The sound of an amp is a huge part of our musical identity as guitarists, and it can be really difficult to play your best when you’re plugged into an unfamiliar rig. One of the main reasons why I often feel uncomfortable at jam sessions comes from the fact that no-one seems to set up their rigs like I do, so I spend too much time concentrating on not sucking instead of actually playing. Sound familiar?
Any guitarist that plays live is probably familiar with that dreaded circumstance where for some reason, you aren’t able to use your own equipment for a gig or rehearsal. It almost doesn’t matter what the quality of the rig you’re playing through is - even if it’s expensive, it just doesn’t sound and feel like “home” to our ears and our fingers, and since we play best when we feel the most at “home”, it’s a dig deal.
The reality, of course, is that most rehearsal and backline rental companies don’t provide expensive or boutique amps for rental. Some of the amps I’ve seen provided as backline are so beat up and unloved that they look like they came over with the pilgrims on the Mayflower, where the act of plugging into them and playing a few notes makes you feel like you need to take a shower to exercise the demons of bad tone.
So what do you do when you’re not able to bring your normal amp to a gig? Maybe you’re flying and your head is too heavy and bulky to bring, or it’s stowed away with the rest of the tour’s gear but you have to play a session, clinic or rehearsal on a day off - or you simply hurt your back and can’t get the rig into the car (ahem - this one resonates more and more every year, I have to say).
The answer to that question could be BIAS MINI.
MINI has a ground-breaking software engine that allows you to tweak the circuits of your custom amps down to the component level. Easily swap tubes and transformers, tone stacks and eq stages - all from a mobile device, and all without having to know anything about how the circuits work in the real world. Each module has presets for a ton of different kinds amp circuits built in, so you can try out a bunch of presets, or dive in and just start changing stuff until it sounds the way you want it to. MINI’s powerful engine allows you to create your own custom amps that work for the way you play, the strings you use, the guitars and the pickups, etc. There are no menus and everything happens in real time, so just play around until it sounds like it should.
Sonic customization aside, it’s MINI’s size and the weight that deal crappy backline amps the final death blow. It’s small enough that it can fit into the front pocket of your gig bag, and it’s light enough (at just over 5 pounds!) that you can take it anywhere you take your guitar - and it has a built-in 300 watt power amp! Not only that, unlike a tube amp, you don’t need to connect a speaker to use it, so it’s a natural for practicing on headphones in your hotel or bed room.
I’ve got a new record coming out this summer with Fraudprophets, which means I will probably have overseas gigs to figure out gear-wise. I can’t take any of the heads I used to track the record, so BIAS MINI makes all of those decisions really easy. I can have one in my gig bag at all times, so if I need to teach a clinic, play a gig or rehearsal or warm up a bit in headphones, MINI will be right there next to my guitar.
Now YOU can take YOUR tones with you wherever you go, and you can kiss beat up backline goodbye! For more information, check out www.positivegrid.com/bias-head-mini-guitar