I recently played my first gig for many months and to say it felt great to be back onstage would be a planet-sized understatement. However, the enforced break from live performance did have a few interesting side effects. For one, some of my gear that hadn’t seen much use since early 2020 had developed a few gremlins, and my guitars, amp and pedalboard all needed some love. And though I’ve probably played more guitar in the past 15 months than ever before, when was the last time I played standing up? Which strap
do I even use? And how long do I like it set?
- ORDER NOW: The August 2021 issue of Guitar Magazine
These issues successfully navigated, I began to think about how this period of inactivity has given those of us who play live an opportunity to rethink our stage rigs. Over the past few years, I’ve tried to pare everything down to the most minimal and compact setup that I can get away with: guitar, 1×12 combo, four or five stompboxes. Backbreaking load-ins are a thing of the past and it takes no more than a couple of minutes to get plugged in and ready for a line check.
But it could be simpler still, right? Spending a few months getting to grips with this issue’s coverstar (and achieving really sensational results in the process) has made me consider going 100 per cent digital at live shows. I’m not interested in lugging FRFR monitors around – the whole point of this new rig would be its easy portability and the fact that my ‘amp’ now fits inside the pocket of a gigbag – so I would only be using the Quad Cortex at venues and festivals that have good-quality onstage monitoring.
For someone who loves the interaction of electric guitars, hot glass bottles and volume as much as I do, it’s going to require a leap of faith. I’ll let you know how I get on but, in the meantime, please write in and tell us how your rig has evolved in recent months and, if you’ve returned to playing live already, how you got on after the extended break. As always, enjoy the rest of the mag and I’ll see you next month.
Inside the issue
We catch up with Jason Isbell to talk Telecasters, how it feels to be gigging for the first time in more than a year, what it’s like acting for Martin Scorsese, plus how his new Fender signature model held its own against a pair of five-figure vintage guitars.
Gibson has sold more SGs than any other electric guitar in the company’s illustrious history. Here, we run the rule over a pair of new anniversary models that wind the clock back six decades to where it all began.