Returning to where i left (babbling ), equipment:
Started off on some cheap ass acoustic, moved to a cheap ass Strat clone half a year later. The first actual proper guitar i bought is a 2003 Gibson Les Paul Classic. It’s still my main guitar for playing live, even though with what i know now, i could have gotten much more bang for a little more buck not buying a Gibson but going to a renowned luthier and getting one custom built. Still given what I’ve heard of their more recent QA issues, i seem to have been rather lucky with mine. The PUs are not stock, the 2003 classic came with stupendously hot ceramic humbuckers which i replaced with a pair of Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pros (yes i am a sucker for that Appetite for Destruction sound ).
My second guitar is a 2007 Ibanez RG 2570, listened to a lot of Vai and Van Halen during that time so i needed a proper whammy specimen. I modded the tone knob with a push pull to split the coils to make it more versatile, but the Dimarzio/ibz humbuckers don’t sound all that great split. Overall still a great guitar, especially for the price, but i’ve grown to dislike the wide as f*** Ibanez wizard necks. I have rather girly hands, so with experience i have come to accept that classic, narrower neck shapes simply work better for me (btw. any takers? I’m thinking about selling it… )
My most recent acquisition i built myself from scratch with the help of a luthier. It’s shaped like a PRS custom 22 with a few idiosyncrasies (like a compound fingerboard radius and a custom inlay). It has superseded the Ibanez as my main practice guitar, although i hesitate to use it live (there’s a few things i f***ed up, like the high e string being a smidge too close to the edge of the frets, making it a tiny bit prone to be pulled off the fretboard, or the combination of a floating trem and the saddle being done just ever so slightly not right which leads to it being a bit unstable in tune). Still, the oiled and waxed neck feels great and it just overall feels like it was made for my hands. Which it was, sort of.
The LP and the Custom 22 (in the middle)
Pedal wise i’m a bit of a minimalist. This was my floorboard for most of my professional live gigs (the right one, NOT the one on the left )
A trusty Korg DT-10 tuner, built like a tank, doubles as a deadly projectile for when the keyboardist won’t stop soloing. Then into a Dunlop Crybaby wah, a Boss CH-1 chorus, a DigiTech TR-7 rotary simulator, a Boss DD-6 delay and that was it.
Ampwise i played a Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 602 60 Watt combo for a long time, what can i say, it does what a Marshall amp does. Crunch. It does it really well. Want something else than crunch? Go play something else. At some point i wanted more, so i sold it. Also, as a 60kg flyweight, hauling around an amp half your own weight has its difficulties. The devil take that unfortunate engineer though that thought it a good idea to use a DIN plug for the footswitch. I’m not a Marshall fan boy but everything about that cab was built to survive a Mk82 to the face (i kid), everything but the footswitch plug, that failed after 2 or 3 years of road use. Took me two days to replace that mofo with a proper XLR plug.
Next was a Carvin V3M 50 Watt. Really cool little amp, very light and extremely versatile, no complaints. Built a set of 2 1x12 cabinets for it myself with a colleague (one is barely visible in the picture of the guitars at the very top). The downside to squeezing 50 Watts out of 4 EL84 tubes is that the power section goes through a set of tubes like it is nothing (a conservative power setting would probably be 25 or 30 Watts for 4 EL84s). At one point the power section went from completely ok to unplayably microphonic in the course of one wedding, which forced me to change the tubes and rebias the power section between sets. I grew really tired of having to shell out 80€ for a set of 4 matched EL84s once or twice a year so I sold that amp too, with a tear though. It just sounded awesome.
At that point i was a bit fed up with actual tube amps, so when i tried the Kemper of a friend, i was immediately sold. Got a used unit in a case and the footswitch and haven’t looked back a second.
This concludes the story of my equipment journey.