Skip to comments.Hands vs. Machine: The Survival of the Guitar in an Electronic World
Posted on 01/25/2014 10:21:49 AM PST by giant sable
One of the great paradoxes of modern popular music is the endurance of the guitar.
After all, electronic music has now been generally available for a half-century and logic would suggest that with its wide range of effects (including synthesizing the sounds of traditional instruments), its programmability and editing, and its plummeting price, that the guitar, that ultimate refinement of analog music creation, would by now have gone the way of the harpsichord.
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I play bass in a couple of bands. My 50’s rock band had a gig last night. In the 90’s, before I became a bass player, I figured synths would replace the guitar. I also thought they would replace the piano.
However, I learned a few things about piano players when I discussed it with them. And I learned a few things about guitar and bass players when I became one. It’s not exactly like this, but it’s in this vein: guitars were not killed by synths (nor were pianos) for the same reason recorded music didn’t kill live music.
The guitar is indeed alive and well. The traditional guitar tube amp, though, has faced some strong digital challengers.
It’s a phallic symbol. Those never get old.
The history and future of guitar noise.
If you watch and listen, he seems to want to come back to the original “raw” sound for inspiration.
Belew is a digital challenger.
“...the originator of those sounds still rules. The guitar isnt going anywhere. It helps us to understand what it means to be human.”
Yes, and consider that a strummed C to F to G chord means something slightly different in the ear of every human on the planet who owns a guitar. This is the Signature of God (or one of them at any rate).
Much better explanation of the issue.
Unnatural technical perfection is not what music is about.
He played a lot with Bowie.
The guy is amazing!
Not sure if you have seen this.
He has intentionally de-tuned his guitar.
So true. Non-tube amps and even hybrids were terrible in the 80's and 90's, but they have come a long way. I use a Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 for noodling around (I'm not currently gigging). It has a great sound. I got it because of all the effects and stompboxes that come with it. Can't beat it when you look at bang-for-the-buck.
The Peavey Vypyr VIP series and the forthcoming VIP Pro (see NAMM) are solid sounding solid-state amps. Cleans aren't that great, but if you play metal, they're outstanding. I play mostly classic rock.
A lot of players are looking to "get back to their roots" and getting single channel amps (JCM 800, etc) or a small two channel amp without all the bells and whistles of, say, a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster. Big market for old Marshalls.
Then again, a lot of people claim to be able to tell the difference between tube and solid-state amps just by sound. I can't. The only way I can tell is from the feel - the way a tube amp responds to your playing is different than transistor, and also feels more "organic", more "alive". When transistor amps can do that, well, it will be interesting....
Nothing like a tele through tubes.
Tube amps are analog, which is how our ears work.
That is what I play. An American special tele through blackheart tube amps. I use the five watt little giant at home and in the studio and the 15 watt handsome devil live. Best sound I ever had after 35 years of gigging.
Playing a new Guild D-55 made in New Hartford. I have to say, I like it far more than Martin and Gibson. Incredible instrument.
Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion
Would love to try a Guild, but I ain’t giving up my Martin! Love that guitar. Best one I’ve ever owned.
Nothin’ like strappin’ on one my strats and jammin’. The only button I care about is the one that goes to 11.:>)
Oh and another guy named “Fripp”.
To be fair, the ones I played were not set up for me. I like to down-tune and use open tunings and all the ones I played were not set up for that. The strings buzzed horribly and the 6th strings were so loose they slid off the fretboard just from a simple fretting (not even bending).
I don’t blame you for not wanting to give up a Martin. They are beautiful guitars.
A $2,000 used Guild D-55 (for my tastes) is equal to if not better than a $3-4,000 Martin. Ren Ferguson, previously with Gibson, is running the shop.
Don’t give up the Martin, but if you ever get the chance to try the D-55, I think you’ll be impressed.
Here’s a clip of someone playing one:
Sweet. I have major gas (gear acquisition syndrome.) goin pedal shopping this week. Enjoy!
Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing (Alchemy Live) - YouTube
“The guitar is indeed alive and well. The traditional guitar tube amp, though, has faced some strong digital challengers.”
You see the prices of tube amps lately? I asked the gy at the music store why are they so expensive. He said because the sound cannot be duplicated by digital equipment.
Oooh....that was pretty. That guitar had an amazing sound. As a matter of fact, I DID have a Guild before I got my Martin, and I sold the Guild to BUY the Martin! However, it was a cheap guitar, and the Martin sounds WAY better than the Guild did. What can you expect from a guitar bought straight off the hook from Guitar Center? HAHAHA! It’s funny how that came about. A friend of ours that we had been jamming with off and on brought it over one night and let me play it ALL NIGHT. So, by the end of the evening, after he knew I’d fallen in love with it, he looks at me and says “Ya know, Shawna, I was thinking about selling that guitar’. WELL HELL!!! Can you say SOLD!? Still the best git-fiddle I’ve ever owned, I play it almost every day. I have pounded the absolute CRAP out of that thing, and it just gets better with age. You should see the scratches, dents and dings on it, but it always stays in tune, and just the TONE of it is SHAWEET! Just like all the old gun slingers say...you can take my guitar out of my cold, dead fingers, cause I ain’t gonna stop playing till the day I die!
Glad that you found your instrumental soulmate. There’s no replacing that.
I was at the NAMM Show last week. Tubes are where it’s at.
What’s old is new again.
And to think I gave away my Fender Strat and Bassman Amp when I decided I wasn’t going to be the next Clapton back in the 60’s. Sigh...
Had I kept them, I could have sold them now so I could pay for my Health Insurance.