Playing guitar in solitude is bliss, but for some of us, making music in public requires impersonating an extrovert.
Crowds energize extroverts. I find them draining. My favorite social evening plans are canceled social evening plans. When the pandemic hit, my first thought was: “Limited human contact. Sounds great! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I never had to shake hands again?”
Don’t get me wrong, I love people. It’s not that I don’t want to be around people. It’s just that I’m best in small portions. I can be charming and fun for an hour at best. In short, I’m an introvert. After my expiration date, nobody wants me around.
So, it seems odd that I work primarily in public. Concerts are full of extroverts feeding off the energy of others. It’s like they’re in tune with the magic of quantum physics—all their subatomic particles swirl together uniting them on a spiritual and molecular level. It’s beautiful, and I want that so much … but I just want it from a distance. Like, I’m onstage and the crowd is in front of me, and there’s a barrier, and maybe even bodyguards, separating us. I want to be part of it, but with nothing touching me.
When other kids were doing normal teen stuff like hanging out together, I wanted to run home and hang out with my guitar. The heart wants what it wants.
By virtue of the fact that I’m at a show, the crowd assumes I’m of the same extroverted tribe. I see them after a show, and they want to talk or hug or engage, while I want to run away, all the while fearing I’ll offend or hurt others by not joining them. I see myself in group photos after gigs, everybody with big, warm smiles while my teeth are clenched in a poor imitation of a smile and my eyes look a bit panicky.
I’ve heard there are two types of musicians: introverts and overcompensating introverts who are trying to pass as extroverts. Each of you, dear musician readers, voluntarily spent a disproportionate part of your youth alone in your room with an instrument. Teen brains are addicted to dopamine. Most teens get their biggest hit from social interactions, but for some reason, we chose to get our natural high from music. When other kids were doing normal teen stuff like hanging out together, I wanted to run home and hang out with my guitar. The heart wants what it wants.
I love playing music alone. That’s when I grow. That’s when new musical information becomes part of me, and my playing is the most interesting. It’s a brilliant, somewhat sadistic trick that the coolest stuff you’ll ever play will never be heard by anyone but yourself when you’re playing alone, unrecorded, unobserved. We’ve all been playing alone and thought, “Dang, I wish the world could hear this. I really can make music. Alas, there’s still no evidence.” Then the spell is broken, and we’re back to being just us, observed in our average state.
That said, as gratifying as it is to make music alone, making music with people feels a different kind of amazing, and once you get a hit of that, you’ll want more. The hippie in me thinks that it’s a Nik Tesla thing of resonance where we literally connect through those vibrating strings. (For more hippie pseudo-science, read my column “Vibing the Divine.”)
It’s a brilliant, somewhat sadistic trick that the coolest stuff you’ll ever play will never be heard by anyone but yourself when you’re playing alone, unrecorded, unobserved.
I’ve no doubt that people watching music being made do feel this energy, allowing them to connect to the music makers and beyond. If you doubt this, go to a Fairfield Four concert. In the interest of science and to rule out an act of God’s influence, go to an AC/DC show and you’ll feel connected to every fist-pumper in the place when the chorus of “Hells Bells” kicks in.
That’s the dilemma: Musicians need the public, the public feeds off live music, but often musicians are not comfortable around people. Thank goodness for lead singers. If you’re driven to be in front of an audience with a live mic, on some level, you probably crave attention. Front people are more eager to socialize, giving the rest of the band plenty of room to hide behind our instruments onstage and disappear after the show while the singer hangs out and talks.
I can’t find scientific evidence to back this up, but I see it in myself and in musicians I know, as well as celebrity musicians who come across as standoffish or arrogant. I suspect many of them are introverts on display, and that does not bring out the best in people.
Personality traits are not set in stone. We all have the capacity for adapting. If you’re an introvert musician who must hang in a crowd, just try to psych yourself up, paste on a smile, and impersonate an extrovert. Sometimes it’s not horrible and your brain will rewire itself a bit, making it easier to do next time. Then run home and play your guitar alone in your room.
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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.
Recreating the preamp in Silvertone’ssignature ’60s amp results in a surprisingly multifaceted overdrive.
Great drive sounds, ranging from characterful boost to low-gain overdrive. Unique personality. Powerful, flexible EQ.
Arguably a bit expensive for what it does.
Jackson Audio Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve
Once harvested for peanuts at garage sales and pawn shops—or free for lucky dumpster divers—the Silvertone Model 1484 Twin Twelve amplifier of 1963-’67 graduated to legend status over the past couple decades. Like a lot of ’60s gear with department store catalog origins, Silvertone amps and guitars provided great bang for the buck when they were new. But perhaps no Silvertone product—apart from the company’s Danelectro-built guitars—is as revered as the Twin Twelve. Mudhoney’s Mark Arm and Steve Turner discovered their charms early in their career, and Twin Twelves and their siblings remained backline fixtures for punks, garage rockers, and indie kids. But once the likes of Jack White and Dan Auerbach got on board, the market heated up considerably.
Now a collaboration between the revived Silvertone Guitars and Jackson Audio brings us the Twin Twelve pedal, an overdrive/EQ/booster designed to replicate the tone of the original 1484 piggyback tube amp. To accomplish this, Jackson essentially recreated the topology of the 1484’s preamp, effectively replacing vacuum tubes with JFETs. This method is common for many amp-in-a-box-style pedals. But the result here is a drive of many personalities.
Listen to the demo: https://soundcloud.com/premierguitar/sets/twin-twelve-review
The 1484 pedal does a beautiful job of evoking the look of the original 1484 amplifier, including the silver control panel, simple and elegant black lettering, black knobs with silver insets and red indicator lines, red amp-style jewel light, and even the humorous “Foot Switch” legend over the footswitch. What’s more, this pedal seems built to fend off home invaders and stage divers. It’s notably hefty in its heavy-duty folded-steel chassis, which measures 5" x 4" x 2".
Controls include treble, bass, volume, and gain—the latter of which never appeared on the original amp. A look inside the enclosure reveals a lot of space and few components. Juice comes from 9V DC that hits an internal voltage-doubler to improve headroom.
I tested the Twin Twelve pedal with a Fender Princeton combo and a 65amps London head and 2x12 cab as well as a Gibson Les Paul with humbuckers and a ’50s-style Fender Telecaster, and the first impressions were surprising. Expecting a characterfully sludgy mud machine and grungy pawnshop sonics, I experienced instead a toothsome and impressively versatile overdrive that works in a broad range of genres and playing styles. Fundamentally speaking, the Twin Twelve adds lots of character via a combination of thickness and edgy harmonic content. There’s a barky midrange bite that calls to mind the voice of many catalog amps. But it also has a lot in common with low-gain overdrives, like the Klon and Tube Screamer. Those similarities aside, it has a flavor and sound all its own.
Expecting a characterfully sludgy mud machine and grungy pawnshop sonics, I experienced instead a toothsome and impressively versatile overdrive that works in a broad range of genres and playing styles.
Silvertone may talk a lot about the 1484 as an exact recreation of the Twin Twelve circuit. But in some ways that might sell this pedal short. It’s a great-sounding overdrive by any measure. And, interestingly, it is better at generating American-toned twang, bite, crunch, and lead tones than just about any pedal I’ve played in a while. Clarity and articulation are good, and it makes a great clean boost at lower drive settings while retaining amp-like personality and sensitivity. The pedal is made even more flexible thanks to the 2-band EQ, which provides a lot of room for cutting and boosting the low- and high-frequency bands to taste. It means you have a very flexible boost before you even push your amp into overdrive. It pays similar dividends in overdriven settings, enabling players to explore both the dirtier, thicker side of the American amp tone spectrum or more sparkling variations.
The 1484 Twin Twelve is a great overdrive pedal. And the fact that it doesn’t simply clone one of the already popular drive circuits is a major bonus. The EQ is a great asset, too. But while the 1484 excels at capturing the spirit of the amp that inspired it, I’d argue that with most decent tube amps it sounds better than many real Twin Twelves I’ve played. Certainly, it’s more versatile. And that combination of tone and flexibility make it a very appealing overdrive alternative.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
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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.