I’ve evolved a fairly non-traditional guitar setup for playing live, recording and practicing at home. I am convinced that it gives me a combination of great sound, flexibility, portability and reliability.
At the heart of all of it is a Line6 Pod XT Live. A floor board that does just about everything I could dream of. When playing live it goes straight into the desk. Practicing it goes into a hi-fi amp. When recording it plugs straight into my laptap with a USB lead. As a backup, when playing live, I also take along a Behringer VAmp2. A perfectly adequate amp simulator but not perhaps up to the functionality or build quality of the Pod XT.
With amp modellers and simulators there is always going to be a compromise in terms of the quality of the sound, however slight. Is it as good as a Fender Twin or Marshall stack at full chat? Nope. But I realised that the opportunities to turn an amp up to a decent operating volume are remarkably few. I also suspect that the vast majority of people, myself included, cannot tell the difference when you slot it in amongst the mix with drums, bass and vocals.
In terms of the guitars, it all depends… The one “ever present” is the Line6 Variax 500. It is an astounding piece of kit in it’s own right, being able to model instruments as diverse as Strats, Les Pauls, Gretches, 6 and 12 string acoustics and even a banjo and sitar. Pair it up with the Pod XT and it really starts to fly. The ability to switch from screaming Les Paul through a Marshall to jangly 12 string Rickenbacker with a touch of chorus, all with the tap of a footpedal, opens up new possibilities for live performance.
In addition to the Variax I’ll vary the main guitar, depending on whether it is an acoustic or electric focussed set, and knowing that the Variax can fill in the other type as required.
The main electric guitar of choice is my much loved late 70s Fender Telecaster. The acoustic is a newish small bodied Takamine.