Ending the Guitar Tone Obsession

Do we guitarists obsess too much about tone? I’ve realised I certainly do. If I look back to the first 15 or so years of playing the instrument tone was the last thing I thought about. The gear I had was just what I can afford and I did the best I could with it. But thanks to the internet we can now all learn about the gear we don’t have, and how the gear we do have isn’t any good, despite it being perfectly fine beforehand.

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Laney Ironheart IRT60H Review

Laney makes great guitar and bass amplifiers and has done since the 60s. Lyndon Laney began as a teenage tinkerer making amps in his shed for friends such as Tony Iommi and grew from there. The company’s range includes hand-built in the UK amps and less expensive products built for the company in the far east. While not as famous a British brand as Marshall, thanks to bands such Black Sabbath and Opeth Laney has a reputation for making great amps for metal players. So when Laney launches a new amp with metal players in mind we should all sit up and notice.

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The Spider Valve MKII

I really like tinkering. I also like computers. I’m no cork-sniffing guitarist that is only happy when playing through 1950s technology full of glorified lightbulbs. Yes I do have an all-tube amp, but I’ve also owned several modelling amps and I regularly using software such as Guitar Rig and PodFarm.

So when looking for a more heavy-rock orientated amp to complement my Bugera V22 I was happy to look in the direction of the new modelling amps such as the Marshall JMD:1, Peavey Tube Vypyr and Line6 Spider Valve MKII. I dropped the Vypyr from the list due to lack of decent recording outputs and no effects loop – a shame as I loved the digital version I used to have.

In the end reviews won me over – and although I was searching for the Marshall sound – I believed the Spider Valve MKII would give me some better Plexi-like tones than Marshall’s own modelling amp. Yesterday I took delivery of a Line6 Spider Valve MKII 112 combo. And what an enormous beast it is. Getting it up the stairs made me realise that the 212 version would have damn near killed me.

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