Which one should I begin with as I stand up and shyly speak as the whole group watches?? Should it be “Hello, my name is Jason and I’m addicted to chasing tone” or “Hello, my name is Jason and I’m an opinionated idiot”?
You see, the problem I have is that both of those statements are true. I expect if you think about it, you are probably both of those things as well. If you’ve ever said “All you need is a telecaster”, “Guitar – Cable – Amp, it’s good enough for Keef”, “Clapton is God”, “Clapton is dog” or “Jimi didn’t need to have true bypass” or what ever, then you are guilty of it as well. I think if we are all honest with ourselves we can think of occasions when we’ve fallen into this trap many more times than once. Me more than most!
So, let’s look at this a little deeper. Why am I writing this? Is it self therapy, I don’t know – all I do know is that two statements I’ve seen on the internet in recent times have made me think about this subject more than I usually do. I think it’s because it’s the anniversary of Jimi’s death. These statement (the first was a ‘hilarious’ meme) are…
1. Everyone tried hard to enjoy themselves at Woodstock… Despite the fact Jimi’s pedals were not true bypass.
2. Jimi didn’t need loads of effects to sound great.
Let’s make another couple of statements that are no different from the ones above, but I’ll use the Beatles to demonstrate my point.
1. The Beatles played Shea Stadium with 100w VOX amps and nothing else.
2. The Beatles didn’t need Pro Tools to make Sgt Pepper.
When the two sets of statements are compared, it kind of makes you realise that those blanket statements about your favourite artist are kind of… well, you know, silly. I say this because when McCartney played at Shea Stadium with Billy Joel in 2008, the back line and P.A. were somewhat more powerful and I’m guessing, although I can’t absolute confirm it – unlike the Peppers sessions – he used a little more than 4 tracks on his last album.
What do we think Jimi would have used if he were still making music today? I know that he has extremely fussy when choosing his wah pedals – I’ve had some interesting conversations with Wampler escapee Travis who I guess you might know is a massive Hendrix fan. Travis has been lucky enough to pick Roger Mayer’s brain’s about Hendrix and some of the things said were “he would go through 5-10 wahs every night at sound check to get the right one” and that he only used Marshall’s because they were the only ones loud enough and that his own middle name was Marshall. I can’t categorically state this next thing but it seems to me Hendrix was a tone chaser like the rest of us and would have absolutely loved the options available to him today had he still been here. Can you imagine Hendrix with an AxeFX or a Kemper? I can’t, I don’t think… but I can see him with an absolutely massive pedal collection and loving every second of exploring them.
Here’s a couple of cool interviews with Eddie Kramer, I’m obliged to warn you that the language is explicit in places, definitely NSFW or for those of a nervous disposition, but he confirms again that Hendrix was a tone chaser and loved to jump in head first and find those tones…
So, thank you for attending this weeks Tone Chasers Anonymous session, my name is Jason, and I am an opinionated idiot. And remember, everything you just read must be true, because you just saw it on the internet.