Praise Musicians – Playing Live – Amps Verses Going Direct!
There are many pros and cons for playing live with amps. I grew up in the 80’s and could never imagine anything less than a Marshall amp on eleven, and ringing the ears of all my fans. I still prefer tube amps (loud) in the studio. However, times, they are a changin’!
I began using a digital guitar processor several years ago and have not gone back. The problem with amps in churches is that they are just too loud. Everyone in front of your amp will have too much of whatever you’re playing, and not enough of everyone else. It is difficult to maintain an even mix throughout the room. I have discovered that turning them around to the back of the wall does help to disperse the sound, but this will cause a delay and will cause a muddy sound when you, the bass player, keyboard player, and other guitarists all have amps aimed in different directions.
I personally use the Roland GT-10B digital guitar processor, and recently purchased the Roland GT-100. Both have taken me a while to figure out. They can be difficult to program at times when you’re in a hurry searching for sounds during practice. However, with the help of my sound guy at church guiding my tone, it slowly gets better. I like the diversity I get from a digital processor; one power source, amp and direct line modeling, and a diversity of sounds and tones. Additionally, I got tired with all my stomp box connections, and the awful buzz you get from chaining too many effects.
Digital processors are also great with amps. Familiar with the great tone and sound of Lincoln Brewster; he plays live using the Line6 POD X3 Live Guitar Processor. It is no longer in production but runs about $500.00.
I often use it in the recording studio with my amps. The GT-10B runs about $500.00, the GT-100 about $550.00.
For another point of view, Christian recording artist Allan Scott often leads worship with the praise team at Liberty Bible Church, in Liberty, Pennsylvania. He recently told me he uses a uses a Vox AC4TVH head and the 112 TV Cabinet, which contains a single 12 inch speaker. The Vox head has optional wattage outputs from 1/4, 1.0 or 4.0 watt power outputs. He said it offers him great tone at low volume! The cost of the head is about $200.00 and the cabinet is about $170.00.
Go to your local guitar store and try them out. Guitar Center has an area with a variety of guitar processors for you to try out in the store. Be careful; they sound great with headphones, but they vary greatly with amps and when going direct from church to church.
If you find something that works for you, let us know. Until then, keep Rockin’ God’s House!