You don’t have to follow some social-media megalomaniac to clean up your rig. Here are some ideas, sans the photoshopped B.S.
I should be used to it by now, I guess, but I’m still mystified whenever I see social posts, self-help books, etc. that deign to be your guru on stuff like “decluttering.” Stuff that shouldn’t be that hard to figure out on your own without enduring soullessly staged glam shots and self-obsessed social-media spewings—or paying way too much for some patronizing, ghost-written POS book by someone with no profound insights or real expertise other than sociopathic dedication to elbowing their way into public consciousness for 15 seconds of notoriety. I’m not against the idea of sharing helpful tips. I’m just not going to ask you to pay anything or follow me as I pretend to live a perfect life.
So—decluttering as a guitarist. What exactly does this mean? It depends what sort of player you are, what sort of rig you play, and what your playing circumstances are. It also has both physical and meta aspects. The most obvious is to simplify and streamline your rig: Figure out which gear is indispensible to each gigging/performing situation, and then weed out what isn’t crucial—or acquire something that kills the proverbial two birds with one stone. This saves load-in time, hassle, muscle aches, and stage and vehicle space, and usually yields a clearer head on the gig, too.
As bandleader of a guitar-and-drums duo where I handle baritone guitar, vocal, and keyboard duties, I started out running both my guitars and keyboard through a bass amp and two complementarily toned guitar amps. Fortunately, I later found a single guitar amp that yielded the tones I want, so now it’s just a bass amp and a guitar amp. I’ve also consciously limited my board to medium size so I don’t have so many pedals to stomp on amidst all my other responsibilities. With all the cool stuff out there to choose from, it can be tough to rein in the tone-nerd tendencies, though. It’s all too tempting to think, “Shit, I guess it’s time for a bigger board.”
Interestingly, some of the gear I thought would help me better function in all my band capacities actually did the opposite. Case in point: To fill up sonic space in my duo, I use a fair amount of reverb and delay, and up until just a couple of months ago I viewed the expression-pedal capabilities of my MXR Reverb as a must-have for carefully tailoring how much “epic”-mode reverb is dialed in for every part of a song. Problem was, I was constantly tweaking it. I also love that my trusty Ibanez Echo Shifter lets me quickly tap in killer analog delay that matches a song’s tempo. But the more I’ve gigged and recorded within the confines of this band dynamic, the more I’ve realized these gear capabilities weren’t just unnecessarily wasting mental bandwidth that should be going toward playing and performing better, but were also causing extra stress and anxiety that made me feel and sound worse. I’ve since stopped using expression control with the MXR, and have instead dialed in a reverb level that works for all uses (what a concept, huh?). I also invested time in discovering a single echo setting that works for 90 percent of our songs. (News flash: Unless you’re the Edge, your echoes don’t need to tempo-sync—dial your feedback and mix settings right, and an off-kilter echo simply adds to the song’s atmosphere.) Meanwhile, it’s a cinch to flick the Echo Shifter’s self-oscillation switch for special occasions where I need the spacey sounds I used to get from the MXR.
When it comes to decluttering for pedalboard space considerations, I’ve found available real estate can often be optimized with various forms of stacking—from Tetris-like orientations to out-of-sight/out-of-mind attachments to very unstimulating but eminently practical box-on-box action. Examples from my board: To simultaneously use guitar and keyboard through the same pedals and amps, I have a small mixer/buffer box with dual inputs optimized for each instrument and a single output that feeds a mini tuner pedal Velcro’d to the top of the buffer. Meanwhile, sideways pedals fill in board gaps and enable me to hit two footswitches in a single stomp. And if you’ve got set-it-and-forget-it gear (like the A/B/Y box I use to send signals to multiple amps), have you considered using zip ties to mount it under your board? You may well save enough square footage for another tone toy!
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This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA
MLA Pedals AC/OD - Music & Demo by A. Barrero
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials