Blues on a shoestring: A blues rig under £500
It doesn't get any easier for the modern day musician to make a living. Record companies pay less, rent goes up and yet the endless quest for that perfect tone never ceases. Here at Rose Morris, we are gigging musicians and we understand it can be hard to get exactly what you want and balance the budget. However, there are plenty of hidden gems out there that will get you the tone you seek. Here are our must have bits of gear for your perfect blues rig, all coming in at under £500.
Straight off the bat you need an axe that can handle anything but doesn't break the bank. Classic blues players like BB King and Larry Carlton relied on their trusty Gibson ES-335 (345 in BB's case) to get the job done. It's pretty hard to pick up a guitar quite like 'Lucile' for under £500, However, the Vintage VSA535 is the ideal solution. Amazingly warm tones thanks to the Wilkinson humbucker pickups are delivered with a resonance that only a semi hollow maple body can bring. A steal at £275, the Vintage can go toe to toe with any of its more pricey counterparts and is the perfect platform to build your blues domination.
This is where things get tricky. If the guitar is the star of the show, then your amp does most of the leg work. You need something sturdy for the road, yet light weight. It needs to nail a killer blues tone, with enough features to be versatile. The Roland Cube may be looked upon as a simple practice amp, but at 40w output packs a big enough punch for any venue. That coupled with an excellent tweed deluxe lead setting, or a Marshall JTM setting if you're more into your woman tone, Makes the Cube 40GX an excellent versatile option that wont break the bank.
Blues music isn't often associated with guitar effects. Most people would rather go straight into an amp than clutter their signal with stomp boxes. However, just ask SRV ( a little tricky now I know) how he got his amazing, abrasive tone. Strat into a Twin via a Tubescreamer. An original 808 is maybe a little pricey for our budget rig. However, the Boss SD-1 is a perfect match. Essentially the same circuit as the Tubescreamer, but with a slightly different clipping stage. The Super Overdrive has less mid range and more aggression and is perfect as a lead boost.
Jim Dunlop 222 Brass Slide - £7.99
Utilising the slide can add an extra dimension to your playing. Great players like Jack White and Derek Trucks play amazing lead with slide. This simple brass slide finishes off your budget blues rig with style.