I love Joe Bonamassa for many reasons. Man…..he’s not afraid to give his opinion regardless of whether you agree or not.
Last week he wrote an article called, “When did the Electric Guitar become such a pariah?”.
He gave a brief history of the electric guitar and how it evolved since 1939.
But then talks about today where electric guitar is marginalized by live sound engineers & stage managers who insist there is little to no stage volume at all.
He believes the growth of use of In Ear Monitors has caused this and that the artists should contribute to the “greater good” of reducing stage volume.
Long story short, Joe believe there needs to be some volume when it comes to electric guitar. That is part of the artform. The guitar sounds we love come from amps being pushed and doing some of that heavy lifting.
But the guitar player needs to play to the gig, volume and amp appropriate. For example no sense in bringing 6 roaring amps to a small room of just 50 people. Joe states that guitar players shouldn’t change what they do in order to fulfill someone’s engineering and audio fantasy.
His article has been interpreted many different ways. But I will say I agree with him in that somehow the electric guitar has become this quiet accompaniment instrument much like a tambourine. Or its used as a sound fx generator.
And the amplifier is part of the instrument. Its not separate, but an important part. In other words just like a good player has to know where to put their fingers, how to play chords, rhythm, solos, etc……they must also know how to use their amps.
Lastly I’ll give you an example….I saw Carl Verheyen at the Baked Potato. Its a very tiny room, and my fiancee and I sat in the very front. Carl has four amplifiers on stage with 3 speaker cabinets. Man I’m sitting about 15 to 20 feet from his rig. My ears should be pummeled. Yet……my ears didn’t get fatigued. Yes it was loud, but not that loud. And oohhhhhh man was it dynamic. Holy Moly….from nearly whisper soft playing to full on Rock!
Good players know how to use their amps to great effect. Its part of the artform.
Link to Joe’s article here: