Mark Lucas | Guitarist | Live | Session | Arranger

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE........

Ce plus que ca change, ce plus que ca meme chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same. An old French saying.

What I'm referring to in this inquiry is guitar equipment, as a metaphor. When I first started playing gigs professionally, I had one guitar, one cable, and one amp. Then as time went on, to fill the needs of the different types of music I was playing, I got a chorus pedal; then a flanger; then an overdrive and/or distortion box. Then along came Mesa Boogie, which did away with the overdrive pedals. Around 1992, I started to use a volume pedal. I've used one since then. It is truly an indispensable part of my guitar/amp connection. For a while, I used Fender and Vox amps, adding an overdrive pedal to the chain, as the amps themselves are great 'platforms' to build a sound on, but not really great for amp overdrive unless they're really cranked up. I've tried a lot of different boxes; Fulltone, Xotic, J Rockett, etc. And the pedalboard became more 'involved' shall we say. More wires, a more efficient power supply. Now I find that, almost 30 years on, I am back to a very simple pedalboard. The difference being the quality of the cable and the power supply. But essentially, it's a tuner, a volume pedal, a wah pedal, and 2 time delay pedals which are routed to the FX loop of the amps. This setup is remarkably similar to what I started out with; it's just that the pedals are better along with the aforementioned cables and power. A big round trip.

The first amp overdrive that did it for me was out of a Mesa Boogie Mark2. And it still does, if you can find an original Boogie.

The same with guitars. A really good maple fretboard strat (JOHN SUHR ANTIQUE CLASSIC); a really good SG (GIBSON VOS 1961 SG);and a rosewood board 3 single-coil strat(ERNIE BALL CUTLASS). Around 1985, the first two guitars became a part of my sound. The third one came a bit later. And although it seems I've played every other guitar under the sun, I come back to these ones.

I first used Ernie Ball strings in 1985. I still use those, to this day.

We age, we change. Our youth disappears, never to return; and I wonder if we ever really understand these things until they are gone from us. Something remains; a spirit, an outlook, an attitude toward life, a discipline built over years of habit. These are necessary and good. Someone once said that simplicity is often it's own form of elegance. I believe that to be true, now more than ever.

The Japanese spirit of Wabi-Sabi exemplifies this simplicity without calling too much attention to it. It leaves things unanswered, for us to fill in.

 

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