Like it or not, it’s up to you to know how to get the most out of any guitar or amp you come across.
LEFT: A Line 6 James Tyler Variax and two Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifiers going through
a pair of 2x12 Mesa Rectifier cabs loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s.
RIGHT: A travelfriendly Line 6 M9 rests against a Mesa/ Boogie Big Foot
footswitch that provides channel switching and solo boosts.
“I didn’t play well because my guitar setup felt weird.” “I was having an off night because the rental amp didn’t sound good.” I hear these excuses far too often. As a player, it’s your responsibility to be on top of your gear, and in the professional world, it’s crucial to know how to deal with such issues. Like it or not, it is up to you to know how to get the most out of any guitar or amp you come across. The two most common brands of amps I find on stages full of backline gear are Fenders and Mesa/Boogies. Lets begin with some tips on settings for these amps.
The first thing I do on a Dual Rectifier is turn off the bass on my rhythm channel. The majority of the gigs I do require a crunch sound that has a little bit of dirt on the attack and a clean bloom. Removing the bass allows this to happen on a Dual Rectifier because the low-end rumble is dialed out. Next, I dedicate a separate channel on the Dual Rectifier for solos. Unlike the rhythm channel, I add a considerable amount of bass for lead sounds. Solos involve a lot of single-note phrases, so the bass adds support and body to the tone.
On Fender amps, especially blackface and silverface models, the first thing I do is turn off the treble and the bright switch. From there, I will add treble back in, little by little as needed. Taking the treble out of the equation and pushing the volume makes blackfaces break up in an organic way. Blackface and silverface Fenders can be bright to begin with, so turning off the treble is not as radical a move as you might think.
With other amps I’m less familiar with, I’ll start with everything at 9 o’clock, except the master volume, which I usually run pretty hot. From there, I’ll give each knob a full sweep and listen for the evenness of the tone pots. I look for the spot where the knob really kicks in and evaluate where it stops making a difference. A lot of tone pots don’t sound very different beyond a certain point. If an amp is still lacking a needed frequency, I’ll turn to my Line 6 M9 to beef up the tone.
Because it has every sound I would ever need on a commercial gig, the M9 is great for “fly dates” and situations where I don’t have my own amp. Plus it easily fits in my backpack—a real benefit. Sometimes I’ll use the M9’s EQ in the amp’s effects loop if an amp is missing a vital frequency. Using the effects loop puts the M9’s EQ after the preamp tubes in the signal path, so you can make tonal tweaks before you hit the amp’s power section.
Another Line 6 product that makes fly dates much easier is the James Tyler Variax. If you’re in a band that uses a lot of different tunings and sounds, you need to check out this guitar. The Variax comes in handy because pretty much everything I’d ever need sonically is loaded in the guitar. A few years ago, I used to fly with two electrics, a banjo, an acoustic, and a pedalboard. One electric would be dedicated for standard tuning and the other would be tuned a half-step lower to Eb. I only had to play banjo on one song and acoustic on a couple songs. Now, I just take the Variax and I can make all of those sounds happen with one instrument instead of dragging four cases through the airport.
Another reason I use the Variax is for its tuning abilities. The guitar has a rotary wheel that gives me immediate access to standard tuning, drop D, E% standard, open G, baritone tuning, and several others with the flick of a switch. The strings themselves are not changing tension, but the DSP in the guitar’s electronics instantly converts the strings’ amplified pitch based on the setting I choose. Because the guitar always remains in standard tuning, I don’t have to worry about the neck flexing and the intonation getting out of whack. Great!
Many modern electric guitars, like the Variax and the PRS Hollowbody series, are outfitted with piezo pickups and other forms of acoustic simulators. Whenever I use an electric guitar’s piezo pickup or the Variax’s acoustic settings, I run the guitar into an A/B box. This allows me to split the “acoustic” sounds into a DI that goes straight through the PA, and run the electric output into my amp. Acoustic modeling typically doesn’t sound very good through an amp that’s dialed in for electric tones, so using an A/B box is a good way to have the acoustic tones run down a separate line.
Several companies are making compact amp heads and direct digital modelers that sound fantastic. I recommend a great deal of research on different types of gear so you have a couple key pieces of equipment to help you get “your sound” in any situation. Once you have those items squared away, you can have peace of mind about your gear and get back to focusing what’s most important ... playing!
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.