When we made the decision to create a new blog that would cover a host of tone oriented topics, we knew that it would all come down to finding the right individual to take on the task. We found that in Joe Gore, an individual who has played for Tracy Chapman, Tom Waits, Les Claypool, and others. Joe also has an impressive reputation as a tone hacker and a writer, having worked as a Senior Editor for Guitar Player magazine.
What artists have you played for? “I can’t sing, so I love playing with singer/songwriters. Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Tracy Chapman, the Eels, Aimee Mann, Julieta Venegas, John Cale, and more. I’ve also worked with some cool bass players, like Flea and Les Claypool, and great DJs, like Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto and DJ Shadow. I’ve got a partial discography here.”
What kind of topics do you plan to cover on your blog?
“All the weird guitar and bass stuff I never got to write about when I edited guitar magazines! Playing technique, studio tricks, gig survival skills, dirty DIY hacks, recording and mixing skills, unjustifiably obscure music and justifiably obscure gear. But the main theme is tone: how to obtain it, how to customize it, how to raise it to the most exalted heights or drag it through the darkest subterranean sewers. You know— just the basics.”
What would you describe as your craziest tone experiment?
“Well, I could say recording amps in shoeboxes and aluminum trash cans, or playing guitars with carving knives and toy dinosaurs. But the stupidest experiment is performing live through a laptop, like I do with my current band, Mental 99. I only recommend it for the brave or foolhardy.”
Tell us about your model vs. real amp contest.
“A totally sadistic experiment! I’ve posted a set of eight audio clips. Half feature guitars plugged into world-class amps, and half are played through digital models. I even provide all the answers, but not in order. All you have to do to win is match the sound with the source. The first person to ace it gets three Seymour Duncan stompboxes of his or her choice. Second place gets to pick two of them, and third place wins one. This is a fascinating topic. I’ve done a lot of work with digital modeling over the last few years, consulting with various companies and developing guitar components for Apple’s Logic, GarageBand and MainStage programs. I’m not saying that amps and digital models sound identical, well, suffice it to say that I’ve administered many blind listening tests, and the results are always surprising. Drop by and test your ears.”