The Guitar Thread

Thought it would be a good idea to start a thread for general guitar-related discussion. Electric, nylon, acoustic, bass, jazz, punk, metal, technique, questions, whatever. Mention some of your favorite guitarists, songs, solos, live performances, your own history with the guitar, etc.

I’ll start things off:

  • I just realized that Gary Miller aka Dr Know of Bad Brains is one of the best soloists I’ve ever heard. ‘Banned in DC’, ‘Rock for Light’, and ‘Big Take Over’ are my favorite solos of his.

  • The Monomachine is a scary good guitar processor. I miss using it as a guitar processor even more than as a synth/sequencer.

  • I’m transitioning to playing with my fingers after a decade with a pick. Not finger nails, but rather the flesh of my fingertips. I love the much softer, less percussive attack. Totally different timbre. I kept putting it off, thinking ‘it took so long to get good with a pick, I don’t want to start that process all over again’. But it’s going much better than I thought.

  • Synthesizers came after guitars for me, and really strained my relationship with the guitar. I have spent so much time with the guitar that I love to play it, physically. But I have come to really hate the way the guitar sounds. I wish it sounded like a Prophet or an Oberheim. And sadly, all guitar synthesizer options are pretty lame, especially today. So I continue to play, not wanting to throw away a skill I’ve spent countless hours developing, but never satisfied with the way it sounds.

Allan Holdsworth, Jim Hall, Bernard Sumner, John McGeoch, Gary Miller (Dr Know) would be some of my favorite guitarists.

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I felt that way for a while too. Used to have more guitar pedals in The never ending quest to get unique, wild sounds out of my guitar. There was probably a good couple years where I either just didn’t play guitar at all or only played it to pluck out a few cords when I wanted to sing a song.

But I’ve since fallen in love with the limitations of the guitar and I love the sounds you can make and all the very cliche things that guitar can do. I often times just plug my Telecaster directly into my Blues Junior and play that way, soaking in all the guitar goodness I can.

No other instrument can do that.

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Another one

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It’s interesting you point that out. I’m going through this sort of acceptance/resignation now. I’m thinking more ‘what sort of generic guitar tones can I make work with synthesizers?’ as opposed to fighting the guitar so much to turn it into a synthesizer that it will never be. So I’m looking to just get a really solid simple guitar tone now. I’m very interested in getting a small Henriksen amp for a clean, warm, bell-like jazz tone. No pedals or anything else.

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I love synths dearly as well, but just the other day, I plugged my Jazzmaster into a fuzz face into my Bassman, and kinda went above a reasonable playing-at-home level, and the way the whole chain starts to interact, and almost feels alive under your fingers, is something a synth has never given me.

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Have you tried any of the Electro-Harmonix synth sounding guitar pedals? (There are other manufacturers but i’ll stick with EHX here.) They sound amazingly real, and you can really get into the playing. (In comparison midi guitars can be good, but troublesome at times.)

To check out in the EHX line are the MonosynthSynth9Bass MonosynthSuperego Synth Engine and others. For instance the whole 9 series are nice depending on what you want, Mellotron, Electric piano, Organ sounds, etc.

Then mix this down, or run it through the effects you might like. It’s a good alternative if you really have a comfort in the guitar fingerboard and playing. And by the way, pedals like the EHX Monosynth pedal puts an envelope around what you play so you can use a pick if that is comfortable, and it doesn’t matter.

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I’ve known about them and love the way they sound based on videos. I’ve just never taken the plunge because I’ve long had this idea that synth emulator pedals have tracking issues. Maybe I’m wrong?

Not my experience with EHX stuff. YMMV. Anybody else have an opinion on that?

Midi stuff yes though.

I may give one of them a shot then. Good prices.

The Jazzmaster has to be my favorite Fender guitar to play. I’ve never felt too comfortable playing a Strat.

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I’m the same. Tried to love the Strat many times, but we are not meant for each other. From Fender, I love Jazzmasters and Jaguars :+1:

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I too have struggled with guitar playing in recent years. I’ve been playing 25 years (oh god I’m getting old) and have started to dislike how standard it sounds. I’ve gone through the phase of collecting pedals just to make the guitar not sound so guitar-ish. It’s funny you mention the Monomachine as being a great guitar processor. I have felt the same way about the digitakt (which is funny since it’s billed as a drum computer). It has a great way of turning strummed chords or little note sequences into fantastic sample fodder. I’ve been really into recording a few minutes of noodling around on the guitar after finding a cool sound through various pedal configurations. I then go through the recording and sample little snippets into the DT. Some of my favorite samples come from these little sessions. The dt reverb really makes them come to life.

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Damn, that sounds like a ton of fun. Way cheaper than a used monomachine too.

Yeah it is a lot of fun and in a roundabout way has changed the way I think about guitar playing. Cool thread.
It’s interesting that you have backed off using a pick. I also have started doing this recently. I don’t have near the control with my fingers as I do with a pick but the attack of playing with a pick has started to grate on me. When I want to strum something I have also started to use the backs of my fingernails which is a nice sound.

The pick is great for speed, but it makes a ‘plucking’ sound no matter what. That’s great for funk and some other styles, but it can get irritating with some styles like jazz fusion. The pick becomes part of the sound, when you really just want it to start the note and stay out of the way.

Funny thing about the pick. I’ve never used one, and never really understood why people like them. I think they kinda kill a lot of expression.

Right on man. You’re ahead of the curve!

Like someone was saying earlier about synth sounds. I had this desire to see if I could get my guitar closer to a Fender Rhodes sound - fat, round, and bell like. I never did get exactly the tone I was after and at one point I tried the EHX Rhodes simulator pedal and as cool as it sounds in the videos, it just wasn’t fun to play. It just felt wrong, like I was triggering a sound rather than playing the guitar. I decided to keep my keys and guitar separate after that, although I still sort of aim for a fat, round, bell-like tone. The guys on the old Blue Note recordings like Grant Green and Kenny Burrell had the type of tone I love.

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i’ve been intruiged by various neptunes tracks lately. analog synth + breaks + funk guitar.

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Which ones in particular? Let’s see some videos.