Portable Guitar Tools
Modern Solutions for Successful Gigging
In March, guitarist Peter Thorn published an article for Premier Guitar titled “Simplify Your Life: Portable Power Tools For The Modern Guitarist.” Peter feels that being practical in today’s age is the key to successful gigging. Face it; budgets are not what they used to be, and they haven’t been for a long time. Peter says, “Forget about the limos, refrigerator racks, and 100-watt stacks of rock and roll excess.” As an alternative, he presents a modern-day approach with technology and portability. Peter covers modeling guitars, dual pedals, amp modelers, and portable guitar practice solutions. Here are a few Roland and BOSS solutions to these modern day challenges that Peter discusses.
Portable Guitar Tools #1: Modeling Guitars
For this portion, Peter presents the problem of having to cover many sounds during a gig. Peter asks, “How do you cover nylon-string, 6 and 12-string acoustic sounds, Strat, Tele, and humbucker tone in various tunings – and maybe even a sitar part – without hauling a bunch of guitars to the gig?” To our delight, he replied with the VG Stratocaster. We currently offer two VG Stratocaster models, the G-5 and the G-5A in Candy Apple Red. The G-5 is a “hybrid” Strat, made of components from both U.S.-produced and Mexican-produced Strat instruments. The G-5A American Standard Strat is a 100% U.S.-made. There are certain differences between an American Standard and Mexican Standard Strat, primarily the bridge, pickups and neck finish. The G-5A is also a limited edition model and is only available at authorized V-Guitar Station dealers.
Portable Guitar Tools #2: Multi Effects Pedals
Multi-effects pedals are cool because they do more than one thing. Peter uses these for sessions and gigs where portability and versatility are a must without sacrificing tone. Roland currently offers the following multi-effects pedals:
Portable Guitar Tools #3: Amp Modelers
This subject was covered in a previous article dedicated entirely to Roland Amp Modelers. Basically, we have guitar amps, multi-effects processors and pedals that model other amps digitally. This is also possible with software, however; we recommend dedicated hardware for best results. This technology saves guitarists from having to purchase and lug around amps that could be very expensive, bulky or fragile (such as tube amps). In his article Peter says, “there are some die-hards that still scoff at the idea of using units like these. But modeling has really gotten to the point where even tubeamp purists have to stand up and take notice.”
Portable Guitar Tools #4: Practice Solutions
Plugging into an amp in cramped spaces for practice is not always practical for Peter and most guitarists. The best solution for Peter, and his current favorite piece of gear, is the JS-10. This self-contained audio player has onboard effects, amp modeling and 350 presets of audio loops to jam along to. The JS-10’s little brother, the JS-8 does the same thing with a few differences. The JS-10’s effects engine is based on the GT-100, and the JS-8’s is based on the GT-10. The JS-10 has a sub-woofer while the JS-8 doesn’t. The JS-10 has more pattern presets and also two guitar inputs while the JS-8 has fewer presets and only one input. Another practice solution is the CUBE Lite guitar amplifier with CUBE JAM app. This powerful little unit doubles as an audio player while blending into living spaces.
Peter Thorn is an L.A.–based guitarist who has toured and recorded with Chris Cornell, Melissa Etheridge, Daniel Powter, and others. His solo album, Guitar Nerd, is now available on iTunes and through CDbaby.com. Read more about his career and music at peterthorn.com.
We hope you found this article useful. As a modern guitarist, do you think you will use any of these modern solutions? Do you have a portable guitar tools that you already use? Drop us a line!
July 16, 2013 @ 6:49 pm
Hey, what about the Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer/Guitar Modeler/Guitar Effects Unit/Looper/Backing Track Playback Unit/Computer USB Audio Interface??? It is everything in one little unit…
OV Valle [Roland US]
July 17, 2013 @ 10:13 am
Touche David, that is a very good point! We should start working on a blog specifically about the GR-55. What do you suppose we call it? By the way, are you a part of any online communities where the GR-55 is discussed? Any that you would recommend?
July 17, 2013 @ 10:51 am
Hi OV. You could call it the V-Guitar Blog. (GR-55, VG-99 GR-D, GR-S, GC-1) I would read that fervently. As a matter of fact there is an online community that discusses the GR-55 in GREAT detail.
http://www.vguitarforums.com/ V-Guitar Forums.
We would love to hear from someone at Roland. I would recommend you check it out.
the 55 is an amazing unit, and guitarists are discovering and exploring all of its features, and posting them to this forum.
thanks for the reply.
OV Valle [Roland US]
July 17, 2013 @ 11:31 am
Turns out that I have a user profile there, I haven’t visited in a while. Time for me to step it up!
Anything in particular that you would like us to cover? Real world use perhaps or maybe features?
July 17, 2013 @ 11:52 am
Hi OV, I think you will find that the vguitarforum has gathered some momentum..
I am having great results with the CMOS modeling, and particularly the alternate tunings. This is saving me a lot of time on stage. Also the fact that this is a great unit to take to a Gig. Leave your other guitars that you have brought for that one song that you tuned to Open E. Because you can do it on the GR55.. You have your guitar effects built-in and programming the expression pedal or Control pedal for certain changes to a patch means that you are not stuck with a preset that you cant change dynamically.
I think this point should be emphasized, that you can travel with less gear now. Easy setup, plug in and go.
some people on the forum have been using the roland Cube amps and are pleased with those.
Using the USB into my computer, I have access to many soft synths and guitar effects, all with no noticeable latency .
The fact that you can use multiple assigns at the same time, is a great feature, and that you can switch between modeled and normal guitar with the CTRL pedal too, is cool.
Okay I gotta stop now… I could go on 🙂
thanks for listening..
OV Valle [Roland US]
July 17, 2013 @ 12:02 pm
You bet! Thanks for sharing. I am not the V-Guitar expert, and I wanted more information to pass down to our product guys for ideas. Your info helps a great deal. Thank you David!
OV Valle [Roland US]
August 21, 2013 @ 11:24 am
Just following up with you to tell you that we just posted a GR-55 article. Check it out: What’s It Like Playing Guitar Synth?
December 16, 2013 @ 1:35 pm
I would like to say that I love all the roland products I own. but what I find to be a major disappointment is the lack of knowledge i find even the Roland specialists seem to have. in the stores I have bought products from in the UK at least thats the case. I would love to see specialist training days run on the more complicated products like using the BR-80 to its full potential and the multi effects boards etc. I’m very new to music production and predominantly want to spend my time playing. I find it very frustrating having products that aren’t being used to their full potential. and i don’t have hours and hours to spend trying to work this stuff out and as i said with limited production knowledge and nobody to show me its even harder, I’m sure i’m not the only person to feel this way and that rolling out training days or in depth dvd tutorials would be a great addition to the current product range.