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Yeah. The Gear Will Help... #3005660 08/29/19 08:49 PM
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GuardiansGuitar Offline OP
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Throughout my career, I've met soooooooo many artists who have rationalized NOT producing music for release by saying things such as, "I just need the right plug-ins," or "My guitar rig sucks—I need a new amp," or "If only I had this cool multi-effects box, my song would really kick some butt."

Yeah. The gear will help.

There's also another idea—and I will quote from Mr. John Lennon to start us off: "Free your mind instead."

C'mon. Gear is a means to an end. It exists for you to manifest your creative ideas in a tangible form. It's not the ENGINE of your imagination and productivity.

Sure. You should be comfortable with your tools, as that comfort zone can help you feel confident and guide you to some groovy elements.

But that stuff shouldn't rule your productions, or freeze them in a cold, heartless web of inactivity.

Nah.

If you are stuck, it may be your BRAIN.

You're paranoid. Fearful. Too obsessed with perfection. Confused. Unable to make creative decisions and have the confidence to stick with them—right or wrong, good or bad. Sabotaged by your concept of "good tone." Lazy. Driving yourself crazy because your work isn't as brilliant as your favorite artist's. Or, yeah, one of those peeps who simply keeps making excuses about NOT getting stuff done.

A true and committed artist must produce work that the public can absorb, critique, enjoy, ignore, and/or be inspired by. A so-called "artist" who produces absolutely nothing, but considers themselves wonderfully creative—not that they'd ever release any proof—is just another ghost braying into the storm of artistry created by others. They're not even drowned out by the sounds others create. They are just silent. Invisible. Nothing.

Don't talk about your hopes and dreams. Don't make excuses. Anyone existing today has the tools to produce music and let the public hear it. Many of those tools are FREE.

Let's hear your vision. Free your mind. And your songs...

Last edited by GuardiansGuitar; 08/29/19 08:50 PM.
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Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3005662 08/29/19 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
Anyone existing today has the tools to produce music and let the public hear it. Many of those tools are FREE.


But aren't those tools... gear?

Then you have to factor in the other element of time, especially that time spent learning to use those tools, especially in the recording and software realms.


"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)
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Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: Danzilla] #3005663 08/29/19 09:21 PM
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GuardiansGuitar Offline OP
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All good points, Danzilla, but you may have slightly missed my main point here: Don't use the tools, gear, time, learning curve, and so on from PREVENTING you to ultimately release something.

As I said in the post: I know talented musicians who have spent years making various excuses, and, as a result, they have cheated us from sharing in their creative minds. Sigh.

Thanks tons for joining the conversation!!!

Best,
Mike

Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3005689 08/30/19 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
Gear is a means to an end. It exists for you to manifest your creative ideas in a tangible form. It's not the ENGINE of your imagination and productivity.

My brother, who is the best guitarist I've ever worked with, would agree with this sentiment 100%, Mike.

Bear in mind I'm talking about a live performance context, not recording, but I think the principle still holds.

He has the ability to make very cheap instruments sound amazing and owns an array of low to mid priced guitars. He also owns a spectacular-sounding Gibson Flying V - but it's easily the nicest guitar he has and not the only one he uses. I play with him in a party/rock band and the most frequently used axe is a Squier Hello Kitty.

He's often asked how he manages to extract such excellent tone out of his cheap and cheerful equipment. He'll usually say something along the lines of this thread title. "The gear helps, but your unique sound comes from what YOU do."

Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: CowboyNQ] #3006199 09/02/19 11:26 PM
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Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Originally Posted by CowboyNQ
My brother, who is the best guitarist I've ever worked with, would agree with this sentiment 100%, Mike.

Bear in mind I'm talking about a live performance context, not recording, but I think the principle still holds.

He has the ability to make very cheap instruments sound amazing and owns an array of low to mid priced guitars. He also owns a spectacular-sounding Gibson Flying V - but it's easily the nicest guitar he has and not the only one he uses. I play with him in a party/rock band and the most frequently used axe is a Squier Hello Kitty.

He's often asked how he manages to extract such excellent tone out of his cheap and cheerful equipment. He'll usually say something along the lines of this thread title. "The gear helps, but your unique sound comes from what YOU do."


While my Les Paul was waiting to have a neck and headstock break repaired, and also while I was having problems with my favorite all-tube combo-amp, I was using a borrowed ESP with a Floyd Rose and rather thin, bright humbuckers through a borrowed Solid State Peavey head and a 4x12 cab, with a few of my favorite pedals. Damned if I still got compliments on my tone, live-and-in-person and also regarding a YouTube vid! I guess that there's something to be said about that "tone is in your fingers" and related axioms.

And as long as I had a guitar and amp to play, I had no excuses!


Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
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Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3006240 09/03/19 06:03 AM
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GuardiansGuitar Offline OP
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Awesome, Caevan. Sometimes, I'd get surprised comments over at GUITAR PLAYER when I'd take a newly delivered review guitar or amp out to a gig without having it setup or at least run-through. I actually LIKED struggling with an unfamiliar piece of gear, and, like you, I acknowledged that I had no excuses if I sucked. Can't blame the "new" gear—just my inability to make something cool with it. — Mike

Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3006268 09/03/19 12:04 PM
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Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
Awesome, Caevan. Sometimes, I'd get surprised comments over at GUITAR PLAYER when I'd take a newly delivered review guitar or amp out to a gig without having it setup or at least run-through. I actually LIKED struggling with an unfamiliar piece of gear, and, like you, I acknowledged that I had no excuses if I sucked. Can't blame the "new" gear—just my inability to make something cool with it. — Mike


Now, I can be a little- OK, a LOT wink - fussy about the feel and response of a guitar. I did spend a good bit of time re-stringing and setting-up the aforementioned ESP guitar with my favorite strings and gauges; its owner later thanked me for that when I returned it, though if memory serves, I did give it back strung and set-up with the same type of strings, but in "10's", not my favored "11's". I would only do a gig with a totally unfamiliar axe that I hadn't strung and set-up if I were practically forced to.


Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
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Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3012072 10/12/19 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar



There's also another idea—and I will quote from Mr. John Lennon to start us off: "Free your mind instead."

C'mon. Gear is a means to an end. It exists for you to manifest your creative ideas in a tangible form. It's not the ENGINE of your imagination and productivity.


So true - too much is caught up on tone , precision and technique, and not enough on melody and flow - does this make for an argument that with this mentality , the creativity in song making is lacking? I don't know but in the 60's and 70's , the focus was more on creativity and less on gear and tone. Having listened to a wide range of music - from Elvis to Beatles to John McLaughlin , the music is what drew me in, not so much the tone.

Until I heard "Live at the Fillmore East". then all bets were off, LOL - but using CRANKED Marshalls helped smile

Last edited by skypuppy123; 10/12/19 05:39 PM. Reason: adding
Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3012080 10/12/19 07:04 PM
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I've heard wonderful music played on crappy gear many times.
Now I do it myself, on purpose, just to mess with my "gear head" friends. I've owned (and sold) all sorts of drool-worthy gear.

Gear does matter, what you do with it matters far more. I've a friend who plays well and has all sorts of nice gear. He came to me once with questions about my tone and how I got so many variations out of a Peavey Studio Pro (Red Stripe) with the channel switch and one delay pedal with tap tempo (Flashback X4).

I said "Show me your pick." He used a Fender medium, uses considerable force when picking. I gave him one of my picks, a Dunlop Gater 2mm, it is very heavy and does not yield.
I told him I used to practice super loud and play with a very heavy pick and a very light touch. This opens up a range of tones and dynamics that are not available by pummelling away with a lighter pick.
I advised him to work on that technique and a broader range of tones would result. He tried my pick for about 30 seconds and gave up on it. Still sounds the same and no amount of gear will change that.
A fifty cent pick and some practice would change that. One could simply use one's fingers as well, like Mark Knopfler or Jeff Beck. I fingerpick but haven't gone to a lead guitar technique yet although I do work on it and it is improving. Fingers have their own sound, I like it.

As to stuff holding us back, somehow it has taken me a LONG time to realize that I need to become good enough at percussion to create my own drum tracks for my songs. I need to be able to fluidly transition my tempos for my work to live and breathe. I wasted a lot of time trying to track over drum loops, the flatlining of the tempo translated into flatlining the song.

So for me, it's not the gear, it is the skills. I am making good progress and am re-inspired to make records. It was NOT a gear thing at all, it was a MUSIC thing!!!!
Cheers to all on their paths towards the creativity!!!!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3013114 10/21/19 11:46 AM
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Maybe I'm the opposite of this sentiment. My primary instrument is keys, followed by bass and sax, and I play some Rhythm guitar. I've been the bass player as my primary role in 2 bands, but for guitar, it's only been Rhythm on select songs. I've always gone ampless because of the fact that I have a huge rig to begin with. Talking about stands and 2 keyboards, sax, and guitar....a lot of stuff!. Not too long ago I did a gig where the normal keyboard player didn't play guitar. Sound guy actually started the band then stepped out. I played guitar through the Line6 Pod (first gen) and he made it a point to compliment me on the tone and how good the mix sounded. Maybe it's because he wasn't used to it being there with the regular guy, but I'll take a compliment when I can get it.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3013897 10/27/19 02:48 AM
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Knowing how to use whatever gear you have will really help!

Re: Yeah. The Gear Will Help... [Re: Anderton] #3013907 10/27/19 03:56 AM
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Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Knowing how to use whatever gear you have will really help!

TROOF.


Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
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