Set Up for Recording and practising

I have recently acquired the Digitech Trio, a phenomenal jump forward in accompaniment as it learns what you play and produces bass and drums to your chords.  You have a set of genres, a set of styles and a tempo button to adjust how the backing sounds once it has learnt what you have.  This is especially great for when you write new songs which I seem to be always doing.  It has to be the first pedal, has a mixer/dry output for the drums and bass to play back and a separate output so you can add FX when playing back.  It has 3 parts you can manually swop with you fingers or get a FS3X up down pedal.  I link this to my RC300 so that the looper can record the bass and drums in different parts and then output it to a separate amp path.  I run the live guitar through my FX and output to my guitar amp.  My two Laneys IRT Studio, A1 are both DI out to my Presonus Firestudio which is connected to my Macbook pro which is input to Logic Pro X. So I can run as many tracks as I wish.  If I wish not to record the bass or the drums I just turn the volume on the Trio off.  Alternatively I create an audio track with a backing track.

I create several tracks for each section of my guitar as once it is well recorded it is best to start a new track so you do not have rerecord what was good.  That means you might have a track per verse and for each chorus.  Or you may copy the tracks for verse and also for the chorus if it is the same.

Although my set up seems to be a lot of wires and devices it is pretty simple really.  I have three recording mechanisms being the Trio, the RC300 looper and Logic Pro X, so I can stage my recordings so they are close to perfect as possible before they reach Logic.

I use the metronome in Logic and also I use external metronomes before I have recorded there.  Really important as although your ears tell you everything is fine, of course when you record it has to be spot on.  I also use Amazing Slow Downer software to check that I haven’t missed notes to transcribe songs from the recording directly to my ears, which means if I use say a piece from Guitar Pro software Mysongbook in GP6 I can check that with the original. Often notes are there, but not exact.

Now as a matter of course I record everything.

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Who will build a Guitar Profiler?

Watching the Kemper Profiling amp video and then Variax, it suddenly occurred to me that the development and future of the guitar especially if you want to have one guitar do all, is going to be the luthier who comes up with a made to measure profiling guitar.

A luthier that can measure your hand and design the perfect neck, Ola Strandberg has done research into his patented applied neck, but probably there is a slight step further to go so you hold the neck you would fall in love with and choose it just like comfortable shoes.

Kemper has gone to extremes with processing to profile any amp or stomp box, so you carry your exact sound in the profiler and recall it. In a package that is 5 kgs with a small footprint, rack or their design you can carry it around easily without having as I have 12 extra stomp boxes with old fashioned wiring. I also have a Boss ME80 which is a cut down version of the Kemper. That would go, as would my need to carry the 12 pedals. It also has some 500 amps profiled to choose from and a community and website to create and download new profiles. So if you want a Marshall, Dr Z, Bognor, Fender you dial it up and the sound is exact, what’s more it has exact EQ and exact reverb or whatever comes with the amp. Clever device and sworn as a must for today’s studio recording. Fractal Audio Axe FX II is similar, but I am told the Kemper is better made and more accurate. The Axe is used more by big artist live as they have been given them I understand!

Now to the guitar. William Gelvin has started down a similar path as with his VIP 6 pickups you can turn the frequencies to different types of pickup needs, with split coils he can model a humbucker set and a single set. Not cheap as about $450 a pickup, but very reasonable if you think of the Kemper.

Variax takes a different approach as it has built in models about 12 that allows you provides similar to the ME80. Interesting now Yamaha has Line 6, will they do what they did with pianos and build in a box that goes with guitar so it plays on its own and makes a better sound than a Steinway. They rule that market, will they develop the guitar in the same way?

Next is to make a pickup set that models other pickups by listening to them and attuning the frequency as they are. They would be a lot more expensive as is the profiler, but once down you could dial up a diMarzio illuminator, or air norton S what ever has gone before. You probably need two guitars, one with three and one with two pickups. Woods wise you could dial the resonance and frequencies for different wood settings.

In terms of what the body was built out of it could be anything and probably whatever is best of low control of sound with the neck, therefore could be extremely light in weight.

Neck wise, I would go for fretless, but with fret markers as action can be lower and the fingering more accurate. My experience with the Ibanez GW45 bass fretless is that it is far easier to play than my fretted Warwick and in fact my right hand takes more of a beating than my left. You also get those beautiful slide sounds which are easily controlled.

So in future, looking for either Lace or Gelvin or Yamaha or somebody completely new to event a pickup that profiles other pickups, electronics like Variax that profiles woods and other guitars. So you mic up a guitar and load the sound into your guitar electronics. Of course digital pickups would be the way forward, then you just profile the sound into your guitar. You would plug the profiler into the guitar rather than the amp and play settings. It would download the electronics, frequencies blah blah just like the Kemper does for amps. You would then download that into your guitar profiler electronics.

If you then had a guitar profiler and kemper you could make any guitar and amp sound that exists, job done!!

Focus would then be on playability in terms of neck and support for finger style or picking a la Ibanez GW45 which has a unique finger board for finger style so you do not go to deep when plucking.

Development into a new way of exchanging necks that did not require an expert would then mean you could have several necks rather than several guitars. Some sort of connection that is fool proof. We have it in many other things developed, but we have not really developed a slot in neck system as yet to my knowledge, that makes it fool proof and no need for an expert. Looking at guns which do have this capability may be the way forward.

Headless of course to be smaller. If easy to assemble then also you could half the foot print and make it easy to carry.

So is a guitar profiler set of electronics and pickups the next way forward for the innovation of the future guitar?

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New guitar project to make a really innovative guitar

Hi Everybody

I love my Waghorn Sauria S, but I am going to design a really innovative guitar. Some of the possibilities coming from innovations but different manufacturers

1 headless, who carvin, strand berg, who else?
2 One piece, Parker, Gelvin
3 OGS Gelvin
4 Pickups Gelvin VIP , Carvin, diMarzio, Kent Armstrong custom, Seymour Duncan, Lolar, who else?
5 Tone stylers stellartone, custom who else?
6 booster preamp, rephase selectors
7 Variax
8 Midi Roland who else?
9 Graphtech midi or acoutaphonic
10 killer switch
11 Direct computer support from, iRig, DAW, Positive Grid who else?
12 Two pickups, 3 pickups, who do we want to emulate
13 Stereo or made for wet/dry in mind
14 Freless or what frets,
15 What radius?
16 Tremolo aluminium Strandberg? Who else
17 Weight no more than 5lbs
18 Small, but comfortable feeling you are there
19 Warwick neon spots or Luminlay? who else
20 Made for profiler Kemper, FA Axe FX? Line 6? who else
21 what wood for neck, body?
22 Neck if not OGS, OPS, through neck or set neck
23 What chambering or not?
24 Who is the target amp?
25 To we want a pedal specifically to enhance the signal?

What else should be considered chaps/chapesses?

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Waghorn Sauria S6 Video links

Waghorn Sauria S6
Part 1 Introduction describing the guitar

Part 2 Clean sounds

Part 3 Lead Overdrive sounds

Part 4 With Boss DS-1X

Part 5 Jazz

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Guitar Amplifiers and Speakers

I have 3 amps right now, Laney IRT Studio a cracking 15watt amp great for recording and using at 1 watt in the condo, Laney A1 acoustic amp truly beautiful tones for my piezo on my Waghorn, but also for my Yamaha acoustic guitar and last an Ampeg BA108 bass amp.

The Laney IRT112 has a H1280 H/H speaker. They are reknowned for PA speakers and have not really been in guitar amps for a long time. The speaker is not expensive and ok, the Laney cab is very robust.

To get a better tone I am looking to replace the speaker. In testing I like the Jensen C12K the most, which is in the Fender 65 deluxe reverb reissue and the Fender GB Hot Rod. Its very warm and has a good range. Celestion have the G12H in various forms, I found this an excellent speaker, but at lower volumes it is ok, but not until you up the volume does it become interesting. I have only tried some of the Eminence speakers in Fender amps such as the blues junior. I have now fitted the Jensen C12K and it is better than I expected.

Amplifier wise the only amp combo I like is the Fender GB Hot Road because its warmth and cleanness. I also like the Fender 65 Reverb deluxe which has a similiar tech, but the pine built GB just gives more warmth. This means getting a larger bass tone at quite low volumes is more doable.

I have also replaced the clean channel 12AX7 with a 12AT7 to lift the headroom and stop any breakup as volume is increased. This then mirrors the Fender amps and I get similar to the 65 Reverb, given the cab is not pine. This is a low cost solution rather than paying £650 to £800 for a new combo amp I paid about £120 for the upgrade. Plus I shall keep the same footprint which is important when in the condo.

For live work I have two speaker cabs and the A1 which will be adequate for a wet/dry capability, but I shall consider the Laney IRT-X for a wet/dry/wet sound in the future.

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The Waghorn Sauria S6 is in the house

I collected my Waghorn Sauria S6 in July and now it is the main guitar I use.

The Waghorn Sauria S6 http://www.waghornguitars.com/ is described on their front page under the June 2014 news item including pictures.  However, the Tronical auto tuner just didn’t work as perfectly as I wanted, so Tom replaced it with Schaller heads.  That is the only difference between it and as described.  I am kinda of disappointed as I wanted to experiment with open tuning a lot, but the guitar just did not stay in tune and for the first week or so I had trouble getting on with a guitar that constantly went out of tune.  I think Tom is still discussing the return.

This guitar has African Mahogany and resonates like crazy compared to any guitar I have. The reason I chose this is I was impressed with the Suhr Modern Satin use of this wood and how it resonates. I am very pleased it turned out the same.  I chose a 10 – 14 radius and 4.1mm at the nut (a la Axis) as I liked the Suhr originally.  I added luminous dots as I have trouble seeing in the darker places.  To add to its looks I requested a Spalted Maple top for looks and Tom did a fantastic job with the build of the guitar.  He also shortened and stylised the tremolo as I wanted it.  I went with the same pickups as Alex Hutchings AH6 (DiMarzio Air Norton S, True Velvet and Transition) as I love his sound and wanted to be able to reproduce it.  When I had a class with Alex he emphasised posture and position of the guitar relative to your hand/arm as if having a foot rest and playing like a Spanish guitar in an upright position.  So Tom positioned the strap buttons to balance the guitar so that it hangs naturally like that.  I have replaced the fender strap locks that I hate with Ernie Ball ones, all my straps and guitars use these so it is easy to interchange straps.  I have been using Mono straps, but now I am trying out a Neotech Slimline one with Memory foam for comfort. Strings wise it I use D’Addario 9s. Alex I think uses 8s with a 16 radius.  I wanted the guitar to be light and it weighs in at 3kg.  It would need to be a lot thinner and a lot more sculpted to get it to Parker Fly land which was the guitar I was replacing.

To support the piezo side I have acquired the Laney A1 Acoustic amp.  This amp has full control of equalisation, pads to boost the tone of the piezo input and also has an array of FX suited to acoustic guitars.  http://www.laney.co.uk/products/product_details/2

I use a planet waves stereo cable which has two inputs.

So my set up now is magnetic pups go through my pedal board, then to the ME80 then the left channel of the RC300 into the Laney IRT Studio left hand output, the acoustic plug goes into the RC300 right channel instrument input and then the RC300 right output goes to the Laney A1 amp.  I can therefore create loops with either or both pickup set ups which when I work out how to use it fully will give me some interesting backing especially on the acoustic, heavier Led Zep arrangements.

The switch that is magnetic, both and piezo only therefore controls output to both the amps.

See the FX section in the blog, but I have modified my board now to include the Wave switch loop, 8 channels 4 per channel, then in the return send, Wampler Tape Echo, TC Electronics flashback mini and chorus corona mini, MXR Phase 90.  On the input side I have Wampler Ego, Dual Fushion, Fulltone OCD, Boss DS-1X and EH Big Muff Nano.  With the loop I can stack the pedals to explore different settings, this on top of the IRT Studios already super boost and lead channel change.

The Wave output then connects to the left channel instrument of the ME80 and output into the RC300 left instrument channel and then out into the Laney IRT Studio.

The IRT studio is connected to my Mac using the USB cable and the A1 is connected to the Presonus Firestudio for inputs to the Mac.  I therefore have two inputs to Logic Pro X that I use right now.

Before I acquired the Waghorn, I had acquired discrete guitars to support my recording being Yamaha Pacifica JT for single coil, Warwick Corvette Rockbass, Yamaha CPX50 II (same woods asa the Taylor Grand Orchestra) acoustic, Musicman Axis Super Sport for dual humbuckers.  I have now acquired my jazz box being an Ibanez AK95.  This is a great semi acoustic guitar with the same woods as the Gibson ES175. I have gone one step further and changed the pups for Gibson 57 Classics.  When we had done that it still sounded too bright for jazz, so we changed out the capacitors in the tone controls for Gibson bumblebee tone controls and that did the trick.  This is a well built guitar with all gold and beautiful inlays.  It is no longer produced by Ibanez and has been superseded, but for me at the price it is a great Jazz box.  I use Gibson L5 strings 11 – 52.  However, saying this when I put it through my pedal boards and especially with the Fulltone OCD it sounds like a fantastic blues ES335 or even a Les Paul when I use the Boss DS-1X.  Whoa interesting for recording some passages in arrangements.  The Waghorn has its own character with some Fender strat and tele tones in there, so I am still seeing where I use that as a specific sound.  I love it, but its kind of unique a la Alex, but my playing is not as strong, accurate or precise as his, so I have the tone, but create a different sound.

I will update this as time moves forward including links to YouTube when I start recording.

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FX

This has been updated on 17 October 2014.

The Laney IRT Studio is such a good amp that you really do not need a lot of FX as it has built in reverb and with 3 channels you can drive it to get the overdrive you need.  Having said that my main target is to record.  I decided I wanted to access all the soft instruments.  So I have invested in Apogee Gio as my midi computer midi interface and MIdi Guitar software.  That allows me to do full midi without having to buy a Roland GP10 or GR55, which contain soft instrument patches and also interface to the amp.

Before recording I wanted to get the backing and the rhythm laid down so I invested in the Boss RC300 high end 3 hour looper.  So I can record pre tracks and also up load them to the computer.  This is my basic thinking recording device.  Once I have established what I want I can move to record in Logic Pro X.

Having said all of this Boss brought out the ME80 which is an eight switch pedal board containing, amps, compressor fx, OD/DS, mod, delay, EQ with several combos of mod all manual.  In addition, they have patches in banks that you can program in each.  Boss Tone Studio allows you to download a whole bank of artists patches using USB link which I have done with Alex Hutchings patches so far.  Josh Munday an Aus working for Boss has done a phenomenal job with standard rock song legend sounds such as Hendrix, Eagles, etc.

Given I really like analog I went for a Wampler Ego compressor before the ME80 came out.  This pedal is great at maintaining even sound output from your guitar especially when coil tapping.  It also has loads of sustain for clean mode without any overdrive.

Before I acquired the ME80 or even knew it existed I ordered Tom Quayle’s Wampler Dual Fusion and Faux Tape Echo combination as my Hollier grail and memory man are good, but not easy to use nor easy to instantly obtain the sound I want delay wise.  I also have MXR P90 and Flanger two fantastic true pedals which I will put with the Wamplers.  The dual fusion to me is a way of having very light overdrive or distortion with such a combination of tones and sounds it will allow me to search for different to stamp my mark rather than someone else’s sound in my writings. So now I have kind of two pedal board set ups, COSM to the left and Analog to the right.  Both are extremely good and once I find I stop using one, I shall relief myself of it with friends or eBay.  All are less expensive in Thailand so I can see how I can reap my money back if I do not like what I have.

Now to write songs with a large array of sounds and soft instruments which allows me to think in choir and orchestral terms not just simple guitar sounds.  Input wise I have an Musicman Axis Super Sport and a Novation keypad 49 and Warwick Corvette Bass.  My Waghorn has started to be built as w8e speak.

This is now an update since I have the Waghorn.  Read that post to understand how my amps are set up now and recording.  For me I sold the Memory Man, Hollier Grail and Flanger, mainly because they are 18v and 24v and a pain to power.  The STB 8 power board for the analog works.  This board is now split in two.  Going to send return on the Laney IRT Studio I now have the Wampler Faux Tape Echo, MXR Phase 90, TC Electronics Corona Chorus mini and Flashback Delay mini.  Again like the Boss Tone Studio selection, the TC Electronic minis have Toneprint and allow you to change using the computer and phone with a large banks of artists sounds.  I love this kind of technology where you can edit and change settings without a gazillion switches.  On the input side, I added the EH Big Muff Nano to get those Pink Floyd type fuzz and distortion sounds. I also added the Boss DS-1X as both Alex Hutchings and Jack Thammarat like this pedal from Boss. However this is quite a metal mid and highs pedal almost wiping out the lower frequencies.  I found the Wampler Dual Fusion Euphoria side to be inadequate with the Waghorn, so I researched what are the best pedals for humbuckers at the lower registers and added the Fulltone OCD v4. Yes there are arguments between the best with V1 through to V4.  You have to try as they are different with every guitar and amp.  I found the V4 was better than the V3 I tried so have gone with that.  Now this pedal is awesome with the tones you want for blues or rock very great and when used with the channels of the Laney IRT Studio it is awesome.  Next is stack with the DS-1X which gives me a new Dual Fusion type scenario.  I can see the Dual Fusion which the Euphoria side is better with single coil being next ebay selling.

I shall post more on these FX as I use them.

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