“when Did The Electric Guitar Become Such A Pariah?”: Joe Bonamassa

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by cochese, May 17, 2019.

  1. chrisjw5

    chrisjw5 Member

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    It's one thing for JB to play the Royal Albert at 'gig volume' and another thing for your cover band No Speedlimitz** to play at what you want to be 'gig volume' doing 3 sets on a Thursday at Beaner's Eatery.

    I think that's what Joe's suggesting but it's hard to tell because (and I really like the guy) he comes off as so defensive.

    Never start your article with an airing of grievances and a visit to the Museum of Past Hurts.



    **No Speedlimitz: A Tribute to AC/DC (JTBJE*) and solo Sammy Hagar

    * Just The Brian Johnson Era
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  2. sinasl1

    sinasl1 Supporting Member

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    Yes, I can walk and chew gum! :)

    Answer to your question about taking a gig- sure i would and I have. I’ve done full tours with no cabs onstage, for instance with a pop artist in 2013- in this case, cabs/onstage sound would have made zero difference because it’s not guitar-centric music really, it’s not what Joe is referring to in his article at all... sometimes it just doesn’t matter. To be clear I’m just advocating that if the MUSIC is guitar driven, dynamic like rock blues Metal etc and the guitarist relies on a tone with some dynamics, feedback, etc then let that be what it is and don’t try and turn them into something/someone else. Don’t dictate someone else’s artistic direction. To meet some “audio engineering fantasy” as Joe puts it THAT is the point of all of this, of Joe’s whole beef.

    The amp was made for tube amp lovers, to address the occasional (frequent?) need for quiet stages, easy direct recording, and versatility in a portable package, and yet it’s still an amp that sounds big and bold through a cab. It’s an attempt to try and find middle ground in all of this, really. See, I’m not just proposing that we continue doing exactly what was done in the 70’s, although that may work great still for some folks and they should continue doing it if that’s how they make their music. No, we are actually trying to come up with solutions
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  3. A-Bone

    A-Bone Montonero, MOY, Multitudes Gold Supporting Member

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    Problem solving is a cornerstone of creativity.
     
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  4. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

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    I appreciate the answer and I am pretty sure this will be my next amp. It's good to see top players and companies making an effort to come up with creative solutions for everyday needs/situations. Even direct, I think there is a world of difference between using a modeler and using a tube amp. I tried the modeling route and it's not for me, but think this amp is exactly the kind of middle ground I've been looking for.
     
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  5. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

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    yeah that I can see. I will take the artist vision over an engineer vision any day. That applies to records too. I've lost count of how many great live bands I've seen that ended up being over produced/quantized to death by an audio engineer in the studio. Really kills everything that made the music good in the first place.
     
  6. sinasl1

    sinasl1 Supporting Member

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    Ultimately if you can find an engineer (both recording and live) that works in harmony with the band, then you have something special. It should be a symbiotic relationship. The goal is hopefully to end up with the best music experience possible, and sometimes things like convenience will have to come 2nd when the music comes first.
     
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  7. tapeworm

    tapeworm Member

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    Agreed.
     
  8. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

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    yeah that's the ideal scenario for sure. It's difficult at the local/lower level. Thankfully, recording technology is at the point you can do it yourself if you work on that craft...but live, I'd say 99% of us are still at the mercy of what the venue dictates. That's where solutions like your new amp will really come in handy even for guitar driven music.
     
  9. DrSax

    DrSax Member

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    Wow, that sounds great. Almost like a renaissance fair for folk who want to go back in time to the way it used to be.
     
  10. mikebat

    mikebat Member

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    This reminds me of when Dave Grohl said that all bands should record like "back in the ol'days, to tape, all musicians playing live in the same room".

    Yeah, sure. In a perfect world. Maybe in your world. The rest of us just don't have it that way.
     
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  11. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

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    yeah that's my only issue with this sort of thing. It's like someone saying... "you don't know what driving really is like until you take a Lamborghini down a winding road at 200mph" . Most likely, that's absolutely true. It's also utterly useless for most.

    For most players the options are:

    a- comply with the venues volume requirements up to and including silent stages
    or
    b- severely limit your gigging options

    And if you can't gig, how do you get to the next level where you can do whatever you want? It's a catch-22 really. So you do what you have to do.

    This "stand your ground" stuff is great, but you have to have some leverage for it to actually work.

    I am more interested in seeing actual solutions/alternatives.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  12. Heinz57Pep

    Heinz57Pep Member

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    Become a YouTube sensation.
     
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  13. Seth L

    Seth L Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't see how on earth he could not be defensive.
     
  14. Gurn

    Gurn Member

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    About 2 years ago at a beach joint. I was at the bar.

    The band overall was too loud & I didn't enjoy the music. Earplugs came in handy.
    It was a classic rock guitar band though & it wasn't the drums that were obnoxious.

    I always carry foam ear plugs w/ me. I've been in gyms where they're playing classic Rock too loud.
    In go the foam ear plugs. Lately it's been Bro'Country that's had me reaching for 'em.
     
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  15. Superstick

    Superstick Supporting Member

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    Stop making sense Pete!!! These guys know everything!!
     
  16. Superstick

    Superstick Supporting Member

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    All the greatest bands have one thing in common......conviction. If the audience doesn’t believe you then you won’t have any kind of longevity. Just saying. Those bands have absolutely “stood their ground”. Period. So the argument on this thread continues to be the same. If you are a cover band in the corner providing ambience then comply. If you are an artist in a guitar driven band then stand your ground.
     
  17. Adelbatross

    Adelbatross Member

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    What? I'm not sure of his point in any of this. Is he making a case for louder stage volume to a bunch of people who mostly play at home or in a very small pub? Well, fair to say he's lost the plot.
     
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  18. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

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    True. But conviction to me means believing in your music strongly enough to make it work on any situation.
    Whether I'm playing for 2 or 2000 people, at 90 or 120dB, my rig or backline, I'll play with the exact same conviction.

    In late 2017 we played a benefit gig in a place that was smaller than my living room and the PA was one of those Fender Passport types. We got there and we made it work. It turns out the one of the guys attending the event worked for the House of Blues and liked us enough to bring us as the opening band for Extreme, Steel Panther, King X and Deadboys in 2018. Had we refused that gig or turned into a loud mess we wouldn't have gotten these opportunities.

    I'm sorry but I'm not going to sit home picking and choosing situations where I can hit the "sweet spot" on my amp. In the grand scheme of things that's utterly unimportant.
    And I'm not burning bridges on opportunities given to me either, because you never know who you're playing to or working with. That sound guy at the local little venue asking you to turn down (because it's his job) might get a gig at a better venue tomorrow and if you worked well with him he might remember you, but I guarantee you that if you gave him a hard time he will never forget you.

    We're a gear forum so there is an emphasis on tone and gear here and that's great, like I said I'm constantly looking for solutions and ways to improving that side of it. Really looking forward to trying out the PT15, since it fits my needs to a T. But at the end of the day, it's really about getting out there and playing your best under any circumstances. Having the right tone certainly helps, which is why I look for flexible options, but it cannot be the deciding factor on your conviction.

    So yeah, you should have conviction, but it shouldn't come solely from your gear or your volume, because rather sooner than later you will be in a situation where that won't be there for you but you will still have to make it work.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  19. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    I comply even when it’s ridiculous.

    I’ve had a mic’d ‘76 Champ on stage next to a drum kit and been told I’m too loud. This has happened at 40 person & 600 person venues.

    I had one sound engineer say “your amp is awfully loud” when it was isolated and he hadn’t seen it. I told him I had a 5 watt champ. He didn’t complain after that.
     
  20. cochese

    cochese Supporting Member

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    OP here. Wow, when I stumbled on Joe's opinion piece it was both surprising and relatable. It was also surprising that so many people responded. It seems like at Joe's level this type of thing wouldn't be an issue but it obviously is. It seems pointless to generalize a one size fits all approach to playing music. I thought the end of Joe's piece was pretty spot on:

    That's pretty much my approach. When I play with a full band and we have sound reinforcement they 9 times out of ten check the drums first, then bass and then they ask for guitar. At that point I ask my drummer and bass player to play and I set my volume accordingly. Like Joe, I use plexi panels for certain gigs. The fact that Joe uses plexi panels tells me that he is already aware of dealing with volume issues. If you notice the Tedesch Trucks Band uses plexi panels as well. They even have a wooden baffle between the two guitar rigs.

    Part of why this has become such a "thing" in recent years (imho), is in part due to technology. The ability for electric instruments to go direct in addition to the sophistication as well as power of today's sound reinforcement systems. While modeling, amp replacements, load boxes IR's may be great for the guy in a home studio or small facility it shouldn't be considered the only way to approach a live sound problem. Plus the confusion between sound reinforcement vs reproduction. If your sound engineer and you are not on the same page with this, you will most likely have a problem which seems to be the crux of what Joe is talking about. There is an interesting article in ProSoundWeb on this. https://www.prosoundweb.com/topics/...ent_or_reproduction_its_all_about_the_intent/

    From the article:

    Reinforcement: The Most Basic Approach
    Generally, most music begins with acoustic instruments of one form or another. Even the electric guitar is usually paired with an amplifier which is a very important component of the sound. And thus, the first goal of sound reinforcement is just that: to reinforce the existing acoustic sound so that A) a larger audience can hear the music – i.e. the sound is capable of filling a larger space, or B) that certain instruments can be brought up to the level of other instruments on the stage. This second category is quite common when mixing drums or electric instruments with acoustic sources such as horns or strings. Of course most often, reinforcement is a combination of these two things: some amplification of quieter sources to balance the louder ones, and an overall boost to fill a larger space and project to a larger audience.

    Reproduction or Production?
    This is where things get interesting. For certain types of music, reproduction is the goal of reinforcement. In other words, the FOH engineer is attempting to re-create the original event on a larger scale or in a different venue...
    A very different situation, but still reproduction in my opinion is when the original event is a recording. In many cases, a touring act wants to present a live sound event that is similar to the recording in many ways. The same vocal effects, drum sounds, basic mix, etc. are all part of this approach. Often times, FOH engineers listen carefully to the recordings in order to glean these specifics so that there is a good starting point.

    The problem is when you have FOH engineer who insists on doing the latter when the artist wants the former. This is not to say that either methodology is wrong or right, but the performers and person mixing should be on the same page. If you're a hired gun working for an artist you pretty much have to capitulate to their wishes or they hire someone else. I don't quite get a specific venue dictating a particular approach. I get the volume aspect of things, but if a venue is looking for a band to be like playing a radio they may want to reconsider their entertainment choices.

    In Joe's case, he's the reason the sound engineer and stage manager have a gig on a given night. People are there to see him not the other way around.

    I can agree with many that volume can be an issue but don't buy into the notion that guitarists are the worst culprits. We've played clubs where the DJ is way louder than the band. Has anyone been to the movies lately? The sound in the average big screen cinema is way louder than any band I play in. Yet I don't see people running out of theaters and demanding a silent movie. Personally, I just bring earplugs. ;)
     
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