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hotwired

Starting solo gig, looking for hybrid...

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Good morning. I've posted a couple other similar questions but wanted to be more pointed. I'm 54, about to embark on my first "solo" quest, doing 2-3 hour acoustic shows. 

My setlist is here for context on what type of player I am: http://kenlavoie.com/setlist.shtml but without looking at that, I'm very physical and passionate, and need to bang on the guitar a little to get myself "worked up". If I don't I tend to "sing like I talk". I'm not good at "medium" ... all or nothing, haha! That's not to say I can't slow down and pick when I need to (wild horses, the outro to Amie, etc.)

I did just order a Gretsch G5420TG-59 for $700 from Sweetwater (it's their "exclusive" though exhaustive research has failed to tell me what's different about it vs. the G5420T). And I already have a nice Taylor 314CE. So maybe I'd use the Gretsch for Creedence, fogarty, stones, and the Taylor for most of the others. But...I love the idea of having a nice hybrid. I'm down to the following and need you guys n' gals to help me decide! There's also a couple questions to round out the discussion.

Money is no object except in my mind. It p*sses me off, the thought of paying $2,500 for a T5z. But in the end, I'm 54 years old, and haven't bought a single guitar in 20+ years. 

1. Am I right in thinking that even at an acoustic Gig a hollow body elec. like the Gretsch might be a good compromise for doing some rockier songs so I can pull off some nice barre chords and leads, and "chunky" stuff? (always wanted humbuckers as I've been a strat tele man all my life)

2. Taylor T5 or T5z. TONS on ebay for around a grand...too risky? I've heard T5 is "acoustic w/electric add-on" while T5z is "electric with acoustic add-on" and that neither does a GREAT job of duplicating acoustic. BUT....at GC I played a T5z and literally had a hard time leaving without shelling out $2,600. Never heard anything like it, and that's played through a Marshall electric guitar amp! I think "it moved". That's 5 minutes os screwing around though and I'm well aware that it can take a month of sundays to really come to a conclusion. 

3. Godin A6 Ultra: This link of comparing the 3 I'm listing says this is the best, https://guitarsonmain.com/blogs/news/hybrid-guitars-1 -- the only drawback is no bridge humbucker. I'm leaning toward risking a few hundred to $1,000 on one of these. Playing one is probably not practical, the nearest big guitar center is 90 minutes away, (GC) and they don't have them in stock. 

4. Michael Kelly Hybrid or hybrid 55 (looks like tele). LOVE the sound on videos, has tons of versatility, but again, a "electric with acoustic add-on" and really I want acoustic first, electric second, though as long as I can beat on it without it scaring everyone, AND the action is enough that I can at least bend a string a whole step here and there, I'm happy. 

5. esp ltd tl-6 thinline - played one and don't really like it because it feels to "sensitive"...it doesn't have humbuckers, just piezo or whatever, but is thin, but I didn't love the feel. Cheap though, comparitively. 

6. Crafter SA or SAT-heard mentioned in forum as choice but don't know anything about them

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I have a Carvin AC-375 its a thin line acoustic with piezo. Though adding a sound hole humbucker would be dead simple if wanted. I play through a fishman aura pedal into a pedal board. I can get really sweet electric sounds, using a bit of over-drive and an amp sim (line 6 hd500). It works really well with wah pedal. I and it gets really decent electric sounds. But the bass is more like a concert body sound then a dreadnaught.  What I really like is the sculpted heal and the neck plays like butter.  I have wanted to get a T5, I like them. I keep going back and forth in my mind and haven't pulled the trigger yet. I also have a Godin Nylon string with a slimmer neck, thicker than most electrics but nowhere near the thickness of a classical guitar. I love that thing, It has a 13pin midi adapter and mixing the guitar with nice synth pad is like playing heaven. Good luck with the solo! I've done many duos, full bands and a backed a singer on piano. But I have always had others on stage even if it is just a hand drummer.

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I've heard the nylon string version of the Godin played live (except of course with no humbucker) and it sounded pretty darn good considering the guy was playing through a Mesa. Godin is great bang-for-the-buck too.

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I can speak to the Taylor T5, I bought one at Sweetwater Gearfest 2018. I got it for $2k because it was the one they'd been using in the tent and apparently didn't have others within reach. I'd actually gone to Gearfest with the intent of getting one. I'd put in notice with the band I'd been playing keyboards with for several years and was waiting for them to find my replacement while meanwhile my wife and I had been going to open mics and jams putting together our own duo show.

 

I liked the guitar right away because it played very much like an electric (more gibson than fender) and I totally intended to do some occasionally extensive noodling while my wife held down the rhythm on keys. It does sound good with a decent range of tone but I, and others I know, aren't overly impressed with the acoustic position. I quickly became frustrated with the guitar because I was having a great deal of trouble keeping it in tune. I changed out the strings with the recommended Elixir strings but the problem persisted. I seem to have gotten past that at this point however by stretching the hell out of them and turning that guitar into my bitch. Perhaps that is the nature of those strings? For many years I've preferred the GHS Boomers on my electrics. In any case I've been using it as my main guitar for our duo gigs and although I think it's over priced for what you get, it fits nicely with the classic pop music format and approach we're taking, ie; a nice clean tone and the ability to play lead guitar parts.

Edited by ggm1960

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1 hour ago, ggm1960 said:

. . . It does sound good with a decent range of tone but I, and others I know, aren't overly impressed with the acoustic position. I quickly became frustrated with the guitar because I was having a great deal of trouble keeping it in tune. I changed out the strings with the recommended Elixir strings but the problem persisted. I seem to have gotten past that at this point however by stretching the hell out of them and turning that guitar into my bitch. Perhaps that is the nature of those strings? . . .

The T5 sounds like a candidate for acoustic/electric strings, such as DR Zebras or GHS White Bronze. Strings are (relatively) cheap and it might be worth a try.

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First off...  welcome to the boards!   You’re going to find a lot of info here...     I like your taste in gear, but imho, you’re overthinking this thing, pick up a guitar and go play...  stop trying to plan what the unpredictable humans are going to enjoy and have a little fun of your own...  you’re worrying about subtle instrument differences and playing to folks that have little discernment for basic intonation...  and then they add alcohol...  

what kind of pa are you using?

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17 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

The T5 sounds like a candidate for acoustic/electric strings, such as DR Zebras or GHS White Bronze. Strings are (relatively) cheap and it might be worth a try.

Although I have the guitar behaving now and I'll likely wear those strings out, it's a pretty sure bet I'll try something else next time. Another thing I found odd was that the string pins don't fit into the holes as snugly as I'm used to with other acoustic guitars, it almost seems odd that they are able to hold the strings in.

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Voltan is correct....

To the OP, your Taylor is a good standard choice for acoustic. Work with it, build up your left hand. I don't bring an electric/semi/hollowbody for solo gigs. I know people who do, but honestly, I found that no one really cares about your soloing [even with a looper, which if you don't have one, I suggest you get one and start working with it], they are expecting a person who sings and plays guitar. If you can manage fingerstyle jazz, [which I can't seem to do] then bring the Gretsch, otherwise, work on your act with just the Taylor.

Why? Because it sounds to me like you have developed some bad habits regarding your singing and playing, most likely from working in bands with 2 guitars [just a guess] where you were not the lead vocalist.  You are not alone; I had similar issues when I started out to build my solo act [although I work in a variety of band configurations, usually as the lone guitarist]. Doing a solo act is a 'warts and all' proposition. You are the act, no one to help you, cover for you, etc. Rethink the songs to suit you and your gear. No one has ever complained to me that I did a song on acoustic and I didn't do it just like the record...the audience really wants to be entertained and they don't care if you play the solo note for note....sell them your version of the song.

I am in the process of retooling my solo act, but the least of my issues is guitars. I did a lot of things right and wrong starting out, but on my last solo gig, I stripped everything back to me and the guitar and a mic...and it worked fine. Oh, sure, I could have impressed them with my mad skills with the Beat Buddy, Vocal harmonizer and the looper...I can sound pretty close to a full band...but frankly, it was far more work than I needed to do to put on an entertaining show...and that is what you are really trying to do: entertain your audience.

Focus on the song. Pick songs that work with your voice and with the rest of your material.

Focus on singing, and accompanying yourself while singing.

Remember, the audience wants to hear you perform, not a jukebox.

Also, a hard lesson learned: trotting out covers of 60s and 70s rock tunes won't get you where you think they will. If you are going for that era, look to the folkier material like CSNY, S&G, JT, Croce...I do a medley of Everly Bros which goes over well as well, and the occasional rework of one hit wonders, like 'Don't Walk Away, Renee'.  I am currently digging in o the Great American Songbook material, finding standards that 1: I like, 2: I can arrange the guitar parts to suit my style, 3: I can sing well and 4: not may other soloists are covering...

Be bold, be different, but above all else, be entertaining!

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as an addendum...I started this forum when I was starting out on the solo path in order to pick the brains of the folks I could attract to the forum, and I learned so much about things to do, not to do, gear to try, material that may or may not work...so there it is, almost a decade of absorbing data from others in similar situations. And so I will take this opportunity to thank all the great people who contributed here over the years, although many have moved on, and I have put my solo act on hiatus several times as situations arose.

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Coming at this from another angle I say skip the hybrid.  The other angle is my rhythm guitarist in my modern country band picked up a very expensive Taylor in an attempt to cop acoustic or electric sounds for different songs.  He sold it after just a few months and went back to exclusively using his Tele.  I have been doing some duo stuff with a keyboard player lately and I only bring an acoustic.  It's all you need.

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I've played Variaxes since 2004 and it really does everything! You can get an older one pretty cheap used and with the JT versions, you can add any number of alternate tunings at the twist of a knob. I had a guy come ask me where was my Tele after a country tune! He was astounded all the sounds were the Variax. And this one was the original guitar so it was probably 2005 or 6. If you want it to feel more acoustic then use larger string gauges. David Payton does some of the same material as I do in Atlanta and he uses his to great effect. I use mine exclusively on my backing tracks and it never fails to sound incredible! This video was a recording done last weekend off my Fishman Artist solo. 

 

 

Riley Wilson

www.guitarmadesimpler.com

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I started solo gigging using piezo equipped acoustic guitars but for the last few years have moved to exclusive use of a hybrid PRS Hollowbody ll. I play the piezo side through a TC Helicon playacoustic and the humbuckers through an Atomic Amp Firebox. Both then direct into powered speakers. 

Both acoustic and electric sound really good and it is effective to record a chord sequence via a looper and switch to the electric side of things to noodle a lead. Used sparingly this really breaks up "one man and his guitar" over the course of a set.

now the kicker - I wouldn't recommend the PRS, yes it's pretty but I have found the electrics to be unreliable.

i tried out a Tom Anderson Crowdster plus at a gig and it was outstanding, if pricey. I am now looking into a Godin.

I did like the idea of the new Fender Acoustasonic but would miss having two leads out. 

Cheers Steve 

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On 9/23/2019 at 9:37 AM, steve mac said:

I started solo gigging using piezo equipped acoustic guitars but for the last few years have moved to exclusive use of a hybrid PRS Hollowbody ll. I play the piezo side through a TC Helicon playacoustic and the humbuckers through an Atomic Amp Firebox. Both then direct into powered speakers. 

Both acoustic and electric sound really good and it is effective to record a chord sequence via a looper and switch to the electric side of things to noodle a lead. Used sparingly this really breaks up "one man and his guitar" over the course of a set.

now the kicker - I wouldn't recommend the PRS, yes it's pretty but I have found the electrics to be unreliable.

i tried out a Tom Anderson Crowdster plus at a gig and it was outstanding, if pricey. I am now looking into a Godin.

I did like the idea of the new Fender Acoustasonic but would miss having two leads out. 

Cheers Steve 

Steve, ive used a couple different fender acoustasonic amps and loved them...  until I used them for vocals too...  I’d recommend trying one out, and really wringing it out...  ive found when I crowd the mic, it gets a little muddy...  I’m still digging my little qsc/soundcraft ui16 rig...   just as easy to schlep and far cleaner to my ear.

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52 minutes ago, Voltan said:

Steve, ive used a couple different fender acoustasonic amps and loved them...  until I used them for vocals too...  I’d recommend trying one out, and really wringing it out...  ive found when I crowd the mic, it gets a little muddy...  I’m still digging my little qsc/soundcraft ui16 rig...   just as easy to schlep and far cleaner to my ear.

Sorry I wasn't being clear, I meant the Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster guitar that came out this year, it is a hybrid but it doesn't have the facility to seperate the piezo and magnetic pickups as they leave the guitar. 

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like the Gibson Chet Atkins or  Epi SST...except for the price, and they all came out of the Samick factory in Korea...

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I recently acquired a Zoom G3n and it has a pretty darn good acoustic patch/model. Of course it doesn't sound like a real acoustic guitar so it depends on what's most important to you. Since all gigs are one nighters now days I do what I can to keep my setup to a minimum. I also don't like bringing two guitars to most gigs because there's usually not much room - plus there's that fear of an expensive guitar falling off the stand. 

I ended up with a Samick thinline acoustic a couple of years ago on a trade. It seemed OK but it turned out to sound terrible plugged in. Had no low end and EQing didn't help. Not saying all Samicks suck but the one I had wasn't something I would use on a gig.

Samick acoustic.jpg

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try a TC Body Rez pedal...it makes my Stratacoustic sound like a Gibson jumbo! And it sounds like g*dforsaken cr*p on its own, but it plays well...

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On 10/4/2019 at 12:00 PM, daddymack said:

try a TC Body Rez pedal

Thanks Daddy but I sold the Samick. I'm looking for another mid priced acoustic/electric now even though I don't play acoustic very often. I have an Alvarez that I bought around 1995 that's not bad. Checking out Martin, Taylor, etc currently.

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5 hours ago, Bob Dey said:

Thanks Daddy but I sold the Samick. I'm looking for another mid priced acoustic/electric now even though I don't play acoustic very often. I have an Alvarez that I bought around 1995 that's not bad. Checking out Martin, Taylor, etc currently.

The Yamaha APX line comes to mind.  A friend from church has one and it sounds okay to me plugged in, not so much unplugged. Yamaha usually makes decent gear.

Edited by DeepEnd

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On 9/17/2019 at 5:57 AM, hotwired said:

Good morning. I've posted a couple other similar questions but wanted to be more pointed. I'm 54, about to embark on my first "solo" quest, doing 2-3 hour acoustic shows. 

My setlist is here for context on what type of player I am: http://kenlavoie.com/setlist.shtml but without looking at that, I'm very physical and passionate, and need to bang on the guitar a little to get myself "worked up". If I don't I tend to "sing like I talk". I'm not good at "medium" ... all or nothing, haha! That's not to say I can't slow down and pick when I need to (wild horses, the outro to Amie, etc.)

I did just order a Gretsch G5420TG-59 for $700 from Sweetwater (it's their "exclusive" though exhaustive research has failed to tell me what's different about it vs. the G5420T). And I already have a nice Taylor 314CE. So maybe I'd use the Gretsch for Creedence, fogarty, stones, and the Taylor for most of the others. But...I love the idea of having a nice hybrid. I'm down to the following and need you guys n' gals to help me decide! There's also a couple questions to round out the discussion.

Money is no object except in my mind. It p*sses me off, the thought of paying $2,500 for a T5z. But in the end, I'm 54 years old, and haven't bought a single guitar in 20+ years. 

1. Am I right in thinking that even at an acoustic Gig a hollow body elec. like the Gretsch might be a good compromise for doing some rockier songs so I can pull off some nice barre chords and leads, and "chunky" stuff? (always wanted humbuckers as I've been a strat tele man all my life)

2. Taylor T5 or T5z. TONS on ebay for around a grand...too risky? I've heard T5 is "acoustic w/electric add-on" while T5z is "electric with acoustic add-on" and that neither does a GREAT job of duplicating acoustic. BUT....at GC I played a T5z and literally had a hard time leaving without shelling out $2,600. Never heard anything like it, and that's played through a Marshall electric guitar amp! I think "it moved". That's 5 minutes os screwing around though and I'm well aware that it can take a month of sundays to really come to a conclusion. 

3. Godin A6 Ultra: This link of comparing the 3 I'm listing says this is the best, https://guitarsonmain.com/blogs/news/hybrid-guitars-1 -- the only drawback is no bridge humbucker. I'm leaning toward risking a few hundred to $1,000 on one of these. Playing one is probably not practical, the nearest big guitar center is 90 minutes away, (GC) and they don't have them in stock. 

4. Michael Kelly Hybrid or hybrid 55 (looks like tele). LOVE the sound on videos, has tons of versatility, but again, a "electric with acoustic add-on" and really I want acoustic first, electric second, though as long as I can beat on it without it scaring everyone, AND the action is enough that I can at least bend a string a whole step here and there, I'm happy. 

5. esp ltd tl-6 thinline - played one and don't really like it because it feels to "sensitive"...it doesn't have humbuckers, just piezo or whatever, but is thin, but I didn't love the feel. Cheap though, comparitively. 

6. Crafter SA or SAT-heard mentioned in forum as choice but don't know anything about them

Any of the big online guy will give you free shipping, and let you test drive one. Plus you beat the sales tax.

I have done MF, GC online, Sweetwater, and they are all very good. The GC will ship it to a store and if you likes, you buy it, if you don't your 90 minutes from home.

 

Personally what I use in a solo bar, club or restaurant is my new found love. A Taylor GS Mini Koa.

I have a number of acoustic amps for different jobs. 

Seems people just listened to the songs I was playing and didn't care about my amazing looping skills and guitar solos.:lol:

I like the Godin for what it is and the Taylor T5 is ok too. They all fall short of being a nice Martin or Gibson, or a Les Paul or Strat on the electric side.

Paul Rivera makes a electric Acoustic amp.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SedonaLTDLX--rivera-sedona-lite-55-watt-1x12-inch-acoustic-tube-combo-cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I do like the Rivera Sedona, but...there is no xlr input, no mic line in, meaning now you are carrying a PA and an amp! That amp was designed more for guys playing A/E and electric in a band setting, rather than for a solo singer/guitarist.

I'm pretty sure that any 'acoustic' amp you are using has a mic input, right, Mikeo?

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I've got a couple of hybrids: an Ovation VXT and a Parker P36. Just want to reinforce getting some sort of acoustic processor tween piezo and amp. Being cheap, lazy & all that I use a Zoom A2 and suits my needs. As money seems not to critical, you probably would want that Fishman... hmmm

I like to use 2 amps, love the spread and possibilities, which borders on absurd as I play down on beach, about a 10 min walk humping guitar and amps on my back (I'm a geezer too, if you haven't guessed yet). A Fender mini Mustang, a Katana mini & that pedal (oh, don't forget the VXT) is about my tote limit.

Years ago tried Epiphone Les Paul Ultra (3?): semi hollow, nanomag (?) pu in neck, not so tinny as under bridge. Took it back as wouldn't intonate right, which is a pity as seemed full of possibilities..

Does Godin still make the Montreal? Seem to recall looked very tasty, had those HBs, semi hollow and Piezo. Too pricey for me, but might be worth looking into...

Best of luck on your quest. Please let us know what you end up with. I won't say "finally" as that word doesn't seem to apply to git pickers...

 

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