I have always been a long time believer in guitar pedal boards and guitar modeling.  I love the sound of a Marshall cranked, but HATE having to lug a head and 4×12 cabinet around.  I also like to record with the computer.  Recording amps in computer rooms can be tough at ANY given time 🙂 

About 10 years or so ago (ack… I REALLY hated writing that!) BOSS came out with the GT-5 and GT-3.  I started using the GT-3, and quickly came to use that for recording with the computer.  It also functioned great as a set of stomp boxes if I ever needed pedals with a live amp.  (At the time, I wasn’t playing with any bands, other than an odd audition or two)  When BOSS came out with the GT-6 and GT-8 I jumped on both.  They were great boxes.  I also had worked with a Line 6 POD 2.0.  The POD had a much more ‘open’ sound, and, to my ears, sounded much more realistic in the amp models.  So, I switched to a POD XT Live, the pedal board version of the POD XT.  I still use this unit to this day, as Line 6 released update packs that allowed me to have bass guitar amp models and sounds.  Since I play both bass and lead guitar, having one unit to lug around is awesome.

Which brings me to this weekend…  I am starting to play with my church’s band, and I don’t know from day to day what I will be playing… So I bring my guitar, my bass, my POD, and a full range amp (a bass amp that can double as a monitor).  Since my POD isn’t plugged into the computer any more, I needed to find a way to play guitar when playing with the computer.  I had seen that Waves had started give 1 year licenses to GTR Solo for free.  I’ve played with the GTR demo before, and it wasn’t half bad.  I didn’t have a lot of time to put it through it’s paces, but it worked well enough.  So, this weekend, my thought was ‘what the heck, it’s free for a year, let’s see what we can do’.

It turns out that with a couple of tweaks, the GTR Solo sounded pretty darn good!

I learned a couple of things with the plug-in…  First off, when I was initially playing with the amp simulator, I could hear both the amp sim output and the unaffected sound.  This sounds completely horrible…  To solve this problem, you mute the output of the channel that the guitar signal is coming in on.  The amp sim still gets the signal and processes it, then puts THAT signal out.  Viola!  Next up, there’s a weird sound when bending notes.  This is called ‘aliasing’, and most guitar processors have this issue…  Hmmm… I remember hearing someone say that switching the input and effect to a 96k sampling rate makes the aliasing go away.  What the heck, I went ahead and gave it a try… WOW!!!! IT WORKED!!!!  The latency (time between playing a note and hearing it from the speakers) was down, too!

The GTR Solo stuff looks to be very usable.  The sounds that are in the download are good.  I haven’t even started tweaking yet 🙂  My next step might be to get the Amp Farm from Line 6.  I happen to line the Line 6 Marshall Amp sound, so it could imagine it’s right up my alley.

As for my Pod XT Live, it’s going to start living up to it’s name 🙂  I’ll be using that to play more, and less sitting in front of the computer.

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