If you’ve hung around enough guitarists you’ve probably heard them say “It’s not about the amp or the guitar, the music is in your hands maaaaan”. I believe this to be a true statement, although “what’s in your hands” generally sounds a lot better when it’s transmitted through quality gear! Of course there are a plethora of different kinds of amps, guitars, strings, picks, cables, pedals, and pedalboards. Which brands of these you decide to use could depend on a variety of different factors, including the style of music you like and/or play. So I wrote up a little section about some gear I’ve settled on…for now.
I really like fender amps for their pristine clean channel sound, but I’ve currently settled on a mesa express 550 for its “metal” sounding, saturated gain channel. However, the clean channel on this amp also influenced me on buying it. It’s very much like a fender, and if you swap a tube or two out of the back it sounds even more like one! Mission accomplished.
Since my first influences were Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix, I started off playing a fender stratocaster and I still play one. Different songs sometimes call for different guitars, but you can get by playing most styles of music with a strat. It makes sense that they’re so popular.
I have a taylor 414ce acoustic guitar which I really like. Huge tone, there’s nothing like strumming chords on a taylor. Although after playing a friend’s 1970 martin acoustic lately, I’ve gotta say I wish I had one. I may just be a martin man soon enough. See I’m unsettling already.
I’m kind of boring when it comes to electric guitar strings, and with good reason. I’ve been using the industry standard d’addario strings my whole playing career because they sound great! Maybe I’ll venture into new string-scapes after writing this article, be dissatisfied, and go back to D’Addarios. Maybe not.
Acoustic guitar strings
Elixir nano web!
elixir poly web!
I’ve been using tortex picks by dunlop for quite some time. Tortex specifically refers to the material of pick, which I think really produces great tone and playability. Over time I’ve used different densities, always using denser picks as time went on. I also use the smaller size, jazz tortex picks. Years ago it was a bit of an adjustment switching from normal size tortex picks to jazz tortex picks. But It’s really much easier to play single note runs, and other precise actions with the jazz picks. In my opinion, once you find this out there’s really no going back.
Quality of guitar cables matter. There are tons of different kinds, but a lot of guitarists I know use planet waves cables. I do as well and they come with a lifetime warranty, free guitar cables for life woohoo!
Sometimes you just need a little extra umph, or you at least want to have it available. So once you can play your instrument well, that’s right AFTER you can play your instrument well!!! Then you’ll probably develop what is inevitable to all guitarists at some point in time….GAS. That’s Gear Acquisition Syndrome. You’ll be on Amazon buying pedals until the wee hours of the morning, boxes will show up at the door that you don’t remember buying. Your pedalboard will look smaller everyday. Your electric bill will double…ok sorry I’m getting carried away here. You’ll buy some pedals. Which you like is up to you, do some research on google. I myself have a boss sd-1 distortion pedal, boss digital delay, t.c. electronic flashback analog delay, ditto X2 loop pedal, boss noise suppressor, and a boss chromatic tuner, as well as a voodoo labs power supply. Pretty modest pedal board setup, but it works for me. Actually… I think I might feel some GAS coming on.
On my quest for the perfect pedalboard, I found a gem of a company called NYC pedalboards. I purchased one for a modest price considering they’re hand made, excellent quality, customizable to your exact specifications, have an elevated second row, tilt forward, and come with a lifetime warranty. I received an email from the owner Mike confirming my order, which was cool and reassuring. One of the coolest things about these pedalboards is that they come furnished in a material that velcro strips easily stick to. So once you attach velcro strips to the back of your pedals, you can remove them and place them elsewhere on the board.