Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

I HAVEN’T DONE a ‘gear’ ed­i­to­rial for a while, but last week­end I was play­ing an out­door gig in Bris­tol and had a bit of a reve­la­tion. You may know from my years of waf­fling, and of end­less pic­tures of me with nice gui­tars and amps, that I like my gear. Well, the back­line on this gig was sup­plied, and to save hump­ing the Mar­shall min­istack (my lat­est must-have!), I de­cided to risk it. When the gear list ar­rived I was heart­ened to see ‘my’ amp was a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe - the older, Amer­i­can­made, 40w, 1x12 one. I also elected to use my faded Fi­esta Cus­tom Shop Strat rather than the Candy Ap­ple Tele that’s been float­ing my boat on re­cent gigs. I also took a small board with a few choice stom­pers in­clud­ing the bril­liant Analog­man King Of Tone drive, Kee­ley-mod­ded Boss DD-3 de­lay, etc.

A cou­ple of in­ter­est­ing things oc­curred that day. First, al­though I’ve al­ways known Fender Hot Rods to be fan­tas­tic and re­li­able work­horses, hired-in back­line is of­ten on its last legs. This, how­ever, was amaz­ing! Hand on heart, I’d count that setup as among the top three tones I’ve ever had on stage. Sec­ondly (and I’m a bridge-only or mid­dle-only Strat pickup guy), I stayed on bridge-and-mid­dle the en­tire gig. I usu­ally find it too ob­vi­ously ‘Stratty’ and recog­nis­able, but with both sides of the K.O.T. on for the en­tire gig, and run­ning ev­ery­thing from the Strat’s vol­ume knob, it was just fat, beau­ti­fully com­pressed and ut­terly con­trol­lable. It was a cold and mis­er­able day and, while a few friends did stay to en­dure us, most felt they’d rather be in the beer tent. But I had a great gig! And what did I learn? That one of the most pop­u­lar amps in the world is pop­u­lar for a rea­son; and that if you put qual­ity in, you’re likely to get qual­ity out (I’m talk­ing about the Strat and King Of Tone pedal here, not me). See you next time.

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