Let’s be completely transparent about it: there’s no denying the importance in keeping you and your family safe during these uncertain times. That should be priority number one, to be perfectly clear. Rest up, work from home, hydrate plenty and avoid unnecessary social interaction. These are vital steps to consider amid this unrest and chaos.
Once you feel comfortable and settled in, and feel as though your self-quarantine setup would get a stamp of approval from the Doomsday Preppers, we can get into the thing that’ll keep you sane throughout all of this: music. Chances are, you’re bottled up inside twiddling your thumbs, so you might as well make the most of your down-time. As a guitarist, you’re probably used to down-time anyway! (That was a low blow. Our apologies…)
This handy-dandy list will break down some essential gear to have at your disposal during your work-from-home blocks, self-quarantine procedures and social-isolation creative sessions. You’d be surprised by how much musical productivity can occur at home, so let the team at SamAsh.com give you the 411 on what you need to accomplish this.
Producing music at home isn’t exclusive to pandemics and self-quarantines; many composers and songwriters for television and film do it on the regular. As a matter of fact, they may joke around that they’re always self-quarantined, considering how isolated they are when in the production zone.
The IK Multimedia AXE IO Professional Audio Interface, however, is no laughing matter. A favorite amongst session cats in the guitar community, this audio interface was designed specifically with ax-wielding aficionados in mind. The main channel offers three different circuit configurations, with variations designed to adapt to a handful of guitars, pickups, playing styles or enhancements to bring out the best in your performance. PURE is meant for complete transparency with no tonal coloring, JFET subtly emphasizes harmonics & midrange, and ACTIVE bypasses unnecessary gain stages with a clean response in mind. The end result, regardless of your desired tone, is unbelievably crystal-clear quality with enough power to bring your recording to life.
Audio interfaces have become incredibly accessible in recent years, and this is no accident. With the ever-increasing demand for DIY studios and home recording spaces, it’s never been easier or faster to get your tracks laid down on your DAW of choice. Assuming you have a laptop with USB connectivity, this is a perfect solution for experimenting with new guitar ideas, working on new songs and tracking shred-tastic solos while you’re bottled up inside. Let your mind wander and your fingers fly!
At first glance, the Hotone XTOMP Bluetooth Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal looks better suited to fight against an alien invasion instead of a pandemic. Between its neon color palette, minimal design and mothership-style interface, it doesn’t take on the aesthetic of a typical guitar pedal.
But that originality and emphasis on thinking-outside-the-box are what make this pedal so eye-opening. It all starts with your smartphone, of all things. Download the XTOMP app (available on iOS and Android devices) and manage those nitty-gritty guitar effects right from your screen. Transfer those edits via Bluetooth, and boom. You’re ready to get rockin’ without larger-than-life amplification, intertwined cables and unnecessarily space-consuming pedalboards. It’s almost hard to believe that it’s this easy to craft savory guitar tones from a phone, but in today’s day and age, it seems like this technology was practically inevitable.
What’s awesome about having a pedal like this is it doesn’t require access to a computer or connectivity via cable. Bluetooth is virtually everywhere now, and guitar pedals are its latest conquest. While stuck at home and noodling around on your guitar, this pedal can be a killer songwriting tool, a source of inspiration or experimentation and a quick fix for laying down a riff idea that’s been floating around in your head. Take advantage of such accessibility in your home studio, jam space or even while watching TV in the living room.
Just like holiday gifts or birthday surprises, good things come in small packages. Being small is nothing to be ashamed of; Muggsy Bogues, Prince and Danny Devito made it an art form. The Vox amPlug Series takes a page from the less-is-more playbook, demonstrating quality and convenience for guitar players of any caliber.
This series is unique in the sense that their line of guitar amplifiers fit in the palm of your hand, but offer colossal size at a quite reasonable price. Simply plug the ¼” cable into your electric guitar’s input and get the groove going. Users can choose which amplifier works best for their style and skillset, as this series offers the following models: Metal, Classic Rock and Blues. It even has an option for bassists, a strictly clean model and one that mimics the jam-juggernaut Vox AC30. Serious sound has never fit so easily in your back pocket!
While no one will confuse one of these models for the Marshall stack you have warming up in the garage, this series is perfect for the stay-at-home player doing some casual jamming around the house. Plug it in, turn it on and jam out in your favorite robe or pajamas. You can take that sound on-the-go, with that in mind! Once things settle down a bit, this can absolutely come with you for company picnics, family reunions and bonfire get-togethers.
Perhaps being contained to the restrictions of your home has made you miss the feeling of being on-stage or performing for a roaring crowd. Live streaming on social media grants us the opportunity to still share our talents while in self-isolation, which is a beautiful thing. It’s still possible, but maybe what you really miss is that big amplified sound exclusive to venues and clubs. The Blackstar FLY 3 Bluetooth 3-Watt Mini Guitar Combo Amplifier may not pack a stadium, but it’ll keep you busy and get those fingers moving like you’re at a gig.
A clean and overdrive channel give you a perfect one-two punch for rock music, blues, pop and most genres that may require a guitarist to jump between those two tones. 3-watts may not seem like much, but it’s a perfect amount of amplified juice to fill your home practice space or recording atmosphere with power and confidence. As the name suggests, Bluetooth connectivity lets you rock out to your Spotify or Apple Music playlist in real-time through this amp, so get practicing and make use of that time!
Offering DC and battery power, this amp is a great fixture for the basement or living room jam. If you’re quarantined with other musicians (oh jeez… who’s paying the rent?), this amp won’t drown out the other players while you’re all noodling, but will cut through the sonic space with awesome tone and stellar response.
Stay safe out there. We cannot stress this enough. Looking to get some guitar action happening during your self-isolation? Let the crew at SamAsh.com aide in your efforts to “stay home and play”.