…without a pedal board. But last year, I started to going to gigs without my pedal board, and relying entirely on whatever amp I was playing to provide my tone. With just my guitar, amp, and an attenuator of course, I can usually cover all the tonal landscape I need to cover with just that. With a great amp, like my 18 Watt Plexi-style amp (Aracom PLX18-BB Trem), I just crank it up, set the attenuator to the stage volume I need, and just go to town.
It’s actually been quite liberating. Of course, the challenge of playing without effects is that if I make a mistake, I don’t have anything to hide behind. But that has just pushed me to practice more and make less mistakes – or find other ways to cover them up; usually the latter… 🙂
Now I have to admit that playing without effects wasn’t a calculated thing – well, it kind of is now… But I was kind of forced to do it once when I was running late to rehearsal, and forgot to load my board into my car. Instead of driving all the way home, I decided to just rely on my fingers. From then on, especially with my church gig, if I arrange a set that doesn’t need effects (which is actually a lot more often than not), I just load my amp, guitar and attenuator into the car. It certainly makes things interesting, but I’ve found that I’ve become a much better performer since playing without effects.