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So I tried a Kemper

Johnkenn

Member
Messages
252
At the local GC Pro...and yes, it's definitely a bigger step towards perfecting the science. Here's my one quandary. After years of buying this guitar and that, this modeler and that, I've kinda come to the conclusion that what I want is something to make me a better player...and unfortunately, that doesn't exist. I'm a songwriter, and I've always gone back and forth from building tracks at home to hiring players for full sessions...and the thing that annoys me the most is probably not so much the sounds, but the guy playing them - me. With that in mind, I don't know if these higher end units are something I should invest in. I would imagine I would end up with the same frustrations, just with extra cc debt. I would imagine it would be a little more satisfying to have a unit that gets the guess work of a good sound out of the way though. I did pull the trigger on a fantastic Santa Cruz acoustic and a monster vocal chain - and now I'm getting acoustic stuff that sounds top notch every time...but, when I'm building tracks at home, I'm still limited by programmed drums and fake amp sims...I've just kind of come to the conclusion that if I want full demos, maybe I should just leave it to the professionals...
I guess I'm kinda babbling, but I just wonder if spending $2k is worth the investment...
 

Audioholic

Member
Messages
2,573
I think its possible to make great sounding music at home, building tracks etc. I have been doing that for a good while, and slowly getting better at it. What I have found is that not only does the playing matter, the ideas, song structure etc, the sound matters too. People will not liscense or publish tracks that are not up to their standard, and looking back on my past work, with some of the older generation sims and what not, I am kinda embarrased at how they sound. Wasn't so much the playing and ideas, as the overall production was not up to par with other guys doing the same thing and vying for the same work. TAkes time, investment and skill to get things up there, and it is possible even using programmed drums to get some killer sounding stuff. though its not a bad idea to have session players do the work by any means, but who has the budget to always pay them? certainly not me.
 

drock2k1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
798
I would say that the more you like your sound the more you play, the more you play, the better you get. I have worked with people who have made amazing music in their home. I would recommend buying one someplace that has a return policy. Give it a shot.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,946
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I guess I'm kinda babbling, but I just wonder if spending $2k is worth the investment...
If you have $2K to spare and think improving your guitar tone would take you from where you are to where you want to be then yes, I think it's worth it.

But given your post, and if funds are limited, I'm not so sure.

Buying a high end modeler is no magic bullet. If you are seriously concerned about your playing, dropping $2K on an amp may not be where your focus should be, as nice as it would be to have it.

You said "I would imagine I would end up with the same frustrations, just with extra cc debt" and I think that may well be the case. All of us want a great amp, and if that's where you are and can make the purchase without a significant sacrifice I'd say jump on it, but I would not go into thousands of dollars worth of debt to buy one if you currently have gear that gets the job done and you're more concerned about your playing than tone.

Personally I've decided, no more gear unless I sell something or save up for it. I just can't see going into debt for even more gear than I currently have.
 

gtr37

Member
Messages
6,841
This is an easy question IMO.

Try one out with the return policy.

Does it inspire you to play write

Can you afford it on the budget ..

Yes to those questions get the Kemper
 

MaxTwang

Senior Member
Messages
3,690
Getting your guitar setup properly and spending time working on your playing would probably payoff more than continuing to put money into equipment if that hasn't solved the problem in the past.

What gear are you using now?

What do you feel the session players add that your playing lacks?
 

LagunaMan

Member
Messages
684
I would put as much effort into practice now and later, once you get better, buy a modeller. By that time, a new improved version of modellers will be on the market. The gear complements your playing but it won't make you a better player without you practicing a lot.
 

bsic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,186
I found my axe well worth it. Not because it sounded better per se compared to my amp/pedal rig, but because:

- its easier to lug around
- it gives me the freedom to try other amps without spending any money
- I can ditch the giant pedalboard
- I can dial in many sounds for one effect, rather than one dialed in on my pedalboard and having to reach down amd adjust mid song, etc
- I have every effect I could ever use. This helps spur some creativity, without having to go out and buy another effect just to try it.

It's been great for me. All of the above would certainly apply to the kemper as well.
 

aleclee

TGP Tech Wrangler
Staff member
Messages
13,425
I've kinda come to the conclusion that what I want is something to make me a better player...and unfortunately, that doesn't exist.
Yes and no. There's no device that you just plug into and it makes you a better player. On the other hand, I've improved quite a bit once I found gear that inspired me to play/practice. I've had a lot of great gear over the years but I became a lot more diligent about practice once I had a setup that could sound awesome at any volume including silent (through headphones).

If your gear is a primary excuse why you don't practice, it could actually make a difference. If not, you're right that it's probably just more CC debt.
 

blewis

Member
Messages
210
If you don't have experience with modelers in general, I might suggest you buy a used Eleven Rack (11R) and see how that treats you.

You can pick up one for 20-25% the cost of a Kemper.

If you fall in love with the 11R, and/or modeling in general, you might find you can sell off some gear to subsidize your entry into the more expensive modeling world.

Same could be said for the HD500, but I have a personal preference for the 11R.

After years of buying this guitar and that, this modeler and that
Reading comprehension fail... I guess you've been around the modelers already.
 

Will Chen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,227
My .02 Kemper really sounds great, especially for headphones, direct usage. Last night at rehearsal, I used a Tech 21 Blonde with an EHX Magnum and 1X12 cab. Last week at a recording session I ran a VHT Special 6. I can get a great tone from all of them. All sound great. No gear purchase will make one a better, end of story. I recently posted some clips I recorded with the Pocket POD which weren't too shabby. If you really want that extra percentage, you could pay someone to reamp your tracks either with real amps, the Kemper, Axe, whatever. Really, its rarely the gear which is the roadblock in finishing demos/getting gigs. Whether or not any piece of gear is worth any specific monetary value is directly related to your economic condition, not some fairy tail regarding tonal purity...
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,946
While practicing on a regular basis certainly helps, my quantum leaps in playing have come when gigging regularly or when playing or studying with someone who knew a whole lot more about music than I did, as opposed to just practicing at home without guidance.

If you really want to improve as a player I'd seek out a teacher in your area who has the knowledge, skill, and teaching ability to take you from where you are to where you want to be in the genre(s) where you feel you need improvement.

I agree that new gear can inspire you to play more and should improve your tone on demos but a new amp is unlikely to cause you to advance significantly as a player. In your OP you said that you have bought many modelers. Did any of them cause you to be a much better player?

With that said, if you have the money and want the amp, go for it. The KPA is a great modeler, one of the best. Given that your focus is producing demos and you live in Sweden, I think it makes plenty of sense to get one when you decide to upgrade. But if improving as a player is really your priority or going into debt is the only way you can make it happen, I'd certainly give it serious thought before taking the plunge.
 

Johnkenn

Member
Messages
252
Well, I can play, I'm just not near session player level...but I doubt there are many here that are. I'm just using a HD500 right now...and I've totally downgraded my electrics lately...all I've got now is a mex Strat and a cheap Jazzmaster. You know, having an instrument that stays in tune and intonated perfectly would probably solve a lot of my frustrations.
 

BCy2k

Member
Messages
1,710
Here's my one quandary. After years of buying this guitar and that, this modeler and that, I've kinda come to the conclusion that what I want is something to make me a better player...and unfortunately, that doesn't exist.
I have a friend who is a really successful musician and has toured as a sideman with numerous well known bands throughout his career. He & I both believe there is a small, but real correlation between using quality gear to get quality sounds to inspire you, to encourage you to aspire to perform better. Everything you use sends a small message to you as a player or composer, and if that message is a distraction instead of an inspiration, then the results will often be predictable. I think good gear can help up to a point, but it's not the ultimate silver bullet in most cases.

Sometimes lessons can be helpful, but that can be hit or miss. Teacher/student chemistry is a huge factor in how well this may work. Other times having someone who is part coach, part teacher can work wonders too. I have a friend who is a world renowned vocal coach/instructor who has worked with pretty much a who's who of pop & rock vocalists over the past 30+ years. He's great at this. He coached on almost all of Kenny Loggins' vocal stuff (and is credited for this on his records). This guy goes all the way back to Glen Campbell - but he's worked with Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson etc. Fairly high calibre names. If these guys at the level they're at do this, why shouldn't you?

I've been teaching guitar & music for a really long time. I've also taught guitar & other things at CU-Denver, so I get the full on academic side of the equation as well as the, "I just wanna' improve across the board " thing. I've found that almost all guitarists (myself included) have "blind spots" somewhere in their playing, or overall musicianship. Things you can't readily identify on your own, and are difficult to fix because you can't quite get a handle on what they are or how to deal with them. Sometimes you need outside eyes (& ears) to take this stuff on. This kind of help usually comes in the form of a teacher, or a producer, or some other form of musical counselor or advocate.

I never cease to be amazed at players who will spend top dollar for all sorts of high end gear, but will not put a cent into improving themselves by trying to take their personal skills up a notch or two. Better gear helps for sure, but I still see performers out there in the trenches, being successful & kicking ass on substandard gear and it's because THEY are the primary force behind what they do - not their gear.

Not sure what you're looking for, but clearly throwing money into gear doesn't seem to be doing it for you. Best wishes moving forward.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,946
...having an instrument that stays in tune and intonated perfectly would probably solve a lot of my frustrations.
Absolutely.

Improving your tone by upgrading your amp can be inspirational but in my experience, nothing beats having a well set up instrument that, as the cliche goes, plays like butter, stays in tune, and has proper intonation.

If I'm reading you right, being an accomplished session player is not as important as songwriting is to you and a HD500 should be fine for creating demos. Yes, I'd be a whole lot happier with a KPA but only you know what your priorities are.

If you are really not satisfied with the HD 500, and it nags at you, it may be well worth it to upgrade to the KPA. At the same time I'd have to say that having a proper instrument set up professionally would be my number one priority. Not an expensive one necessarily, but one that puts a smile on your face every time you pick it up. Then get an amp/modeler that does the same thing.
 

Johnkenn

Member
Messages
252
I have a friend who is a really successful musician and has toured as a sideman with numerous well known bands throughout his career. He & I both believe there is a small, but real correlation between using quality gear to get quality sounds to inspire you, to encourage you to aspire to perform better. Everything you use sends a small message to you as a player or composer, and if that message is a distraction instead of an inspiration, then the results will often be predictable. I think good gear can help up to a point, but it's not the ultimate silver bullet in most cases.
Thanks, that's helpful...
 

Johnkenn

Member
Messages
252
Absolutely.

Improving your tone by upgrading your amp can be inspirational but in my experience, nothing beats having a well set up instrument that, as the cliche goes, plays like butter, stays in tune, and has proper intonation.

If I'm reading you right, being an accomplished session player is not as important as songwriting is to you and a HD500 should be fine for creating demos. Yes, I'd be a whole lot happier with a KPA but only you know what your priorities are.

If you are really not satisfied with the HD 500, and it nags at you, it may be well worth it to upgrade to the KPA. At the same time I'd have to say that having a proper instrument set up professionally would be my number one priority. Not an expensive one necessarily, but one that puts a smile on your face every time you pick it up. Then get an amp/modeler that does the same thing.
Thanks - I think this might be the ticket...
 

RayRay

Member
Messages
2,505
Thanks - I think this might be the ticket...
No doubt a kick ass guitar will help more than anything else.

But consider this. I played my new Pod HD bean for two hours straight last night, even though I have an Axe Fx II that was 3 feet away. The HD was fun as hell and inspired some new playing.

Guitar first. Then sort out the gear.
 




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