I've got GAS. Have you?

September 25, 2010 6:58 PM

GAS = (G)ear (A)cquisition (S)yndrome. What are you currently fixated on?

You know, I'm really REALLY good about not buying music gear. I go literally years without buying anything. Then I get an idea about something, and off we go. Recently, it's been about moving away from sampled sounds to real sounds. Hence the acoustic drum kit, and hence today's acquisition, a Blackheart BH5H head and matching cabinet.

I already have an early 70s (non MV) Fender Twin Reverb but to get it to break up you have to go to earth-shattering volumes (or overdrive the pre-amp, which never sounds the same). It's not a problem in terms of neighbors (our nearest is half a mile away) but it's very difficult to record that loud without building a whole isolated control room and all that shit.

So my gear libido fixated on the Blackheart, and I went down to the big smoke to play one today, and it was all that. A real no-brainer.

Anyway, it made me wonder what stuff the rest of you are considering right now and why? I'm always interested in why people acquire gear and what they think it can do for them.
posted by unSane (59 comments total)

My main GAS fixation is beat up guitar bargains. I love really beautiful guitars but I don't trust myself to keep them nice. So I have a collection of guitars with dents and dings from pawn shops and craigslist sellers who thought that their beat-up guitar wasn't worth anything. I self-imposed a one-in/one-out policy a few years ago to keep the collection from getting stupid and to keep from spending money I don't have. My wife has also been complaining about my little collection of beat-up amps. I swear I didn't intend it to become a collection.

But now I'm at a point where the only economically-justifiable gear acquisitions I can make are studio gear and that sort of thing. And that annoys me because, unlike guitars, computers, hard drives, and virtual instrument software go obsolete or break down. I just upgraded my home studio (haven't even set the new stuff up or installed anything yet). And, while I'm excited to play with new virtual instruments, plug-ins, and all that, I hate that my new virtual instruments won't last for decades like my guitars will. And what I hate even more is that, in spite of their short shelf life, virtual instruments cost as much as "real" ones. Grrrr.
posted by The World Famous at 8:05 PM on September 25, 2010


I'm currently scheming how to afford me a TC Electronics RH 450.

I called the local Mesa Boogie repair dude to get a quote on re-tubing my 54-pound D-180 (I love, it but fucking god.) and he was raving about the TC so I went down to my locally-owned neighborhood Bass Emporium and checked one out. They really are all that. And 9 pounds. The only equivalent size, weight and wattage, for years has been the Gallien Krugers and I fucking hate those tin contraptions.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:23 PM on September 25, 2010


Oh, since its on topic, does anyone have an opinion on synth plug-ins for Pro Tools? I just got Trilian (haven't installed it yet) and I'm going to either get Omnisphere or Hybrid, as well. It's narrowed down to those two because I need it to be compatible with the stuff commonly used by my collaborators on a specific ongoing set of house/electronic dance music projects. Any opinion on whether there's any compelling reason for me to lay out more money to get Omnisphere rather than the less-expensive Hybrid?
posted by The World Famous at 8:29 PM on September 25, 2010


I can't believe I messed up "it's"
posted by The World Famous at 8:42 PM on September 25, 2010


I'm not buying nearly as much as I was a year or two ago, but I have a bunch of eBay alerts for various sorts of gadget zithers and crank-driven instruments that I keep an eye on.

I just don't have the room for much more stuff. If I did, I'd get a full-size marimba and a set of tubular bells. And a trap kit. And an optigan!
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 8:44 PM on September 25, 2010


I've been buying cheap guitars (though it'll stop at...2) to turn them into a guitbass and bassitar, and any time I walk into my local music shoppe (which is fairly often), I get distracted and impulse buy all sorts of percussion whatsits that i probably don't need.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 9:06 PM on September 25, 2010


My wife just got scammed on eBay, trying to secretly buy me a "vintage" Ace guitar strap from the 60's, as she had seen me lusting after and bidding on some of them from time to time. She wanted to surprise me for my birthday in August (the strap didn't arrive in time, so she gave me a wrapped tracking number with a question mark on it to pique my interest.) But then when it arrived, she opened it up and it was obviously totally fake. She finally, just this week, after launching complaints with eBay, Visa and Paypal, got her money back with no help from a completely useless PayPal.
Anyhow, as a substitute for that and with an additional $200 birthday cheque I got from my parents, I bought some Yamaha HS50m studio monitors which are awesome. I'm still getting acquainted with them but man, what a difference. It's like a greasy film has been peeled off and I can hear what my mixes really sound like...which is sort of horrifying but also a huge relief.
I try not to have to much gear-yearning because it can get me into trouble and we're a bit broke now. I'd love some new mics, particularly a matched pair of Octava mics.
Also I've really been thinking about Rickenbackers lately. And Gibson SG's.
And I've always wanted a Guild M20. Not the new made in China ones, though.
You see? Danger.
posted by chococat at 11:10 PM on September 25, 2010


I have chronic GAS. Oh sure, microphones and amps sometimes break down my resistance to their "come hither" wantonness, their shiny, switchy good looks, but........guitars, oh God, guitars....I am but putty in their hands. Those curves, those alluring ebony fingerboards and ablone inlays.....those bewitching bookmatched maple veneers, shining and teasing and saying "hey big boy, wanna good time?". Locking trems and graphite nuts that just ease up to me and say "how's that for a wang bar, sonny boy". I just can't handle it anymore.... And now, yeah right now, this one sashays into view bold as brass, hand on hip, cigarette dangling from the side of her mouth. Oh no, oh lordy....this babe, she's lookin' my way.....
posted by MajorDundee at 4:01 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, Chococat, I wish you hadn't posted that. I REALLY need some new monitors. Those look sweet. I could even deduct them.

Tubular bells, fuck yeah. I have wanted a set from pretty much the day after I was born.

I think of myself as pretty hard-to-get when it comes to guitars. But then I see something like this and I just damn well KNOW that f I walked into a music store it would be coming home with me.
posted by unSane at 4:23 AM on September 26, 2010


Funny how taste differs isn't it. I've always been repelled by guitars with Bigsby-style tremelo systems - to me they look really clunky and inelegant, they kind of spoil the line of the instrument. Like I said - it's a matter of taste.

One thought I had on the back of this (cool and fun) thread is whether we should start up a MeFiMu marketplace somehow or other? Personally, I'd far rather buy and sell gear to friends than through eBay or whatever (and pay their exorbitant fees). There are, I suppose, obvious pitfalls with this if anything goes awry. I suppose one alternative would be simply to post "alerts" when we are planning to put something on eBay or similar sites. What I mean is if you have something you're about to auction but you have a price in mind you'd settle for, that could be the basis of the "alert" i.e. "Hey guys I'm about to put an x on eBay - I'll accept $x/£x for it if anyone's interested". Dunno. Might be a cool little bit of back-scratching amongst the community though.....
posted by MajorDundee at 5:22 AM on September 26, 2010


i did used to have a serious GAS problem, particularly when it came to effects. since i switched to double bass about five years back i've instead become obsessed with finding the perfect strings. this is a much less glamorous pursuit (no flashing lights or shiny boxes and buttons) but no less expensive (they start at around £100 a set). but at least i don't spend a fortune on 9v batteries...
posted by peterkins at 6:01 AM on September 26, 2010


Man, Chococat, I wish you hadn't posted that. I REALLY need some new monitors. Those look sweet.

They are $240 each at Long and McQuade, but I called Steve's and they had them for $199 each. L&M will always price match and I prefer to buy from them so they did and I did. This was like 2 weeks ago.
posted by chococat at 7:38 AM on September 26, 2010


I think that's a great idea, Major. I could very easily set up a swap/marketplace forum offsite. In fact, it might be worth expanding it from just music stuff. I have a ton of tech gear that I've been saving for a rainy day and I would love to see MeFi hackers have at it. Maybe I'll post something to MeTa to run it by the mods. I wouldn't want it to cause them any extra work or anxiety.
posted by unSane at 8:16 AM on September 26, 2010


Funny how taste differs isn't it. I've always been repelled by guitars with Bigsby-style tremelo systems - to me they look really clunky and inelegant, they kind of spoil the line of the instrument. Like I said - it's a matter of taste.

No kidding! I have not the slightest stirring in my loins for that tele you posted, even though I'm sure it's a lovely guitar. But I'm a fool for anything with a Bigsby. I almost put one on my 335 but wiser heads talked me out of it. I think I might retrofit my Mex Tele.
posted by unSane at 8:20 AM on September 26, 2010


I've never really been bitten by the gear bug, though over the years the list of things that It Might Be Nice To Have has steadily grown. I just don't actually buy stuff very often, and don't spend a lot of time thinking about the stuff I'm not buying, I guess.

But I can descend into reverie for the moment and produce a list like this:

- an RNC unit (doing compression inline before putting a track down would probably save me some time in post and an RNC would likely do a better job than my Garageband effects twiddling)
- a bass amp or a second guitar amp, since doing everything through my Deville doesn't give me a whole lot of range and something with a very different character would be nice
- an electric bass that, while not as awesomely painted as our John Deere custom model, had actual decent hardware on it and so wouldn't sound so hummy and thin when recorded
- a dedicated guitar amp mic (maybe just a 57)
- a four-channel sound interface so I can do more than just a stereo mix on my drum stuff
- some actual monitors for mixing, instead of living out of my Sennheisers
- some baffles for the basement, to hem in the cathedral echo for drum and guitar tracking
- a Telecaster, or something like it—I've got decent Gibson sound with my L6-S and some nice bluesy chime with my Casino, but no sparkly brash twang really to work with
- some shakers, and the ability to shake them consistently enough for it not to sound like muddled kindergarten foolishness
- something brass—trumpet seems like an obvious choice, but what of the noble french horn? Or a tuba?
- maybe a saxophone while I'm at it
- pedal steel is such a warm, unique sound, faking it doesn't seem like the right way to go...
- those little korgs are pretty awesome
- and so it goes

Finding the shortest distance between an item on that list and something that I specifically want to change about my writing and recording is the tricky part, and so I tend to go into a holding pattern and not buy anything for a while. Which is probably for the best, though I really ought to get that RNC at this point.
posted by cortex at 8:45 AM on September 26, 2010


Maybe I'll post something to MeTa to run it by the mods. I wouldn't want it to cause them any extra work or anxiety.

I can tell you are basic take is "we don't want to run a classifieds/e-commerce site".

I think doing an off-site, ad hoc "here's what I'm thinking about selling" sort of listing or mailing list thing would be totally fine if it's literally that—some of the folks here keeping each other appraised of some stuff they're planning to sell in case someone wants to get first crack at it—but it's not something we're likely to officially support as a Metafilter LLC venture because, fantastic intentions and high quality of character of those present acknowledged, oy what a tarpit that could be.
posted by cortex at 8:47 AM on September 26, 2010


Cortex, My RNC is *ahem* ... really nice.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:49 AM on September 26, 2010


Cortex, I think the Mex Teles are really good. You can pick them up for not much used and they are not expensive new either. They might need a bit of setting up to get them to play like you want but they have very good pickups in them, a little bit hotter than the American ones but still lots of twangle. I've had very poor experiences with the Japanese Fender stuff... the pickups seem to be voiced very differently, all top end and no thump. They are built well but you have to be prepared to do a transplant.

On the Blackheart that I just bought, when I got it home the top end was like a knife-pick to my ear (can't understand why it didn't sound like that in the store... acoustics maybe) so I followed a tip someone posted on Harmony Central and swapped out the 12AX7 tube for a 12AT7 and it instantly sounded really sweet. It doesn't have reverb so I fired up my Fender outboard, only to discover one of the tubes was DOA. Fortunately it was a 12AX7 so I transplanted the one from the Blackheart and now I'm rockin'.
posted by unSane at 10:17 AM on September 26, 2010


oy what a tarpit that could be

Even though I suggested it, I completely agree with that. But the idea of alerting that you're about to offload something seems safe enough. It's just a heads-up, get in first, take or leave it kind of thing.

I think the Mex Teles are really good
Amen to that. There is soooo much snootiness and bullshit around Fenders (if it's not "made in USA" it doesn't really count etc etc). Years ago when I was young and poor I bought a Squier strat because I couldn't afford a Fender. Take it from me that that guitar measured up pretty well against the "real" Strats I have now. I also had a Tokai strat - ditto. Now and again when looking at reviews of new guitars I stumble into nerdy guitar dweeb sites where you find guys nit-picking about whether something was made by a 70-year old snaggle-toothed master luthier in an authentic backwoods shack somewhere and all that old bollocks. All looking for the holy fucking grail. In the end - if you can play you can get a sound out of anything. If you can't - a $25,000 original '50's Strat and all the tweaking in the world and you'll still sound shit. (Christ, I'm such an arsehole sometimes....)

almost put one on my 335 but wiser heads talked me out of it.
just as well. I'd have hunted you down like a dawg, unSane....an' lynched ya fur craams aginst geetars. I have two 335s. A translucent brown one and a wine red custom shop one. Along with my Strats (which, with breathtaking hypocrisy, are both USA ones!) they're the musical love of my life.

a dedicated guitar amp mic (maybe just a 57)
Do it cortex. I've used various mics on my main recording amp (Fender SuperChamp) but I kept coming back to my SM57. So now I just use it excusively. Does the job reliably, faithfully and with no fuss. That's all you want really.
posted by MajorDundee at 11:02 AM on September 26, 2010


I want this kala ukelele bass badly (although not to play fusion), and a recent thread is at fault in introducing me to it.
posted by umbú at 11:03 AM on September 26, 2010


So now I just use it excusively. And sometimes exclusively too. Btw, how do you do that small font thing on here (The World Famous's done it above)?
posted by MajorDundee at 11:08 AM on September 26, 2010


Oh god, yeah, a couple ukes should go on that list too. I love my little Kilo but it's really not a robust instrument and playing with umbú's bigger uke last fall really sold me on how nice a bit more uke could be.
posted by cortex at 11:09 AM on September 26, 2010


You put "small" tags around the bit you want to miniaturize. So if you type this:

<small>Joe Satriani sucks.</small>

It comes out like this:

Joe Satriani sucks.
posted by cortex at 11:11 AM on September 26, 2010


thanks cortex. Thankfully I've never heard Joe Satrithingy. His album covers were enough to put me off
posted by MajorDundee at 11:19 AM on September 26, 2010


You're not missing anything: he's a wanker...with both hands.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 12:36 PM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I use an SM58 to mic amps. A guy who used to work for Shure told me that the only difference between the 57 and the 58 is the grille -- the capsule is identical. The slight midrange peak you get on a 58 is entirely due to that. You can basically turn it into a 57 by unscrewing the head which fortunately doesn't expose the diaphragm directly... there's a little foam baffle in there which protects it. So anyway at the very least if you have a 58 (who doesn't?) you can see what a 57 would sound like by doing that.
posted by unSane at 3:01 PM on September 26, 2010


There's a guy who plays bass for me sometimes who has a Gallien Krueger combo amp which is smaller, louder, lighter (you can pick it up in one hand) and better sounding than my old Trace Elliot.

Pricey but so cute.

One day.
posted by motty at 4:38 PM on September 26, 2010


Here's the post about the SM57 vs SM58 that I was remembering. I'll quote it so you don't have to click.
I was a microphone engineer at Shure.

The SM57 and SM58 are essentially the same, except that the SM57 was intended mainly for instruments and the SM58 for vocals. The SM58 has a ball grille that acts as a pop filter. The two mics have the same proximity effect at the same miking distance.

Because of its smaller grille, the SM57 lets you get closer to it for more bass boost. But if you are 2 inches from the diaphragm in either mic, they have the same bass boost.

They have a slightly different response at high frequencies because of the acoustical effects of the different grilles.

posted by unSane at 6:55 PM on September 26, 2010


Sorry if I'm boring anyone with this but I might save you $100. Here are the frequency responses of the SM58 vs. SM57. They are really close. The biggest difference is a peak at about 2K on the SM58 which probably adds a bit of air to vocals, especially female or breathy (like mine).

Once the grille is off the SM58 I bet they are even closer. A tiny bit of EQ would make them indistinguishable. 2K is pretty flattering to electric guitar, so if you had an SM58 I wouldn't hesitate to use it to mic a cab.
posted by unSane at 7:08 PM on September 26, 2010


I've used both the SM57 and the SM58 to mic guitar amps in the studio. They're not exactly the same (probably because of the grille). But they both work well.
posted by The World Famous at 7:10 PM on September 26, 2010


unSane, if you'll look again, you'll see that the 2K peak is on the SM57, which matches up to my perception using them on drums and guitars. If you'd asked me before looking at those graphs, I would have said "There's just a bit more high-mid bite to a 57 which gives snare drums and guitars presence."

It's funny that they're so close -- engineers who wouldn't dream of using the lowly 58 to record vocals in the studio might still consider the 57 the industry-standard go to for guitars or snares.

I think that's probably due to the kind of compressed sound they both have though -- acceptable for recording instruments, but not vocals. Live, a 58 is a great vocal mic -- mostly because they're almost indestructible.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:22 PM on September 26, 2010


Yeah, sorry, you're totally right about the peak.

I used the 58 for vocals for a long time but the moment I used a large diaphragm condenser my life changed for the better. My guitar sound is very trebly (typicaly single coil/bridge) so the 58 probably works well for that, especially when you're pointing it at the edge of the cone. The great thing about the 58 is that, in a pinch, you can record ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING with it. I've even recorded acoustic guitar with it and not gotten terrible results. I mean it's not gonna win prizes, but it's there.
posted by unSane at 7:43 PM on September 26, 2010


(Getting back to the original idea of the thread, I'll say that the two best purchases of the last 10 years have been an American Standard Jazzmaster and an acoustic drumkit. Those are the only two things I would replace without hesitation).
posted by unSane at 8:15 PM on September 26, 2010


Last time the GAS hit I was looking for a Jazzmaster, but I ended up getting this Mexican Tele instead. Now I wouldn't trade it for anything, it plays and sounds fantastic.
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:19 AM on September 27, 2010


The great thing about the 58 is that, in a pinch, you can record ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING with it.

Totally. If someone said here's $200.00, buy ONE microphone. I'd get a 58. Speaking of which... is that GAS I'm feeling?
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:25 AM on September 27, 2010


Oh, if any of you have gear acquisition syndrome for an Indian harmonium that worked until recently but then inexplicably stopped making a sound in spite of the bellows clearly still working fine, you can have mine for free. All you have to do is pick it up.
posted by The World Famous at 11:26 AM on September 27, 2010


I got a retro thing going on and it's gone beyond Teisco Del Ray and Rhythm Masters...I haven't been able to shake loose the idea of playing it all through a tuck and roll Kustom PA...with the columns and the mixer stand! Then I want my girl to have a matching bass amp! And then I want her to have this bass to go with it! And then I want to load it all into a baby blue caddy...towing an Airstream trailer...playing juke joints from Pensecola to Corpus Christi...

Erp, excuse me, I got GAS...
posted by bonefish at 12:17 AM on September 28, 2010


bonefish, you've just reminded me how desperately I need a Dan Electro baritone guitar.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:49 AM on September 28, 2010


For a year or so--a very recent year or so--the only mic I used was an SM58. It worked out pretty well, most of the time. I liked not having to really "worry" about anything. Just stick it in front of a source and wail.

unSane--you're digging the Blackheart after the tube swap? I've got the BH1H, which I f'n adore. The output of my SG's pickups is too hot to get anything totally clean out of it, but I discovered this weekend when I broke a string on the SG and didn't have a replacement that my cheapo Tele copy makes some really nice clean sounds through it. Even with just the pair of 12AX7 tubes, it does nice things at incredibly-low volume.

I'm GASing hard over a drumkit, although I haven't got space for one right now. Up next will likely be a ukulele and maybe a Xaphoon, and I might rent a violin outfit sometime in the not-very-distant future.

I'm also pondering a new mic, either a not-terrible LDC (the one I've got now is decidedly terrible, which led to the year-of-the-SM58) or an SM7b, the problem with the SM7b being that I'd need a new preamp (probably one of these). So still more gear.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:10 AM on September 28, 2010


uncleozzy, I'm loving the Studio Projects B1 for an LDC. It's stupidly cheap but it flat out rocks. I've yet to get anything but a superb sound out of it on vocals and acoustic guitar.

I'm really liking the Blackheart now it's got the 12AT7 in it. You can get a huge variety of sounds about it and the tone controls actually work and do something useful. My only quibble is that it has a LOT of top end, especially when it's distorting -- it's brighter than my Twin Reverb on 'bright'. (Mine is a 1970 Silverface which has a couple of caps that produce about -18dB at 6KHz... one of the reasons people prefer the Blackface amps, but for me using shrill guitars like a Jazzmaster, it's perfect).

But the natural compression is superb, especially when you are using an outboard reverb unit with it. You get a really clean attack and then the reverb fills in for you without muddying the sound. It's way different from the Fender Twin, which doesn't compress at all when it's clean. It's really turned me back on to playing through an amp rather than a sim, and I find I've no need for the RAT pedal with it at all.

I ordered Bitmo triple bypass mod for the BH5H which is supposed to take the edge off the top end and gives three different voicings for the amp, which sounds like fun. For $39.95 I thought I'd give it a shot and if it works, maybe try putting the 12AX7 back in.

I should really try it through the speakers on the Twin Reverb which are big old Celestions and have a nice thump to them but I need to make up an extension cable.
posted by unSane at 7:46 AM on September 28, 2010


I have a Blackheart "Killer Ant" that....well......I've used approximately once and am looking to offload. I'd like to hear the Blackheart you guys are talking about because I was seriously underwhelmed by the Ant - sounded like a cheap fuzzbox to my ears - and it's put me off exploring any of their other products. I tried it through a 10" and 2x12" Celestion speakers and it sounded crap regardless. Unless I was doing something wrong in the set-up.......but I did ensure correct ohm setting etc.......???
posted by MajorDundee at 11:20 AM on September 28, 2010


Well, Dundee, unSane's got the BH5H ("Little Giant"), which I think has an EL84 in the power section, so it's going to sound a little different (more Marshall-ish, maybe?) than the all-12AX7 Killer Ant that you and I have. But still, amps are always an individual taste thing. I think the Ant makes some really nice tiny-Marshall-type growls at bedroom volume, although it does get a little fizzy and mushy once you pass 2 o'clock or so.

I'm running it into the Blackheart 12" closed-back cabinet that normally pairs with the Little Giant, and I like it, but it does need a bit of help in the bottom end (I stick it across a corner, on the hardwood floor, to record, which beefs it up significantly).

In any case, I look at it as one of the only tools for the job (need saturated tubes at silly-low volume). It's the only amp on the last several of the recordings I've posted here. I can see, though, why you (or anybody, really) might not like it: it's brutish and really only does one thing.

Then again, I've recorded a Boss DS-1 ahead of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and didn't hate the results, so maybe it's just me.

And unSane, thanks, I'll take a look at the B1. It's not much more expensive than what I've got, but appears to be much more highly-regarded.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:51 AM on September 28, 2010


That's an interesting comment ozzy. I think that nuances of playing style (attack, string guage, picking style etc) can often be overlooked in terms of "getting a sound". I seem to remember reading something about some people not being able to get a good sound out of the Strat/Marshall combination whereas others (Hendrix for eg) obviously could, and then some. It would be interesting to run an experiment where two guitarists use the same guitar and amp and play an identical piece with the same EQ etc and then see just how different it sounds. The result might be quite surprising.........
posted by MajorDundee at 12:10 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always had a hard time with amps. Most amps that people rave about, I plug into and I can't make them sound like anything. I used to have an AC30 that was like a razorblade to the ears. After that I had a Marshall 2x12 but I never really liked it, just didn't suit my sound except when I was doing thumpa thumpa palm mutes.

The first come-to-Jesus experience I had was with the Jazzmaster + Fender Twin Reverb when I was playing surf. Holy crap. I still love the Fender Twin to pieces but it's just so mindbogglingly LOUD and you have to hit it with a box like the RAT to get anything distorted out of it, as it's so loud that it's impossible to hear anything else when recording, even in headphones.

I tried out a whole bunch of stuff before the Blackheart, including a Fender Champion 600, the Gretsch version of the same thing, some other small tube Fenders and so on. Mostly they sounded really boxy due to the small speakers, or had to be cranked really high to get any crunch out of them. I wasn't remotely convinced by any of them. I looked around for a non modelling Super Champ but couldn't find anything remotely local.

The BH was heads and shoulders above the other small amps I tried although it did sound very shrill when I got it home. I sort of want to put the 12AX7 back in it again and see if I can dial it a bit better.
posted by unSane at 3:33 PM on September 28, 2010


(And agree about playing style. I use heavy picks, heavy strings, usually flatwound, and I'm completely hamfisted).
posted by unSane at 3:34 PM on September 28, 2010


It would be interesting to run an experiment where two guitarists use the same guitar and amp and play an identical piece with the same EQ etc and then see just how different it sounds.

stevie ray and jimmy vaughan passed a guitar back and forth to record this
posted by pyramid termite at 6:13 PM on September 28, 2010


i'm hoping my GAS has passed - i just got a cheap ibanez 7 string - i was tired of having one humbucker guitar and also wanted one that had extended range

i think i'm through buying guitars, unless i happen to run across one of those old teiscos with 4 or 5 pickups that hound dog taylor used to play
posted by pyramid termite at 6:19 PM on September 28, 2010


My favorite amp of all time is the Fender Twin reverb. I had one for about 20 years and have been missing it for 10. They definitely beg to be played loud. I never did any recording with mine, but I can see how that could be a problem.

That brings me to my GAS situation. This isn't very gear-heady, but I'm trying to figure out how to sound proof my garage. That's a work in progress for the purpose of getting some drums for my kids and I and playing/recording with real amps again. unSane's previous post about sims vs amps reminded me of what I've been missing out on for a few years.

Just in case Santa Claus is reading this: Dear Santa, I've been AWESOME and would love you forever if you brought me on of these. Thank you, SNS.

(It's a dobro.)
posted by snsranch at 6:40 PM on September 28, 2010


I looked around for a non modelling Super Champ but couldn't find anything remotely local

Check that - me too. My SuperChamp is one of the modelling ones - mainly because the originals are either too hard to find and/or are way too expensive. And if you can't find one across the pond, I've got absolutely no chance here in Blighty. I've been looking for one since I read that the late Alan Murphy used them. He was a criminally underrated player in my view - innovative, melodically inventive, he'd often do something that made me go "oh yeeess". Died tragically young - RIP mate. That digressive eulogy aside, I've been very happy indeed with that little fella and would recommend it to anyone. I've used it on loads and loads of recordings and I'd bet that most people listening wouldn't know it was a 10" speaker doing the job. It'll make a Strat sound like a Strat, a Gibbo sound like a Gibbo etc - what more do you need?

I have serious, painfully contorting GAS for a MesaBoogie combo (only time I've used one was in "proper" studios) because they literally scream quality to my ears. But they are sooooooo expensive. And I kind of worry that I'll fork out 2 large ones+ for one and then find that my little £250 Fender chappie still ends up as my go-to recording amp. Which would be a serious pisser! I have a Marshall 2x12 50w all-valve hi-gain combo that is gathering dust and which I used to use live (with another 2x12 cab). But - like your Twin - it's just too fucking loud for recording in the space I have. Classic Marshall sound though - plug a Les Paul into it and you get that instant shiver-down-the-spine grunt 'n' squeal...
posted by MajorDundee at 2:07 AM on September 29, 2010


(Major Dundee sent me a guitar track recorded on his Super Champ to drop into one of my songs which is really beautiful, no FX on it, just a strat into the amp I believe... that's kind of what got me started on this whole quest!)
posted by unSane at 4:26 AM on September 29, 2010


Major Dundee sent me a guitar track recorded on his Super Champ to drop into one of my songs

........drums fingers on table, scratches arse ruminatively, glances at watch........ pulling your leg unSane
posted by MajorDundee at 9:19 AM on September 29, 2010


Paying job + deadline + upcoming MTB trip + head cold is making it hard to do the retakes!
posted by unSane at 10:11 AM on September 29, 2010


this has been an interesting read. I have too many instruments probably (and it's not worth going into what here because it's a long, long list), but I can always use more. I really want to get some smaller hand drums. I also like little gadgets, like the stuff the Electro Faustus people put out (I have the 102 theremin). I also also really want to finish making this esraj. And I guess maybe mixing albums on something besides headphones would be good, but this all requires a job so that needs to happen first.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:17 PM on September 30, 2010


So I put in the triple bypass mod to my Blackheart, which involved more swearing than I expected, and it really opened up the sound. Unfortunately while doing the mod I damaged the EL84 power tube, which failed almost immediately, so now I'm sitting waiting for a replacement. Grrrr.
posted by unSane at 1:12 PM on October 5, 2010


OKAY! I replaced the power tube in the Blackheart and with the triple bypass mod and a 12AT7 HOLY MOLY this thing rocks the house. There are three voicings. One is pretty much like the original voicing, but just a tad more open and jangly; the second has got a Fender vibe and bypasses the middle and treble tone controls for a really super-tight distortion; the third is more of a brown sound with early onset of a crunch and a bit more in the midrange. They all sound TERRIFIC.

The harsh treble is completely gone and a bit of tone control twiddling gives a big thump in the bottom end. You can still get it flabby by diming it but there's a resistor with the Triple Bypass kit which is supposed to fix this... you solder it across the volume pot which I guess drops the gain to the preamp a little bit.

Really happy about this now. It totally has a boutique vibe.
posted by unSane at 3:50 PM on October 7, 2010


I just finally completed my drum set (well, maybe ONE more cymbal...) this week--hooray for eBay. I think my next new toy needs to be a whamola, but I can't decide yet whether I want to buy or build it.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 11:22 PM on October 26, 2010


So last night at rehearsal, my singer let me play my Rick 4001 through his '68 Marshall 100 watt. Ho-lee shit. Why in the hell can't ANYONE make an amp like that any more?
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:50 AM on October 27, 2010


A bit of an update: I finally fixed the Blackheart (had to replace the volume pot) but with the Bitmo mod it sounds amazing, especially for those clean sounds that break up when you dig in.

I put the Bigsby on my Mex Tele and that was a big of a gong show... it just wasn't designed for that particular guitar configuration I guess... I had to fill the original holes I drilled and reposition the whole thing and it's still not ideal BUT as well as the fact that the guitar now has a trem, the effect on the tone was dramatic and good... more sustain and a 'denser' sound overall. I shimmed the neck to get the action back to normal and it's now a real joy to play... I definitely prefer it to the original configuration and it gets played way more.

If I had it to do again I'd just buy a Tele with a factory Bigsby, though.
posted by unSane at 7:49 PM on November 8, 2010


I bought two pairs of speakers this week. One was the Yamaha HS50ms that Chococat mentioned upthread... still waiting to be delivered, but the other ones I sourced myself.
posted by unSane at 3:28 PM on November 13, 2010


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