02022-10-13 | Guitar | 4 comments

I haven’t played my electric guitar in a very long time and wanted to record some ideas that have been roaming the halls of my brain. Since I don’t have a studio the easiest way to record an electric guitar, besides plugging it straight into an interface the way Holger Czukay used to do, would be to use a speaker emulator and then plug that into the interface. A speaker emulator simulates the load that the speaker puts on a guitar amp. That load is important and is responsible for much of the sound of the guitar. The result is that one can play without using a speaker, simply listening on headphones.

I asked Stephen Duros about speaker emulators and whether he had any recommendations and the subject of the electric guitar sound on the documentary Wide-Eyed + Dreaming came up. Stephen was surprised I was using a speaker emulation box then, in 1996. I wish I still had it, I said. I sold it years ago and got into software amps. Then, around 2012, after a fair amount of searching and trying out, I bought a Mesa Boogie guitar amp and used that for the album three-oh-five. I asked Jon whether he remembered what I was using in 1996 – he has always had the most reliable memory! – and he said it was a Groove Tubes amp. I looked on the interwebs and found it:

The used amp costs a lot more money than I am willing to spend. Jon joked that it could in fact be my amp that was being sold again…

I am still looking and have a few leads. Ideally it’s a box that I plug my Mesa Boogie amp into and then connect to an interface. All I know is that I am done with software emulators. I have tried a lot of them and don’t enjoy them. I don’t need thousands of decent sounds… I want one sound I really like.

A nice result of this search is that I am playing Lush again. :-)


  1. JaneParham

    So interesting. Thanks for sharing your professional processes.

    Awesome tour schedule lined up!

  2. Brad Littlejohn

    It has been a while since I have commented here, but your post definitely compelled me.

    I can’t blame you for this! This goes back to the debate that a lot of older guitarists are having now, with today’s amps compared to what we had in the late 1980s going into the 1990s. A lot of amps nowadays have all of the prepackaged, pre-programmed sounds and tones for what the manufacturer thinks should be the sound that the guitarist is looking for, yet lacks the warmth or feel and sound of what an older tube amp would have.

    It leaves the guitarist a bit lost because they know the sound and tone they are looking for, and yet nothing currently out there has what they are looking for. And it isn’t just a nostalgia thing; if possible, we shouldn’t break what doesn’t need fixing!

    Hopefully you can get the gear you are looking for, and we are definitely looking forward to the shows this year, especially since you’re going to be here on my birthday!

    • ottmar

      I agree with that! I think the seduction of code/digital makes us try to use it for everything. Some things don’t get better though.

  3. Perry

    I have always loved your acoustic-electric blends, so I’m excited to hear you may have more in mind. I can’t count the number of times I’ve listened to: Chi-wahwah Beauty, Silence: No More Longing and a recent discovery, quietrainmoss.


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