By Natalie Wallis. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 05:28:38 AM.
Another intriguing development is in the area of computer-guitar interface. This has been long time coming, and if you consider the explosion in the popularity of digital recording with Pro Tools and similar software, it's surprising it took as long as it did. Far and away, the leader in this field is Line 6's Variax model. Now, I will be the first person to admit that I know just enough about computer technology to be dangerous, but I'll try to tell you what I know from what I've read and from friends and acquaintances who have played the Variax. I should also state that I am in no way affiliated with Line 6 or any of their subsidiaries or partners.
I used a 5-way switch and I wanted this: Bridge Humbucker, Bridge Humbucker (split) with middle, Neck (split) & Bridge Humbucker (split), Neck (split) & Middle, Neck. Schaller Megaswitches in different configurations. The big wrench in the works was that I wanted all positions to be humbucking. This can be accomplished with a Super Switch, but I had an idea. Reading more about available switches, I decided on the Schaller MegaSwitch Model E instead. This switch eliminates the center pickup being on all alone (which I never used, anyway), and instead allows the neck and the bridge together in position three, a much more useful combination to me.
In my opinion, the speakers are the primary thing that determine the tone of an electric guitar. The tone starts with the strings, and depends upon whether they are nickel or steel, roundwound or flatwound, heavy or light. Then the tone is governed by the pickups, which could be single coils or humbuckers, underwound our overwound, alnico V or alnico II. If you put a chain of effects between the guitar and the amp, the sound of the effects tends to dominate the tone and override everything else. Otherwise, the tone is then determined by the type of amp you have (solid state or tubes, and the type of tubes) and how you set the dials (bass, mid, treble, master volume, etc). But what has the biggest affect is the speakers (the type of cone, the magnet and the size of the speaker and voice coil). The speakers are the last link in the chain; the speakers are what actually move the air to produce the sound you hear.
JBL and Electro Voice speakers were both made in the United States. The Electro Voice speakers are still available, but the JBL's are no longer being made. Fortunately, Eminence makes a speaker called the "Commonwealth," which is an excellent copy of the JBL e120 (12") and e130 (15") speakers (those are the ceramic magnet versions of the d120 and d130 speakers). Weber also makes a speaker called the "California," that sounds similar to a JBL, and another called the "Michigan," that sounds similar to the Electro Voice. If you want bullet proof reliability at high volume, you cannot go wrong with a JBL or EV speaker. They weigh a ton but they can handle a lot of power. Also, they handle bass sounds well and produce a smooth treble tone that is especially well suited for guitars with humbuckers, like the Gibson Les Paul and Es-335.
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