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June 07, 2009

Minimal Guitar Rig for a Gig

On Friday, Myra, Brandon, Al and I played for about an hour at Jaywalkers Jamboree in Camrose. I had brought my Michael Kelly Patriot Shadow, my Reverend Hellhound and my Pedaltrain 2 loaded with some cool pedals. This type of setup I often bring to gigs when I don't want to haul my 2x12 and a head along. For this gig, I had to carry my stuff quite a bit, since I wasn't able to park close to the stage.

When I got there with my gear, it was time to set up real fast so we could get started. The sound guys even helped me set up my gear. Nice fellows. As we were getting the pedal board out and took away the flight case, I realized - I had forgotten the 1-Spot Adapter at home! Think quick - what do I do? My Hellhound doesn't get enough distortion for all the stuff we do with this band. Some dirt pedal would be necessary.

They sound guys offered me power, but I don't think that would have worked so well since I have so many pedals hooked up. I could have used that power adapter they had for just one pedal I guess, but I then remembered that I had a Cool Cat Distortion with a fresh battery laying in the cabinet of the Hellhound. That would just have to do. So, the Pedaltrain was packed up again and taken away.

So, I hooked up the Cool Cat Distortion and a volume pedal between the MK and the Hellhound, and this setup rocked. I got really good tone, I thought. The MK has high output pickups, and with the volume pedal to "wimpify" the distortion when needed, I had a set up that was minimal, but worked well.

I may have missed some delay on some tunes, but to be honest, it was fun to play with just this distortion pedal on the whole time, and using the volume pedal to dial back the gain and volume. I used it on ballads (I sometimes rolled off the volume knob on the guitar too) and I turned everything on 10 for leads. The sound guys took care of boost the volume for my solos.

People came up and said my guitar sounded great. I really enjoyed the gig, and I have to confess, I really dig humbucker guitars now and then! The fatter gain the MK gives me is fun for blues and rockier stuff. My hand kept searching for the tremolo bar though... there is no doubt my Suhr is my #1 guitar, but the Michael Kelly is no slouch either, and makes for a good alternative for different tones.

So, this was a good example of how a minimal rig can work so great for a gig. It's fun with cool pedals for a variety of sounds, but there is also value in one basic tone and a lot less to carry, set up and tear down. If you haven't gigged with a minimal rig recently, I recommend you try it, just to see how it feels. It made me focus more on dynamics with my volume knobs and volume pedal, and it kind of made me feel a little proud that I really don't need a bunch of pedal in order to sound good. If I may say so.

The drawback for this gig was actually a band aid, which made playing a bit difficult. You see, I cut my left index finger a bit with a knife earlier in the week, while trying to slice a dried up bagel. Note to self - don't be an idiot! Cutting bagels with a bread knife is usually not a problem, but when the bagel is a bit dry, do be careful! Or just get one of those bagel holders - very simple innovation that makes the procedure safe. I hope I learned my lesson... :)

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on June 07, 2009

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