Gig bags come in all shapes and sizes to accommodate your instrument, in a format that is easy to carry and, if constructed well, offers real protection for your investment. Over the years the trend of new bags is toward tougher water-resistant materials, comfortable padded shoulder straps, and “lots and lots” of pockets to store stuff in. Overall they have made the life of a working musician easier.
Whether feeding a live mix or laying it down in the studio, an important part of your guitar sound usually involves placing a mic or mics in front of your combo or stack. You may have your technique dialed in or, like most of us, are still searching for that signature sound. That tone is ringing in your head, but not coming out in the mix.
Even if your organizational skill matches your amazing musical skill, there eventually will be a gig that was predestined to humble you. We’ve all been there looking frantically through a gig bag hoping that the “one” thing that is desperately needed will magically appear, that another musician will have it in their bag or a music store is right next door. Either way, you either have to make do, succumb to failure or forever owe someone for saving the night.
Having a basic understanding of the anatomy of your guitar amplifier will go a long way towards getting the most out of your system. While designs vary and there are a lot of model-specific features available, all guitar amplifiers have the same basic components, with additional optional components adding features to the more complex models.
When it comes to live amplification for guitar and bass players, there is a critical balance between the sound requirements for the audience and the stage volume needed by the artist to comfortably perform. While the same is true of any musician, it presents a particular challenge for guitar and bass since the amplifiers are designed to color the sound of the instrument, and many vintage designs don’t sound their best at lower volumes. The refrigerator sized bass stacks and hundred watt non-master volume amps of the past are examples of amps with too much power to use effectively in any but the highest volume situations.
Have you ever been frustrated because you worked very hard to get a certain sound perfectly dialed in, but then something changed and it seemed like you were playing through a different amplifier? Maybe you took your cool new amp to a show and it didn’t sound the same live as it did in rehearsal, or perhaps you sound-checked for a gig but when the show started your channel levels seemed out of balance? It can even happen in the middle of your set for no apparent reason (and you’re 20 feet from your amplifier)!