Caress of Steel is horrible. Like someone above me said, it has no focus at all. 'Bastille Day' is ok I guess, but I'm not a big fan of 'Lakeside Park', 'I think I'm going bald' is the lames Rush song ever, PERIOD, and the other two tracks have the focus and coherence of a blind person with ADD driving a car.

Synthesizers add dynamic and atmosphere to music, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Unless you're strictly talking about corny late '70's/early '80's synth sound, and then I get you.

But still, I'm a strong believer in Synths, especially strings.
When it all comes down to it, lyrically, 'Hemispheres' just a very pretentious way to state something obvious (how people need to balance work and play), with a wacked out story line about a person who travels back in time through a black hole to become an enlightenment to two Greek gods caught up in a confused power struggle regarding control of the mortals.

Read what I just said, and try and tell me that it doesn't look ridiculous on paper.

Yet somehow Rush makes it believable...
Signals is my favorite Rush album, period. When I think "Rush", it sounds like 'Countdown'. Signals is one of the only albums (and that's ALL albums, not just Rush albums) that I listen to and enjoy all of the songs equally. Fantastic album, and a prime example of Rush's sound. If only I could get my hands on a remaster...
By the way, the Matrix 100 Half stack is around $800, and the Switchblade 100 is about $1600, but I've seen it used for about $900.

Thank you all so much for your help...
So I think that I've narrowed my main choice to being between the H&K Matrix 100 half stack and the Switchblade 100 combo. The Matrix looks pretty awesome, and it has almost all of the features of the Switchblade, except that it's a solid state. It just seems to be a dumbed down version of the Switchblade, and it's literally half the price. The only bad things that I've heard about it is that it sometimes sounds "cheap," and that it sounds a little thin at high volumes. Other than that, all other reviews have been glowing.
But is it worth all the waiting for the Switchblade? I have to have a new amp by December 27th (my band has a pretty big gig that day), and I figure that I can put away $300 every two weeks (starting next Friday) towards an amp, whichever one that may be. Frankly, I don't think I'll be able to afford the Switchblade by then, unless I buy it used. I know that this seems a little short-sighted, but I really need an amp soon, so I think I may have to buy a Switchblade used.


Used Switchblade, or new Matrix?
I make $10 an hour, I work 40 hours a week, and I don't have to pay rent. So yeah, money, isn't really that much of a problem, it's just the time that it would take to save up for it.

Thanks for all your help so far. I think you've steered me away from the Marshall, and I'm leaning more now towards the Swtichblade. I'll look into the other amps you mentioned as well.
Ok, I've been playing guitar about four years now, and I'd rate myself as an advanced-intermediate guitar player. I'm still playing on a Fender FM212R, which is pretty much just a box that makes noise. So yeah, it's time for a new amp.

I play in a three piece band that's just starting to gig, so I need something that's loud, strong, and has good lead, rhythm, AND clean capabilities. I do not play metal, so there's no real need for a buttload of distortion. The bands that I play the most stuff from would probably be Rush and Jane's Addiction, but I play a lot of jazz too. You can check out my profile to hear some of my original music, which is mainly what the amp is being used for.

Basically, I need a really good all-around amp that's at least a 2X12, somewhere in the price range of $500-$1000 or so.

The ones that I've been looking at are as follows:

Fender Stage 1600
My friend has a 1000, and it seems to be pretty good. It has a lot of pretty decent effects, it's built well, and it sounds pretty good. Not my first choice, but it seems like a pretty good all-around sound machine, and it's pretty cheap too.

Marshall AVT150 half stack or AVT275
I know that so many people hate this amp, but I really don't see why. I've played it, and it definitely seemed fine to me. It definitely has everything that I need. I'd say that it's my first choice right now. But if some of you seriously insist that it's THAT bad, then I might change my mind. I'll probably buy it used if I end up buying it.

Fender Cyber Twin SE
There's a used one for sale at my local guitar store that's $850. This amp is pretty serious, but I don't know if I'm comfortable with having an amp that relies so much on digital technology. The thought of having to use a bunch of presets scares me a little bit. That aside, this thing sounds amazing, and the used price is a steal.

Hughes & Kettner Switchblade 100
This is kind of up there (like $1600), but it seems like a pretty amazing amp. I've never played one, but have any of you? From all the demos and stuff that I've seen, it seems like it's just what I need. I've been looking around, and I can find it used for about $900. Do you think it's worth the extra dough?

So that's what I've been considering. Which of these do you think would suit me the best? Are there any other suggestions? And before you all shout it at me, no, I don't have any interest in a Mesa-Boogie, heh.

Thanks a lot for your help, and for your time. Sorry this was kind of long.
And I love the sunglasses that they wear in the 'Vital Signs' video!
Sadly, I think that everyone here needs to admit that Rush has just about the lamest videos ever. The ones from Signals are so funny, because they're soooo literal, like in 'Subdivisions', when he says "in the high school halls", it shows the high school halls, or 'Countdown', it shows the spectators when Geddy talks about them, etc, and it goes like that for the whole of both videos. They get better in the late 80's and such, but still... Haha, 'Time Stand Still' looks like some drunk guy went crazy with a chroma key machine and a green screen, and Jesus, what about 'Distant Early Warning'... the war room is kinda cool, but a ****ing kid riding the rocket? Hahahahaha!

Sorry. It had to be brought up though....

They have some good ones too.
Quote by Maet
New album + New Tour = People remembering "Oh yeah, Rush were great, eh?"

I love the Canadian inflection that the 'eh' on the end added to that, heh.
I could never find either of them, though I've always been aware of their existence. Something tells me that copies of them are much more abundant in Canada....
'Cut to the Chase' is kind of a sweet-sour thing to me. At the core of it all, it's really just an average (or even below average) 90's radio rock song. The lyrics aren't really that up to par (like a lot of Counterparts'), and the music is ok. But GOD, that solo is SO good. It's definitely Lifeson's most impressive, but I would not say that it's his best, being that it doesn't really sound like him. (In my opinion, I think he was trying to sound like Eric Johnson when he wrote that, but maybe that's just me.)
Guys, I hate to tell you this, but there's not too much you can do with just my pin number. There's only 9,999 of them out there at the most....

I went to the bank today to open up an account, and the lady asked me what my four digit pin should be, and the first one that came to mind was, well... 2112, haha. So that's my pin number.
I've heard the bridge of 'Mission' described (by a cynic) before as what "sounds like a bunch of idiots running around in lab coats", haha. I have to say, I don't necessarily disagree with that. Anyone who's heard the song at least partially admit to that statement?

Being a progressive and experimental band, I'm sure they've been walked out on many, many times before, and I'm sure that they understand. Their music is probably really dull to those who just don't feel it. And it's a 3+ hour show....

I took my brother to the June 22nd show, and it was his first real concert (well, if you don't count Blue Man Group, which I don't). He's only 11.
Quote by Waterboy799

Haha, I've watched that so many times. I love Geddy's "What the ****?" face when Alex first says, "Oh god, thank you for not making me be Paris Hilton..."
I think Geddy and Alex meet before every tour and say "How do we keep him from fallin asleep up there this time?" because man were those fireworks and pyro close!


The other pyrotechnics happened during 'Witch Hunt'. There were little pots that shot up a plume of flame during the intro of the song.
Quote by Page&HammettFan
I have a question about YYZ, since you guys did see them play it for yourselves... Does Alex tap in that solo? It sounds like either tapping or pulling off to an open string, but I haven't tried to figure that out yet (because I know I wouldn't do it any justice playing it ).

B --0-10-12-10-0-10-12-10-0--8-10-8-0-8-10-8---


B --0-7-8-7-0--5-7-5-0--4-5-4-0--1-4-1-0-10~~~-

It's like that. He picks the first and last note, and the rest are just hammerons and pull-offs.

I learned that solo when I had only been playing guitar a little over a year, and I remember practicing that riff ENDLESSLY! Ha
It's my theory that the average joe (with no musical knowledge) listens to music mainly for the lyrics/vocal melody. This is why.

We as humans are more sympathetic to things like ourselves. It's harder for us to kill a dog than it is for us to kill a spider, because dogs are more like us (in size at least), so we sympathize with them more. (Not the best example, but you get the gist.)

So in my opinion, the same reasoning applies to music. The average American music listener who doesn't play an instrument will probably be most interested in a song with English lyrics, because they can distinguish it and relate to it. If the song were in French, they would lose interest faster, because it would become monotonous to them. Pop music is marketed mainly off the lines of vocal melodies and lyrics. I mean, come on, it's pretty obvious that the music itself isn't very important, pre-fabbed and run-of-the-mill as most of it is as it is.
Now those that do play an instrument develop a sense of the 'language' of that instrument over time, so that it can become as interesting to them (and can hold their attention as much) as hearing someone sing in English. Instrumental music tends to be favored more (in proportion) by musicians than the average joes. I mean, look at us guitarists: can anyone appreciate the twenty minute solos more than those who actually play guitar?

I guess what I'm stumbling around saying is that is why musicians have a better time listening to progressive rock than average joes; because prog rock is (generally) based more on instrumental virtuosity than contemporary pop, and the average listener can't appreciate that as much as the musician, because the musician has a trained ear and is less likely to find the music monotonous.

And now I've gone on a pretentious rant in the Rush thread about something that's probably just common sense, all the while ignoring the thread's true topic.

Oh well.

No, the song with the solo I was talking about is on Signals, not Snakes & Arrows. It's called 'Losing it', and it's track 7.

Haha Page&HammettFan, you watched that bass player interview video, didn't you?
Best bass work?

Turn the Page
Malignant Narcissism
Leave that thing alone!
Show don't tell
Digital Man

In my opinion, that is...
Oh yeah, I've been meaning to bring that up too, actually.

I think that Alex may actually be playing guitar with a violin bow on the 'Losing It' solo. Either that, or he might just be using a foot pedal to swell the volume like a violin. If so, then it's done very convincingly. It could be a synth effect on the guitar too though.
As for it being an actually synth keyboard, well, I'd rule that out. The tone on it is just too analog sounding.

Oh my god, I love it so much when the crowd worships Alex in the RIR 'Freewill'...

As for Geddy's best vocal performance... Geez, I honestly have no idea. The most vocally straining are pretty easy to name ('Freewill' bridge, Cygnus X-1, etc.), but in terms of just plain sounding great....
I don't know. Hemispheres? I've always loved the way 'Red Barchetta' was sung...
Geez... I just can't pick one...
Oh, what's your favorite solo he plays live?

Mine is definitely 'Spirit of Radio' (haha, someone above me said "Sprite" of Radio). I absolutely hate the recorded solo, it's so shrill and slightly out-of-key sounding, so much that I sometimes just skip the rest of the track when I reach it.
BUT... the live version, especially now, with his H&Ks, just knocks the pants off of me, especially at that one big whammy dive. R30 is a prime example of what I'm talking about. Just one big ****ing wall of sound...
^ ^ ^

Honestly, I wasn't really feeling the Les Pauls. I went there hoping/expecting to see his PRS (especially the black one), and he only pulled out one of them for 'Between the Wheels'

Quote by Cptbeefheart
^^I really love the tone on Fly by Night, the solo is one of my favorite Rush moments. On the opposite side, I hate the tone on the Limelight solo, I still love the solo though.

God, how can you hate the tone on the Limelight solo?!?! Have you ever watched the music video for it, where they show him play it in the studio? You have to at least admire how clean he plays that.

I mean, maybe it's not that spectacular, but I completely suck at whammy effects, so it leaves me in awe every time....

The older solos (off of the self-titled, Fly by Night, and Caress of Steel albums, and even 2112) aren't really all that spectacular to me. They just kind of come off as normal old rock solos to me. In my opinion, Alex didn't really start to shine with his solos (minus La Villa) until he picked up a whammy bar. I think it suits him more.

Just my opinion, of course...
But he's Jewish...

Oh wait, so was Jesus...

At my two shows, Alex wasn't that easy to hear. I think it had more to do with Peart's drums being so deep, and Geddy's bass being so loud though (which is fine by me). I think Alex's guitar just comes out a little bit thin in the mix. He still sounded good, but he was just the hardest to hear.
Learn 'Tears'; it's a nice song, and features some lyrics from Geddy that are better (imo) than a lot of Peart's.

And yes, 'Hope' is tuned to DADAAD (I think).
I've said it before, but I'm gonna repeat myself:

I believe Hemispheres (the song and the album) is Rush's best work. Not their most favored, or even their most listenable work, but in terms of lyrics, composition, instrumental virtuosity, themes, etc., definitely the best thing they've ever put together. They've said themselves that it was really painstaking to put together. I think it's their best work.

A Farewell to Kings is amazing though.

Come to think of it, the only Rush albums I really don't like are the first one (it's too much of a standard "70's guitar rock" album; not very Rush at all), Hold Your Fire, and Test for Echo.
Quote by wiggyisgreat

That was one of the most disturbing things I've seen in a long time...
Quote by TheHeartbreaker
Moving Pictures is a good album, but I have a few complaints about it.

For one, I feel as though a lot of the songs sound "flat" in terms of sound. I'm assuming that that may be the fault of the engineer and/or producer, but there isn't much depth on any of the songs (I know I'm being vague, but I can't think of how to describe it).

Limelight, though, is the one song I noticed that didn't really stick to the "sound pattern" that I described above.

In terms of music, though, it's a great album: Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta, YYZ, Limelight, Camera Eye, Witch Hunt, and Vital Signs-all great songs.

I know exactly what you mean, and I agree with you, but like you, I can't articulate exactly what the problem is. I guess I'll just call it a 'dull mix', though the quality of the music more than makes up for it.
Correct me if I'm wrong, because my show was almost two months ago, but I think he had a heat screen next to him, didn't he?
I think that overall, Book II is Rush's most finely crafted song. The lyrics, the lyrical theme, the music, the arrangements, everything... just think about writing something like that. It's just a massive musical accomplishment, especially for a three-piece band. Now when I say 'most finely crafted', that is not synonymous to 'best' or 'most listenable'. Hemispheres is much more of a fan piece. But yeah, that's my opinion on it.

And for the love of god, if you like 'La Villa Strangiato', PLEASE listen to the 'Exit Stage Left' version. It's my all-time favorite live recording, ever.
Actually, the only 'recording device' we used was the mic on a $200 camcorder. What you're hearing in that is the audio feed from a video. That's it. Crazy, huh? We got lucky with that recording...
Speaking of Rush covers, my band did 'Tom Sawyer'. I sang and played guitar on it. It was just something we kind of threw together; I messed up the first chord, ha, and we kind of barely pulled through the instrumental section, and at the very end, I got kind of flat, because someone did something weird in the back of the room and I got distracted, buuutt... It's not too bad all in all.

Here's a recording, if you're interested:

And check out my other songs if you'd like to.
Hey, anyone else love Signals? I've just decided that it's my favorite Rush album...
He doesn't only play Les Pauls, at least at my shows. He used his usual black double-cut PRS during 'Mission,' and he used (what I'm pretty sure was) a black/grey single-cut PRS during another song. I think it might have been 'Between the Wheels', but don't quote me on that.
Before I forget to mention this (I thought about it while I was sweeping), did anyone else who saw them live notice Alex's Les Paul setup? He had a tremolo on it, but (I think) it was a Floyd Rose rather than a Bigsby. Can someone confirm this? I just thought that was a little odd. I mean, it's not really that odd, but I don't know, I guess I'm used to seeing Floyds on strats or strat-like guitars. Anyways...
Besides, it could be argued that Tom Sawyer technically was the closer, being that YYZ was in the encore.
Are you serious? I thought YYZ was an awesome choice of closer. It's just a fast, dynamic, fun song, and the band had so much energy during it, running around the stage, switching sides so that the audience could see both Geddy and Alex. Plus it's become one of their most recognizable songs (probably with thanks to guitar hero...)

Haha, my friend laughed at the way Geddy jumps when he's in his 'rock out' mode... *pouts*