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Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame

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Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame last won the day on January 25

Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame had the most liked content!

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About Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame

  • Rank
    Veteran HFCer
  • Birthday 05/16/1968

Previous Fields

  • guitars
  • amps
    AMPLIFi 150, Roland Microcube, Atomic Reactor FRFR
  • fx
    Boss ME-50, Bias FX

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    DC Area
  • Interests
    Cars, pre-WWII bolt-action Battle Rifles, Kansas City Chiefs football, the Chinese language, Chinese pop/rock music, hard rock and heavy metal

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  1. No, I ordered it at the end of March, and it is in Local Distribution...they imply, but don't promise, delivery within 2 weeks or so from now.
  2. I don't have my Spark yet. Here are my stupid thoughts: 1) I have a MicroCube, and while I always loved it for it's portability (I get YEARS out of set of batteries), I think I never fully appreciated what it could do. It really does have great tones from each of its settings. Not quite a "push button for Van Halen or Metallica or SRV sound", but almost. If I'd been more patient for tweaking it, I could probably get every sound I wanted out of it. And there's probably a way to use it as a head through a Powered Speaker. What it lacks: any reasonable sort of jam/practice capability or computer interface. 2) I had an AMPLIFi 150 I got on clearance from GC. I had avoided them because they got such bad reviews, and because I had tried out 4-5 different Line6 products but couldn't stand their control interface. I finally decided to try one because it was cheap, and I was trying to find some sort of whole-house speaker system (like SONUS) but not so expensive, and the AMPLIFi's work as bluetooth speakers, too. Well, when I got it home, it was incredibly easy to tweak tones. It still suffers, somewhat, from Line6's problem of throwing too many choices at you with some variations that are too minor to warrant so many choices. I tried some of the SoundCloud downloads, but it wasn't that intuitive and didn't seem like much of an advantage. I played music through it a few times to jam, and it worked fine, but not really an advantage over playing along with a song coming from my computer. I ended up selling it because I got a Firehawk FX through a powered FRFR speaker, mainly because the Firehawk has the same interface, more functions, better input/output options, and better Variax interoperability. What the AMPLIFi lacked: any sort of interactive jamming or integral drum machine. 3) Digitech Trio Plus. Great at learning the chords you want to play, sounds like real instruments. Perfect for jamming to a groove, also decent for recording the basics of a song. Can't pull a song off of the Trio Plus to build tracks around it. Some basslines you might want can't be recreated. Never figured out how to set up the cables to get the crunch guitar tone I wanted without distorting the entire sound feed, unless I used the onboard effects, which are limited. 4) Spider Jam. Typical Line6 user interface inadequacy. I got one, had it delivered, saw a SpiderIV 75 that I thought was a Spider Jam for $100 cheaper, so returned the Spider Jam to GC. When I discovered my mistake, have never felt like it was worth paying full price for one, and never found one close by used for cheap enough to get it. The learning curve to make it do the kind of stuff I wanted was just too high. 5) THR-10. Credible tones. I agree with the text printed here: I just didn't like it, tho. I had the same problem with it as I had with the THR-100 I tried out at Atomic Music: it gets credible sounds, but it just seems sort of lifeless, or edgeless, or soulless. It's good enough, but it seemed way to difficult to get it to go extreme, to get a really inspiring guitar tone, the way I could with even the MicroCube (if I tweaked it). It was like experiencing life on Sudafed, or listening to music with the speaker in the other room. It just didn't sound *live* enough. But I sometimes don't give gear the full shake it deserves; I give up too easy. Looking forward to the Spark, tho. I hope I'm not disappointed. I have the tones I need from other places, but I'm really hoping for a good jam device, that makes it easier to learn songs, play along with famous songs, and develop my own songs. We'll see.
  3. Damn. I shouldn't have ordered one, I should have just bought Cynic's or yours. Oh, well, there was no way to know.
  4. Ordered Fri, Mar 06, 2020 14:35 Being Prepared In Transit Local Distribution Your order is preparing to ship to you. Please check back soon for your tracking number. Please note that due to COVID-19 it may take 2 weeks or longer for your Spark to move through customs and the shipping process at your local distribution center. Wed, Jul 01, 2020 16:54 Shipped Completed
  5. Got notification yesterday that my Spark is now in local distribution. Could still be a while until "Shipped", they say could be another 2 weeks. Anyone who got theirs remember what the timeline was like for them once it hit 'local distribution'? End of March to mid-July is better than some of the timelines y'all had, I guess.
  6. I thought Brad used Soldano, too, but the video earlier has him playing Mesa Boogies. Which is it? Did he switch at some point?
  7. And I think Brad's black and red super strat is the best looking guitar I've ever seen. Made me a black pickguard/fretboard/hardware fan with any color body, but especially red.
  8. As much as I like Night Ranger, I didn't like Jeff Watson's tone very much. A little too shrill. But Brad's tone was smooth.
  9. Jeff had that 8-fingered stuff, but he also had some really impressive technique. The "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" solo had that complicated picking pattern at the beginning of his section, and then he did a speed run that started off with 8ths, then triplet 8ths, then 16 notes. He did that acceleration thing in a bunch of his solos, and could really burn with the fastest of the speed guys. And then the string skipping in his flatpicking was also considered world class. He just apparently had the same ego thing that Steve Perry and Dennis DeYoung did, where he'd use his health to hold the rest of the band hostage for touring "I can't believe they would tour without *me*!". Which is said, because while he was an important member of the group, he was more periphery. The core was really Jack, Brad, and Kelly. They were kind of a power trio with long-term guest musicians, now that I think about it a little.
  10. I'm a big Night Ranger fan. Really good songs, really good lyrics, and some amazing guitar work between Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis. Brad isn't a technical player, but he fakes it well enough to keep up with Jeff on all those twin guitar leads. Not sure how widely known it is, but Brad did quite a bit of the background music on ESPN. https://archive.blabbermouth.net/news/night-ranger-guitarist-pens-music-for-espn-sports/
  11. it depends on what you mean. A guitar is an instrument of expression, and the better your technique is, the more things you can express. If technique becomes the goal, however, it isn't enjoyable for most people, because the *expression* is still supposed to be the point of it all. Guthrie Govan is still really admired for what he can play, but he doesn't move me as much as some people with lesser technique. But Neal Schon and Dan Huff aren't worse because they can shred, either. In any case, my views have never been a reflection of what is going on in the world at large. My perspective is just that I got most interested in guitars, what made me want to pick up a guitar, was the hair metal stuff that focused on both skill and fun, the heirs of Eddie Van Halen. I never really enjoyed Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and their ilk because they were too much into trying to figure out what scales they could play over what chords at really fast speed. I've always thought Paul Gilbert was a really good mix: he could shred, but he played with heart, and played to have fun and let the listener have fun. That's what I like. But again, do not take anything *I* say to be indicative of any trends. I'm not tapped in to today's youth. at all.
  12. Keep in mind that I am stupid and have stupid opinions, and am probably just a fundamentally bad person. That being said, I'm enjoying the Badlands this time around, now that I've persisted in listening to their whole catalog. The only thing is, I think I like Dusk the best. The eponymous Badlands album is okay, but to be honest, Gillen really channels Robert Plant on it, and I don't really like Robert Plant. I also kinda felt like Jake's playing lacked some intensity. I don't know how to describe it better than that. Dusk has a little more rawness. Then I found out it was one-take demo album, and Gillen is doing nonsense scat lyrics through half of it. That makes it even more impressive to me. But despite the issues I have with Badlands and Voodoo Highway, it doesn't mean I don't like them. They're good, and will probably stay in my listening rotation for a good while. And I'll pick up more I like in the guitar work with every listening, I'm sure. Thinking about Brian May a little bit more, I think I still object to calling him a great guitarist. He's a great *musician*, and so that means he does some really good stuff on guitar. But although this is admittedly subjective and arbitrary, I think there are some levels of technical mastery you have to have to be considered a great *guitarist* that I think May just lacks. And since so much of his innovation is in composition and arrangement, that supports the idea of him being a great *musician*, which makes him an enjoyable guitarist to listen to. This isn't an insult. In fact, I consider myself much closer to Brian May than to Schon, EVH, Huff, Jake E. Lee, etc. I have confidence I'm a good musician. I bring my musical sense to any instrument I play, and to my singing...but that doesn't make me a very good guitarist. It just means that what I can make what I do on guitar sound good, and match it to what I'm trying to do. But I'm limited by a limited ability on guitar. I think there are a bunch of things Brian May can't do on guitar because of his limitations as a guitarist. The opposite of Brian May is (and I hope I don't piss anyone off with this, but probably will) is Blues Saraceno, who is impeccable as a player, but doesn't move me, and whose songs are entirely forgettable. EVH, SRV, and all the other great guitarists combine the musicality *and* the chops, but May doesn't have the chops. And that's okay.
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