Any advancing player will start to be able to pick out certain artists they draw inspiration from. This opens the door for them to start developing their own signature sound. Whether you're going on stage or in the studio there are several essentials to get the most from your sound.
The First and perhaps the most important piece is the Amplifier. There are two main types of amplifiers; solid state and tube. Tube amps are the choice of most advancing and professional players because of their versatility and tonal warmth. One model to look at specifically is the "Fender Blues Jr." This amp boasts enough power to fill most small venues, a variety of tonal controls, and built in reverb effects. Although the "Blues Jr." is a fantastic amp, it's important to try out several different models at your local Music & Arts to find the fit for you and your sound.
Next we can take a look at some pedals. There are hundreds of pedal options for different sounds and effects, but there are a few must haves on any board.
Tuners: Keeping your instrument in tune is perhaps the most important thing for any player. I suggest The "Boss TU-3" because of its accuracy along with its several different modes for tuning. Other models to look at are the "Korg Pitchblack" and the "TC Electronic Polytune".
Distortion/overdrive: While some amps may have these built in, they won't offer the tonal control that an individual pedal will. My suggestion is the "Fulltone OCD". The "OCD" offers individual volume, tone and drive controls as well as a High/Low Pass switch. The "OCD" has been used in almost every genre offering everything from a light crunch to a screaming overdrive in one small box.
Equalization: Equalization or EQ as its usually refereed to is the process of boosting and cutting certain frequencies to draw out the most "color" in your guitar's sound. EQ can also be used as an effect to get certain kinds of tones like the "old time radio" effect. The obvious choice in this pedal is the "MXR 10-Band EQ" This pedal offers independent volume and gain controls as well as having 10 different frequencies to boost and cut. Most other models only offer a volume control and 6 frequencies to manipulate.
Compression: Compression is a process that makes loud sounds quiet and quiet sounds loud by narrowing an audio signals range. Compression can be used to even out your tone and draw out some of the great underlying harmonics in chords. My compressor of choice is the "Wampler Ego". The "Ego" offers attack, sustain volume and tone controls as well as an independent blend knob. The blend allows you to mix your compressed and uncompressed signals together to offer even more color to the sound.
Power supply: pedals need power, and instead of plugging them all individually, MXR makes the "ISO-Brick". The brick allows up to 8 9volt and 2 18volt pedals to run simultaneously.
Cables: along with your regular instrument cables, pedals are chained together with shorter patch cables. Most Patch cables, Like the livewire brand are sold in sets of three to get your rig up and running.
Pedalboard: Although a pedalboard is optional it allows you to organize all of your pedals and cables so they don’t get tangled. Check out "Gator" and "Pedaltrain" models or build your own!
All of the products here can be found at Music & Arts, and you can always ask your private instructor or one of ours for other suggestions. if you have any additional questions or would like to set an appointment to try things out call us or stop in and mention this post!