I just got back from seeing John Schofield play a solo gig in Leeds. He had a very simple set up, one guitar, a fender amp a looper and a Stryman pedal. When I saw The Secret Sisters last year, they also had a simple set up, one Collings acoustic guitar and two mics. Then they reduced that set up to one Ear Trumpet mic, which sounded absolutely fantastic. In fact it sounded so great, I started looking into Ear Trumpet mics and am going to purchase one.
The first time I saw Tori Amos, who played a solo gig at Manchester Free Trade Hall in Manchester and played one piano all night. There was no band and she never sounded better than that night.
My point is that often “less is more” and many of the most sublime musical performances have been where artists have opted for this simplicity. There is something truly wonderful about this stripped back approach.
A few months ago I had a series of mishaps and for the first time ever blew not only one amp, but both Henriksen Bud amps just before a debut gig with “The Caravan of Dreams.” Fortunately I still had my Henriksen single channel Blu amp. This was the simplest gear I have ever taken when playing live. I had no boost pedals, effects (I rarely use these anyway) and it was a case of “plug in and go” You know what? This was probably the best sound I have had on stage to date.
Often I’ll see artists post online about getting the cheapest gear and although I appreciate everyone has budgets the old adage “Buy cheap, buy twice” comes to mind. I’ve never regretted buying really good gear and often it either holds its value and/or increases in value. Some niche gear disappears and then becomes really sought after. One example are the excellent Sony MV1 video cameras that I use extensively on the “Music for the Head and Heart project” Often great gear never appears second hand. I have never seen a Henriksen Bud amp or Ear Trumpet mic appear second had anywhere. People who have great gear rarely let it go and often simple set ups revolve around one great instrument.
Yes, often “less is more” and I’m pondering a side project where I”ll scale back gear to the simplest set ups and record with an ear trumpet Myrtle mic making this a very old school way of working.