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But who is number 1 ? ...
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But who is number 1 ? ...
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We've all heard them and sometimes used them. A one-line response to a gear review, or gear thread on a forum, that dismisses the piece of equipment in question based on one issue, often subjective. I'll start:

"Yeah but the converters suck."

Know what I mean? What are some of your "favorites" or most infamous?


"I'm just a confused musician who got sidetracked into this damned word business..." -Hunter S. Thompson

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"Good for the money, but . . . . . "

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Ha! Great topic!! There will be gnashing of teeth and rending of sackcloth.
I am going to go with the thread title, many of the gear disses I've heard were out in the real world rather than on the interwebz or in print. Bearing in mind I am a guitar player and infractions are many. I'd say go to Guitar Center and hang out for a bit but we can't really do that now - at least not up here in Bellingham. Inevitably, guitarists will test an amp by surfing the incredibly bad presets while playing one or two of the five or six licks they can sort of pull off, kinda. If you can get enough of them going at once it is truly a lovely sound. Reviews often complain about amps and their tones and you have to wonder if they ever dial anything in.

There is an archaic idea that will not die that the starting point for making a guitar amp sound good is to place all the knobs at noon. Back in the days when relatively low output pickups were standard and everybody used a Fender amp there was some truth to this, as long as it was a smaller amp. Even back then "nooning" a Fender Twin would make poodles stick to the ceiling in terror - loud and shrill.

Deeply connected to that absurdity is the guitarist who is way too loud and when the soundman tells them to turn their amp way down, protests "I can't get my tone unless I have my amp turned up." I've told such creatures "You don't have a tone, your amp does." That's always popular. "Get a smaller amp and turn this one down NOW." is beloved of all such guitarists. I witnessed a soundman friend of mine go up to a keyboard player one time and say "Turn your amp down or I will break your spine." That was effective, he was a large, scary looking individual - don't try this at home!!!!

The seemingly universal disdain for Peavey gear. Not everything they make is great but there is so much bang for the buck under that trademark it is amazing. Yes, most of the speakers they put in their guitar amps are not great. Yes (just like almost everybody else), most of their presets are horrible. NO, do not turn all the knobs to noon. It won't work out so well...

OK, written word. I would like to hear more technical terms - be specific. Even Tape Op reviews do this and I like that publication. It is true that we don't always have "correct terms" for some of the sounds that we hear. I am certainly guilty of some of these gaffes. Technically speaking, how would you describe some terms? I read a review some time back comparing 2 ribbon mics made by the same company and declaring that the more expensive of the two mics had a "euphonious" sound. What exactly is "euphonious"? Does it mean that all the angels heard the tones and just pooped themselves? Maybe it's hard to describe in technical terms or just doesn't sound as good if you use those terms? I've used that term myself so not really pointing any fingers.

I will watch this thread, should be fun!!!! Cheers, Kuru

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 09/28/20 04:25 PM.

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The DX7 - always dissed because of ONE patch. One out of something like infinity squared.

nat

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“Those speakers are only really good for rock” *

My response is usually to ask what kind of TV they use to watch comedies. poke

dB




* or any limited audio genre(s).

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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
“Those speakers are only really good for rock” *

My response is usually to ask what kind of TV they use to watch comedies. poke

dB




* or any limited audio genre(s).

Nice one! Our bassist subscribes to "Guitar Porn" - Guitar Player, Vintage Guitar and Bass Player. He gives them to me after he's done reading them and I pass them along when I am done.

So many guitar and pedal reviews saying "this would be a great choice for bla bla bla."

Kind of like the time I showed up to a rock gig with a Tele and one of the band members looked at me funny and said "We don't play any country tunes..."
Well foof, somebody should have told Steve Morse that when I saw him play with the Dregs.


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"Turn you amp down or I will break your spine".....Yep, I had a sound guy say that to me once........once.......

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"This is a lame software update, there's nothing that interests me."

Translation #1: This doesn't have my pet feature I've been complaining about in forums for TWO YEARS now! When are they going to listen to me?
Translation #2: Well, I didn't read ALL the release notes...I mean, it's got lots of words and stuff.

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"I can't believe the software requires a 64-bit operating system. I'm appalled that companies show such disdain for their customers."

[doesn't realize people with 32-bit systems are 1.2% of the user base]

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"It's clearly not suitable for my needs"

[usually with the implication that the needs are sooo special, and so demanding, that mere mortals cannot comprehend the roadblocks this puts up in front of the person busily creating a masterpiece that is destined to become the greatest achievement in the history of western civilization. Curiously, this person never posts links to his music.]

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General MIDI sounds suck.

General MIDI has no sound, just suggested patch numbers for a set of common patch names.


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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
General MIDI sounds suck.

General MIDI has no sound, just suggested patch numbers for a set of common patch names.

Good catch!

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It sounds like a VST.

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It's an amp that doesn't take pedals well.

Isn't that like saying "it doesn't sound good indoors"? Indoors where? Every indoors everywhere? Which pedal(s) does it not take well? All pedals ever made?? No good with fuzz and delay and reverb and chorus and overdrive and treble boost and phasers and flangers and buffers and uni-vibe and wah and EQ and compressors and octavers and vibrato and loopers and pitch shifters and preamps and talk boxes and harmonizers and filter envelopes and tremolo and and and and and....

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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
It's an amp that doesn't take pedals well.

Isn't that like saying "it doesn't sound good indoors"? Indoors where? Every indoors everywhere? Which pedal(s) does it not take well? All pedals ever made?? No good with fuzz and delay and reverb and chorus and overdrive and treble boost and phasers and flangers and buffers and uni-vibe and wah and EQ and compressors and octavers and vibrato and loopers and pitch shifters and preamps and talk boxes and harmonizers and filter envelopes and tremolo and and and and and....

nat

Hah! I've seen/heard that before. It's stupid. But yeah, the little beat up little Crate amp that they wanted $20 for at the thrift store didn't take pedals well. Or guitars. Or anything. Because, it sucked...
Somebody else must have gotten it, gone. Ugh.


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"I need to see the insides.. Oh, it uses surface mount parts.... I'd buy it if it was through-hole"

Every design engineer points out that the parts they use that are SMT are BETTER than the through-hole parts available.

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And in a related diss, "It's not hand-wired."

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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
"I need to see the insides.. Oh, it uses surface mount parts.... I'd buy it if it was through-hole"

Every design engineer points out that the parts they use that are SMT are BETTER than the through-hole parts available.

Originally Posted by Anderton
And in a related diss, "It's not hand-wired."

^^^ Both of those and... "it's a starved plate design."
Well, yeah but how does it sound? The Blue Robbie I just got doesn't run the plates on the tube at high voltages but it does sound really nice to me.

The very first Mesa Boogie amp used a circuit board. ALL of them do. Cork sniffers hate that, even if they like the way they sound.
There is no circuitry to allow biasing of the tubes either. Instead they sell tubes that are tested to be within parameters. Not a perfect solution but the hand wired Red Plate Blues Machine I paid $1,500 for used went so far out of bias 15 minutes before start time at a New Years Eve gig that I switched back to a Peavey Studio Pro 112 Redstripe and sold the Red Plate. It only took 20-30 minutes at home, on the bench, with a meter etc. to get the Red Plate biased again but it wasn't time I had at the gig. Just played with crappy tone, so fun...


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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
The DX7 - always dissed because of ONE patch. One out of something like infinity squared.

nat

Ironically, NOBODY actually used "E PIANO 1" as-is. Everything you heard on the '80s hit records was a slightly-tweaked variation of that sound (Mainly the Op 2 output level increased somewhat).

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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
General MIDI sounds suck.

General MIDI has no sound, just suggested patch numbers for a set of common patch names.

Literally this is true, but I think we all know what they are referring to. The Roland MT-32 pretty much defined the sounds for each of the 128 choices, and so for a company to create a GM soundset that customers thought "sounded good" playing back MIDI files, the new company had to pretty closely match the MT-32. So we ended up with a sea of products with a GM mode that were all trying to sound as close to the MT-32 without being sued...

Perhaps another reason for this perception was the fact that for GM you could only have Chorus and Reverb, so when compared to "regular" sounds that could have insert effects and more diversity in general, the GM sounds were plainer.

Oops, see, I just did it. Because what else are you going to call those 128 sounds? The sounds found in the GM sound bank?

idk

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I'll offer this:

This virtual instrument doesn't sound anything like the classic instrument it is trying to emulate.

Sorry - too broad of a diss.

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Another: why didn't they add feature/spec XX? It only costs a few cents/dollars. Or it's easy to do.

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Originally Posted by jerrythek
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
General MIDI sounds suck.

General MIDI has no sound, just suggested patch numbers for a set of common patch names.

Literally this is true, but I think we all know what they are referring to. The Roland MT-32 pretty much defined the sounds for each of the 128 choices, and so for a company to create a GM soundset that customers thought "sounded good" playing back MIDI files, the new company had to pretty closely match the MT-32. So we ended up with a sea of products with a GM mode that were all trying to sound as close to the MT-32 without being sued...

Perhaps another reason for this perception was the fact that for GM you could only have Chorus and Reverb, so when compared to "regular" sounds that could have insert effects and more diversity in general, the GM sounds were plainer.

Oops, see, I just did it. Because what else are you going to call those 128 sounds? The sounds found in the GM sound bank?

idk

Jerry
That's what I mean. (The MT32 is not GM BTW)

General MIDI simply designates the names of 128 patches. It doesn't even say what the voice is supposed to sound like. Atmosphere (100) on one synth can sound completely different on another. It's up to the synth manufacturer to determine what atmosphere sounds like.

I have GM patches that take plenty of continuous controllers, chorus, reverb, LFO, Sustain, Pan, Breath controller, Portamento, Brightness, Volume, Expression, Mod wheel, and so on. And I have others that are more limited. It depends on the synth maker, not the GM specifications.

I have a GM synth that by manipulating the MSB and LSB I can get 12 different 'clean guitar. sounds like Tele (front or back pup), Strat, 335, LP, and more, all with GM patch 28.

Both my Edirol SD90 and my Ketron SD2 have some fantastic General MIDI sounds (and some lesser ones as well).

MIDI has no sound. MIDI is the electronic fingers that play a synthesizer, and the synthesizer has sound. A good synth patch is good whether it is a GM patch number or not, and a bad patch sounds bad whether it is a GM patch number or not. Besides for that good or bad is actually in the ear of the listener. A lot of people like that DX7 extra bright Rhodes sound.

I still occasionally use a few TX81z and MT32 sounds because for the song I'm working on they sound perfect. Neither one is GM. I still use SC55 sounds that are GM. Plus I use other synths as well.

General MIDI sounds don't suck, because General MIDI has no sound - none - zero - zilch - nada. MIDI synthesizers have sounds, some good, some bad and it doesn't matter if the patch number coincides with the GM set or not.

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Here is one I expect to be very controversial...

On a solid wood electric guitar, the tone is in the tone wood.

The sound generated by the pickups, if the pickups are acting properly has little or nothing to do with the wood.

The iron in the string disturbs the magnetic field created by the magnets which in turn generates a tiny electric current in the coil. Disturbing a magnetic field is the most common way to generate electricity and it's how your power company does it.

The wood is not magnetic and has nothing to do with this. You can't generate electricity with 'tone wood' and a properly functioning pickup is not a microphone. Take the strings off, shout into the pickup as loudly as you can and see if your voice is coming out of the amp.

The tone is affected by a lot of things, mostly the pickup design, after that string composition, string height, picking technique, fretting technique, scale length (to a lesser effect), and anything that effects the vibration of the strings in that magnetic field. A solid guitar might vibrate a bit, but probably a thousandth of a percent as much as the strings, and I leaned in electronics that anything less than 10% is for all practical purposes the same.

OK, I know this is controversial, so I'm ducking for cover.

Insights and incites by Notes


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"Overdrive" pedals.

Somewhere between 1974 and now the "overdrive" descriptor has been mutilated.

I'd like to hear Craig - the defacto OG pedal designer guy - chime in on this, but it's... interesting hearing people describe "what is an overdrive pedal?" these days.

"well, it's kinda, you know, more like a cranked amp tone", "it's like a, driven sound", etc. etc.

Meanwhile, they show their pedals board: the "overdrive" pedal set to unity in front of their digital delay pedal. Or, their "boost" pedal set to unity - in front of their chorus pedal.

I don't think people doing this have the intent of blasting the front of their Boss DD3 with voltage, and I think people have very little awareness of the Dawning Age of Distorted Guitar where a treble booster was literally meant to distort the front of the GUITAR AMP. There seems to be very few people that are actually OVER DRIVING their amp.


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(Conversely to the above)

"It's not a real tube amp because it has an IC in it".

Says the guy standing in front of his pedal board with the Tubescreamer turned on. Instead say "I don't like it because I can't overdrive the first tube stage" or something, but don't say you don't want an IC inside your amp, when your sound doesn't know that your IC based pedal is in or outside your amp!

"Bah, it's digital"

Says the guy standing in front of his true bypass-but AD/DA when turned on pedal.

Last edited by Chip McDonald; 09/29/20 04:23 PM.

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"Yeah, but it's a stolen design from (boutique Tubscreamer clone maker)"

"Yeah, but it's a ripoff of a Fender (whatever amp)"


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"It's not really a Dumble"
"It's kind of a Dumble sound"
"it doesn't sound like a Dumble"

.... it doesn't sound like which Dumble? Have you played through a Dumble? What EXACTLY is the "Dumble sound" from a circuit point of view? Whose Dumble?


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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Here is one I expect to be very controversial...

On a solid wood electric guitar, the tone is in the tone wood.

The sound generated by the pickups, if the pickups are acting properly has little or nothing to do with the wood.

The iron in the string disturbs the magnetic field created by the magnets which in turn generates a tiny electric current in the coil. Disturbing a magnetic field is the most common way to generate electricity and it's how your power company does it.

The wood is not magnetic and has nothing to do with this. You can't generate electricity with 'tone wood' and a properly functioning pickup is not a microphone. Take the strings off, shout into the pickup as loudly as you can and see if your voice is coming out of the amp.

The tone is affected by a lot of things, mostly the pickup design, after that string composition, string height, picking technique, fretting technique, scale length (to a lesser effect), and anything that effects the vibration of the strings in that magnetic field. A solid guitar might vibrate a bit, but probably a thousandth of a percent as much as the strings, and I leaned in electronics that anything less than 10% is for all practical purposes the same.

OK, I know this is controversial, so I'm ducking for cover.

Insights and incites by Notes

You are not correct but don't be afraid!!
No, it is not controversial at all. The facts are known by many. There are always those who exaggerate these facts and their significance, regardless of topic. Many grains of salt need to be taken.
The wood IS a factor but it is one of many and usually not the most prominent one unless the guitars are otherwise identical.

Ive been playing, repairing and even building guitars for over 50 years (I'm 65 and started playing when I was 14).
There are MANY factors that affect the tone of all guitar, some of them are subtle but they do exist. As a beginning point I will mention all of the headstock tuners that work by picking up the vibrations of the strings at the end of the headstock. They could not do that if the neck material was not capable of transmitting vibration. Transmitting vibration indicates that there is resonance.

"Resonance" is simply another way of saying "robbing the strings of energy". A Gibson SG is much more resonant than an ash-bodied Telecaster with a maple neck. You can put your hand on any part of an SG guitar, strike the low E string vigorously and you will feel that vibration. This resonance does vary by frequency and different pieces of wood will affect those frequencies differently, some certainly less than others. It can be subtle to the point of absurdity, UNLESS somebody plays really loud - then it can become noticeable. Unlike us sensible old-timers, lots of players crank up to ridiculous levels. I did, decades ago - Mesa half stack!!!

There are absolutely other factors at play, which muddies the waters considerably. The design, tolerances and materials the bridge is made of certainly make a big difference in the tone of a guitar. So does the strength of the magnets in the pickups.

Let's talk extremes to exaggerate my point. Take a banjo and a Les Paul. The banjo is extremely "resonant", it robs the strings of energy pretty efficiently. It is loud and has very little sustain. The frequency response is quite uneven. A Les Paul (depending on the bridge used) is not very resonant and the strings ring longer and more evenly since specific frequencies are not drained more than others.

The bridges I mention on a Les Paul? The original Tune-O-Matic bridges used a "spring" (bent piece of guitar string as far as I can tell) to keep the individual, adjustable saddles from falling out of the bridge when a string breaks. You have a contact point with a fugitive thread on one end and "sort of held in place" on the other. Guess what? String energy is lost to the saddle assembly "rattling around" in it's housing. Later Les Paul bridges were made by Schaller (and now by who knows?) and secure the saddles tightly. Resonance is diminished. This whole "locking bridge" thing that appears to be recent? I've got an 86 ES 335 with a rare Schecter Tri-Lock bridge - each saddle has opposing screws adjusted from each side and is FIRMLY locked in place. I modified it slightly and it has been bolted in place with intonation set for 10-46 strings since about 1989. I've never adjusted it, still perfect. That made a significant increase in sustain and eveness - certainly aspects of tone and NOT just the pickups.

The floating bridges of vintage Fender Jazzmasters and Jaguars are tone-suck monsters, so are the cam operated Kahler vibratos. The first iteration of the Floyd Rose vibrato system did not have fine tuners and it provides as close to a pure string tone as a vibrato bar can muster. Lots of bridges fall somewhere in between.

If you have a vintage Strat or one of the newer ones with the Vintage Noiseless (STRONG magnets), I can make your guitar unplayable by raising the pickups up to the point where the magnetic field is so strong that the part of the string over the pickups is "dragged" to a lower pitch. Now when you play higher on the neck you will hear "wolf tones", a wrong note fighting with the right note. It is not pretty at all and yes, that IS the pickups making a change for the worse. Lower them down or switch to low magnetic field pickups like Lace Sensors or EMGs and the problem is solved.

The neck joint, where and how the headstock joins, the fretwire and fingerboard wood, the thickness of the body and the routing (including it's location) all make subtle differences. The string choice can make quite a difference depending on choice.

Ignoring any of these factors and focusing just on the woods used is a fallacy, I agree. Still, if you change the body of a P-Bass from ash to alder (I've done this a few times and in both directions) it absolutely will change the tone of the instrument.

So, there you have it. Been there, done that. Cheers, Kuru


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Its not a traditional keyboard diss as discussed, but I did once buy a used Korg Poly800 II from a very honest biker, a notably decent pal of a pal. He said "It works, but I don't know sh*t about it and it sounds like sh*t through my guitar amp. It also reeks of cigs and weed, so its right up your alley. $100 and its yours." hugegrin laugh

Well, it ran at 100% like a boss for about a year and then I sold it to an even newer newbie for $50, who was elated. Its the Circle of Synths.

Its also why I nearly got a Korg tattoo. rawk


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