Billy Zoom's Jet Set

One guitar and/or with an amp…

1

Billy seems to have exemplified the minimalist occasional behavior that exists within us from time to time, or should we become survivalists, I did it for a long time once already, too.

I'm not taking shots or sides, at Billy or the idea, but there is a great appreciation for knowing a single guitar and/or with amp really, really well. It becomes part of you so to say. I did it from 1975 to 1992.

I might be regressing, I might otherwise like to renew that connection to a single guitar/partner combo.

I watched a YouTube the other night. Sid McGinnis from The Letterman Show. Gear Expose...whatever.

12 Electric guitars, 35 Amps...all great, all mutts, rigged up his way to play the Show.

We all know folks that have considerably more inventory. Is it a hobby, or a need, or a retirement plan? Or a business?

Having a guitar that fits your hand and style great sitting or standing, maybe having an amp that sings great along with it...other than duplicating that exact same thing in the event of mishap...what else do you expect from your playing and those who appreciate it?

2

I find that different guitars influence my playing, or that I can't get a sound I want from one but I can with another. So with my LP, 6120 and now broadway I think I have all my bases covered for styles that I can (attempt) to play :) Like using different lenses on a camera. They still take a picture but it looks different. There is something to be said for those who CAN do everything on one axe, that's for sure.

3

I've been messing with several amp/guitar combinations in the past few months, in search of different recording sounds. But I keep coming back to my 6120 LTV through a '66 Princeton Reverb. Really warm and soulful. That's as good as it's gonna get for me.

4

I had a '74 Silverface Princeton Reverb...only ever changed the reverb driver tube once.

Everybody loved the sound of that amp.

5

Tons of people have gotten by with one guitar and one amp for their entire careers. On the other hand, there are guys who have amassed huge collections that they hardly play. Takes all kinds, I guess.

6

Sure does. It's weird because I love guitars and I go into buying frenzies, periodically. But I think I'm actually happier and more relaxed when I have fewer options. So, I purge and then after a few months I go back into acquisition mode. This pattern repeats itself all too frequently. I think I might need therapy.....

7

Sure does. It's weird because I love guitars and I go into buying frenzies, periodically. But I think I'm actually happier and more relaxed when I have fewer options. So, I purge and then after a few months I go back into acquisition mode. This pattern repeats itself all too frequently. I think I might need therapy.....

– JetBoy55

That is your therapy, Jet Boy. That's the therapy of a lot of us!

8

Thanks for that validation, Michael. I had a feeling that I wouldn't be the only one!

9

I've got the acquisition part covered but not so much as a fleeting thought of getting rid of any of my 'kids'. Spent most of the day playing different guitars through 5 amps and it's fun to hear the individual voices the various combinations produce.

10

I have gigged with a Telecaster for decades, usually with a tweed Deluxe clone, but lately with a Carr Skylark amp.

That said, my Gretsch 6120 gives me a lot of satisfaction and I'm more "guarded" with it, so don't take it to the Bar&Grill joints we play.

11

I have gigged with a Telecaster for decades, usually with a tweed Deluxe clone, but lately with a Carr Skylark amp.

That said, my Gretsch 6120 gives me a lot of satisfaction and I'm more "guarded" with it, so don't take it to the Bar&Grill joints we play.

– Steve Yetter

I hear you. I'll bet I've been in a few of those bar & grills when I lived in Watsonville! (wink!)

Ah Santa Cruz - Pacific Ave, where it's 1968 every day, and home to the largest number of vintage VW vans in the country!

12

Those VW's are long gone (they all seemed to move to Pacific Grove, for a while), and there is tons of competition musically, but we still manage to make TENS of dollars around here! The places aren't all that rough anymore, but cramped onstage enough that knocking a guitar over trying to move around is a definite concern.

Besides, a Tele can be thrown in the back of a pickup truck in a bag and have an amp fall over on it, and will only need retuning on one or two strings, max.

Speaking of Watsonville, we play at the "Fish House," occasionally.

13

My thread turned into a "Summer of Love" tribute...LOL!

I have a bunch of SF stories, too...

14

Right tool for the right job. Or so I tell myself...

15

I think I'm doing it again, with the 6122-P90/DeArmond, and the BZ Cowboy amp. Once again, I have a combination that will do anything I want it to.

16

I'm too broke to have more than three electrics, and three amps. Two of the electrics, my Rick and of course my Gretsch are my two gigging guitars. Of the three amps, an early '60s Kustom roll'n'tuck complete with 2X15" cab (a real boat ancor) a mid '70s Music Man, and a new Vox AC15, only the Music Man and the Vox are used on stage. I just can't imagine schlepping the Kustom around. Gives me a hernia just thinking about that!

17

Those VW's are long gone (they all seemed to move to Pacific Grove, for a while), and there is tons of competition musically, but we still manage to make TENS of dollars around here! The places aren't all that rough anymore, but cramped onstage enough that knocking a guitar over trying to move around is a definite concern.

Besides, a Tele can be thrown in the back of a pickup truck in a bag and have an amp fall over on it, and will only need retuning on one or two strings, max.

Speaking of Watsonville, we play at the "Fish House," occasionally.

– Steve Yetter

Fish House eh, nice little place.......not far from Jalisco's, my Fri Happy Hour hangout! And you're right about a Tele.....they're a genuine 'Timex' guitar - "Takes a lickin' & keeps on tickin'!"

If Pacific Ave isn't still stuck in 1968, that's another chunk of eclectic America just history now. No more hemp shops and choker/headband parlors!

18

Remember when all you dreamed of was just to own an electric guitar and an amp? And how cool it was when that happened? It's great to have a few guitars and amps but I miss that vibe. Plus, maybe it's got something to do with the joy of just making music and life being uncomplicated

19

Remember when all you dreamed of was just to own an electric guitar and an amp? And how cool it was when that happened? It's great to have a few guitars and amps but I miss that vibe. Plus, maybe it's got something to do with the joy of just making music and life being uncomplicated

– Vince_Ray

Exactly my point. It's great to acquire nice equipment. It can actually give you a certain type of "high" when finding and chasing down a great guitar or amp (again, I probably should seek professional help). But the simplicity of one guitar/one amp is a great feeling. It can make for purer musical expression. But I'm sure it's different for everybody.

So, I think I'm feeling a thinning of the herd coming on. Keep an eye on the Gretsch Garage Sale....

20

Is your gear a means to an end (.stuff you own and use in order to produce certain sounds - music

Or for some of us - does it also become an end unto itself

Some of this stuff practically plays itself!!

Sometimes I look down at my multi-effects extravaganza, hooked up to my modeling guitar on one end and my computer as well, and start to feel (as some have criticised rampant materialism) that my stuff controls me not the other way around

Unplugging all of it and just liking straight in can be liberating!

In my college cover band (mostly) we pulled off X, The Cult, Cochrane, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Cure, the Plimsouls, the Jam, REM etc and I only had 3 guitars

Now, I just do home studio and distance collaborate and I have 5 times as many guitars

It gets silly

I will say that I COULD cut it down to just my modeling guitar and one Gretsch !

I love guitars though. And I love getting an awesome deal or finding some dusty gem in a pawnshop

I feel like Indiana Jones

21

Is your gear a means to an end (.stuff you own and use in order to produce certain sounds - music

Or for some of us - does it also become an end unto itself

Some of this stuff practically plays itself!!

Sometimes I look down at my multi-effects extravaganza, hooked up to my modeling guitar on one end and my computer as well, and start to feel (as some have criticised rampant materialism) that my stuff controls me not the other way around

Unplugging all of it and just liking straight in can be liberating!

In my college cover band (mostly) we pulled off X, The Cult, Cochrane, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Cure, the Plimsouls, the Jam, REM etc and I only had 3 guitars

Now, I just do home studio and distance collaborate and I have 5 times as many guitars

It gets silly

I will say that I COULD cut it down to just my modeling guitar and one Gretsch !

I love guitars though. And I love getting an awesome deal or finding some dusty gem in a pawnshop

I feel like Indiana Jones

22

Sorry for the double post double post...

Btw, was it Bob Dylan who said all you need is a guitar, three chords, and the truth?

23

Is your gear a means to an end (.stuff you own and use in order to produce certain sounds - music

Or for some of us - does it also become an end unto itself

Some of this stuff practically plays itself!!

Sometimes I look down at my multi-effects extravaganza, hooked up to my modeling guitar on one end and my computer as well, and start to feel (as some have criticised rampant materialism) that my stuff controls me not the other way around

Unplugging all of it and just liking straight in can be liberating!

In my college cover band (mostly) we pulled off X, The Cult, Cochrane, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Cure, the Plimsouls, the Jam, REM etc and I only had 3 guitars

Now, I just do home studio and distance collaborate and I have 5 times as many guitars

It gets silly

I will say that I COULD cut it down to just my modeling guitar and one Gretsch !

I love guitars though. And I love getting an awesome deal or finding some dusty gem in a pawnshop

I feel like Indiana Jones

– WhittleZ

I have certain equipment that is "oddball", special purpose stuff such as a baritone, 12-string, mandolin, and dobro which I use for recording. Instruments I don't play everyday. Those are in a separate category. Like tools.

But where I can get a little crazy is with basic 6-string electric and acoustic guitars. I like to buy old Gibson and Martin acoustics. With electrics, it seems I'm always buying something. Just because. But it's a revolving door.

I always come back to my "old faithful" gear. Gretsch 6120; '66 Princeton Reverb; Gibson J-200. Good stuff, nothing fancy. I could get by with those..........Pretty sure I could.

24

The modeling guitar is really helpful with what you mentioned. Especially for those that don't have a lot of different guitars it's a pain to experiment with different tunings, during composition etc. At a minimum it's time-consuming and depending on how far off from the standard setup you are changing from you have intonation issues et cetera

At one point with only one guitar, I pretty much just stayed in standard tuning @440 or occasionally changed to drop D to

NOW I can go from Baritone to two different open G's to open A to 12 string etc in no time by turning a knob!

I have found it very useful for composing, as new tunings instantly open up new string combination sounds, drone strings etc. stuck on transition from verse to chorus? Changing the tuning , with the new voicing is useful as hell!

Switching from a modeled Tele to a ringing 12 string acoustic can often liberate my stubborn muse

I've seen the gear snobs and Luddites bash line 6 but it's useful as hell to me, and Adrien Belew and a lot oft her brilliant guitarists do wonders with these instruments

On the live performance side, bands like 12 ft ninja perform songs (from the guitar perspective) that would be impossible without a modeling guitar with tuning changes available on the fly

I was a wee bit skeptical until I tried it but if queried with 'if you only had one guitar...' question is know what my choice would be

Sorry for getting on a bit of a tangent, although it does tie in...

It's not really a fair apples to apples comparison because it's one guitar that isn't

25

I am just not an accumulator, altho even tho I am ANCIENT stuff still comes thru a pretty good clip. There were major eras I have gone on here about.. .the solid Gibson era, the Tedious Telecaster Slave era, the mid 90s when it rained vintage PBasses on me, a couple of Gibson EB-1 violin basses, the Gretsch era totaling about 20 that came/went, and now the Gibson hollow era and current 23.5 scale obsession.

Plus small side trips -- the doubleneck era, the wide neck era, the CF-100 cutaway acoustic era. With amps, there were loads of 1955-1969 Fenders, some supercharged/modded Fender reverb tanks, owned 4 Echoplex at once, some experimentation with mutant amps that are nobody's idea of cool... ie solid state Rickenbacker amps. And goes w/o saying plenty of kool Thomas Vox amps. Proud to say that as far as effects I had one fuzz tone )Univox Super Fuzz), one wah pedal (original issue Vox) and that was all before lot of y'all were even around.


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