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#2463624 - 01/18/13 02:39 PM The never ending search for tone
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
This post could be subtitled "Or do I just want something new?".

For the past two days, I've chosen to practice/play with my Epi Sheraton rather than the Carvin SH550. Both instruments play exceptionally well and sound beautiful. However, I am beginning to think that the tonal character of the Epi is much closer to the creamy, smooth "burnished" tone that would constitute the "Holy Grail" for me. Pretty much, I only play Jazz standards in Chord Melody style and Blues (still kinda' jazzy and uptown sounding). Truthfully, the tone of the Carvin, while articulate and well defined is a little forward and agressive in comparison to the Epi. Also, the Carvin fretboard is somewhat narrow for Chord Melody. Someone told me that a compression pedal would go a long way in solving my tone concerns. I am also aware of a company that makes a pedal that is designed to address this tone problem directly.

STELLARTONE MICRO PEDAL JAZZ
The Micro Pedal ($129 street) is an outboard version of Stellartone’s ToneStyler tone pot replacement. You don’t have to modify a vintage instrument, and you can apply the 16 different EQ contours to any guitar with passive pickups. This is the Jazz version, so it’s voiced lower and woolier than the original, but could be perfect for burnished jazz tones or for taming a bright Tele or Strat. stellartone.com. —Matt Blackett


This is going to require some thought. Any observations you guys might have would be appreciated
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#2463647 - 01/18/13 03:37 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3273
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
The Carvin SH550- one of my G.A.S. guitars...first time I've ever heard its pickups being called aggressive!

The way I read your problem is this- you have a great guitar that:

1) has a tone that is more aggressive than the tone of your preferred play style.

2) has a neck & fretboard that is a little narrow for your preferred play style.

The solution to the first problem would seem to me to be a pickup change. A guitar of the SH550's quality is worth dropping some money on pickups if that would solve the problem Check out Lollar, Bareknuckle, Lace or Tesla.

The second problem has no real good solutions. If you have found that the neck & fingerboard are a physical impediment to what you want to play, then that guitar is not going to work for you for that style without a lot of practice. And even that may not be effective.

Options then are keep the Carvin and learn to play Chord Melody on it, keep it and relegate it to playing other stuff, keep it as a nice guitar for your collection, or sell it,possibly using that money towards getting a guitar that fits your needs.


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (01/18/13 08:38 PM)
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#2463667 - 01/18/13 05:25 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
The Carvin SH550- one of my G.A.S. guitars...first time I've ever heard its pickups being called aggressive!

The way I read your problem is this- you have a great guitar that:

1) has a tone that is more afpggressive than the tone of your preferred play style.

2) has a neck & fretboard that is a little narrow for your preferred play style.

The solution to the first problem would seem to me to be a pickup change. A guitar of the SH550's quality is worth dropping some money on pickups if that would solve the problem Check out Lollar, Bareknuckle, Lace or Tesla.

The second problem has no real good solutions. If you have found that the neck & fingerboard are a physical impediment to what you want to play, then that guitar is not going to work for you for that style without a lot of practice. And even that may not be effective.

Options then are keep the Carvin and learn to play Chord Melody on it, keep it and relegate it to playing other stuff, keep it as a nice guitar for your collection, or sell it,possibly using that money towards getting a guitar that fits your needs.


Danny,

Yeah. Your observations are valid. I do play chord melody on the Carvin. I should play the Epi more often. I don't experience problems with the slim fretboard but it feels wrong. The string spacing is wrong. If I were playing Rock, South Side Chicago style Blues or Fusion, it would excel. The neck is fast as hell and notes are very well defined. As a jazzbox, it's okay, but not outstanding.

I had also thought about pickups. BTW, "agressive" may have been a poor choice of words. "Bright", "Etched" may be better. Anyway, I was thinking about dropping a Duncan Jazz or a Benedetto into the neck position. Maybe I'll try a compression pedal or that Stellartone Jazz Pedal. I've certainly got options.

Then again, I may do nothing and continue to enjoy the guitar as it is.

Thanks for you input.

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#2463684 - 01/18/13 07:41 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5782
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Thomastik-Infeld nickle wrapped Jazz Swing Flat wounds will cure the Carvin and make both guitars a joy to play (even though you don't care for flatwounds Fred)...They are not cheap (ie. $22 bucks a set) and they are a cut above anything I've ever used. I use 11-47's.


Edited by Larryz (01/18/13 07:43 PM)

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#2463691 - 01/18/13 08:42 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Larryz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3273
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Cam back to fix my typo... blush

I personally want a SH550 to drop some TV Jones into...get that Carvin feel with that TVJ twang.

You'd just be going the other way.

However, I can understand the attraction of the pedal approach: it is potentially a more flexible solution. If it can solve your tone problem, it may also be able to shape your tone in other ways you find useful.


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (01/18/13 08:42 PM)
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#2464706 - 01/22/13 08:33 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 2033
Originally Posted By: Fred_C


STELLARTONE MICRO PEDAL JAZZ
The Micro Pedal ($129 street) is an outboard version of Stellartone’s ToneStyler tone pot replacement. You don’t have to modify a vintage instrument, and you can apply the 16 different EQ contours to any guitar with passive pickups. This is the Jazz version, so it’s voiced lower and woolier than the original, but could be perfect for burnished jazz tones or for taming a bright Tele or Strat. stellartone.com. —Matt Blackett


I use a THD Quintet pedal, which seemed to be the same concept as the Stellartone, and I like it... use it often for taming a Tele or Strat, and for brightening up P90s and P100s and Humbuckers sometimes, too.

Then the Voodoo Labs Giggity is more of an active type of thing that they call a "mastering pedal," and it lets you darken or lighten your tone while adding "air" or "body," too.

Look into that one...

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#2464738 - 01/23/13 05:06 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: p90jr]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Hey P90jr,

Good Input. Thanks!
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#2464740 - 01/23/13 05:09 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Cam back to fix my typo... blush

I personally want a SH550 to drop some TV Jones into...get that Carvin feel with that TVJ twang.


Hey Danny,

You may like the Carvin pickups. Very detailed and as their marketing verbiage states, "harmonically rich". In single coil mode, they do sound a great deal like P-90's.
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#2466084 - 01/27/13 01:49 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
I can really be stupid, sometimes.

I have never bitched about the tone of the Carvin in the past. As I mentioned, it's been sounding overly bright lately.

Today, when I finished practicing (with the Carvin) I happened to glance down at my amp settings. The bass was somehow down to 1.5-2 from 5. Don't know how this happened. Sunspots? Anyway, reset my amp settings and the Carvin sounds much, much richer. Understandably, the tone was much improved!

"Stupid is as stupid does."
-Forrest Gumps' Mother
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#2466089 - 01/27/13 02:25 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
harvey Offline
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Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 987
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: Fred_C
I can really be stupid, sometimes.

I have never bitched about the tone of the Carvin in the past. As I mentioned, it's been sounding overly bright lately.

Today, when I finished practicing (with the Carvin) I happened to glance down at my amp settings. The bass was somehow down to 1.5-2 from 5. Don't know how this happened. Sunspots? Anyway, reset my amp settings and the Carvin sounds much, much richer. Understandably, the tone was much improved!

"Stupid is as stupid does."
-Forrest Gumps' Mother


Classic! We've all been there, I'm sure smile

Hands up if you have ever found your tone to be thin and honky only to discover that you left your wah on at the end of your last gig/practise.

Or after setting up you can't seem to get an signal...oh hang on, I haven't plugged the guitar in yet...oops I should actually turn the amp on...etc etc etc...??
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#2466100 - 01/27/13 03:15 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: harvey]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3273
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
That sounds familiar!

I recently was concerned that I had killed my amp. Lights were on, but no sound.

My signal chain was still connected to the amp- sometimes a real concern when one has a puppy- everything had working batteries, blah, blah, blah. Then I thought maybe I had turned down the volume on my guitar, so I fiddled with that- no change, the amp remained silent.

That's when I noticed I hadn't plugged my cable into my guitar.

So, I plugged in, feeling stupid...then struck a chord. Silence. I start to panic again. My amp really is dead!






That's when I noticed that I hadn't turned my guitar's volume back up.


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (01/27/13 03:16 PM)
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#2466101 - 01/27/13 03:21 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 2960
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
I bought this little amp a Fender Super Champ X2 which I did not like very much at first, then I put in an Eminence Lil Buddy speaker, and I liked it even less until the speaker started to break in. And now it is my all time favorite tone for lower volume small amps. I bought the switching pedal which made the amp cost $350, and the speaker was another $70, and the amp cover another 20 bucks or so.

You wanna talk smooth without any aggressive peaks and noisy pick attack, this is the amp and speaker combo. I never heard anything like it before this.

And it records like a dream, a SM57 in front of it, and it is almost perfect right as is, without any effecting.

I have not turned it up yet, but when I do it should overdrive the power tubes a little, it almost has to get better and better.
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#2466114 - 01/27/13 04:26 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: desertbluesman]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Hey Gents,

Thanks for making me feel better (less stupid).
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#2466149 - 01/27/13 06:50 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5782
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Glad you found that little tone gremlin...now get back in there and play that Carvin some more!

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#2466220 - 01/28/13 05:53 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Larryz]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Larryz
Glad you found that little tone gremlin...now get back in there and play that Carvin some more!


Hey Larry,

Roger that. FYI, I have started working on a very nice chart of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (always liked that song. I have recordings by Sarah Vaugn, Nancy Wilson and Bucky Pizzarelli as examples of style and phrasing to work from. Joe Pass once said, "Play your solo like a singer sings."
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#2466271 - 01/28/13 08:37 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5782
Loc: Hwy 49, California
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_fOxJb0-04 <---- here's a nylon tone version for you...if you see a chord you like just hit the pause button...hope you don't go out and buy a nylon just because of this vid. I know you'll make that Carvin sing! cool

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#2466274 - 01/28/13 08:46 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Larryz]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Larryz
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_fOxJb0-04 <---- here's a nylon tone version for you...if you see a chord you like just hit the pause button...hope you don't go out and buy a nylon just because of this vid. I know you'll make that Carvin sing! cool


Thanks, bro. You know, I have never been into nylon. It always felt like I was playing cobwebs. Ditto, lighter gauge strings. An 11 set is perfect for me. Light enough to get some speed, heavy enough to give me good tone.
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#2466278 - 01/28/13 09:03 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Larryz]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Hey Larry,

Just watched the video. Man, does he have his shit together or what!? Great chops! Thanks so much! wave

P.S. I particularly dug the tremolo (sp?) on that A shape E major chord. I am playing this in Eb and using the same shape with a moving ascending base line below the melody note. I might think about adding the tremolo later as well, maybe on a subsequent chorus.
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#2466299 - 01/28/13 10:17 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3273
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Originally Posted By: Fred_C
Originally Posted By: Larryz
Glad you found that little tone gremlin...now get back in there and play that Carvin some more!


Hey Larry,

Roger that. FYI, I have started working on a very nice chart of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (always liked that song. I have recordings by Sarah Vaugn, Nancy Wilson and Bucky Pizzarelli as examples of style and phrasing to work from. Joe Pass once said, "Play your solo like a singer sings."



Prince said much the same to one of the guitarists in his touring band.
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2466319 - 01/28/13 10:49 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Fred_C Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Originally Posted By: Fred_C
Originally Posted By: Larryz
Glad you found that little tone gremlin...now get back in there and play that Carvin some more!


Hey Larry,

Roger that. FYI, I have started working on a very nice chart of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (always liked that song. I have recordings by Sarah Vaugn, Nancy Wilson and Bucky Pizzarelli as examples of style and phrasing to work from. Joe Pass once said, "Play your solo like a singer sings."



Prince said much the same to one of the guitarists in his touring band.


Hey Danny,

That's deep! Great minds really do think alike.
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#2466327 - 01/28/13 10:57 AM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 981
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Fred_C
Hey Larry,



P.S. I particularly dug the tremolo (sp?) on that A shape E major chord.


CORRECTION:

I just watched the solo again. He is in D Major, NOT E Major. I regret my error.
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#2466370 - 01/28/13 01:19 PM Re: The never ending search for tone [Re: Fred_C]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5782
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Originally Posted By: Fred_C
Hey Larry,

Just watched the video. Man, does he have his shit together or what!? Great chops! Thanks so much! wave

P.S. I particularly dug the tremolo (sp?) on that A shape E major chord. I am playing this in Eb and using the same shape with a moving ascending base line below the melody note. I might think about adding the tremolo later as well, maybe on a subsequent chorus.


Earlier post: Yep, I like 11's the best too for Jazz and acoustics (for more treble and bass) and 10's for R&R on my Strats (for more bends)...

This post: I thought you would like this guy and you could pick up on a couple of cool ideas, he repeats a couple of his runs (which is a good thing) and it reminds me of you, with the chord melody concept. You can tell he's just sitting there playing it live in front of a small group of people by the applause at the end. The smile on his face at the end lets you know he's happy with the performance.

Last post: don't worry about the key as you can move your stuff around and make it happen in your key...the cool thing about youtube is while watching, you see and hear something that appeals to you (maybe just one chord, fill or added melody line) then you use the pause button and study that little lick or vibrato...have fun with it! cool

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