strumzilla

​A blog/journal about my life and the stuff I like. Popular subjects include music, guitars, gear, books, movies, video games, technology, humor.

The ever evolving gear list

I don't think your gear list stabilizes until you die, and then technically it continues to change based on who inherits your stuff although at that point it's no longer your gear. The latest major changes are the addition of an MFC-101 Floor Controller for the Axe as well as two mission engineering pedals and a NYC pedalboards custom case to house them in. Right on the heels of that will be a new James Tyler Variax, which is essentially the second generation Variax electric from Line 6 designed by boutique-ish luthier James Tyler and I think assembled in China (South Korea?). It will be replacing my previous Line 6 acoustic and Charvel San Dimas, both of which are currently on Ebay and confirmed to sell as they both have received bids, thank you very much. My hope is that the bidding will go up enough that I break even on the whole encounter. Right now I stand to lose about $400 if nothing changes as the Line 6 acoustic started at $500 and the Charvel at $600.

There's been a decent amount of interest in both and I'm hoping that tax season means enough interested bidders have spending money to get the bidding up a bit. $750 for each is probably a stretch, but it's still a good deal and I've gotten decent use out of them. In the case of the Charvel, it's been a good guitar for what it was designed for, but I got the Suhr Modern about 18 months after I got the Charvel, and since then I haven't really had a good reason to play it. I was holding on to it as a backup if I needed to play a seedier dive, but when I started to consider that it and the Line 6 were gathering dust and I did a little research on the JT Variaxes, the decision was easy.

The JT variax will allow me to have a true swiss army knife guitar that is actually a good instrument on it's own. The nice thing is that these guitars are regular electric guitars with pickups that can be played in that manner, or you can use the modeled guitars. They have also have the ability to change tunings with a knob, as opposed to the previous generation where this had to be done through software. This may end up being a primary(ish) gigging guitar, although it has the stop tailpiece and not a tremolo which might necessitate the Suhr. The nice benefit is that I'll have access to all the electric models like Gretsch, Gibson ES 175s and equivalent, Rick 12 Strings, Sitar, several acoustic models and the aforementioned custom tunings (drop d, Eb, dadgad, etc.). This will satiate my need for a semi/hollow body for awhile. I still can't play that style well enough to justify a nice guitar.

On the subject of the MFC 101, I'm slowly figuring out how to use it and how I want to use it. It's been really nice to be able to continue playing while switching effects on and off. Just being able to kick in the phaser after the intro of Eruption was awesome, and I like being able to cycle reverbs on some of the acoustic numbers I do (light reverb on strummers, heavier reverb/compression on the slower fingerpicky stuff). I'm also discovering never before used (by me) effects like wah, whammy and others that benefit from the quick sweep control afforded by a pedal. The AxeFx defaults the first pedal for volume control, but I've discovered that I'm not really wanting to use a pedal for volume, so I've been messing around with other parameters like drive/distortion, wet/dry amounts for effects, etc. I think I can probably do what I need to do with two pedals if I rethink how I have my presets laid out.

I need to start thinking more about my own "preset" that can encompass most of what I need in one preset. Either that, or I'll come up with one bank of five that should cover most of what I need. After that it's mostly just copping tones for certain songs by other players. The process is slowly getting me to delve more deeply into individual effects since I now have more control within the context of a song as opposed to coming up with one stock setting per effect. That's one of the many great aspects of the AxeFx in that it is so modular and customizable.