Do you play better with better gear?
Just breaking in my new Fender Strat Deluxe and Carvin Vintage 16 tube amp and I am finding out I play better with this setup than my others.
I hear EVERYTHING I am doing! And the slightest changes and corrections makes things sound even better, both with the fret hand and my picking/strumming. I find I am much more disciplined and meticulous when I use this setup and I was going back and forth between setups as I usually do for the first week when I first get something new and getting used to it.
Now I definitely need to buy an attenuator because I keep trying to crank up the amp but it is too loud in the livingroom. I think the Weber that Wes recommends will fit the bill.
Does anyone else play better with better gear or am I just nuts? 8)
If it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing.
You'll play slightly better with gear that fits you than you will with gear that doesn't.
However, the difference gear can make is pretty darn slight.
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST
i think better gear will give u more initiative to play better.
liek u said, u are more meticulous with this set up, so u play more, practice harder, and u get it down.
its like when i went from a 15 wat crappy solid state amp, to my all tube head now, i couldnt put the thing down.... the sound is pleasing.
i thinks its something phycological...like gear makes your playing sound better, and in return you think your getting better, which makes you play more, which in return really does Make you better rather than only sounding better.
hope that made sense. lol
I find going from so-so gear to great gear does make you play better. Going from great gear to really great gear makes me play worse, though... there have been a few times I've had the chance to play what I'd call a 'significant' instrument, like a 1930s Gibson or a $20,000 luthier piece that was built for a friend. Those just make me nervous :)
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I agree with the others that said it'smore of a motivation to play better. You still need to KNOW how to play. I keep using the old blues players as an example. They had the crappiest guitars and some of the BEST music ever played. I think in this day and age we just are not satisfied with what we have we want "better". The foundation is the most important part. If you build a strong foundation what you create will sound better. IMHO that foundation is not in the gear but in the hands and soul of the musician. Yes a crappy sounding amp will sound crappy no matter what guitarist plays through it. But a good musician can make it sound bearable.
I found that going from a run of the mill 15w SS amp (Frontman 25R, a perfectly good amp) to a pretty sweet tube amp (kitbuilt 5e3 "Tweed Deluxe") made me play better. The amp is more, how to say it, articulate. I hear every little error I make. It doesn't let me get away with sloppy playing and that has helped me to play better.
Thanks for the posts everyone. There is something good to think about in all of them.
I think the amp, and being my first all tube amp, besides putting out a tone I love, doesn't let me get away with being sloppy. You really do hear it all and this makes me play as best I can because I am the one who has to listen to it.
The guitar is just a work of art and set up perfectly for me, fits me like a glove, so yes I am practicing more and with more enthusiasm.
Seems after a few years and a dozen guitars of different types, half a dozen amps, tons of strings, pickups, tuners and project guitars, reading hundreds of posts here, if not more, I am finally finding my way for what I want to play and how I want it to sound.
So the gear doesn't matter but in a way it really does. A very individual thing.
I look back to the day I just spontaneously decided to go out and come home with the first lefthanded guitar that was hanging on the wall in a shop and stumbling across this great site and never leaving it and the frustration of not having a clue what to do with the guitar and I realize how far I have really progressed and now I am ready to make something of my basic skills and knowledge.
Time for me to go practice some more!
If it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing.
Sometimes you'll find equipment that works and sounds great. which will really bring out the real you. On the other hand you'll find some that just doesn't work. Thats why at times I try not to recommend a particular piece of equipment because what works for myself my not be right for someone else. You'll also hear opinions that its not the equipment but the person playing. I've play'd on tons of different of equipment over the years and still underneath it all I still sounded and played like me.
Yes, adding an Equalizer and an Attenuator will help you on that Quest for tone.
I've read quite a few cases across various instruments where people struggled with the lower-end instruments, upgraded. Afew years later they pulled the cheap stuff out of their closests and were able to get good sound from them. I suspect it's partly the motivation of the better instruments, it just keeps people playing and improving. But also that the more expensive instruments won't let you hide and is more rewarding when you hit the sweat spot. And that once you've learned how to play on the more expensive instrument, getting the most out of the cheaper ones becomes easier.
On the other hand, I'm sure there are other people who don't need the help.
"Things may get a whole lot worse/ Before suddenly falling apart"
"Look at me coyote, don't let a little road dust put you off" Knopfler
Kind of a tricky question really.
If you had someone into high gain distortion, they might not really appreciate an amp with a beautiful clean tone like a Fender Twin Reverb.
And somebody into clean sounds for jazz or country might not appreciate a Marshall stack.
Like Joe said, you have to find quality gear that gets you the sound and tone you are after.
But, I believe generally that the higher priced gear is better. Guitars are made of better woods, have better quality hardware and pickups, etc... And higher priced amps usually have much higher quality speakers, the cabinet is made of better materials... So generally, you are going to get a much better sound.
But there are exceptions. There was a thread about a week ago about Danelecto guitars. These guitars were made from the cheapest materials possible. They were intended to be a cheap guitar for beginners or garage bands. Even still, they had great tone and even some pros like Jimmy Page and John Fogerty used the Danos.
The Gibson Les Paul Jr. is another guitar that was built for those on a budget. But this guitar was also found to have a great tone and is highly sought after.
But when you love the tone of your guitar and amp, you are going to play better.
If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis