THOU SHALT NOT…

They’re not exactly cast in stone like the real commandments and you’re not going to be struck down by lightning or whatever it is that happens if you should break them but there are some things that should never happen when it comes to playing in a band (even though we all know that they do).

 

…enough said.

 

FORGET THE NAME OF THE CLIENT OR THE REASON FOR THE SHOW

We play a lot of shows so some could say the odd mix up is inevitable.  To get the name of the person wrong isn’t so bad (you can always blame the drummer) but to turn up somewhere and be expecting to play a wedding party and find out you’ve got it wrong and it’s actually a funeral is a stretch to far (we may even be stretching the example a little too far here as well but go with it).  If the band doesn’t have that person who is anal enough to record every minute detail (you know the type…spreadsheets etc.) you need to come up with some way of ensuring you know what’s going on.

Is your memory as good as Dory’s?

 

FORGET WHAT YOU’RE SINGING OR PLAYING

Unlike our rock god icons we don’t have the privilege of sophisticated prompts (they wouldn’t fit on half of the stages us lesser mortals have the honour of playing on anyway) so unless you’re one of these people who surfs the internet for the correct words and / or chords etc. and then prints them out or writes them down it’s up to you to remember how the song goes.  This is one of the not so serious mess ups that can happen and can be a source of great amusement especially for your band mates…after all how often does the crowd pick up on the mistakes we make.  Plus everyone loves it when the singer does their best Kenny impression and mumbles ‘…mphmmphh mphhmm mpphmmp…’ into the mic instead of ‘…sweet child o’ mine…’.

 

Don’t be like the White Rabbit.

BE UBER LATE OR TURN UP AT THE WRONG VENUE

As a musician you get certain privileges but turning up really late or even to the wrong venue (yes it’s been done people) is not one of them.  Now obviously everyone has the odd spinal tap moment and gets lost in the labyrinth that is the venue (after all they’re all so big) but as a working band a big chunk of your reputation will be linked to your punctuality and turning up to shows when you say you will.

 

…even happens to Storm-Troopers apparently…

 

FORGET YOUR GEAR

Once you’ve been around the block a few times and clocked up a few years (decades even) playing it’s a pretty fair assumption that you will have experienced just about anything that could go wrong.  This writer has been playing for a long time and in all those years has never suffered any catastrophic issues when it comes to lapses of memory re essential gear by myself or a member of my band until recently that is…and now it’s happened twice (thankfully I wasn’t to blame on either occasion).  How the guitarist quite managed to forget his guitar the one time and then his amp on a separate occasion (which resulted in a one and a half hour round trip to get it) is still a mystery but it happened.  Happy to report that despite the problems the show still went on as planned and surprisingly even started on time.

 

…there may be gremlins in the system if too much beer flows…

 

GET SMASHED

Yeah, yeah, yeah…we know the saying goes sex, drugs and rock n roll for a reason and to be truthful this one comes with a bit of caveat but it still rings true whether you’re Slash or the local rock legend.  Getting smashed and then ‘trying’ to play is a big no no.  We’ve all been there in some shape or form; ‘…it’s a show let’s have a good time…’ or ‘…ooh the bar is free…’ or ‘…somebodies brought beer…’ but we all know how it ends…forgotten parts, the fifth fret looks like the ninth fret, the false confidence (‘I’ve always wanted to try that tapping part and I’m feeling good’), falling off the stage etc etc etc.  Yes enjoy yourself but don’t make an idiot of yourself or your fellow bandmates.  If you’re in a ‘working’ band it may be the end of your tenure as your bandmates go all ‘apprentice-esque’ on you, point the finger and say ‘you’re fired’ or you might not get any more bookings at that venue or worse word might spread about your antics and you not get any bookings at all…ok we’re being a bit OTT but it could happen.

 

 

 

“How To Make It In The Music Business” was a book I read years ago around the time I decided that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in an office forever dreaming about leading the musician’s life – out there on the road, on a mission, and living for the next gig. The time had come to just do it.

One of the main points made in that book really surprised me. Success is down to three things, condensed into the acronym A.I.M. These letters stand for your ATTITUDE, IMAGE & MUSIC – and in that order of importance.

“Whaaaat?!” I thought as I read that, so the music you make ranks only third. But the author was right. Attitude is crucial. Ed Sheeran’s massive talent was clear to all as he headlined solo at Glastonbury 2017. But what got him there, when only a few years back he was playing pubs and occasionally having to grab precious sleep on an early morning London Circle Line Tube train?  Attitude and self-belief. Massive talent alone is not enough.

Image counts greatly too. Take The Spectres and Parva. Don’t know of them? Yes, you do – they were Status Quo and the Kaiser Chiefs before breaking through with a name that worked. Then Quo did a very daring thing image-wise in the psychedelic late-1960s; whilst other bands’ stage attire was kaftans & frilly shirts, Quo opted to dress down in jeans, T-shirts and pumps, to look like their fans. Music-bizzers told them they were mad. Nope. They were spot-on. Grunge bands like Nirvana did a similar thing at the turn of the 1990s intuitively reacting against the New Romantics/Spandex-big hair, dressed-up 1980s.

And isn’t it hard to believe that as Parva the Kaisers did play the occasional pub/club gig where maybe there were more people in the band than the audience?

But that’s where it begins. You live for your music; you’ve experienced the adrenaline high of performing for an audience – however small – that is REALLY into your music and you want to go for it full-time.

Starting out, everyday practical things can be issues – insurance for instance. I got a nasty shock when I updated the occupation on my car insurance from advertising exec to musician; the underwriters for my company wouldn’t accept anybody from the entertainment industry. End of. And the premium was way more when I did find a firm that would. You must insure your gear as well – music venue and pub car parks are dodgy places.

Promoters. Sadly there are rogues in amongst the good guys who are truly in it for the music. Be wary of the cash-in-envelope payer you haven’t worked for before and always open it in his or her presence – ideally before the gig – and check you’ve got the agreed fee. Also send band promo posters on well ahead of the booking which make it clear what kind of music you play, and ring back a few days later and just politely check that they have been put up. Weirdly, I’ve found that some promoters are too disorganised to do this. For festival gigs, read your contract carefully, checking for any restrictions on playing other nearby gigs around that time.

Try contacting local radio stations if not too far away and offer to do an unplugged set or interview in the studio ahead of the gig. I was surprised by how many accepted – no fee but great publicity.

Publicity-wise, a band website, social media profiles and YouTube clips of course are key. These also mean you can sell your CDs/merch online and not be always thinking about landing that elusive record deal. Have promo cards/flysheets to be handed out at gigs flagging upcoming gigs nearby. Also Google the gig a couple of days afterwards. Why? Sometimes I’ve been nicely surprised by blogs posted by people who enjoyed the gig enough to post a positive review – useful info to post on your website.

Starting out, you’re likely to play support slots. Be prepared – and not at all fazed – by the two-minute rushed sound check or no sound check at all because the headline band can and do take their time.

I’ll finish this blog where I started. Attitude. There will be the inevitable issues and set-backs: bad gigs, travel-fatigue, weeks when your gig diary is scarily blank, gear and transport that needs fixing just when funds are stretched. It can get tough.

But then you have to tough it out: you are doing what you love doing – playing live, rocking audiences and raising smiles. I’ve found that to be a priceless freedom and privilege which I’ve never lost sight of.

Orange is a partner in this year’s Firestone Battle of the Bands, a competition that gives unsigned acts the chance to showcase their musical talents and be in with a chance of winning a great set of prizes.

 

To find out more and enter, simply visit http://battleofthebands.firestone.eu, fill in your details and #BeHeard

Best of luck!

 

Writer Martin Celmins’ official biography of blues legend, Peter Green, is now in its 3rd edition.

As blues solo artist, Jet Martin,  he has been support on concert tours by Peter Green’s Splinter Group and Walter Trout amongst others.

In 2007 he began research on The Book of Orange. As a keen lifelong collector of Orange amps the ensuing 3 years were fulfillingly spent collating and writing that illustrated book, first published in 2011.

Celmins has contributed to several guitar monthly magazines and written general features for the UK national press.

He is currently researching the life and times and music of Brit-blues ace and former Rolling Stone, Mick Taylor.

About the camp:

Miami Girls Rock Camp is a week-long summer day camp program for girls aged 8 to 17 that uses music and performance as a platform to promote self-esteem, community, and creative expression, for young women and girls in Miami. The program offers instrument instruction, songwriting/band practice, live performances by visiting artists/DJs, workshops, and culminates in a showcase concert. Campers receive two hours of instruction each day on selected instruments (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals), in semi-private groups organized by skill level and age. All classes are taught by volunteer women musicians. Campers do not need prior musical experience.

This entry was posted on behalf of Carolina Souto:

I’m Carolina Souto, a local Miami musician and music teacher. It’s cheesy, but I was a lucky kid. I grew up around musicians, and I mean good ones, many of whom still work in the music industry today. And I’m also especially lucky to have had inspiring teachers who helped shape my future.

Still, despite all the luck and positive learning experiences, the fact didn’t escape me that I was also mostly surrounded by boys…and boy, did that create some social and mental barriers growing up that I just couldn’t see past. But no sob story here.

Last year I volunteered for the Miami Girls Rock Camp. I got to teach a room full of girls how to plug in their guitars, turn up the volume, and be heard. Just us girls and our guitars…magic.

I also coached a band that performed an original song at the camp show finale. Six girls who had never played together before, some who had never touched an instrument before, worked their brains off to write an original song and perform to a pretty big audience. They rocked the house and blew me away.

I knew this experience was going to be special for the campers, but I had no idea how much it would change my own perception of the music world around me. Barriers be damned.

Since then, some of the MGRC guitar campers continued to take music lessons and are seriously on the road to becoming the next batch of crazy-good musicians to come out of Miami. And as for myself, I finally shared some songs I had secretly written. Can I say it’s all because of MGRC? Without a freaking doubt.

This year will be my second time volunteering for Miami Girls Rock Camp. I can’t wait to meet the campers, to be in the room with the girls and our guitars, and to help a new band come together and create music. Here’s to another rockin camp year!

Websites:

@miamigirlsrockcamp
facebook.com/MiamiGirlsRockCamp

NLC & ORANGE Amplifiers Rockin For The Children Festival 2017-05-06

The Maze, Nottingham, Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th April

 

As the dust settles on the 7th NLC Festival it is time to look back and try and remember what actually happened, every year gets bigger, more insane, more fun and it takes things further than I could have ever imagined back in 2011.

Arriving at the venue Saturday morning knowing myself and Kieran (Son and Stage Manager) had the full back line to set up and stage to dress in under 2 hours certainly filled me with dread, I’m not getting any younger you know, oh and Orange Amps are so well made (read, heavy LOL). We had decided this year to make the stage huge so not only did we have 3 Cabs and 3 Heads for guitars we also added dummy cabs plus a 8 x10 bass cab and head, it looked awesome with our Bright Orange drums sat neatly in between, we knew that bands would love it. Set up and first Band sound checked in plenty of time, first mission of the weekend accomplished.

Saturday we had 11 bands lined up including our after show party Band The NLC All Stars who had the one rehearsal booked for during that day, at least they did one this year.. It would take too much to go into every bands set so let’s just say each and every one were on fire delivering set after set of awesome Rock n Roll that kept a packed Sold Out venue Dancing and Rocking for 9+ hours solid, thank God the Venue had fitted Air Con this year, it was needed. It was a day when smiles and laughter filled the Venue, when the crowd mixed with bands and met old friends. Many Bands came for the whole weekend which is amazing and became part of the whole event. Saturday finished with a huge party and a little late but hey we won’t talk about that, It was home with aching limbs and the thought of 6 hours sleep before we had to go again.

Sunday is Party Day at NLC fest, a day when everyone knows things are going to get louder, faster, hotter and just a damn fun day, with 11 bands once again ready to give 150% we were off on time and a packed room at 1pm, the room never went quiet all day or evening and again the bands were Electric, creating an atmosphere that I had never seen before at the past events, there was something very very special in the air that I wish I could bottle and sell. There was a lot of emotion around, good emotions as we knew something good was happening and that records for our fundraising were going to be made, oh and The Venue Bar takings that is another story.

As the final band The Main Grains played their set it was time to gather flight cases ready to dismantle what had been an outstanding back line, with more bands using the Orange Rock Verbs than ever before, it had certainly delivered on all fronts and made a lot of new fans. Stood looking at those cases it was like being at a Major gig at a huge venue, a pretty proud moment. 30 minutes and the stage was clear, the supporters were in the Bar and 2017 had been brought to an amazing close.

This Festival is run to raise awareness and funds for Child Abuse and Autistic Children via our very own project NLC for Autistic Children and Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK, every band that plays does so freely and give up their travel costs to be with us, these guys are the Rock that builds this platform so we can do what we do each year along with our supporters who come back to party each year.

We knew that funding records would fall but by how much I could never have dreamed, the total that was raised was a huge £6000 which smashed the previous year by two grand. This will now go to help Abused Children and the fight against child abuse and also to help Autistic children have a better education via I Pads etc and to also help them be able to enjoy life as equals in a safe environment.

A huge thank you must go to Neil at Orange Amplifiers for believing in what we do and letting us put the Orange name out there and also to Richard at STS Touring for their brilliant service with delivery and collection of the back line.

Bands that played:-

Saturday : Fear Lies, Saints of Arcadia, Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters, Daylight Robbery, Chasing Dragons, Doomsday Outlaw, Thirteen Stars, Fireroad, Knock Out Kaine, Stone Broken, The NLC All Stars

Sunday: Black Rose Cadillac, Scream of Sirens, Blacklist Saints, Psychobabylon, Heartbreak Remedy, The Midnight Dogs, Theia, The Senton Bombs, The Idol Dead, Drama Club rejects, The Main Grains.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1510080792585097/

coming soon: www.nlcfestival.com

Charity : www.racpa.org

At the time of writing this one week on from the close of 2017 we are now 65% Sold Out for 2018, things just keep getting crazier …

 

Dave T

 

Thanks to Steve Russ for the videos.

 

Writing this article is sort of bitter-sweet. Sweet, because a sick, global company like Orange wants to shine a light on equality – bitter, because it’s 2017 and you’d have thought we’d have the gender equality on lockdown by now. But, sadly, as things are now, with sexist bastards running the world, standing up and talking about feminism is more important than ever.

Feminism
ˈfɛmɪnɪz(ə)m/
noun
noun: feminism
1the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

It might come as a shock to many that you dont have to be an aggressive, man-hating, penis-intolerant female to be a feminist – feminism is pretty much men and women having equal rights, nothing more, nothing less. It’s not battle of the sexes, or men vs. women – equality.

Sadly, the world of guitar amps, heavy riffs, solos and riggs of doom, is predominantly run by males, and this is my plea to women to get up and in there. Pick up a guitar, bang those god damn drums, look into sound engineering, manage a band, whatever floats your boat. Way back when I first met Orange director Charlie Cooper as an aspiring writer and music nerd, he put me in touch with A&R guy Alex Auxier who instantly put his trust in me as I ‘had rad taste in music and liked Electric Wizard’ – (female shredder right there, just sayin’), and it wasn’t long before I was sent off to various gigs, representing the company.

Nearly two years down the line, I’ve interviewed some of our biggest bands and artists such as Eagles of Death Metal, Kvelertak, Cheap Trick, Blackberry Smoke and Graveyard, and I’ve been met with nothing but open arms and respect. I show up on time, get the job done, and when given the opportunity, demolish the band’s rider.

So, to all you lovely ladies out there, you can do whatever you want, and dont let any misogynistic males tell you otherwise – keep pushing, and keep being excellent.

The Rock legend and the god father of Chinese Rock music, Cuijian led the event of the worlds biggest band and created a new Guinness World Record. Orange Amps was honoured to be part of it and witnessed the great moment of this special day.

In the afternoon of June 16th, 1050 students of Beijing Contemporary Music Academy (BJCMA) gathered at BJCMA’s sister school, Art & Culture College of Tianjin University of Sport, and played and sang two rock songs with Cuijian. The event Successfully created the newest Guinness world record for the worlds biggest band. Tina, the official Guinness World Record officer witnessed this feat and issued the certification award to the representative of participants. The old record was created and held by 520 French rock music players in 2006.

The Songs which were chosen were two famous songs from Cuijian: the Rock of the New Long March and never turn back till the end. These two songs truly showed the meaning of the Event, there will always be long way to get to the top of the Rock & Roll world and we will keep on Rock & Roll till the end.

The Event was supported by a charitable organisation, the LIONS CLUB International. The Beijing Branch of LION Club International organised 40 autistic children and their parents to join and sing in this event with 1000 musicians, together to witness this historical moment. The holder of the event, BJCMA aimed to demonstrate that music is the key to building a closer community and music is key to help all the autistic children develop a closer relationship with the world and remind them that they are loved and cared for by others who want them to know they will never be lonely by the name of music.

This event was a historical Rock music party. It showed to the world that Chinese Rock is part of the of the world. Parsons Combo, distributor of Orange amps were honoured to witness this moment.

It takes a lot of things to keep a band going…and we’re not just talking about commitment, determination and hard work. As well as the obvious things like guitars, amps and pedals, any gigging musician should have a box of tricks that goes everywhere with them and contains just about everything needed to keep the wagon a’ rolling (it’s basically the guitarist’s equivalent to a woman’s handbag).

In this edition of the blog we’ll be taking a look at the bits and pieces that we should be carrying around with us to ensure that the show goes on no matter what. They may not be as pretty or as fun to talk about (or drool over) as the aforementioned but they are equally as vital and no serious musician should leave home without them.

Cables
You should carry at least one spare of every type of lead that you use e.g. guitar lead, patch cable, speaker lead, mains plug. If the one and only lead you carry fails on you mid-set there isn’t going to be any encore.

Picks
Most guitarists carry at least one of these around with them at all times…but one might not be enough. They can break, be easily lost, worn away or even given away (your fans can be pretty demanding) so make sure you’ve always got another on standby.

Pick one…

Pick one…

Multi-plug / Extension Lead
We’ve all played the venue where the power comes from one solitary plug point which is located a mile away from the stage. Don’t be caught short.

Batteries
If you’re running a guitar with an active bit of circuitry, not running pedals from the mains or running around the stage like a loon thanks to a wireless kit then you need to make sure you have some batteries spare. There’s nothing worse than getting cut off in the middle of the solo that you’ve been waiting to play all night.

They’ve got the power…and so should you…

They’ve got the power…and so should you…

Valves / Fuses
There’s nothing quite like the sound of a fully cranked tube amp. Unfortunately valves only have a finite life that can expire at any time and sometimes without any warning. Carrying spare valves is a must, as is carrying an assortment of spare fuses.

They’re so purdy…

They’re so purdy…

Tape
No show would be a show without the need for some tape. Not only is Gaffer good for holding together just about anything (including the universe probably) it can also come in handy if you need to subdue a member of the audience who’s misbehaving.

So many uses…

So many uses…


Pen & Paper

If your band is anything like the band I play in we never turn up to a gig with a set list prepared so pen and paper is always needed.

Tools
It’s all well and good carrying spares but if you haven’t got the necessary tools, those bits and pieces you carry around with you are as good as useless. A multi-tool is a good option if space and weight are at a premium.

The original multi-tool…

The original multi-tool…


Strings

Total no-brainer this one…enough said!

Capo
Unless you’re a transposing wizard one of these maybe a life saver and means that your singer may not need to be castrated after all.

Cloth
You should carry one of these as standard to wipe your guitar down every time you use it. That sweat will cause issues in the future. But that aside you never know when an accident might occur which needs a cloth to remedy it…we’ve all kicked over bottles of beer on stage or had an appreciative audience member drown us in their favourite tipple.

Multi-Meter
Electronics may not be your thing and if you’re even slightly nervous about it then don’t…but a multi-meter may come in handy when diagnosing a problem if something decides not to work.

On the left a multi-meter…on the right Spock’s Tricorder…we can’t tell the difference either…

On the left a multi-meter…on the right Spock’s Tricorder…we can’t tell the difference either…

Torch
Ever tried looking for something on a blacked out stage or around the back of your amp? It’s not much fun…especially if it’s mid-set. So do yourself a favour and have a torch to hand. If you’re loathed to carry another bit of kit check if your smart phone can support a torch app…you can usually download them for free.

This might look the part but might be slightly OTT…

This might look the part but might be slightly OTT…

The important thing to remember is that anything can happen, anytime or any place (more often than not when you least want it to) so being prepared is always an advantage. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked if I’ve got ‘one of these…’ or a ‘spare this’ but I’m the organised one in the band so it goes with the territory…it does mean that the show goes on though and after all that’s what it’s all about!

You know when the time is right. You’ve been plugging away on your trusty practice amp, with its tinny distortion and crackly reverb pot, but now the big leagues beckon! You’re ready to graduate into the world of big boy’s amps, and need some help deciding which is right for you. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all made the mistakes. Learn from us as we try and guide you through the minefield that is choosing your next amp.

There are certain mistakes which keep cropping up. Here we’ll outline five of the most common, in the hope that when it comes to choosing your next amp you’ll avoid making them and ending up with something you regret in six months.

000_0002

Choosing an oversized volume monster you’ll never use properly

Look at the ‘for sale’ sites on Facebook, or on your favourite online auction portal, and you’ll see hundreds upon hundreds of top-of-the-range, cutting edge amps which the current owners absolutely had to have as if their lives depended on it. Nearly all, you’ll notice, will feature the immortal phrases ‘never gigged’ or ‘studio use only’. More often than not, this is down to one very simple fact. Unless you’re headlining the local stadium, or live in the middle of nowhere without neighbours to worry about, you simply aren’t likely to need 100 watts of raging amplifier behind you.

You see, without getting too technical, a good chunk of your tone will come from the power amp valves/tubes, and these only really get going when there’s some volume being pushed through the amp. And realistically, you’re not likely to be able to enjoy a 100 watt amp to its fullest glory without making your ears bleed.

For the vast majority of players, a good quality 30 watt amp will provide more than enough juice to fill all but the very largest of rooms, all the while pushing those power valves/tubes to realise their glorious harmonic potential. So, in conclusion, the advice here is to be realistic about what situations you’re likely to find yourself in performance-wise, and choose an amp which will meet those needs without going completely over the top.

guitar-baby

Choosing an amp you’ll ‘grow’ into

Another fairly common mistake often linked to the previous point. Ask yourself whether you’re buying an amp you can use immediately in the way you envisaged, or if you’re buying something you can look longingly at knowing one day you’ll check into the armchair-blues hotel. Sure, a vintage flavoured piece of amp history will look great in your living room, and one day you probably will enjoy nerding out over the types of transformers used, but if you’re playing in a heavier band now then there is literally no point buying an amp that doesn’t serve your immediate needs.

Same goes for buying that stadium filling 100w head in lieu of actually playing the stadiums. If you’re ever booked to play a stadium, we’d wager you’ll be flush enough to buy a new amp then for the occasion.

Frustrated

Being swayed by a big artist’s tone

Ever wondered why you can buy the signature guitar and amp, run the pedals in the exact same chain, even wear the same clothes as your hero yet never quite sound as good? It’s because tone is in the fingers, as the old guitar cliché goes. When going by a recorded tone the waters are even further muddied by virtue of the fact that no end of production and processing will have gone into achieving what you’re listening to. So, unless you’re a bone fide super-fan and are buying as some form of musical pilgrimage to your hero, aim to get a rig that sounds how you want it to sound. Be bold! There are no right answers in the quest for tone, so forge your own path. Chances are that no matter how much money you wax on identical gear, you’ll never quite sound as good as the artist and that, my friend, will chip away at your soul until the final pennies have left your bank account.

wayne-pizza

Falling for a brand

Yeah, we get it. We know Orange amps are like catnip to guitarists, and we wouldn’t want to discourage that. But, playing devil’s advocate for a second, we’re also keen to point out that our reputation isn’t solely built on fancy branding, winning personalities and a good sense of humour. People like our amps because we have built a heritage based on quality, craftsmanship and good old fashioned tone. So when you’re looking for your next amp, be radical and make your decision based on the features, functionality and sounds you can actually hear, rather than the logo on the front. You’ll be glad of it in the long run.

nerdy-man

Bad research

Kids of today have it so easy. The internet has made it so simple for people to carry out rudimentary research into their next purchase. Literally anything you can think of has been video reviewed up on YouTube, or written about on a blog. The trap to fall into here is making a purchasing decision based on some 14 year old kid and his 20 minute ‘cam audio only’ monologue about how a particular amp has changed his life. He’s just spent his entire year’s pocket money on it; of course he’s going to say it’s good. It’s hardly objective, right? While these first-hand user experience accounts are worthwhile for building a general overview of a product, you should always (where possible) try and physically go and look at the gear on your shortlist in person. Poke it, play with it, whatever you need to do. Just don’t shell out hundreds or thousands of pounds/dollars/Euros on an amp only to find it doesn’t sound like our 14 year old friend ‘promised’ it would.

So there we go. We hope this list helps you when it comes to making your next big purchase. Stick to first-hand research, based on a rough idea of what you want to sound like, and you can’t really go wrong.