This is the question that is on my mind most of the time and I’m guessing on yours as well. No matter where we are on the tone hierarchy we are always trying to get to the next level.
Getting to the next level can often feel like inventing the light bulb. You try a thousand things and nothing seems to work and then one time you flip on the power switch and better tone is coming out of your amp. You don’t even play better, but you feel like you do. You crossed over to another level of tone.
Yesterday I crossed over to another level of tone. I am so excited. You guitar players know what I mean.
A couple of weeks ago a friend who we’ll call Jason (which is convenient seeing as his name is Jason) crossed over to the next level in tone.
He plays through a 15 watt 1×12” Trainor Combo. He has had it forever (God said let there be light and there was Jason with his Trainor) and it has always been a decent little amp.
Then a couple of weeks ago we were hanging out at his house and the discussion veered towards gear. His face lit up (which happens a lot when we talk about gear), “Jed, you have to see what I did.”
We went to his “rehearsal space” where he had his guitar, pedalboard and amp set up and ready to go. He handed me the guitar like a kid on Christmas afternoon, turned everything on and told me to play. So I did.
There is no expletive I could say to describe what I felt at that moment. It was one of the most humongous tones I had ever heard coming out of a little 1×12 combo. The low end had an amazing tight response and everything just sounded clearer and bigger.
I turned to Jason to enquire what was making the difference. He began to tell me that he had replaced the speaker with a speaker from warehouseguitarspeakers.com.
I was impressed. It was the kind of tone that kept me from putting the guitar down. It is amazing how good tone inspires faster playing.
Since that day I have completely rethought tone, amps, pedals and even guitars. For exploratory research I have bought a speaker from the same company that Jason bought his from, and am planning on putting it into my Rivera R-55.
The next post will be an update on this tone trek and I hope to have it up in a couple days.
Until then, keep sharp.