How Did You Improve Your Rig/Tone in 2021?

gibsonofabitch

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2021 was a wild year and its still in progress!

What did you do this year to improve your rig or tone? Did you get a new guitar that brings out your playing in new ways? Did you find an amp or pedal that expanded/improved your sound? Did you dedicate more time to practicing or taking lessons?

For me, a few improvements

Guitars:
  • 2018 white sg standard - love this thing, plays so well and helped me get over my fear of slim taper necks - love the 57 classics
  • 2012 goldtop custom classic - this thing makes me feel like a fancy bitch, somehow just feels cooler than my 50s goldtop standard - love the 57 classics
  • 2021 captain kirk sg - first 3 pup gison - plays better than it looks (and its damn pretty)
Amps:
  • Marshall sv20 head - i think enough has been said about this amp and its amazing. The sound and feel is all there - upgraded from the marshall origin 20 head and well worth the upgrade
  • Fender 65 deluxe - one of the essential fender amps and the fender cleans - this plus a les paul and a tube screamer are pretty much all you need in life
Pedals:
  • Xotic SL Drive - pretty much nails the super lead sound for the few amps ive tried it on - awesome pedal in a small package if youre into that sound
  • Klon KTR - after wasting time, energy and money on clones, i pony'd up and got the real deal. Worth it.
  • Bugera PS1 Attenuator - not technically a pedal but this thing is great, especially for the price! Allows me to tame these beasts without sacrificing much

IMG-2525.jpg
 

jbash

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Biggest improvement for me was making the right purchase in 2020. I took all of 2019 and half of 2020 finding the right new guitar, and I'm still in love with it nearly a year and a half later.

For 2021 I've spent a grand total of $300 on strings and a small practice amp. I've still got Sweetwater Gift Card funds sitting around in my account from November of last year.
 

Brek

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I suppose my main change this year in regards to tone will be the friedman PT20 with a celestion pulsonic coned 12 creamback in a 1x12 cab.
 

wildhawk1

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The more I play the better my "tone" gets.

Gear is such a small part of the equation that putting in a lot of money and time chasing it doesn't make sense IMHO.
 

ARandall

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^ On the other hand nobody sound good through a Gorilla amp.
And I don't think anybody is silly enough to think that if you buy more gear you will immediately play like your idol......nor naive enough not to realise that if you sound good with a new decent amp (or guitar, or pedal) then that will inspire you to play more - meaning your gear becomes the muse to make you do the practice.

These sort of answers not only are irrelevant to the thread here, but are the basic disparaging comment that is typical of the lower class forums about the place
 

diogoguitar

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I improved my tone when I went back to playing live and was forced to mess with my EQ pedal again because I couldn't hear myself with the new bass guy. Messing with some knobs significantly improved my tone.
I got some new gear this year, but I was chasing a more modern LP and a more comfortable shredder.

Here is some new stuff I got this year
  • Gibson LP Modern Pelham Blue
  • Ibanez RG 652 prestige
  • ESP Horizon II MIJ
And here is some stuff I got rid of
  • Jackson USA Soloist
  • Gibson LP Standard 60's
  • Ibanez RG 5320 Prestige
 

Slingknees

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Started the year playing a 2019 SG Tribute through a 200 dollar Vox DA-15. Both of these are pretty sweet and I still have them. The SG lives on a stand now and gets picked up a lot, not plugged in as much though. Still use the amp occasionally when I want to use headphones at night- for the price it’s an excellent little digital amp with a bunch of effects built-in, but back in the summer an acquaintance from work was looking to get rid of a Peavey Classic 30 and I ended up acquiring it for a six-pack of beer. This thing CRANKS. It does the Marshall overdrive channel thing but also has a pretty great clean channel, as well as spring reverb and a boost. I knew that the weak point of my rig was my little amp, but now that Id essentially gotten a major upgrade for free, I started dreaming about a Les Paul- specifically, I wanted in with one of the new Original collection Standards. Didn’t have to wait long before a 2020 60’s Unburst with a repaired headstock showed up on Reverb for a big discount and I couldn’t say no. Started the year with a baby Gibson and a budget amp, and now I’m rolling with real tubes and an absolute beast of a Paul. Couldn’t be happier. Just waiting now on a King of Blues pedal from Tone City to show up!
 

Slingknees

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^ On the other hand nobody sound good through a Gorilla amp.
And I don't think anybody is silly enough to think that if you buy more gear you will immediately play like your idol......nor naive enough not to realise that if you sound good with a new decent amp (or guitar, or pedal) then that will inspire you to play more - meaning your gear becomes the muse to make you do the practice.

These sort of answers not only are irrelevant to the thread here, but are the basic disparaging comment that is typical of the lower class forums about the place
Right? This is literally a forum for people who love a particular piece of gear. We know it’s not a magical solution for getting better- I’m still very much a novice guitarist but I just love Les Pauls. We should let people enjoy things instead of gatekeeping
 

sonar1

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Right? This is literally a forum for people who love a particular piece of gear. We know it’s not a magical solution for getting better- I’m still very much a novice guitarist but I just love Les Pauls. We should let people enjoy things instead of gatekeeping

Mazactly!
I come here for light entertainment, and jaw-jacking’ about guitar minutiae.

I have GAS, and am always on the hunt for whatever makes me sound better.
When I was gigging that meant one thing. Now, something else.
I love guitar and music more than ever, at 71.
So far in 2021 I’ve acquired a 2021 SG Standard, a 2019 LP Trad Pro V from GC,
and traded some slab Tributes for a new Taylor acoustic.
If I’m gonna couch noodle and lie about what a great player I used to be, I want to have it comfortable and good : clean!
877A07C6-A9FE-4BEB-947B-F855C64C28C3.jpeg
 
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Brek

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The more I play the better my "tone" gets.

Gear is such a small part of the equation that putting in a lot of money and time chasing it doesn't make sense IMHO.
Yeah, part of my tone 'improvement' has been through lots and lots of repetitive practice. Stopping those incidental string noises. Stopping not played strings ringing etc.

Good gear is good gear. I think I'd agree that spending more and more on equipment, chasing 'a sound' might mean its the fundamentals that are missing and without external input that person might not realise it.

I played one of my epiphones through a marshall MG15ii stack and I liked the sound. In isolation I'd say its almost meaningless to say one sounds better than the other.

I'd put forward that a good player can make a poor instrument play well, but a new player would struggle with that same instrument wether it be too high an action, or intonation way out.

My best playing result this year is getting that singing sustain, and I can say its in the fingers, but i cannot say how I do it. Its something that just happens now when I play.
 

Slingknees

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Yeah, part of my tone 'improvement' has been through lots and lots of repetitive practice. Stopping those incidental string noises. Stopping not played strings ringing etc.

Good gear is good gear. I think I'd agree that spending more and more on equipment, chasing 'a sound' might mean its the fundamentals that are missing and without external input that person might not realise it.

I played one of my epiphones through a marshall MG15ii stack and I liked the sound. In isolation I'd say its almost meaningless to say one sounds better than the other.

I'd put forward that a good player can make a poor instrument play well, but a new player would struggle with that same instrument wether it be too high an action, or intonation way out.

My best playing result this year is getting that singing sustain, and I can say its in the fingers, but i cannot say how I do it. Its something that just happens now when I play.
100% this- I have learned how to get sustain out of crappy guitars BECAUSE I have played good guitars that “show you” how to do it- it’s totally possible to milk sustain out of a crappy guitar, but it’s easier to learn how to do it on a good guitar. So sure, it’s in the fingers, but giving your fingers a good environment to learn counts for something
 

Slingknees

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Mazactly!
I come here for light entertainment, and jaw-jacking’ about guitar minutiae.

I have GAS, and am always on the hunt for whatever makes me sound better.
When I was gigging that meant one thing. Now, something else.
I love guitar and music more than ever, at 71.
So far in 2021 I’ve acquired a 2021 SG Standard, a 2019 LP Trad Pro V from GC,
and traded some slab Tributes for a new Taylor acoustic.
If I’m gonna couch noodle and lie about what a great player I used to be, I want to have it comfortable and good : clean! View attachment 571572
All three are awesome but that SG is just killer
 

cybermgk

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If we are talking 2021 only, then

I added a Line 6 Variax JTV69s (Strat style) to my already owned JTC59 (LP style) AND a Boss Katana 100 Mk2. The JTVs model all manner of guitars (and stringed instruments) from Acoustics, 12 strings, to strat les pauls, different pickups, lightening fast alternate tunings. The Katana covers acoustic to metal.. Together, I took them out to Jam with folks, and for some open mic around the area, when things opened up. Playing NOT by my self always exposes where I need to work more on.

If we go back a year from now, then I add upgrading my Axe FX 2 XL+ to an Axe FX III Mk2, which just inspires me to play more and more, write new stuff, makes it easy to record, and use that to learn and improve. Also added the Positive Grid Spark Amp. Just a great practice tool, particularly low vol or quiet.
 

mjross

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Pretty simple, Quad Cortex. If you have not tried one, it might surprise you, it sure did me! YMMV…
 

Rds

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for me it was a simple configuration change as an experiment and turned out to really change my sound. normally i run my dsl 40c on ultra gain channel, lead one, gain at 3/4.
so started using the classic gain channel with gain 100% and an mxr overdrive in front of the amp.
man!! that channel sounds good, opened it right up. much fatter bigger sound. its the little things sometimes.
 

Roxy13

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I haven't bought much this year. Major truck repairs took me months to catch back up on, but I did get two very inspiring pieces.

First: a guitar I've wanted for a few years. A MIJ Seventy Seven Exrubato Custom. It's based on the 335 design but has all it's own things going on.

Second: I just got a new amp this week. You can read the thread about it in the Squawk Box area called Stupid Is As Stupid Does. To sum it up, Soul Tramp accidentally made a Tweed 12 cab backwards. He offered it to me for a price I couldn't say no to and holy holy. This little amp is amazing and I am in love. And all of my guitars love it too.
 

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