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Posted December 17, 2019 by Chris in Features
 
 

Modernising Music – A Guide to Innovative Guitar Tech

Of all the instruments across the globe, guitars are usually lauded for being a consistent generational classic. Everyone grows up having played one at the very least because this instrument just invites you to hold it and make some music. Picking it up and giving it a whirl is easy as anything, but really mastering the guitar? That takes a little something else, which in the twenty-first century, includes a level of tech-savviness too. Here’s how guitar tech has changed the way we interact with our guitars.

Smart guitars

It’s worth mentioning that even traditional rosewood guitars themselves have been drastically evolving over the last few years, and not just due to material shortages across the globe. We’re starting to see more innovation both in the physical make of guitars as well as their internals, with the integration of both extra hardware like speakers and amps, and software (for mobile and app integration). One of the most impressive smart guitars to hit the market so far has got to be Fusion Guitars’ Rosewood Fusion Guitar. Fusion’s original mission statement with this bad boy back in 2015, was to produce a guitar that could be amplified with effects and had its own recording capabilities through full connectivity with iPhones and iPods. Cut to the present day, and they’ve largely delivered on this statement, alongside also setting a precedent for smart instruments and what’s yet to come as we continue further into the twenty-first century.

Solid-state amps

It’s becoming increasingly hard to be a purist when innovation is everywhere and all of it is…actually quite impressive. One of the most surprisingly impressive areas of innovation that the guitar world has witnessed over the past two decades, in particular, has had to be the evolution of solid-state amplifiers, and by extension, effects processors too. There are many options for amps, so it’s important to find recommendations for the best guitar amp for the money. Does anybody else remember when if it wasn’t a tube, it was immediately considered not worth your time? Yet somehow, through the power of digitisation and technological advancements, solid-state amps are now able to deliver a level of sound quality and user-friendliness that had escaped these modestly-sized amps for so long.

A lot of the best solid-state amps even come fitted with effects processors so that you can match the gorgeous distortion and intricate sounds that were once only created by the glass of tube amps. It just goes to show that you don’t need a big amp (or even valves) to deliver a big sound anymore! Any purists who are still not convinced? Take just a glance at the Fractal Axe-FX III, and tell me the times they aren’t a-changin’. 

Loopers

There’s never been a better time to form a one-man-band. Just ask Jacob Collier. Talented multi-instrumentalists all over the world are using loopers to single-handedly make masterpiece soundscapes that feel so bewitchingly like musical mandalas, and it’s truly a thing to behold regardless of how many instruments are used in the process. The fantastic thing about using looper pedals with a guitar though is that guitars in themselves can be quite percussive, far more percussive than we tend to give them credit for.

Loopers allow experimental musicians to take full advantage of their instruments, to play around with just how many sounds they can actually make, and put them all together, to create the most startlingly intricate yet compositionally simplistic tracks created thus far in humankind’s exploration of the world of sound and music.

Although we’ve offered just a taste of how guitar tech has totally changed the game that is learning to play this beautiful instrument, rest assured that it really doesn’t stop here. It’s also worth mentioning that new and useful tools and resources like dedicated online learning platforms, ebooks, and a growing library of apps (like tuner apps) are also shaping the way we learn and play on a daily basis. It’s all about taking some time to gauge what direction you want to take your artistry in!


Chris

 
I listen to and write about music!