The ‘year of gear’ is finally winding down. I’ve been on an absolute tear with guitars, recording equipment, and PA equipment. But, that’s not really what this post is about.
This post is about finally understanding some of the physics of getting a great sound in a band setting.
This one starts with me watching some videos on how to play guitar in a church setting. The instructor is playing a Fender Telecaster Deluxe, which is basically a noiseless version of the standard Telecaster (Tele for short). He’s getting some great tones with a very basic amp and pedal setup. In the back of my mind, I file the Tele Deluxe as a ‘cool guitar to keep an eye out for’. They are not terribly expensive, when compared to my PRS guitars, but they aren’t free, either. So, I’ve been keeping an eye out for new or used, but I haven’t come across anything that fits. I’ve played new ones that I didn’t like, and most used ones weren’t really there, either. I tried non deluxe models, but I like the thinner neck of the Deluxe, and I REALLY like the noiseless of the pickups, even if they don’t sound as twangy.
Well, about a month ago, someone I work with, whom is also a guitar aficionado, tells me about trying out a used Tele at the GC near where we work. I *drag* it out of him that it’s a Tele deluxe like I’m looking for, at a great price because it is used. One call later, I confirm it’s what I’m looking for, so off to GC at lunch for a test drive. I was blown away by this guitar! Plugged into an Orange Rockerver 1/2 stack, this guitar just JUMPED. The action on the strings was set pretty low, which is where I like it. The guitar just had some great authority. It wasn’t the twangiest of tele sounds, it was a bit smoother, but still had some great bite. I had to wait until GC released it (the guitar had literally been traded in two or three days before, and they wait 30 days to validate equipment isn’t stolen), but last week I was able to finally pick it up.
I really liked the feel of the guitar, so I went ahead and put new strings on it, and took it to my gig on Saturday night. I had two PRS as backup, and just wanted to hear how the Tele sounded through my rig, and see if it would work. Well… I ended up playing it for three sets. I’d have played it the entire night, except the screw holding the strap nob seemed to come out. I don’t know if it was that way before, but it was kinda weird. Tightened the screw up when I got home; I’ll have to see if it needs a repair. The REASON I played it for the whole night? The sound. The Tele complimented my band REALLY well. We play a mix of classic, grunge, and modern danceable rock. Everything from Steppenwolf to My Darkest Days, with some country thrown in. This guitar handled it all, and handled it incredibly well. What I loved was how it sat in the mix. I was able to hear myself without needing to turn up. Also, I loved how I could switch from chords to riffs, and the volume level didn’t drop off or jump up. The guitar played nice with all my pedals, and I was actually able to use the pedals to really get different tones. I had picked up a great compressor recently, but with my other guitars, it doesn’t really make a huge difference. With the Tele, it fattened the sound up, without being in your face. Next gig is this Friday, will have to see how it works then.
Will I get rid of my PRS? LOL… Umm. no. The guitars I currently have are all very amazing instruments, each with a different voice and reason to play. But, I will test the Tele again this week… I think I like it!