Amplifiers

I know a lot of this blog concerns the guitar and not the amplifier but I am starting to get more interested in amps. As someone who has been playing for a long time I know a lot less about amplifiers than I should. This also means I have been depriving myself of tone. Oh No! So I have been looking through the wide world of amps to try to figure out what I want. I should also mention that in almost every band I have played in I take the bass. I actually prefer it to guitar because you have a lot of freedom as long as you are on time. Not coincidentally I also like R and B, reggae and world music more.

With the bass I didn’t really care about tube amplifiers because I didn’t have the money and I wasn’t looking for tube driven distortion with a bass. However, the guitar amp is another story. I have always had solid state amps and now I think it is time for me to finally buy one.

Reasons to buy a tube amp

-The tone, this seems like such a vague descriptor but if mean that you want the distortion created by overdriving the vacuum tubes in the amplifier.

-The amp is ½ of the electric guitar. As an instrument an electric guitar on its own is quieter than a speaking voice, but when you plug it in then you get an instrument.

-Louder at less wattage

So I have been familiarizing myself with tube amps. They all have two different areas where the tubes are used preamp and power. Preamp prepares the electrical signal and power boosts the volume. I am also not taking this decision lightly because Tube amps are more expensive and delicate than their solid state counterparts.

One more thing about amp is that they come in a few different step ups either head and speaker cabinet or combo. The head and cabinet are nice because they get loud, you can switch up different heads and cabinets, but they are more expensive and bigger set ups. A combo is both head and speaker in one unit. It makes it more portable, usually cuts some cost, but they have to be miked if you need to play live.

I have been looking at Egnater, Marshall, Vox, Blackstar and Fender. So if anyone has any comments or suggestions let me know.

David

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Gibson Moderne

3 versions of the Moderne from Gibson.com

3 versions of the Moderne from Gibson.com

So if you have been following the Gibson website, or any website where Gibson guitars come up. You have noticed the Moderne. It is a very interesting guitar with an interesting history.

The moderne was developed in the 50’s when the flying V and Explorer came out but it is now released again ( it was actually released in the 1980s for a brief time).  Here is a little bit of background to the ‘new’ designs that Gibson released. Gibson guitars were being overtaken by Fender in the late 50’s and Gibsons were seen as old and dated. Fender had these great surf rock style guitars that were taking over. Also Gibsons were built to be solid well made guitars, Fenders were built with interchangeable parts and mass produced. So to compete Gibson put out the explorer and the flying v. These guitars were truly revolutionary designs. Although they never made the impact that the Les Paul and SG did they are still crucial to the arsenal of Gibson. However, there was a third design the Moderne that was not produced in the late 50’s.

I personally love these guitars. I love fender and their innovation but what gibson has done with body design is simply ground breaking. The more I read about them the more excited I get about buying that Les Paul. I also love the space age look of these guitars, and I can’t imagine how futuristic they must have looked in 1957, when they still inspire today. I will probably never buy another  flying v or a moderne but I will always appreciate them.

Guitar: An American Life

There is a wonderful book that came out several years ago called Guitar: An American Life by Tim Brookes. The book goes through the history of the guitar especially its life in the Americas and the US as well as Brookes’ journey through getting a new guitar. His old trusty guitar was broken on a flight and he decided it was time to get another one. I really liked the history of the guitar and how it is intertwined with the banjo and  the identity of the American people. The guitar used to be a ladies instrument, where as now it is a phallic symbol for rock stars. This is a great book for someone who is interested in history, guitars or both. Mr. Brookes is an writer for his blog and NPR, as well as his own books.

I am glad I got this book and it has definitely given me a new appreciation for the life and art of a luthier. However, the only problem I had with the book was the treatment of the electric guitar. He seemed to treat it as an instrument for punks and that folkies and classical musicians were at the top of the guitar chain. As someone who is interested in everything, I think that is a narrow view. Especially since the electric guitar is an American instrument. Sure it’s based off the Spanish style guitar, but at this point they have totally different uses, sounds and histories. Although to be fair putting both acoustic and electric guitars in a book that size would do neither justice. Hell there long books totally dedicated to telecasters and SGs.

I still recommend this book to anyone interested in the amazing history of the guitar or who is interested in the relationship a luthier has with his clientele.

This is his website.

http://www.timbrookesinc.com/