Gigging The Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster For The First Time

Last night, Tess and I did our first gig together. Just me on guitar and her on vocals, and a very warm and generous crowd at the club we played at.

What Gear Did You Take?

I took:

  • my Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster,
  • TC Electronic Polytune clip-on tuner
  • an instrument cable
  • some spare picks
  • and the Acus One 8 amp

Did All The Gear Get Used?

Nope. The amp wasn’t needed at all. I was able to plug straight into the PA.

What Did It Sound Like?

Through the wedges on stage? Very bassy and boomy. I couldn’t really hear the top 3 strings at all. Not sure if that was down to the monitors, the EQ from the desk, or simply being drowned out by the vocals. On the plus side, I couldn’t hear all of my mistakes …

I’m told it sounded good – not great – out in the audience. Apparently, it wasn’t a ‘wow’ level of tone. I’m guessing it sounded pretty similar to what you’ve probably heard on various Acoustasonic demos off of YouTube.

Any Problems With The Guitar?

None at all. Nothing came loose (phew). I’ll check the guitar over again before our next gig, and pre-emptively tighten everything up to keep it that way.

What Was The Reaction To The Guitar?

The audience was largely filled with other musicians, and there was definitely some interest in learning more about the Acoustasonic Tele. No-one asked me what it was; it seemed that everyone was aware of it. Fender’s marketing team deserve a pat on the back for that, I’d say.

Any Lessons From The Gig?

There were a few 🙂

The group on stage before us were an acoustic 3-piece, and I was properly jealous of their bass and percussion. Just an acoustic bass, hand-drum and single cymbal, but my word – what a difference it made having those.

The Acoustasonic Tele’s DI sound isn’t good value for money. Take an equivalently-priced electro-acoustic, and there’s no competition. Heck, I’m not even sure that it’d beat my wife’s PRS SE acoustic, and you can buy those for half the price of the Acoustasonic Tele.

If you’re going DI, it needs some help. I’ll be using my Acus One 8 for that at the next gig.

And, of course, as a monitor so that I can hear all my mistakes 🙂

The Realities of Touring

Mary Spender has recently completed a UK tour, where she was also the tour manager and (at least part-time) promoter … and she’s posted a vlog to show us what it was really like.

The thing I loved about this was how Mary shows us that it is possible to take music on the road and put on your own tour in this day and age. If you can draw a crowd, keep things minimal, and organise things yourself, the dream is in reach.

Watch the video for the whole story, and then please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment.

Leo’s Shuriken / Helix Live Setup

Leo from Frog Leap Studios has posted a demo of his Line 6 Shuriken Variax, and how it enables him to perform his famous metal covers live.

It’s really cool how far the Variax has come from the early days. I had the original Variax – boy was that a long time ago – and it was so bad it ended up in the recycling. I couldn’t even give it away. But the Shuriken – especially paired with the Helix – looks worlds apart. Check out Leo’s video to see just what it can do.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Leo’s video.

Fender Reliced Guitars Discussion

Ariel and Danish Pete are back with another Guitar Paradiso. This episode, they’re looking at reliced Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster.

This one quickly turns into a wide-ranging discussion about the whole concept of relicing Fender guitars, how different guitar finishes do (and don’t) wear over time, and why a reliced guitar might be a good choice.

Both Ariel and Pete are hugely experienced touring musicians, and it’s great to hear them sharing their experiences and personal preferences. Along the way, Pete digs out several of his personal Strats to help demonstrate the points he’s making, including guitars that he’s toured all round the world.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed this Andertons video.

Kammer TinyK Pedalboad Amp In A Produced Track

Henning’s just put up a quick demo of a very interesting piece of gear – a 40W that sits on your pedalboad. Not a drive pedal – a full-blown amp, complete with FX loop!

If you’re a gigging musician, having a backup amp of some kind is essential – especially if you gig with real valve amps. Lugging a spare amp around isn’t fun. And depending on what you buy, that’s a lot of money tied up in it, especially as you hope to never actually have to use it.

Some kind of backup that can sit on your pedalboad – just in case – has a lot of appeal.

And for us home tone chasers, if you can’t have / don’t want a traditional amp at home, this kind of thing is well worth looking at as an alternative to using modelling amps or software amp sims.

I’ll post the full review when Henning uploads it. This could be one to watch.

Please head over to Henning’s channel to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Henning’s video.

Metallica’s Guitar Rigs From Sept 17

This is a very interesting video. It’s a walkthrough of the guitar rigs used by Metallica’s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett.

Okay, here at the HomeToneBlog, we’re playing to an audience of one – not touring the world playing to arenas full of adoring fans hanging on every single note. There’s still a lot we can learn from seeing what the pros use – and why.

Two things in particular caught my eye in this video.

First off was that Metallica have gone entirely digital modelling for their live amps. The AxeFX has reached the point where it sounds good enough to replace tube amps – and whatever difference there is, it’s not big enough to be worth the challenges of using tube amps.

There’s a telling statement from James’ guitar tech partway through, where he discusses how using AxeFX means they have more time to spend on other aspects of the touring process, like guitar maintenance. Digital modelling promises to sound the same night after night. Tube amps don’t.

Kirk’s guitar tech also throws some light on that decision. He talks about how each tube amp has its own character, and what it can be like when you have to switch to a backup amp when the primary tube amp dies.

The second thing that stood out for me was how they’ve gone with analogue signal paths and switching. Mid-song, they don’t switch patches inside the AxeFX; they switch to a different AxeFX that has the next patch already loaded and ready to go. Why? Analogue just doesn’t have any added latency. Switching is instant.

Something to think about if you’re thinking of gigging with a digital amp yourself one day.

Top 5 Microphones For Singers

Over on their YouTube channel, mega-European retailers Thomann have taken a look at 5 great dynamic microphones for singers.

Here’s the list of the microphones covered:

  1. Audix OM-7
  2. Audio-Technica AE 6100
  3. The T-Bone MB85 Beta
  4. Sennheiser E945
  5. Shure SM58

You get to hear both talking and singing through each microphone. Very cool.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoy Thomann’s video.

Divided By 13 FTR37 Demo

Back in January, Rhett Shull posted a demo of his Divided By 13 amp, the FTR37. Even if you’re not interested in the amp, it’s worth watching the video just for the opening track.

I’ve seen Divided By 13 amps on a bunch of YouTube demos over years, especially Shawn Tubbs’ videos. They have a striking design, and seem to be an amp of choice for pros. Definitely curious to learn more about them whenever I can,

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Rhett’s video.