Over the last few months, I have made some major changes to my guitar setup, and there are more changes coming. I think that it will be simpler to operate when I’m done, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be simple to look at.
For one, I have gone through quite a few amps. I started out with a Stulce – a relatively simple ~8 watt tube amp. It was designed to get maximum tube saturation without getting unbearably loud. It was nice, but it didn’t have enough clean headroom. I traded that for a Genz-Benz Black Pearl, which is a 30 watt amp similar in nature to a VOX AC30. It was really jangly and chimey, and it got pretty rude when you cranked the gains, but it never really got seriously crunchy. I also acquired a 1970 Fender Bassman. It had great cleans and it was really loud, but it needed some work (new filter caps, pots, etc) and I didn’t really want to drop any more cash into it. I decided to sell both of them and buy a VHT Sig:X. The Sig:X is a monstrous 100 watt 3-channel amp that can do pretty much everything. I have talked about this amp ad nauseum here, so I won’t continue to do so.
My pedalboard used to be 36″ wide with a wah, a volume pedal, a bunch of analog overdrive/distortion/boost pedals, and a giant green delay pedal with a huge midi controller. It is now 24″ wide with one of these and two of these. I’m still figuring out some of the intricacies of the M13, but I’m really liking it so far.
The next change is going to be my speaker cabinet. I had an Avatar Vintage 2×12, but it was kinda cheaply made, and it didn’t have a very tight sound. I sold it, and I will soon be the proud owner of a Fryette Deliverance 4×12 that will match my Sig:X. A 4×12 is a really big speaker cab, and it’s going to be awesome. I have never had a half stack before, but I have a feeling that it’s gonna be pretty rock and roll. I was initially planning to buy the 2×12 version, but I happened to find a really good deal on the bigger one. The used 4×12 ended up being significantly less expensive than a new 2×12 so I decided to go for it.
The other little gadget that I’m planning to add to my setup in the near future is the RJM Mini Amp Gizmo. This thing looks pretty awesome. It allows you to control a modern multi-channel amp (including models by VHT/Fryette, Mesa, Bogner, Egnater, etc) with a MIDI device like the Line 6 M13. Basically, I can run a MIDI cable from the M13 to the Amp Gizmo to my amp. The M13 will send information to the Amp Gizmo, allowing me to use the M13 as my amp’s footswitch. I can assign a different amp setting (channel/boost/effects loop) to each scene on the M13. Rather than using distortion patches on the M13, I can use the clean/rhythm/lead channels on the amp. Here’s a little video that demonstrates how it works.
It’s going to be kind of a pain to get it all set up, but it will be super easy to operate once it’s done. I really don’t want to have to stomp all the time – I would much rather just focus on playing.