No matter what you play, the actual instrument your hands are touching is usually the most important part.
In my case with an electric guitar, it’s still the wood and strings I’m most picky about, but the amp comes in close second, with the pedals coming in 3rd place.
My first guitar amp was a Fender Champ from the 70s. When I needed something bigger, we went to Guitar Center and I bought a Hot Rod Deluxe. Turns out that was the best purchase I could have made!
I loved that amp, it was reliable, sounded great, was loud enough for gigs without PA, and it was relatively portable! I never really used any other amps because I was dialed in to the way my Hot Rod reacted, there was no need to change. But, as always, the need for change hit me about 6 months ago. There was just that little “thing” missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
I ended up trading someone my beloved Hot Rod (which I heavily modified) for a stock Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue. I had my eye on this particular amp because it seemed every time I heard someone playing who’s tone stuck out as being exceptionally good, it was a Deluxe Reverb. Do I detect a pattern????
Now, while these reissues might not be the same as the vintage ones (let your ears be the judge as to what’s really better) I found the amp quite pleasing. I happened to really like this one, and it merged seamlessly into my rig. Then about 2 days in, I started noticing something. All my guitars sounded different!
I mean, not just different than they sounded before, but all of a sudden I could hear the difference between my SG with Classic 57s, and my hollow-body with Classic 57s! They sounded remarkable similar before, and now they are staggeringly different!
This was kind of a surprise, but not really. I knew those differences were there, but my trusty old Hot Rod just didn’t have the clarity and definition to allow me to really tell them apart.
The moral off this story is to always experiment. If I hadn’t been so set in my ways with the ol’ Hot Rod, I might have come to this conclusion much earlier! Just because you’re used to something and comfortable with your gear doesn’t mean there isn’t something else better out there. Buying, trading, selling, and demo-ing new gear is a blast, there’s so much out there, why not try it all!
Lesson learned, I’m loving the new tonal palette I have to work with! Nothing against the Hot-Rod, they are really great amps and I will definitely buy another.
Now, to log into my eBay account…