I’ve just turned in my resignation to Gear Page. It’s an unwritten rule that to resign as a gear junkie, or from any one of many flavor-of-the-month-my-boutique-tubescreamer-clone-slays-your-slightly-different-boutique-tubescreamer-clone-hands-down gear message board clubs, all you have to do is sell your Dr. Scientist for a Danelectro. Or your Tim for a Fulltone. Or your Subdecay for an Arion. Or the kicker…your Timeline for a DD20. Since I have now done all three (edit…four…huh, guess counting poses a bit of a problem for me), I don’t see any real way back. I’m an outlaw now.
No, not really…that was just to serve as an (ultra-cheeseball) segway into the background for that gorgeous scene from Braveheart of the silhouetted mourners and Uncle Argyle says, ‘They’re saying goodbye in their own way…playing outlawed tunes on outlawed pipes.’ Well, this is my goodbye to my gear. And it’s being played on some very much outlawed gear. Where has it been outlawed? Why, on my blog, of course! hehe But this has been more or less my gigging board for the last couple of weeks. There’s more coming in, and unfortunately it’s not going to stay this small, but it has been a surprisingly wonderful couple weeks.
I give you…’Outlawed Tunes on Outlawed Pipes’…or ‘Sounding Good with Cheap Gear’. You may also choose ‘Ode to a Prairiewood’ or ‘Eh…I liked the Timeline better.’
So there you have it. Now if I may be so bold as to venture an opinion, I am actually quite pleased. That Godin strat? Found it used at Guitar Center for dirt cheap. And it is now my strat sound, even when the Prairiewood comes back. I’m blown away by that thing. The amp…well, those of you who have ever asked me for advice on a cheap amp know my answer all too well: Blues Junior with a tube swap and speaker change. Well, the speaker is changed on this, but I haven’t yet gotten a chance to buy new tubes. Still…diggin’ it.
Now here’s where the trouble starts. Because sides form. There’s the ‘DD20 slays the Timeline!’ side, and then there’s the ‘DD20 isn’t even in the same league as the Timeline!’ side. And, as usual, the real answer is far less extraordinary than either of those camps. Does the DD20 slay the Timeline? No. But does the Timeline sound better than the DD20? I have to say, yes it does. But does the DD20 sound good? Absolutely. So, this post is not to say that boutique gear is a sham, but merely to say that if you don’t have the money for boutique gear (or, if your Prairiewood gets decapitated), there is still a chance of sounding good with cheaper gear.
But, wait! No, seriously wait. Please, please, please do not go to Guitar Center and start buying everything up going, ‘I can sound good with cheap gear! I can sound good with cheap gear!’ The operative word there is ‘can’; not ‘will’. In fact, with both boutique and mass-produced gear, expensive and cheap gear, you are far more likely to sound bad. The point is that with a little research, some ear-training, practicing, taking the time to try things out and learn how to dial in proper settings, and studying what to buy and what not to buy, there is a chance of sounding good with cheaper gear. (‘So you’re telling me there’s a chance! I read ya.’) For instance, DD20: only other multi-setting delay besides the DC Timeline (and if you want to include the Strymon Brig and Cap as they have 2 settings) that does not run your dry signal through AD/DA converters. Beautiful, and sounds incredible for its price. And the bpm readout? Ahhh!!!! Heaven these last couple weeks. But the MXR Carbon Copy? Ya, stoked it has 600 milliseconds…but it’s basically unusable at a higher mix after 300 milliseconds because of the added noise on the repeats. So, do your research for sure and try a lot of stuff out. And just for the record, I think the Carbon Copy sounds absolutely lovely…just noisy at the extreme settings, which are its major selling points.
Here’s the chain:
Godin fat strat (I’m sure Godin will call it something else, but it’s a basically a fat strat with a maple body…I’m using neck pickup for swells, and going between bridge humbucker and neck/middle position for melodies)–>
Fryette Valvulator buffer–>
Loop-Master bypass strip–>
(Loop 1–>Ibanez TS7 in hot mode
(Loop 2–>Fulltone Fatboost v1 at 12 volts
(Loop 3–>Fulltone Fatboost v1 at 12 volts
(Loop 4–>George Dennis volume pedal
(Loop 5–>Boss DD20–>MXR Carbon Copy
(Loop 6–>Arion SAD-1
Fender Blues Junior (Celestion V30…and it says it’s some special edition Blues Junior…but I think that’s just code for ‘green tolex’)
Oh, and the reason for the cheap gear. You may want to ask your children (i.e. other guitars and pedals) to leave the room on this one:
Yep. And it’s actually worse in person, not to mention the electronics being all freaked out, too. Seriously a blessing to find a Godin used for so cheap the same day I desperately needed a guitar. Although I am typing this in a separate room…she doesn’t need to see her older sister like that.
So, I’m an outlaw now. Desperate times call for desperate measures. (lol So cheesey, but just so much fun!) As was (and is) actual Outlaws: