2013-01-16

From Which I May Never Return

The funny thing about my most recent recording, Rhesus 11: I-35, is that I originally intended to record every track with a different instrument. The underlying idea was that a person watching the video on YouTube would be able to identify which instrument is playing which part easily, via visual cue. I also wanted the rhythm guitar (seen at bottom-left) to be extra-chunky - played on my solid mahogany Agile Valkyrie - the "lighter" lead guitar (seen at top-right) to be extra-twangy - played on my single-coil-equipped Carvin bolt kit - and the "heavier" lead guitar (seen at bottom-right) to be thick and meaty - played on my Carvin DC400. It would also have been nice to record the lead guitars with my Washburn BT-10.

See? Every track recorded with a different instrument. That would have been great. So, what happened?

The truth is, I did record the rhythm guitar with the Valkyrie and the lighter lead with the Bolt Kit. The problem is that I couldn't capture the feel that I was going for, using those instruments. My picking attack was throwing some of the notes slightly out of pitch (I have a pretty heavy picking attack). My Bolt Kit, which is easily the most comfortable guitar I own, wasn't quite nailing the kind of twanginess I hoped for. Everything felt awkward and funny. I recorded half of the piece on Saturday and had to just stop. I called it a day and went back to it on Sunday.

When I started recording again on Sunday, I picked up my DC400 and just went with it. This is my newest guitar; I bought it late in 2010. Now, as "chunky" as I like to think the mahogany Valkyrie is, and as comfortable as I like to think my Bolt Kit is, there is something about this DC400. It responds to my picking attack in exactly the way it should. My hands fall against the fretboard in exactly the right way. Simply stated, it just works.

Not surprisingly, I was able to wrap up the recording in a couple of hours, and that includes completely re-recording the rhythm guitar and the "lighter" lead (invoking the DC400's phase switching feature for added spirit). The fact is, when it's right, it's right.

So I now find myself faced with the following "problem:" Having acquired the DC400, I can't seem to warm up to any of my other electric guitars. They don't quite have the right thing, the right mojo. They're all great instruments, but they don't have the same magic ingredient that the DC400 has.

This leads me to believe that I'm on a journey from which I may never return. The DC400, with it's ergonomic comfort, beautiful core tone, and tonal flexibility through its active preamp, coil-tapping, and phase-switching functionality, has rendered my other guitars somewhat obsolete.

I'm doomed. Once you play a DC400, it's hard to return to any other instrument. I am seriously considering selling off my inferior instruments, and maybe even using the money to purchase another DC400, or perhaps a DC700. We'll see. For now, I can't stop playing my beautiful, walnut DC400. What a wonderful guitar.