So, I’ve been playing guitar for almost 30 years. Gotten pretty decent at it. Can play a bunch of different genres (blues, rock, country, fingerstyle) but have always been drawn to more ambient/experimental stuff as well. I’ve been into synths for quite a long time too, but didn’t discover eurorack until about 3 years ago. Ever since I made the jump from semi-modular (0-Coast, Mother 32, Mini-Brute) to full modular my guitar playing has fallen by the wayside drastically. I was big into pedals as well but I ended up selling most of my ‘cool’ boutique pedals to buy modular stuff.
I acutally have found that I am way more productive than I have ever been in my musical life since getting into modular. Even though the gear addiction is in some ways worse with euro, I feel like the big difference is this… with pedals, I felt like I’d spend so much time just noodling with a new pedal, to try to hear these really subtle differences in ‘tone’. Fundamentally most guitar pedals just alter the timbre, the don’t actually create any music. In contrast, many of the building blocks of modular are instruments, so every new thing I got would be something that would improve my instrument, and potentially give me more composition tools.
Getting into modular also coincided with the birth of my son, quitting the last formal rock band I was in, and a shift of listening to way less structured music as well. Modular has really allowed me to create in the moment in a way I never have before. With guitar, I was either practicing technique, learning something new, or writing a song with the intent of it being played by a band. With modular, I usually sit down, build my patch, then record a few takes live, and I’m done. I start over again every time.
I really love this workflow, it works well for my lifestyle right now. But, I’m really trying to figure out ways to reincorporate guitar, because I feel like guitar and synth is a largely unexplored territory (compared to straight synth and or just guitar), and because since I’m much better at guitar I feel like I can react in much quicker and more expressive ways.
My problem is that often when I do try to bring the guitar back in, it does sound and feel a little cheesy, because I have a tendency to go back to over playing a little bit. I’m still trying to figure it out, but one thing that has really inspired me is this:
Trying think of mays to use guitar as more of a controller for synthesis, or trying to change the synthesis to respond more to guitar.
Still an ongoing process for sure.