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Alby Guitar

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Alby Guitar last won the day on March 13

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About Alby Guitar

  • Birthday 12/11/1957
  1. You will not be surprised to hear that there is no real "all round" acoustic guitar . My favourite guitar is my Guild DV52 - similar to a Martin HD28 , but a lot cheaper ( £1000 used ) , has more of a low end projection , I have used this for recording ( strumming and fingerpicking) , but for gigging I use a relatively cheap Crafter GAE648 through a Fishman aura using either a Taylor or martin Sound module , and am really happy with that. Plus good crafters can be had for less than £500 .
  2. I thought I would give you a quick tour and guide to my amps . Firstly I would like to say that I am addicted to valves , I have tried solid state amps and amps with valve emulation or a valve put in the circuit ( e.g. vox valvetronix ) , but for me the sound with a valve is just right . I would say that my guitars tend to be humbuckers and I do think that humbuckers sound better through valves , whereas with single coils there are benefits to both. As a side issue, many are concerned that valve amps by their nature are less reliable and robust , I have never found that to be the case , I always take a back up amp to gigs in any case , but have never had to use one. Valves were often designed for military purposes e.g. 5881 in jet fighters , and are designed to sustain extreme forces. Always ensure though that you use the standby switch to ensure warm up and warm down of the amp and do not move it until it has cooled. Valves last a long time , I tend to swap mine out every two years or so , and check that they are properly seated every three months - valve amps need a little more care but are worth the effort Marshall JTM 30 2X10 - the amp is 25 years old now but has never given me any trouble other than a jack socket needing replacing. It has a great clean sound but has a real Marshall crunch then growl when pushed. I chose the 2X10 , I like the compression that a 10" speaker gives over the 12" , and I would recommend listening to the differences before going for the standard 12" . Its a nice portable amp and is available second hand at a reasonable price (£200 ish) , I stopped using it for gigs because I needed a louder clean sound and a bit more flexibility. Mesa Boogie Mark IV 1X12 - this amp is 20 years old and is incredibly robust and reliable. Many are put off by the complexity of the controls of this amp , but I just went through the suggested settings in the manual and from online forums and tweaked from there. I have to say the the sound engineers love it for its DI output , both for recording and gigs , they and i were really impressed. I have to say that whilst capable of Bedroom level clean sounds , it is designed to be played loud and can get very loud. I do find the weight staggering though at 80lbs , plus it lives in a flightcase. For that reason it became a second amp as backup and for outside gigs. Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 1X10 - this amp is 10 years old and is my most used amp, not as flexible as the Mark IV , but covers most of the same bases with a more lush reverb and is less than half the weight. I can use it on all genres from Blues, Jazz , pop covers , rock . It is a lot easier to dial in the sound you want with this amp and again I chose the 10" speaker. AER compact 60 , after trying a whole range of acoustic amps , this is the one i settled on , despite its small size , it sounds great and projects well. I use it both for may acoustics but also for Jazz when I want a particularly crystal clear sound. Getting back to to my first point re my love for valves , whilst my valve amps do a great clean , in fact for jazz a little bit of valve warmth sound great , but for true clean I have not found anything as good as solid state. Best wishes Alby
  3. Hi I started playing cheap copy guitars in my teens and finally treated myself to a USA fender strat sunburst maple neck , playing through a Marloboro? amp - a rebranded Gibson solid state amp - it was a great combination for the covers band I was playing in , amp was stolen and guitar gathered dust under a bed whilst i got on with life , kids etc . 15 years later I picked up the strat again and bought a marshall JTM30 2X10 combo amp , played it for a few years , but could not get the sound I was after so traded the strat for a Gibson Nighthawk standard 2 pick up , played for a few more years then bought an Acoustic a Guild dreadnought DV-52 - tried martin Gibson and other top acoustics but this was the one i fell in love with - and is still my favourite. A few years later I auditioned for a band and was pleased to be taken on , i played with my Nighthawk and the Marshall , and whilst the combination worked well for rehearsals , when I pushed the volume for gigs I could not get a good clean sound , after a lot of searching and trying I bought a second hand Mesa Boogie mark IV - a truly flexible amp all the sound you need at almost any volume . I was called upon to play amplified acoustic so put a Baggs pick up on the Guild and bought an AER 60 to cover the amplification duties , I got a bit precious about the Guild so bought a Crafter electro acoustic for band duties and a Fishman Aura pedal to deal with any feedback issues and to model the acoustic sound. I had always wanted a Les Paul and bought a Classic 1960, I used it at rehearsals occasionally but never for gigs. I used this set up in the band for a number of years , but found the weight of the Mesa too much , so bough a Mesa express 5:25 1X10 and only used the Mark IV for outdoor or large gigs. On a whim I bought a Gibson Les Paul acoustic (yes really) , thinking I would use it for gigs , but the Crafter produced a more authentic acoustic guitar sound so i continued to use that. Over 15 years or so we did many gigs and moved through a number genres but the band folded a few years ago and I have yet to find a new band to join. I have always enjoyed Jazz and wanted to learn how to play so looked out for a Jazz Guitar , I bought a Japanese Vestax D'angelico NYL-2 - it had the Jazz guitar sound I had in my head , played this for a couple of years but found the body size a bit large , and was recommended a fender D'aquisto Elite and eventually these two guitars through the Mesa and AER ( both have great clean Jazz sounds) are my main go to guitars. So here I am at the autumn of my playing life - but still loving it and I thought I could give some advice and words of wisdom It is emotionally easier to buy gear than it is to sell - GAS is real - although i do realise that I am going to have to thin the herd Don't buy on a whim, research and try to find the guitar set up that gives you the sound and feel you want - read advice on forums You do not have to spend a lot to get a good sound In the hands of a good guitarist a poor guitar can still sound great , but a great guitar will only sound great if you get your skills to the right level - its all about practice If you are not happy with a guitar or amp for example , there are always a number of cheap tweaks you can do , valves, pickups, strings etc again read advice on forums The best way to improve your playing and enjoyment is to play with others - try different genres - it all about learning. A great way to improve your skill is to play along to the radio - try to accompany whatever track they play its great practice for improving your ear If you are not enjoying it , stop and think how you could do it differently and more enjoyably. Best wishes Alby
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