David Lamkins picked up his first guitar a long time ago. As best he can recall the year was 1967: the year of the Summer of Love. Four decades later David has conjured up an amalgam of folk, rock and jazz solo guitar music for the occasional intimate Portland audience.
location: Portland, OR USA

Facets: Fender, Mesa/Boogie, Tone King, Line6, Peavey, Vox, Boss, Fractal Audio, Digitech, Roland, Acoustic Image, AER, amplifiers, comparison, evaluation, review, @musings info

A survey of lightweight rigs

Up until a couple years ago I was long-time tube-amp fanatic. My preferences in tube amps ran to heavy amps: Mesa/Boogies, then Fender Twins and Vibro-Kings. Eventually I got tired of lugging all that iron (a significant portion of a tube amp's weight is in its transformers). I set out on a quest to find a great-sounding tube amp weighing about 30 pounds. I eventually concluded that can't be done without sacrificing clean headroom. The closest match I found to my requirements was the Tone King Meteor II. It's a great-sounding amp that weighs 40 pounds. It's not inexpensive, though, at well over $2,000 new.

So I started rethinking my priorities. Was I willing to continue to lug a hundred pounds of gear (amp, guitar in HSC, pedalboard) to get "the sound" I thought I wanted? No, I wasn't. That opened up two new lines of questioning:

  1. How good can I make my rig sound without the excess weight?
  2. How much weight can I trim from my rig?

I played a lot of lightweight amps and modelers. I owned and used and gigged quite a few. Here are some of my recollections:

That's pretty much all I can remember at the moment. In closing, I want to offer this thought: You get out of your gear what you put into your music. Don't get hung up on labels. Particular technologies (tube, SS, modeling) are not inherently good or bad. Audition everything you can and play what works for you.

November 10 2008 05:04:01 GMT