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Amp-Effects Modeling: A Perspective from a Working-Class Guitarist



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Guitarist Anthony Mancini talks about some interesting ways to use amp-effects modelers, with video examples.

They don’t sound THE SAME. With that out of the way… Whether I am recording, teaching, or even playing live, the role modelers play as a tool I use for work cannot be overstated.  There are hundreds of videos online discussing the pros and cons of any of the products in this market, and while many of them are great, some of the reasons and ways I use mine are not often discussed.   

The most important reason I use what I use is because of consistency.  

When I turn on my device, I have patches that sound the same every time.  Most of the time when I play live, there are either dB meters monitoring stage volume levels or there can be no stage sound at all! With these modern setups, you can still have a cab and send them what they need.  You are at the whim of the sound person with or without a cabinet, so I just try to sound good to whoever hired me and the rest is noise. Different rooms may sound different, but in those unfortunate situations, I have immediately removed some variables so I can generally count on a tonal win and still be comfortable.  

Most people immediately recognize the merits of modeling consistency, but I think their inherent flexibility is only partially discussed.  I may be doing  Zoom lessons during the day and the ability to have everything within arm’s reach from my computer is wildly helpful especially because teaching purely digitally already has countless ways of interfering with the attempt to create a fruitful learning environment.  What about when its 2:30 am and I was supposed to send that track by tonight?  You need a what pedal?  I don’t have to have a raging amp and every pedal  under the sun to get the tones I get hired to use.  Instead I throw in some in-ears and record with it sounding the same way it did for the gig, and the lessons, and can even track the pure DI/Amp Sound/and effects separately for even more flexibility later.  

Realistically, accessibility is the reason why I am all in on modelers/profilers.  

On a given day I may have to use three or four radically different sounds for the different jobs I have to do, but having a Matchless, a Blackface Fender and a Soldano takes some bread.  Yes, they are ALL worth money and I won’t stop acquiring gear, but 5k for an amp you sometimes can’t really try before and might not end up liking anyways is too steep a hill to climb for many. If you do have one of the unobtaniamps or mythical merpedal, do you take it out on every hit?  

Gear in general can be unpredictable and simply keeping a small modeler in my gig bag as a redundancy has saved me, thusly outright justifying grabbing even a cheap modeler.  Finally, I think that having the ability to access sounds and experiment with a smaller initial investment has lead to my being more efficient in getting sounds and spend less time on gear and more time working on the infinite amount of things I need to shed.

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