2021 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][2020]

tl;dr

Thanks to the pandemic, it’s been a second year of no gigs and no rehearsals for us. 2022 was looking hopeful, but at the time of writing, we’re waiting to see what happens with the latest variants.

Decision Made: Goodbye Acoustasonic

Back in 2019, I sold my Taylor T5z, and picked up an Auden 45 Bowman to be my main gigging guitar, with my Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster as its backup. This year, I sold off the Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster too.

There were a couple of things that made this an easy decision:

  1. I kept struggling with the string tension on the Acoustasonic. I don’t know what it is about the Acoustasonic, but I’ve always found that the string tension felt high for its scale length. I ended up finding it much easier to play an actual acoustic guitar than one emulating one.
  2. At the start of the year, I picked up some new recording mics and did a straight head-to-head. Even with my lack of engineering skills, the mic’d up Auden sounded much better than the Acoustasonic did.

That’s not to say the Acoustasonic is a bad guitar. It isn’t. I’ve got a friend who plays one (hi Adam!) and he absolutely loves his. And, like the Taylor T5z before it, it was an important bridge guitar for me. The Acoustasonic enabled us to get out and gig, and help me realise what I want from an acoustic instrument.

Next Contestant: B&G Guitars Little Sister Crossroads

During the summer, before the Delta variant emerged, it was starting to look hopeful on the rehearsal and gigging front. That’s when I realised that I needed something to do what I used to use the Taylor T5z for.

The Taylor had been my main writing guitar for our little duo: loud enough to use unplugged, but quiet enough that I could work on arrangements well into the small hours without disturbing anyone at all. After I sold it in 2019, we started writing the arrangements together during our weekly rehearsals instead. Arguably a good move, just one that didn’t work once we couldn’t rehearse together.

Mid-2021, with the success of the vaccination programme, it was looking hopeful that we’d be able to get back to live music in 2022. It was too soon to start rehearsals again, but we did start talking about which songs we’d like to add to our set list. We agreed that I’d start learning to play the songs, so that I could start working on new arrangements for them.

As much as I love my Les Paul, it’s not the right guitar for me for this kind of thing. So I picked up a B&G Little Sister P90 Crossroads to do this on.

I’ll write up a short-term review of the guitar in the new year.

My Next Backup Guitar?

Once we’re back out gigging, we want to land more decent-length slots. We did a 30 minute opening slot for Ariana Spina in April 2019, and it gave us a taste for more. I’m going to need a backup guitar for those. There’s no way I’m comfortable doing a ticketed gig with just one instrument to hand.

I need to spend time with Merrang! to see if she’ll work as a backup guitar. I honestly doubt it – P90s into an acoustic amp?

Another possibility is Vox’s new Giulietta range. Kristi bought one this year, and my first impressions are that I’d happily gig one. Again, I need to spend time with one to help me decide (probably need to try a full rehearsal with one).

Any Plans For 2022?

I’ve no idea if we’ll be able to safely rehearse or gig in 2022.

I really hope that we can. My week used to be built around our music, and I’m missing that just as much today as I was at the start of the pandemic.

Just in case, I’m going to continue picking up the bits and pieces I need to build a pedal board for my acoustic guitar. I’m up to three items: Fender Smoulder Acoustic Drive, LR Baggs Align Session and Reverb pedals. I want to pick up the other pedals in the LR Baggs Align series, especially the Active DI and EQ pedals.

Studio Diary #23: Exploring How To Record Finger-style Acoustic Guitar

One of my New Year Resolutions for 2021 is to finally record some music. I’d like that music to be Phase One – the songs I originally wrote back in the early 90’s. Although they were all written on electric guitar, they’re all finger-picking pieces. I think it’ll be cool to record them on acoustic guitar.

Before I can do that, I need to learn how to record acoustic guitar. I haven’t done this before, and I have a lot to learn.

Read on to see what I’ve tried so far.

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New Arrivals For July 2019

This month has been a month of two very different stories: guitars and pedals.

On the guitar front, I’ve been very fortunate to find a couple of guitars that blew my socks right off. Proper love-at-the-first-note through an amp fairytale stuff. Fairytales don’t always have a happy ending, mind, so do check back in the months ahead to learn whether these do (or don’t)!

Pedals have been much more of a mixed bag. Good deals have been hard to come by this month, with a lot of people chasing a smaller pool of 2nd hand gear. Maybe it’s the summer months, or maybe it’s the renewed uncertainty here in Britain atm? Either way, I hope things pick up.

I’m doing something a bit different this month. Rather than try and squeeze my first impressions into 3 or 4 paragraphs (to keep these ‘New Arrivals’ posts short), I’ve started breaking them out into separate posts that I’m linking to from here. It gives me a bit more space to talk about each piece of gear. Do you like it? Or do you prefer the ‘all-in-one’ format I’ve been using up to now? Let me know in the comments below.

Continue reading “New Arrivals For July 2019”