A musicians’ life is, for many, a constant stream of development – new gear moves in, old gear is left on the shelf. I’m no different and despite my eternal dithering over what to buy and how cheaply can I get it, I try to move with the times. I’ve been using a laptop for over ten years now and midi is still my best friend. Most recently I’ve acquired Guitar Rig (5) and an APCkey25 controller.

The former gives me complete control over my sound (though currently, I’m still using the HX effects, since it’s very flexible “on the fly” with 2 expression pedals and in extremis I can play a set with it if the laptop goes down. It has a basic looper that means I can limit the instances of ableton loopers – less faff programming the FCB1010 midi pedal.

The controller has given me lots more options, firing off dedicated dummy clips, recording live clips (a new concept for me) as well as allowing my mellotron & farfisa VSTs to come into the sound. I’ve been slightly fastidious about “everything comes from the guitar” but hell, I love keyboards and it may be more fun for the Awakenings squad, who love mellotrons 😉

My Focusrite 4i4 died and was replaced under warranty by the manufacturer, who had none in stock and asked if I’d like an 8i6 instead? Yes please! This has more outputs so I can at some point send the loop channels out to a separate (clean) amp – playing fuzzy guitar over a loop tends to degrade the overall sound. Guitar rig has allowed me to reach the stage where I no longer feel the need for a nice valve amp and can use the PA with a monitor.

Here’s the current ableton layout.