Devin Townsend says The Beatles would have used digital gear: “How can you imagine for a second that they wouldn’t have utilised it?”

The metal guitarist believes people often hold onto gear because of memories, rather than practicality.

Devin Townsend on stage

Image: Mariano Regidor / Getty

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Devin Townsend says he believes The Beatles would have utilised digital gear in their music, if they had been able to.

Townsend is a defiant defender of digital, and has been using various amp and effects modelling units for sometime.

In a new interview with Line 6, Townsend addresses why he is more of a “futurist” when it comes to gear: “I’ve got a buddy who’s extremely disparaging about technology, and his go-to line is always, ‘Well, The Beatles didn’t need that,’” Townsend explains. “And my answer is always, ‘Dude, they didn’t have that.’”

He continues, “If they’d had this technology with the extremely forward-thinking nature of what they were doing at the time, how can you imagine for a second that they wouldn’t have utilised it?

“It’s absurd. People often doggedly hold onto the aesthetics of gear that they love because it’s got much more to do with their memories of it than it does with any sort of practical, contemporary application.”

It does appear though that with the rapid rise in gear offerings from Kemper, Neural DSP, Fractal Audio and more, large numbers of guitarists have been embracing digital gear, with many not going back.

Eric Johnson also recently decided to try out digital, revealing he’s been experimenting with the Neural DSP Quad Cortex, “We’re capturing sounds and I’m gonna keep capturing sounds on it,” he said. “The company has been gracious to allow me to work with a unit.”

He added that while he’s not sure digital amp modellers will ever take a permanent position in his rig, he’s “encouraged”.

“I think that concept gets better all the time. I don’t know if it’ll ever completely replace the [original] stuff but I’ve been working with Neural. We’ve done a few captures so far and I’m like, ‘Wow, I could almost use that – it’s pretty close.’ I’m going to continue working with it and see what I can do with it.”

Get tickets to see Devin Townsend on tour here.

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