The Mobile Guitarist

This month, Worship Musician is focusing a lot of our issue on the mobile church, so let’s talk about what it means to be a Mobile Guitarist!

To some degree, guitarists are all pretty mobile. I mean, you take your guitar home every week, right? But there are a few tools out there that can help you think about what you need to truly be mobile!

The Utility Cart

For a long time, I rolled things in on the backs of my amp’s wheels. But if you’re in a long-term mobile situation, you’re likely going to want to invest in a cart of some kind to move your gear around. I use the JamStands KC80 by Ultimate Support. It’s expandable if you need to move a lot of gear, but it also folds down to a really compact size for travel.

Shrink Your Gear

With the advent of so many great small-format pedals, it’s very possible to duplicate your current rig, just in a tinier pocket-size! The Hotone series of pedals (and amps!) have garnered some great reviews online, but they’re not the only ones out there. Personally, a recent acquisition from AboveGround FX is a great example of a full-featured pedal in scaled-down proportions. With a Pedaltrain Nano-sized pedalboard, you could potentially carry your whole rig in without breaking a sweat!

Go Digital

A digital pedalboard like a Line 6 HD500X or Helix is an amazing feat of engineering, but it isn’t for everyone. But if you spend the time, you can create some great tones this way. I like that it is a complete system: walk it in, plug it in, and done! I wrote a column on the subject so if you’d like to dive into that deeper, please check that out

If you don’t want to move a rig at ALL, this is the definition of mobile – your guitar, an interface, and an iPad! Positive Grid BIAS FX is one of the best apps out there for creating some great guitar tone in a very portable package. Positive Grid has made significant strides in the implementation of great tone in a supremely mobile package. And from personal experience, it sounds fantastic. The Positive Grid BT4 4-button pedal is well-constructed, feels extremely solid, and has a satisfying click to each pedal to know you’ve engaged it. And with the BT Editor app, you can customize your pedal setup to work the way you want it to. I haven’t used it live yet, but it is very tempting!

Any switch of gear or rig can take some getting used to, so if you decide you want to go in one of these directions, don’t give up too easily! Work with the team around you, your sound team, your band leader, and tweak till it feels great. Your church and team deserve the effort even as you strive to lighten your load. And one final note: think of all the extra time you’ll have to hang out once you’ve gotten it figured out!

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