So I got my taxes all paid yesterday and ended up owing much less than I had anticipated. With the extra money I had saved up Kristen and I decided to pay a few things off and I was able to purchase a new guitar for myself. So we packed up and headed to the Indianapolis Guitar Center.
I played a lot of guitars. The poor guy that just happened to ask us if we needed any help was up and down their guitar fetching ladder all night long. I played several American made Fender Strats including the Eric Johnson signature model and a new 2008 American Standard. I also played several Gibson Les Pauls including one of the beautiful blonde standards with a natural finish and a similar-looking Les Paul Studio. I even tried an SG Standard. However, all of the Gibson guitars felt almost identical to my Gibson Explorer and therefore wouldn’t offer me the tonal variety that I was looking for, so no Gibson for me today thanks.
The salesman asked me if I had ever played a PRS (Paul Reed Smith) and I haven’t. I had always assumed that they were essentially the same as a Gibson in terms of tone and playability but he insisted that they were built to be a best-of-both-worlds combination of a Gibson and a Fender, so I gave them a shot. The first one I played felt amazing. I was extremely close to choosing that guitar over all of the others I had played. It was extremely pricey but just barely under my limit. So I was down to three guitars, an American Deluxe Strat with a maple fretboard, an American Deluxe Strat with a rosewood fretboard and this PRS Custom 22 in a beautiful ruby finish. I sat them all in a row, ready to try them all again and see which felt and sounded the best. In the end the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster with the rosewood fretboard won out over all of them, beating even the $2900 PRS. I had chosen my new guitar.
My wife, being the wonderful lady that she is, decided to also let me get a new amp also since I had chosen a guitar that was relatively inexpensive (compared to the Les Pauls and PRSs that I had played). I was looking for something with great tone, hopefully tube powered and with a few simple onboard effects so I could get by without my Line 6 Pod Pro if I didn’t want to cart my entire rig around to every practice. He recommended the Line 6/Bogner Spider Valve 112. I tried it and it is AMAZING! This thing has the best clean tone that I’ve ever been able to produce. I’ve owned a Marshall Valvestate 2×12 for the last 15 years and this amp really puts it to shame. I can get the full gamut of tones out of this small amp and it’s all tube!
I haven’t had much time to play with the guitar and amp yet, but I plan on fixing that soon.