I wanted to share a short tale about my Memorial Day Jam Session.
Grab a beverage!.....
I got invited to a very fun jam session this past weekend with dear friends/former band mates/current old farts!
We ate, we jammed. We drank, we jammed and we ate some more. It was a beautiful day!
One of my great friends is the creator and former owner of a very coveted and highly revered guitar amplification company. The biggest names and best players in the industry uses this guys amps. They cost many thousands of dollars new and many thousands on the used market! He is quite proud of his accomplishment as he should be and will let you know why his amps are the bees knees and why your amp is...meh if you dare to ask.
I have one of his amps and they truly are every bit of bad azz!
But if you know me, you know that I live to challenge preconceived ideas of superiority. I love showing up with a Squire Strat and blowing away the dude with the Tom Anderson or the Suhr. I love showing up to coffee in my slow azz but pristine 1973 Opel GT and parking next to the dude who has the bomb AMG Mercedes and watching people circle around my Opel while all but ignoring his Benz.
My wife says I have issues....She's right, I do but that kind of thing makes me smile!
So I show up to this jam session and my man has one of his custom made $$$$ head and cab combos in a beautiful matching turquoise leather! It sounds amazing! He has a pedal board with nothing but the best. I cant remember all that he had on it. but it, as well, sounded amazing!
So here I come....
I walk in with my Line 6 Power Cab+ and pedal board that has a Helix Stomp, an Eventide H9 Max and Boss Blues driver. My Squire has been signed by Buddy Guy so I have retired from playing that one. So instead I showed up with a sea foam green heavy relic Fender custom shop '54. It's a sweet axe and it definitely impresses those who are impressed with that sort of thing.
I can see that my amp is getting the side eye as I plug it up. The level of comfort that my man exuded knowing that his amp (as always) was the top dog in the room was palpable. He rested easy on the basis of amp dominance and was going to have a good time being louder with a tone that was fuller, more dynamic, more lights, more knobs...The Top Dog!
I didn't use any of my pre made presets. Instead, I pulled up a blank preset and got to work.
My man was already set up, so I could hear what he had going on (Again, It sounded amazing!) and that allowed me to pull up a tone that was a compliment to his.
I went with the Litigator and threw on Kinky boost (bright), Alpaca Rouge Fuzz, Harmonic tremolo, Transistor tape delay, Double tank reverb.
My helix has a global high/low cut and i used the cream speaker model on the Power cab. I dialed up an envelop filter on the H9 which is in the FX loop of the helix.
So three gain stages, Clean boost, Blues driver and Fuzz of the alpaca. The Kinky and the Blues driver play extremely well together!
What happened? I was just as loud, just as full, just as dynamic, and I sat really comfortably in the mix. My lead tones sat on top of the mix without being too loud. I could roll off the tone on the '54 and get that Clapton woman tone out of the boost and the Blues Driver. I quickly assigned my delay mix to the expression pedal for swells and lead work. It sounded really good. It didn't sound like his amp. It sounded like MY amp and they sounded good together.
A few tunes in and everyone in the room (other than my man of course) is circling around the Opel (Line 6 Power cab and baby pedal board) Parked next to the Benz ($$$$ Turquoise Leather Monster amp)
They could not believe the tone that was coming out of that little speaker from Line 6! As you know to the boutique amp set, Line 6 is not worthy. Its for bedroom rockers to work out their pentatonic scales. You don't bring that crap to a serious "session"! Well not only did I bring a Line 6 set up to a "Session" but i left the boutique amp my man made for me at home in favor of bringing this assortment of line 6 mess!
The results are undeniable....My little set up kick azz!
I share this not to make fun of my friend, he is a good dude and I value his friendship which is why I wont mention his name or the name of his company. (trust me, You all know this company) He has had tremendous success with his company and it is well deserved. But like my wife said....I've got issues. I can't help but poke, not at him per se, but at the preconceived sense of superiority of one thing and the preconceived inferiority of the other thing.
I have always championed the "Under dog" and I always will even when the "Under dog" in this case has changed expectations by breaking barriers and delivering quality product at a really good price.
As an aside.....For my fellow Line 6'ers, I read the comments of a lot of people who complain that the tone they are getting sounds "thin" or "Muddy" or it takes too much "tweaking" to get a good tone.
I've been there! But taking a blank patch and pulling up an amp and treating it like an amp and not as a modeler really helps. If you do that, it takes no more tweaking than you would do with a traditional amp.
When you are playing at home, low end sounds glorious. When you take that to a live application, it can sound muddy or boomy. Guitar amps should not occupy frequencies that the Bass player calls home. Nor should they occupy frequencies that only dogs can hear. The low/High cut really helps seat the tone in a guitars natural sweet spot.
That sweet spot might sound really thin to your ears when you are tweaking at home but it sounds glorious with your band mates. Your leads can stand out just by boosting the mids as opposed to the volume. You won't need so much gain on your overdrives which cleans and quiets your tone and you wont need a noise gate which I hate.
I was able to kept up with my mans bomb azz rig without a single hitch! The power Cab/ Helix performed extremely well!
The only caveat is that we were playing Blues/Funk/Jazz. I can't speak for Metal Djent 7-8-9-10 string chug-a-lugg. I have never used any of the High gain models so I have no experience to share. Maybe someone who uses a power cab with high gain models can share their success story.
So the jam session went on to see the sun set and the Bourbon poured. We played like we were young and had a ball!
As we packed up our gear and trotted it out to our cars, I stopped to give my man a hug and tell him how great it was to see him and how much fun it was to jam with him again. I reached down and grabbed my Power Cab+. As I walked past him down the drive way, I noticed, as I was giving him the side eye, that he was giving my little speaker another side eye.
Some how, this second side eye felt different than the first.
I smiled all the way back to my Opel