Thursday, June 22, 2006

Got GAS?

This most recent lapse in blogging has been both good and bad. The cynic that lives inside of me views blogging as an incredible waste of time. Especially when so much is happening in your life right now that it would take you hours everyday to blog it all with an above average typing speed. However, I guess it's basically my journal of sorts. It is definitely therapeutic to express my thoughts in writing and it's neat to be able to look back to see how I've changed over time.

This Sunday will be the last time that our worship team will be leading as a whole. The format of our Sunday morning corporate worship times will be changing as of next week for the duration of the summer. Due to facility limitations, the English side will be split up into 3 groups according to age: children (ECS-gr 6), youth (gr 7-12) and adults. One of our vocalists will be leaving to go to UBC in the fall and it is possible that the teams will get mixed up once September arrives. In the meantime, I hope to be able to organize a few jam sessions with the band once some of the younger team members are completely finished school and are on their summer vacation.

One of the big debates going through my mind for this month was whether or not to use an electric or acoustic. I've finally managed to organize my electric rig by getting all my pedals together on a pedalboard. I've been having massive GAS attacks over the past few months and have dropped a considerable amount of money on equipment. Although I have definitely wanted to play some Teles, ASATs, LPs and the likes, most of my GAS is in the form of effects.

When my Legacy and Classic 30 arrived, I only had a Boss CE-2 chorus pedal from my uncle and a cheap Zoom GFX-1 multi-fx unit. It didn't take me long to realize why the Zoom multi-fx was so cheap. When I plugged it into my amp there was a lot of humming and background noise. It also changed the tone significantly when I compared Legacy -> GFX-1 -> Classic 30 to just Legacy -> Classic 30 even when it was just being bypassed. At that point it was time to decide whether I wanted to go the digital multi-fx path or to go with single analog/digital pedals. One guy at my church has a Line 6 POD XT Live which is one of the top Multi-fx units out there. In hindsight, this would have been the most cost effective choice seeing as I've already spent more than the $400-500 price tag of a POD XTL on the individual pedals and my setup still isn't complete. I read a lot of guitar forums and spoke to a bunch of people who were all saying that pedals were so much better than getting a multi-fx unit (although the multi-fx is definitely nicer to haul around to gigs). Many of these people were the same ones who said that I should go with a tube rather than SS. Since I've been happy with my decision to go with tubes, I decided to begin the quest to create my own rig.

After a long string of GAS attacks, I now have a setup that looks like this:

[G&L Legacy] -> Boss Tu-2 -> Boss SD-1 -> ProCo RAT2 -> (Boss CE-2 -> Line 6 Echo Park) -> [Peavey Classic 30]

The chorus and delay are inside the amp's effects loop of the amp because I use a footswitch to toggle between the clean and dirty channels. It makes quite a bit of a difference when I'm using the amp's distortion to have the delay after the pre-amp tubes. Anyway, this GASing will subside for a while but I still would like to pick up a wah, noise suppressor (i think it would help with the single coils), and an EQ. I've been able to get some pretty cool U2-ish sounds with the Echo Park and now with the RAT, I can finally get that edgy distortion so I can play along with Sum41 and Metallica. The SD-1 acts as a nice boost for those bluesy tones and complements the RAT nicely. I've got a long ways to go before I'll be able to play like Satriani but it's a start. It's definitely a "poor mans" setup. I don't have any of those vintage, boutique, custom pedals. I think the only one with true bypass is my RAT2 but the tone colouration that comes from the others isn't bad. Then you have guys with the professional rack mounted effects. Overkill for my purposes. I don't even know how these guys figure out how to use all their effects.

Back to my dilemma...I wanted to do a cover of Tree63's version of Amazing Grace and in order to do that delay riff, I need to use an electric. However, I will be playing rhythm guitar for the rest of the songs and the electric just isn't as good for that as an acoustic. So I think what'll happen is I'll just get the lead to handle that part.



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