Miscellaneous Rumbles

Anybody gigging with gear that’s supposed to suck?


Ask Jack Pearson. Playing Squire Strats.
Here's a taste. Check his other work with Allman Brothers, etc.

– Metman

Yup...not even 80's Japanese ones. Indonesian ones that are like $60 in pawnshops.


My leave-it-behind-the-stage-at-the-festival gigger is a $99 Epiphone Les Paul Special I P90. Really fun guitar.


I gigged and recorded with the standard factory issue G-buckers on my 5120 for many years. Does that count?


My main workhorse in the 80’s was a Westone Concord bass. Cost me AU$100 in ‘83. Copped a fair bit of stick about it, until people heard it. Then went to a Squier Mike Dirnt P-bass. Now gig with an Ignition 500/1.

ColoCoug, love the Bronco.


I played the mid to late 80's with a Hondo Series 830 (P bass style) and it was a warrior. However, it was also a boat anchor at about 10 big ones. Ex girlfriend bought me a real Fender P bass which I am still grateful for (even tho I haven't seen the woman for decades ).


The better question is: have you ever heard someone with great gear who sucked?

I often find the answer to that question by looking in the mirror, so you generally won't find me deriding someone else's skill level.


I took a job in a disco "showband" on bass at a time when I didn't have one. Everyone else was playing a white instrument, so I grabbed the 1st white bass I saw - no name, no serial, vaguely P-bass shape, and best of all, $85, used. It had a thump that worked in the milieu, but was pretty useless anywhere else.

Quickly replaced it with a tobacco-burst P-bass that bore the Fender name, tho it was a Squier, and that one stayed with me for nearly two decades.


i did my latest album, a live album, with two Vox Pathfinders in stereo. It worked surprisingly well with both the oud and electric sides ( electric stuff comes in around 8:15). Pedals are an old Digitech RP500 mulit effect/modeler on the electric, or a ZoomA1.u for the oud.

Ive never been able to afford a lot of high end stuff, especially with amps. Most expensive thing i have is the doubleneck, because the conversion ran way way over budget, lol. My two ouds are great, custom hand luthier professional pieces, but each under 1500. One could spend way more, and maybe some day I will, but I feel very good with these two.

No electric i own currently own has cost over 800. I buy used and and look for deals.

Im of the view that if youre gigging, or for that matter putting out a release that ultimately gets heard as an mp3 on your iPhone, no one in the audience or under earbuds can hear the cost difference in your gear.

Now if it gives you the tone and feel you adore and are inspired by, and you can swing it, by all means!!. Its gotta make the heart sing!

Id rather have more stuff and a variety, than fewer pricey pieces. recently picked up a few basses for different recording projects; partscaster 4 string, cheap Ass amazon 5 string fretless, and the "best' one, an Ibanez Talman TB105. Each under 200, and they do the job. I spent another 200 to convert the Ibanez to fretless ( yes i need two 5 string fretless basses for different tunings).

YMMV, but thats my take.,,


Id rather have more stuff and a variety, than fewer pricey pieces.

this is precisely my philosophy. i try not to buy guitars that are too duplicative of one another because i'm looking for the broadest possible variety of voices. obviously this has limits; i have 2 with PAFs, 2 with P-90s (justified because Franz pickups are so different to Gibson-style P-90s), and will eventually have another Strat with 60s-style pickups and the trem set to float. but there's enough difference between each iteration; e.g. the Tokai LP with PAFs and the Epiphone SG are built differently enough that they don't sound all that much alike, and 50s and 60s Strat pickups are very different beasts. i seek out unusual pickups and like different scale lengths.

since i'm not a tremendously technical player i can get around OK on just about anything that's relatively playable so neck profile, fret size, and the like are less relevant than whether the sound inspires. the most expensive guitar i ever owned was the Rickenbacker 360, and it wound up being one of my least used guitars till i swapped it for a Guild Aristocrat and a Squier CV Jazzmaster. after adding a Fender AVRI tremolo (the Squier trem is of poor quality, somehow managing to be stiff and sloppy) and some minor tweaks the JM is a wonderful guitar. i play it all the time, and i bought it for $300 and put maybe $150 in it for the trem and a replacement for the pickguard which was beat. as i've said in the past, i find it very satisfying to get good sounds out of cheap gear...it subverts the entire Gear Pages syndrome of more more more and of "upgrades" of upgrades taken to the point of absurdity, and its underlying concept of buying stuff as a form of self-definition (which is the only reason i can imagine to buy a Custom Shop Rory Gallagher or SRV Strat). i've never thought that gear mattered more than what you did with it.


I did tons of gigs with a DeArmond M-75T. It could cover a lot of sonic territory and get rained on since I paid $350 for it. I ultimately gave it to a guitar student during a spring cleaning and a big move. That was a fun guitar tho!


Tone is in the fingers, then the amp. You could tune in just about any guitar to sound good in say Setzers hands or yes, Jack Pearson's but I'd still rather have a nice Pro-Line. I need all the help I can get.

There's an interview with Jack Pearson I saw recently how he gets a Cry baby type sound just by strumming/picking a certain way with his pickup selector switch positioned for the bridge and middle pick-up. I'm still trying to figure out if I can do that on a Gretsch.


You could tune in just about any guitar to sound good in say Setzers hands or yes, Jack Pearson's but I'd still rather have a nice Pro-Line. I need all the help I can get.

Dave, I love this logic, the extension of this is that the better you are at playing, the less you need a great, perfect guitar because you can make a cheep guitar sound good. That means that, instead of my thinking “I would love to have that Pro-Line but, with my limited skills I don’t deserve it”, I should get the best guitar because “I need all the help I can get.” Just a little mind-shift and out comes the credit card. Woo-Hoo!


Gigging? Is anyone actually gigging?


Well that doesn't mean I don't deserve it. Bwahahaha

I've got a June 5th gig scheduled but we'll see.


What is this "gigging" of which you speak? It sounds vaguely familiar ...


I have as much fun in my Squire Jazzmaster as my proline 6122-1959. The Squire needed some work to be useable, though, but was still cheap. A good guitar is a fun guitar and that can be had at a lot of price points!


I've used a Peavey Bandit unironically several times. It's light, loud, clean, and indestructible.


Tone is in the fingers, then the amp.... (too true, he said.)

When I was a teen, I was something of a theatre rat. The pay was pretty much non-existent in those pre-IATSE days, but the experience, plus the chance to meet and talk with some of the greats who came through town made the whole thing worthwhile. Plus, being rather new to the guitar, I pretty much always one with me in or about the Green Room with which to amuse myself during the long periods of inactivity when the adult-age stagehands wandered across the street to the pub.

All of which is a long-winded way to introduce my encounter with Bob Wooten, otherwise known as Johnny Cash's guitarist. The Cash show was in town for a one-nighter, and after sound check, Cash and his lady left the building, but the band hung around. Down in the Green Room, Wooten spotted my newly-acquired Gretsch case and asked what was in it. When I told him it was a Chet, he asked if I minded if he played it a little? 9would you say 'no' to that reqeust??)

Back on the stage, he fired up his amp (some kind of Fender combo with 2 speakers) and plugged the Chet in. After a couple of tweaks and several scales, he launched into the well-known "Folsom Prison" riff. It wasn't precisely the sound, but it sure was close, and that Gretsch that I could barely handle at 15 not only sounded amazingly like his white Tele, but in only a few seconds, he made it sound like it was meant to be played: simply amazing. Cash drummer WS Holland appeared and in another minute, they were jamming away on something I didn't recognize, but boy did it sound good!

Five minutes later, it was done. Wooten gave me back my Gretsch, saying he had to get one someday, and it went back to putting up with my cowboy chords and flat-picked melodies for a while, until I got better at it.

Bob made that Gretsch sound just like his Tele, with just his fingers and his "usual" amp...

Like Dave said.


I'm told this Jay Turser Cleopatra sucks. --------->

Durned if I don't like it! The problem with gear suck is according to whom? Context is everything.

I had both a Bandit and its predecessor the Pacer. All said and done, I preferred the Pacer (the Bandit's shtick was supposed to be the dirt channel, but I didn't care for it, and the cabinet was slightly smaller with a commensurately smaller tone than the Pacer).

But they were both certainly solid-state Peaveys, and light-loud-clean-indestructible certainly applied. Also, in the near-Appalachian midwest, in the 80s, Peavey was ubiquitous, even dominant. We apparently didn't know it sucked, and used it happily.

I'm afraid my favorite lifetime amp, all things considered, all-round, is still the Peavey Classic 30. Sorryman. I guess I should know better. Not that my pair has been to any gigs lately.

I also proudly played Electra/Westone guitars well into the 90s. They didn't suck, and they still don't. Context and perception, though.

I've played a Johnson tri-cone resonator and a Jay Turser thinline electric resonator at many gigs...and for awhile in the 00s, my gigging main squeeze was the above-referenced citrus-burst Jay Turser Cleopatra offset cutaway semi, customized with a set of Westone pickups for wild versatility. (More like chamele-osity.) Chinese-built in the early 00s, when that was a supposéd sin against all that was guitar-sacred, 200.00 new! I still have it, it's still a great guitar, and it plays as well as any guitar, ever.

For contrast at those gigs, I'd drag out the Carlo Robelli ES-5 clone. I think it was supposed (by some) to suck...but it neither did nor does.

In some quarters (like, mine, for a long time), PRS sucks, right? But I have one of those now, and like it. I maintain Duesenberg sucks (for reasons having little to do with their product)...but I still broke down and owned their Fairytale palm-pedal lap steel for a year or so. It was great: I still sucked on a palm-pedal lapper.

I'm shameless about gear: if I like it, I use it.

I guess my first electric, the 60s Fujigen-made Crestwood 4-pickup monstrosity, probably sucked. I loved it, and could not have been prouder: it was the electric guitar I owned. Played a load of garage-band gigs with it. When I managed to track one down a few years ago to see just how bad it really was...I found it's actually pretty good, and I still like it.

It's been decades since gear could make us sound bad. Only we can make us sound bad.


I still have a trusty Boss DD-20 on my board. No bypass issues on mine, great sounds, great features. With all the new devices on the market this should suck. It doesn't.


When I managed to track one down a few years ago to see just how bad it really was...I found it's actually pretty good, and I still like it.

my friend Charlie had a similar experience recently. his first electric was a Kent solidbody, and he visited someone who had an identical one hanging on the wall as a conversation piece. when Charlie asked about it the guy said "you can have it"...he took it to a tech to be set up, and says that it's a great guitar. i believe him. i built a project guitar of Japanese parts off eBay based around a Kent body, and those rectangular single-coil pickups with the white plastic shells are fantastic, with a dry, woody tone that's unlike anything else i own.


I still have a trusty Boss DD-20 on my board. No bypass issues on mine, great sounds, great features. With all the new devices on the market this should suck. It doesn't.

– sascha

there's nothing wrong with Boss pedals. their fuzz isn't wonderful and the capabilities can be limited compared to newer technologies, but they get the job done and could probably serve for stoning a gorilla to death. lots of pros still use them. if they'd put a LED on the TR-3 so you can see the pulse visually i'd still be using it today. there's a CH-1 and a RV-3 on my main board now. they do exactly what i want from them, and just plain sound good.


For ten years my rig has been the same, a 1964 Vox AC30 and 1959 Country Gentleman. There are some that say these old artifacts are outdated and silly. They are wrong. An early Country Gentleman is the ultimate purebread performance guitar, and an AC30 is the best sounding amp of all time.


'55 Rex, made by Kay. Totally student grade, with some of the weirdest numbers, measurements and qualities you can imagine. I'm sure nobody ever thought, in their wildest dreams, that somebody would be loving this thing 65 years later.

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