It’s all in the fingers (part 2)

2012 American Tour

Continuing on from the last blog, it’s a week later and those gigs have been and gone, here are the results.

Well what adventure we had. Thanks to everyone who was part of it.

Matt Quilter was kind enough to fit me out with a guitar rig. Thanks Matt.

Onstage with Paul Johnson
Onstage with Paul Johnson

At the Friday gig I got to play Matt’s Fender strat (not sure of the model but it appears to be a 1960 style reissue with slab rosewood board) this was plugged into a Boss delay pedal, reverb tank and an early sixties blonde Fender Bassman amp with a 2 x 12” cabinet.

For Sunday’s gig Matt had a different amp, it was an early sixties blonde Fender Showman. Not too sure what the speaker(s) were in the cabinet?

First thing I did was figure out the guitar. The string gauges and set up was different to what I am used to so I had to acclimatise to the guitar very quickly, work out string spacings, adjust string bends to suit the string gauges, vibrato arm action, etc. Then to the amp, quickly figure out where the sweet spots are on the bass and treble controls and dial in a sound.

At Don the Beachcombers, Huntington Beach
At Don the Beachcombers, Huntington Beach

I found it easier to get a sound on the Bassman amp, with the Showman it seemed to lack in the midrange. I have a feeling that was because of the speaker cabinet. It also sounded strangely different depending on where I stood in relation to the speaker cabinet.

That being said, to the audience it probably still sounded like me playing regardless of the different gear being used.

I was very fortunate to have such a good rig to play through which made the job easier but it did sound different to what I was used to hearing and I did find myself compensating for this.

The Duo Tones: Paul Johnson & Gil Orr
The Duo Tones: Paul Johnson & Gil Orr

On the Saturday I got to sit in with the Duo Tones (Paul Johnson & Gil Orr) I had the privilege of playing Gil’s lovely 1960 Fender Jazzmaster. Now Gil uses heavy strings with a wound 3rd so I had to adjust string bending to suit the heavy strings.

What I did was if there was a bend on the 3rd string then I would fret that note at a higher fret to get the required pitch without bending. I find that stuff fun to do.

To sum up I would say that it’s mostly, but not all, in the players hands (and head) but having the right tools sure make it easier.