The Curse of Digital Gear

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by metropolis_4, May 7, 2019.

  1. middy

    middy Member

    Nov 13, 2009
    I’m just playing with an outlaw country type act right now, so it’s the complete opposite. Telecaster into a compressor into a Fender Twin. Sometimes I even turn on the tremolo or switch to the neck pickup!
    blue62 and geek-mo like this.
  2. adamquek

    adamquek Member

    Oct 29, 2004
    Freedom isn't free... it comes with the cost of having to choose.

    We're spoilt for choice these days, the best way to not get sucked down the rabbit hole is start with the end in mind, and consider how the digital tools can be deployed to achieve that end. Case in point, having 100 IRs is not more effective than just having the right one, even if the right one is buried in the 100.
    dmock66 and uab9253 like this.
  3. Ejay

    Ejay Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2017
    Man...I really wouldnt wanna be in your shoes tbh....or you need to learn to say “no” ;)
    Really...charts that say “amp type x”?...used to be “clean” and “drive”.

    Sounds like you guys are playing with a click...isnt there something running you can record to to make your life easier?
  4. edwarddavis

    edwarddavis Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    Bristol Connecticut
    I’m still in the 50s I guess
    I don’t think about it that much
    dmock66 likes this.
  5. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Member

    Nov 20, 2009
    1 - where are you playing that you get a chart?
    2 - expecting players to have common place technology is not really new. You were expected to have an amp in the 50's. Other than the acoustic, those changes are just a one click channel changes.
  6. markmann

    markmann Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    I'm trying to embrace technology but at the same time I don't want to over-complicate unnecessarily. Many times I see guys tap dancing during a song and I don't hear the change. I want to keep the focus on my playing and less on what buttons to press as much as I can.
    jens5 likes this.
  7. gbprs1

    gbprs1 Member

    Mar 13, 2018
    Reminds me of this John Lennon Nugget:
    In order to get a beefier bass sound for the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band title track, Martin and his team had McCartney plug his instrument directly into their studio console, a now-common but then-pioneering tactic. Lennon loved the sound so much that he wondered if they could do the same for his vocals. “John came up to the control room one day and asked if we could possibly inject his voice directly into the console,” engineer Geoff Emerick said, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. “George replied, ‘Yes, if you go and have an operation. It means sticking a jack-plug into your neck!’”
  8. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

    Dec 14, 2010
    It depends on the music director. Some are more particular than others.

    Yeah, unfortunately in a couple cases that overachieving guitarist was me! :)

    Yeah... but the only reason they ask for it is because it is now technically possible. 20 years ago they would just hire 2-3 guitarists.

    As for what's in the charts, it depends on the arranger. Sometimes I'll get charts that just say "GUITAR" without even an indication of whether it's meant to be acoustic or electric. I hate those because if the music isn't something I can listen to ahead of time, I can't really prepare anything until I get to a rehearsal and hear the band playing.

    Some charts are super specific. Here are a couple markings from the last show I played:

    "Clean, chorused, touch of tremolo and detuning, Rickenbacker"

    "Fat, bright, Chunky but clean-ish"

    "Slick Rock Sound. Distorted, aggressive, but not grungey"

    "Psychedelic, Phasey or Leslie'd with slight distortion"

    "Bright, chorused, heavily compressed Strat"

    "Wah-wah - Ad lib funkaliciousness"

    "James Brown via Prince"

    "A la Neal Scon"

    "Chimey with dirt"

    "Church Crunch"

    "Flanged psychedelic wash with small swells on each note"

    "Like Nile Rogers with distortion"

    "a la Curtis Mayfield"

    "Hi-Tech Phased"

    "Amp edge, shy of distortion - tight chix"

    "Clean, chorused, warm but pointed"

    "Slick 'Rockman' type distortion. Circa mid-80's L.A."

    "Crunchy and very distant with dotted 1/4 note DDL repeats"

    "Highly distorted + compressed + flanged + distant - a la Fripp"

    "TV Theme song rock lead"

    "Raging Soli. Seriously massive power ballad"

    "Jangles with hair. Not quite a lead sound"

    "Clean, Rich and Chimey. Like a not-nasal Rickenbacker"

    "Deep flange + 8th note delay with one repeat"

    "Warm percolator sound with a touch of phasing"

    "A la 'Eye Of The Tiger'"

    "Pretty sh!t"

    Sorry, got carried away there. Some of them are really fun :)

    1. Lots of places. Pretty much anytime I'm playing with a group that isn't a guitar driven band I usually am given charts. I do a lot of theater work and things like backing band for show choirs and such.

    2. Right, that's what I'm saying. As each new piece of technology becomes available it becomes expected that you will use it. Before the 50's (maybe a little earlier) guitarists just brought a guitar with them. Then when amps and electric guitars became common, they had to start carrying those because they were expected to have them.

    As for the changes, yes most of them become one click during a performance. The problem is nothing happens on that click unless you create it. If I need to click a button to turn on a LP + Marshall + Tape echo tone, then I have to first build the LP + Marshall + Tape echo tone, and then add the button click to turn it on. There aren't just magic buttons out there that instantly give you all these specific tones without you doing the work to build them.
    hotrats73 and yeky83 like this.
  9. Toby Krebs

    Toby Krebs Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    I have done some pit work. Mostly huge trade shows for a jewelry company. Begged off of those though.Great pay but difficult work.I greatly respect those that do it consistently.Digital or not it aint ez!
    metropolis_4 likes this.
  10. hotrats73

    hotrats73 Member

    Apr 12, 2014
    It really depends on how the player is and relates with technology.

    Maybe it's because I'm a sound engineer (or is the other way around) but I enjoy the process of building and tayloring patches for each song and song section even if there are only subtle differences.

    I've tried to keep a lighter approach, having a patch for the whole setlist, then I felt the need to have few ones covering more ground. And now I'm where I'm supposed to be, having a patch for each song. And amen. This is how I like to play

    Before embracing digital, even if I was happy with my tube amp+pedals rig, I always thought that sounds where just a compromise I had to accept.

    I had a delay with 3 programs, 3 modulations, two different stackable boost, a 2 ch amp, reverbs, wahs and a programmable switcher.

    I was able to have a lot of combinations but none of them was really made for a specific song or section.

    The idea that I can easily build a sound for each song/section makes me happy and being able to recall them with a single switch makes me happier.

    I love technology.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    metropolis_4 likes this.
  11. aiq

    aiq Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Northern Gulf Coast
    Oppression never sleeps.
  12. BrokenRomeo

    BrokenRomeo Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    I setup my Helix like a real amp and pedalboard rig, I use snapshots and stompbox modes and can do an entire gig with one preset...keeps things as simple as possible and I still have a lot of sounds.
    adamquek likes this.
  13. Strato62

    Strato62 Member

    Mar 14, 2005
    Minneapolis MN suburbs
    I have all these great presets on my Mustang amp, spent lots of time getting them right, and I still only use about three of them when I play live! a Clean Fender, an Orange for heavy distortion and a Fender Princeton, which is my main tone. I love the flexibility but don't always have time to change a preset.
  14. uab9253

    uab9253 Member

    Jul 20, 2017
    Mid Atlantic
    Tim Pierce did a great vid on preparing to play at the Grammy's or some other award show. The material and the tones he had to cover was broad, to say the least. You really have to have your poop together on those kinds of gigs, especially when live TV is involved. Kudo's to all who do
    metropolis_4 likes this.
  15. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

    Dec 14, 2010
    I enjoy the process of building sounds too, but sometimes I feel like I'm 70% sound engineer and only 30% guitarist. There are some gigs where I wish I could just play guitar! :)

    That's cool, I'll have to look for that one.

    I played a couple awards shows (way smaller scale than the Grammy's!) and they were super challenging gigs. We didn't get any charts until we arrived, and the only rehearsal time was a quick run through with the performers, so it was all sight reading. On top of that, these performers were used to working with musicians who have been playing these pieces with them for a long time, so they were expecting to hear things a particular way, and they expected immediate perfection from all the musicians.
    uab9253 likes this.
  16. otter5555

    otter5555 Member

    Sep 7, 2011
    2 patches per song max for me. if that doesn't cut're doin' opera :)

    for the thin skinned in the forum.....that was a joke :)
  17. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Economically speaking, that's called "Productivity Gains." Due to technology, you, the worker, are now 3X more productive, so your boss gives you a 0% pay increase!! He gets to hire fewer people, or lay off a few, and he keeps 100% of the rewards! Yay capitalism!!! OK, so that's a subject for another thread, but....

    The same exact thing seems to be applying to you here. Technology lets you switch from VH1 tones to faux-mandolin via a footswitch, so the boss expects to derive his productivity gains from that. Did he offer to share the money he saved by not having to hire a mandolin player for the day? I suppose not. You could tell him you're going to make all those changes that he wants, but you need to be properly compensated for it.
    metropolis_4 likes this.
  18. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

    Dec 14, 2010
    Sad, but so true...

    I see it even more with other instruments. It's becoming more and more common to replace several instrumentalists with one person using a synth and Mainstage. I've been seeing string and brass section sizes dwindling
  19. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

    Oct 13, 2007
    That's been going on since the 1970s. For a time back then, the contracts the Atlanta Chapter of the AFM negotiated with the Fox Theater prohibited the use of synthesizers in order to preserve gigs for string players. Those days are gone....
  20. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    middle usa somewhere
    I thought this was going to be about some new horror movie?

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