Jul · 06 · 2011

Alex Lifeson's RacksOver the past month or so I’ve been listening to/rediscovering Rush again.  I became a Rush fanatic back in the 70’s shortly after they released their first album.  In the 90’s when they went into their heavy keyboard phase I lost interest but picked them back up when Vapor Trails came out, which was the powerful trio I remembered, brought up to a modern sound.  In other words, simply awesome!  So anyway, with the somewhat recent release of their documentary which I was able to get from the library I have started to renew my Rush fanaticism, getting concert DVDs and anything I can get my hands on now.  I really respect these guys.

So, given that, I made the mistake recently of finding and viewing 2 brief interviews with Alex regarding his guitar rig on the last 2 Rush tours.  Can you say m-i-s-t-a-k-e?  Of course few people could begin to afford what he has.  I started looking pieces up and stopped counting when I reached $15,000 and hadn’t started pricing the guitars.  Good grief!

Since most cars I buy cost about half that amount I clearly can’t entertain a rig like that, as if I needed one anyway.  But there are some things I’ve thought about over the years that I can do.  My rig is seriously old and needs updating.  Not that it still doesn’t sound okay, but it falls short of what I’d ultimately like.

What I’m thinking about is this.  Being able to select sending the guitar signal to one of 2 different preamps.  From there into a multi-effects processor for delay/chorus/flange/etc.   From there to a stereo all tube, low wattage, racked power amp with 6L6s in one channel and EL34s in the other channel, with the signal path switchable as to which channel is live.  Now the tricky part is having a separate delay unit that is either parallel to, or fed from the multi-effects processor, with the output mixed in to the signal path feeding the power amp.  The input of this delay would be select-ably muted, allowing the tail of a solo or rhythm part to be fed into the delay and then muted so that while it “hangs” in the air I can start playing another part, essentially resulting in 2 guitar parts.  Nothing about this set up needs any special pieces except it is going to probably require a unique signal routing switcher to control the signal path through all of the possible options.

Better warm up the soldering iron I guess.

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