Allow me to tell you about the most fun I've had with an electric guitar in ages...
Call it "The preset game".
To play the game you need a modeller with lots of built in presets, something to beat out a rhythm (metronome, drum machine) and an audio recorder. Coincidentally the Micro BR is all those things in one box but I realize now I could have played this game pretty well with my Vox Tonelab and my laptop.
The rules of the game are:
- Set up a metronome or drum rhythm playing at 120 bpm. If you habitually use blues phrasing as a crutch then pick a rhythm with straight 8th notes to force you out of old habits.
- Select the first preset.
- Try to compose four bars that really suit the preset. The riff has to be exactly four bars long although if it leads towards a really strong resolution you may use the first beat of bar 5 to turn it around. You can fiddle with the guitar controls as much as you like but you cannot change the preset, not even the EQ. You have to take what you are given. The only exception to this is if a delay effect fits really badly at 120bpm then you may change the delay time to sit squarely on the nearest 16th note.
- Match up the new riff to the rhythm part. This might mean increasing the tempo or changing the feel.
- Record the four bars (and use the fifth bar to let the reverb, delay, echo ebb way).
- Select the next preset and return to step 3.
If the presets are nicely jumbled then eventually you start to build up a really eclectic recording.
I'm currently at 11 out of 80 presets so there's some way for me to go yet. Some are good, some are bad, some are extremely derivative but ultimately each riff came out of my head, not out of a book/youtube video. I even have a riff to spare which I developed on a "just beginning to break up" preset and decided it was worth keeping until I hit something crunchier.
Its been an amazing work out mostly because I keep coming up with riffs I cannot easily play cleanly at full tempo.
The next section will be tough though. I peeked ahead and there are 8 cleanish presets in a row and, whilst the "game" is entirely subjective, I think you should score more points if the riffs are really varied.
Anyhow that's it. If you have a modeller with presets you really, really, really ought to have a go at this game. Just don't expect to get much housework done...