat to death. There are a jillion threads on TGP about multi-channel, master volume, power scaling, different size amps for different situations, OD pedals, attenuators, speakers, blah blah. Many folks here are charter members of the OD pedal of the month club and have owned well over a dozen amps!

    For me, the "holy grail" is an amp that gets the tone I want at whatever volume level I need. Since I like both clean and distorted tones, this amp doesn't exist for me. It takes a combination of "blah blah blah" to get what I want. Nothing is perfect. If I played clean only, this would not be an issue.
     
  7. dosmun

    dosmun Member

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    I hear ya. I always use amp distortion over pedal distortion. I will use OD's to goose the amp a bit or to add a different flavor but Dirt pedals never quite got me there by themselves.

    Plug that Marshall into a 4x12 and you will really love the sound. A 1x12 just doesn't do a guitar amp justice.
     
  8. MojoHand

    MojoHand Supporting Member

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    GAS is cyclic. Right now the "bunch o' pedals into a clean amp" approach is surprisingly popular, but it wasn't that long ago that "natural amp distortion," and "plugging straight in" were the order of the day. Still, I can relate to your experience. Sometimes taking the guitar cord out of the pedal board and plugging straight into the amp is like cleaning a dirty windshield. Suddenly everything is so clear and pure and you're startled at how much you were missing... Pedals are a necessary (and pleasurable) evil, but nothing beats the sound of a great guitar into a great amp, cranked up and cooking.
     
  9. gitpicker

    gitpicker Member

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    Mojo Hand said "GAS is cyclic"

    Forgive my idiocy, but I have been reading posts here for several months, and I don't understand what "GAS" is. Could someone, more informed than myself, please educate me?

    BTW - I admit the title of this post is a poor one - I had a few drinks after practice and basically set about a ramble (I guess I am lucky that my only screw-up was a misleading title, a couple of months ago I got popped, and after spending time on this forum promptly went on eBay and bid on 3 Bad Monkey's! - Fortunately, I was eventually outbid on all of them...whew!!! I don't know how I would have explained that on to my wife!).

    The Gitpicker (cringing with slight embarrassment)
     
  10. CharlieNC

    CharlieNC Member

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    GAS is "gear aquisation syndrome"
     
  11. MojoHand

    MojoHand Supporting Member

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    GAS is "Guitar (or Gear) Acquisition Syndrom." It refers to the guitar player's irrational and compulsive need to acquire ever more equipment... particularly, whatever happens to be "hot" at the moment. Your experience with the Bad Monkey's was a kind of alcohol assisted GAS attack.

    By "cyclic" I meant that certain fashions in guitar gear come and go. The current trend towards "lots of pedals in front of a big clean amp" is just wrong headed in my opinion and, more to the point, it would've been anathema just a couple years ago. Mark my words: in a month, six months, or a year, the pendulum will swing the other way and everyone will sell off their Fender Twins and start obsessing about "natural tube overdrive" and "plugging straight in."

    I stand by my "GAS is cyclic" statement and I may even add it to my sig line. (If I don't quote me, who will?) Also, I believe it is Internet rule #3 that says "Never post to an online forum late at night after more than two drinks."
     
  12. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    I believe that any guitarist should spend a little time with his gear after figuring out a song, meaning by this, that we, including me, should tweak the amp, the guitars tone and vol knobs if usables and the pedals we have at hand on our pedalboard or multifx, until we find the right sound, with or without pedals, for the song, and write the settings on a piece of paper and trying it later with the band or home recording setup, I do both, as I'm in a copy band and homerecording my own stuff.
     
  13. gitpicker

    gitpicker Member

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    Thanks mojohand for the info

    I agree will all of your points - especially the one about the "wrong-headedness" of the current trend.

    I will do my best to observe rule #3 - but no promises.

    One last thing - "GAS is cyclic" - there, now someone else has quoted your words of wisdom - I will cite you as an aknowledged Philosopher of Tone, a graduate of the School of Rock, and a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Creative Noise-Making.

    The Gitpicker (newly enlightened)
     
  14. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    I believe that a Philosopher of Tone, a graduate of the School of Rock, and a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Creative Noise-Making, once said: GAS is cyclic!!

    There you have, both of you quoted :D :p
     

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