Prior to amp-modeling it was usually only the bass that
you'd see being used with a DI for getting that signal to the mixer for
a live show or for recording. I'd see these guys getting really
great tones out of just their bass into a DI and scratch my head
thinking "how is this possible?!". And there i was hauling around
an entire rig (or two).
Of course there aren't very many guitar
players out there who ever felt that the guitar-DI-mixer
(pickup) sound was all that useful!
In my opinion, getting bass to the
board using only a standard DI is pretty much an old
school thing - i just don't see many players my age (40's) or
younger doing this live anymore. [Anybody who has heard even just the
$200 Tech 21 SansAmp for bass knows why!]
Because of the success of amp
and speaker modeling (and reamping), i see the use of DI's with electric guitars and bass about
equal in the studio. It's catching on for live gigs in a big way
too; more and more guitar amplifiers are being made with a built-in DI
Out. Amp modelers like the POD and V-Amp can be sent via DI to the
mixer while another line out goes into a poweramp for the stage mix.
With the advent of affordable DI's that feature speaker
simulation/modeling, you can even send your vintage tube amplifier down
a balanced line and directly into a mixer.
[For more on DI's and Cabinet Modeling,
please go here.]