It's been a while since we checked in... Aaron got married, and his wife, Kylie, is now a full-time member of Old Worlds! You can check out some of her contributions on the Video page.
This is an article that Adam (bass) wrote this past summer about his most reliable workhorse, the Line 6 M9.
My Love/Hate Relationship with the Line 6 M9 by Adam Langdon
Being primarily a studio “musician” has it perks. Not only can we overdub our countless mistakes, but we generally have multiple amps and speaker cabinets to choose from. For one guitar part I might need a mild breakup with the volume on a Fender Champ set at 7, and then need to record the second part with a Yamaha T-100 into a Marshall 4x12 cab. Add some nice studio-quality delay and it sounds great, right? Well switch over to the everyday musician who’s practicing, touring, playing shows from here to there, and the likelihood of taking more than one amp along with an array of outboard gear becomes pretty ridiculous.
Enter the pedalboard.
Now I was smart when it came to tackling a guitarist’s “Ultimate Tone” search. I did go through a Line 6 POD phase where every guitar and bass I recorded came from an amp simulator that never could gate the buzz coming from my huge CRT monitors. (Fast Forward 3 years) I started out with a guitar that I both liked and could play, and then I moved straight to the best amp for my style. Aside from a very misconstrued purchase of a Boss MT-2, I was ebaying like mad for smaller combo amps that had some classic tones. Soon, lower wattage amps were lining my basement studio walls and I had the bubbling fulfillment that I could have any tone that I desired. Oddly enough, I wasn’t that into delays or choruses or flangers or tremolos or even distortion pedals. I was happy with my Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket and a Fender Jazzmaster.
But soon the call of modern emo rock (circa 2000 for me) demanded I put more thought into effects. Being my father’s son, I didn’t want to spend a ton of cash on something I was “trying” out, so several years later I went down the Morse Rd Music Store Strip and decided on a Boss ME-50 Multi-FX pedal. It was a big blue pedal that emulated other Boss pedals. I loved it. I ended up using it for the majority of recordings I did for almost half a decade.
About a year ago, Aaron S. and I started casually talking about me joining Old Worlds. At the time I was kind of serious and he was completely serious. So not accustomed to solely playing bass in a band, I told him, “dude, yeah. Let’s do this. Bass is the most fun thing to play live.” In my mind I pictured myself jumping around on stage, playing my one-note-at-a-time requirements and getting the crowd to cheer my name long after we left. I spent many hours learning new songs and old and loving every minute of it. So when it came time to practice with Aaron and Mike, I toted along my wimpy ME-50 and said, “I can get some pretty cool sounds outta this, guys. Trust me.” And I did, but compared to Aaron’s double row of delays, loopers, overdrives, boosts… I was a little intimidated.
As the basslines developed I soon realized that I need something more substantial to handle the many layers of Old Worlds songs. While I stood and watched Aaron do his tap dance, I just hit preset after preset on the ME-50, with a silence gap between each setting – ugh. “Let me do some research and see what’s out there,” I explained one hot, muggy practice. After a good week of searching I found that my once departed makers of the Line 6 POD and Bass POD had sculpted a new pedal: The M9. I’ll spare you the details, but know that this thing can do three effects (from any Line 6 pedal modeler ever made) at a time and comes with an incredible looper. Everything from synth-like sounds to heavy distorto bass was at my… toeprints?
While the M9 was and still is a terrific pedal and completely sufficient, I soon found myself searching for a slightly better overdrive sound or a better octaver pedal. After shedding some other unwanted gear, I was quickly up to my knees in pedals. A Boss OC-2, OC-3, PS-3… a volume pedal… BassDrive Mosfet… the list goes on. I convinced myself that all the M9 did was show me what individual pedals I wanted. If a Multi-FX unit could do it all, it doesn’t look very cool on a sizeable pedalboard, does it? I had GAS. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome.) And I had it bad.
The latest layout for Old Worlds bass gear contained: Morley ABY, Electro Harmonix POG2, And Aardvarks! Mosfet Boost, Tech 21 Leeds, Eventide TimeFactor, and the Line 6 M9 with EX-1 pedal. Everything sounds great and I couldn’t be happier with my gear choice.
If you can get the job done with one pedal and make it sound good, why lug a bunch of crap around in a heavy pedalboard case? The live show demands quickness of setup with reliable gear and the fewer things you have, the fewer problems that can come up… in theory. So now I’m reverting back several months to the good old Line 6 M9. What I originally loved about it (its plethora of features) has brought me back around. I’m still holding on to my other pedals for either guitar or studio work, but the practical side of me has convinced my other half that the minimalist approach is the way to go when playing shows or practicing.