2020 Review: Gigging Gear

Rather than do a ‘best of’ style post, every year I’m going to do a rundown of what gear we started with and what gear we ended up with – along with a discussion of why.

Previous posts in this series: [2019]

tl;dr

With all gigs cancelled due to the global pandemic, it’s been a tough year.

It’s Hard To Care When You Can’t Gig

In 2019, every week was built around practice on Thursdays, and/or getting out and gigging somewhere. Suddenly losing that … I’ve taken it hard.

We can’t gig. We can’t rehearse. As we live in different countries, we haven’t even seen each other in person since the global pandemic began.

We’ve tried collaborating remotely. It just hasn’t worked for us. It’s never worked for us, going back decades. For better or for worse, we’re two people who play off each other in the moment. It only works when we’re in the same room at the same time.

The Auden (my gigging acoustic guitar) has been packed away almost the entire time. I just find it too painful to dig it out and play it for very long. It was bought specifically to go out and gig with.

I’m not the only one struggling with this. Everyone I know who used to gig regularly seems to have been hit in a similar way. I’m lucky; my career isn’t in music, and I’ve been able to pour more effort into that as a way of coping. Not everyone has that option.

The Acoustasonic May Have Found Its Niche

Being stuck at home, I’ve found myself playing the Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster more than before.

A quick recap: I used to gig with an Acoustasonic and a Taylor T5z. I sold the T5z to pay for last summer’s home studio upgrade, and I replaced the Acoustasonic with the Auden as my gigging guitar. But I never did actually sell the Acoustasonic at the time.

The nice thing about the Acoustasonic is that you don’t need to mic it up to record it. (In fact, I’d recommend never micing it up. The Acoustasonic’s natural sound is not one I’d choose to commit to a recording myself.) And if you throw enough post-processing at it, I think that there are good recorded sounds to be had. Hopefully.

I need a little bit more time before I can say with confidence that the Acoustasonic can be used as the main solo acoustic guitar in a recording.

Some of it is the sound, but man, I’m also finding it a bit tough to play cleanly and clearly atm. Even with lighter strings, I’m managing to fret a lot of dead notes when I play it. There’s a real chance that I’ll end up learning how to record an actual acoustic guitar, just because the performance will be better. We’ll see.

Either way, I’m determined to make a decision on this in 2021.

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