Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Don't get fooled by tone...


Rampdog

Recommended Posts

I'm not sure this can help anyone but I was playing with a friend last night and we were working on tones. (this all started with that EC thread of Old Love and the thread on "The cleanest tone)

We were putting on different tunes and playing along with them. He was jamming pretty good and tonally sounded like Robben Ford. We thought I claimed there was something wrong, outside of the difference in equipment, with the tone... so we broke it down. When we jammed with a tune we were being fooled by the original tones of the artist covering our own tones(I hope Im making sense) We then would take a certain phrase of the tune and do our best to dial in that sound that is so much a part of that song. Its very difficult to hit it right on the head but possible to get close

Digital processors are nice but guitars were built, as were amps, to create a definite sound that a processor can get close to but it will still have that processed soundIMHO Saturated. It was a good session that reminded me of limitations with equipment

He and I are on opposite ends of Tonal Town. He believes processors can do the job and I feel its in the hardware and hands

Any thoughts on this?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 32
  • Created
  • Last Reply

The thing I always think about when the "tone" discussions start up...is that probably 90% of the guitar gods who we all idolize...did it with just a guitar & amp...and of course, their hands and style of playing.

 

There was little processing going on...few stomp boxes. :)

 

I'm mostly a "guitar & amp" player. Got a CryBaby Wah that gets rare use and a MXR Comp that gets NO use....that's pretty much it.

 

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say the best guys I know can WILL tone out of anything.

 

They have it in thier heads how they want it to sound and they can transfer it to thier hands because they have good technique and dynamics.

 

I think you could take any one of thse players like that and put them through a Peavey Classic and they will sound great live. Will they probably sound better through a higher end amp? Yeah, a percentage better but thier tone and what you hear out of thier amps starts in thier brains.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not know enough about who used what to really comment but I am reasonably sure just about every recorded rock "guitar god" has had some sort of device in the signal chain and even if there was no stompbox in there, had a modified amp or pickups which amounts to the same thing.

 

Plus even for the absolute amp guitar only players, in the studio compression is added or some reverb, delay, flanging, harmonizer etc etc or the "sound" or "color" of the board being used....along the way there is some form of signal processing.

 

Perhaps the only way you can take processing completely out of the picture is to have someone play just an acoustic....but the instant you record it then what mic is used, what board, what reverb? Etc etc. For that matter what environment is the acoustic played in.

 

Hardware and software modelling devices just try to imitate stand alone actual amplifier and speaker combinations and they are coming a long way fast.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say the best guys I know can WILL tone out of anything.

 

They have it in thier heads how they want it to sound and they can transfer it to thier hands because they have good technique and dynamics.

 

I think you could take any one of thse players like that and put them through a Peavey Classic and they will sound great live. Will they probably sound better through a higher end amp? Yeah, a percentage better but thier tone and what you hear out of thier amps starts in thier brains.

 

 

A perfect example of this is an old interview I remember reading with Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. When asked about his tone, replied that he could replicate his tone with any guitar and amp, and a few Boss pedals. :rawk:

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing I always think about when the "tone" discussions start up...is that probably 90% of the guitar gods who we all idolize...did it with just a guitar & amp...and of course, their hands and style of playing.

 

There was little processing going on...few stomp boxes. :)

 

I'm mostly a "guitar & amp" player. Got a CryBaby Wah that gets rare use and a MXR Comp that gets NO use....that's pretty much it.

 

I know you know your stuff, Miro. But im not sure how correct the statement 90% would be....

 

Chorus... Univibe... Phaser... Compressor... Clean boost... Delay... Overdrive..

 

Treated recording room... Different mic's.. Preamps.. Compression... Mastering.. World class studio engineers...

 

Etc etc.. Have been used by most of the "guitar gods" which I have heard about. It all alters the sound..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well...a slightly modded amp or a little analog reverb...is not really the same thing as getting all your tone from digital processing....IMO.

 

And...we have to decide which period of the "guitar gods" we are referring to.

 

Going back to the 50s-60s...and even early 70s...few studios really had the racks and racks of processing gear we all see these days.

Most times...it was very basic stuff.

A mic in front of a guitar cab...and maybe they used a long hallway for some natural reverb.

 

You saw some Wah/Fuzz boxes start to emerge here and there in the late 60s...but that was it.

 

From a lot of what I remember and the old footage that one sees, most of those guys had just the guitars and amps...sometimes stacks of amps, all cranked for...that sound.

 

The majority of the "studio processing" started to kick in during the early 70s....and then from there the heavy use of stomp boxes began, as a lot of guys wanted that capability on stage.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Chorus... Univibe... Phaser... Compressor... Clean boost... Delay... Overdrive..

 

Treated recording room... Different mic's.. Preamps.. Compression... Mastering.. World class studio engineers...

 

Etc etc.. Have been used by most of the "guitar gods" which I have heard about. It all alters the sound..

 

Don't think they had much of this stuff in the 50s-60s....at least not in any quantity or wide availability. Some of the items you mention were certainly not in existance yet at that time...and that's when a lot of the "gods" we love were making their classic music....Hendrix...Clapton...Beck...Page....etc.

 

There might have been a studio here or there toward the end of the 60's that had some of that processing or that capability...but not much.

I've read a lot of accounts of studio sessions that took place...and you would be surprised how minimal their gear choices were.

 

 

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I see you clarified that you would need to pick the time in which "guitar gods" we were referring too, good point.. Although you were the one to bring up "guitar gods"... and the 90% of them we all idolise.. But no worries :thu::D I just didn't happen to read "90% of all the guitar gods we all idolise" as to mean, prior to 1969... Ya know... ;):D
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read a lot of accounts of studio sessions that took place...and you would be surprised how minimal their gear choices were.

 

Basically a "Plug and Play" setup... It's the multi-effects digital processors that I have a problem with. Boss, Zoom etc.. They seem to take away the natural guitar tones that the guitar was built to produce... I see nothing wrong with them in certain applications but for me it's a tube screamer, chorus, wah, and delay stomp boxes... None seem to rob that natural tone only enhance it if used moderatly....

There was a YT vid on here a short while back with Joe Walsh giving some lucky guy a lesson... He was talking about "Just Plug and Play"... but most of the vids I see of Joe he has a fair number of stomp boxes on the floor... I'm just sayin'...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think digital modellers are there yet Ramp... But I think they are getting better. I haven't tried the new POD out yet, but I think it should be that tiny step closer...

 

Although, without a Pro studio to monitor the output with, how good CAN the modelled sound get?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Although, without a Pro studio to monitor the output with, how good CAN the modelled sound get?

That's where I started with this thread... Using my own ears in a live enviroment... and the modeled sound was always saturated and lacking in feel... I'm sure in a studio anything is possible but I was trying match, as close as possible, the tones I was hearing on each tune...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then IMO, it is in the hands in both scenario's, but also yeah I don't think the modellers are all the way. I have especially found the more gritty you take the tone, the more false it sounds. So I would side with you on this one! I find modelled tones a little sterile compared to the "organic" (I use the term organic loosely, seeing as its electrical equipment either way) tone of tubes giving out their natural characteristics.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I see you clarified that you would need to pick the time in which "guitar gods" we were referring too, good point.. Although you were the one to bring up "guitar gods"... and the 90% of them we all idolise.. But no worries :thu::D I just didn't happen to read "90% of all the guitar gods we all idolise" as to mean, prior to 1969... Ya know... ;):D

 

Well, many of today's guitar gods were first starting out in the early 60s...when there were few equipment choices, and when a lot of their "tone" was forever burned in our brains...either by hearing it first hand, or for those still not born back then, later on via recorded albums.

 

Though I do agree that there are other "guitar gods" that came later on...when there WERE a tone of gadgets available.

 

On this forum (not always, but for the most part) people are usually talking about the classic rock/blues masters from the period I was referencing...so that's where my comments were focused.

And heck...many of them even got their start in the 50s...when the electric guitar, and amps were getting their start and "those tones" were first being defined.

 

Yeah...there are more modern "guitar gods" that have invented their own/new tone...but I think many of them ALSO got their inspirations from those early masters...and it seems like every new digital gadget these days is trying to emulate all that old, very basic gear...those old tones.... :)

 

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read a lot of accounts of studio sessions that took place...and you would be surprised how minimal their gear choices were.

 

Basically a "Plug and Play" setup... It's the multi-effects digital processors that I have a problem with. Boss, Zoom etc.. They seem to take away the natural guitar tones that the guitar was built to produce... I see nothing wrong with them in certain applications but for me it's a tube screamer, chorus, wah, and delay stomp boxes... None seem to rob that natural tone only enhance it if used moderatly....

There was a YT vid on here a short while back with Joe Walsh giving some lucky guy a lesson... He was talking about "Just Plug and Play"... but most of the vids I see of Joe he has a fair number of stomp boxes on the floor... I'm just sayin'...

 

I know what you're saying. I have a friend that doesn't have much of what you would call "chops" and this is really evident when we play acoustic. However, on electric he has this insane digital processor that for him is definitely "chops enhancing". For me it's just a little too exaggerated and over the top.

 

I'm with you...

Tube Screamer, Chorus, Delay, occasionally Cry Baby Wah and

even this seems like too much sometimes. An effect should be just that- an effect (but I do like effects!). I find myself using the Tube Screamer less, because I have a decent tube amp that gets that sound most of the time.

What I'm referring to is relevant to live playing though and as others have pointed out, with recording it's a different story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was really a lot of stuff around in the 60's though not so.....univibe, chorus, fuzz, compressors, limiters, reverb tanks, echoplexes, octave dividers, wah wah's, leslie's,tremelo, tape flanging ....I mean the list goes on and on. In the 50's it was mostly various types of reverbs, tremelo's and delays and amp break up for the distorted tones....this stuff has been used for a long time. Phasers and stomp flangers came in in the 70's I reckon...Roland Space Echo or Jet Flanger or whatever......but this stuff has been there as long as I can remember.

 

I mean look at Electric Ladyland....60's...all the early Floyd stuff etc etc etc. I dunno, I may have it wrong but I seem to remember a huge rush with these guys to have the next pedal or whatever, the next studio trick....it has all been about that for a long time.

 

I bet you if a guitarist of name took a POD or other modelling device into a well equiped studio it could be recorded such that very few could tell the difference....would not be able to say whether it was a real amp or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This argument is as old as guitar. Remember, the first electric guitars were meant to model acoustic guitars. And thank god for us forumites, they did a terrible job. In fact, to this day, it is still near impossible to replicate an acoustic guitar sound without an acoustic guitar.

 

So to say that modelers or gear or effects or anything will recreate a tone created in 1969 is just ridiculous. 1969 was 1969. Today is today. These days, we're used to perfect sound recordings, overproduction, filtration, editing, everything. Back then, everything was relatively raw. Of course an old record will sound different and of course we will never sound like an old record.

 

This argument seems to be little more than a predetermined justification for why we (meaning guitarists) have so much crap. Sure, we love our crap, but the first thing I do when I think about buying something is not to ask myself "will this affect my sound" but to ask myself "will this make me practice more." If I cannot see a pedal or an amp or a guitar forcing me to practice more and care about tone less, then it simply isn't worth it.

 

Of course, the real dilemma becomes a circular argument. Though I consider tone in the hands and head, and that tone is achievable only through practice, if an amp of effect makes you want to practice because of the tone in and of itself (e.g. a tremolo pedal will make you practice your blues scales more), is it the really the player creating the tone?

Shut up and play.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was really a lot of stuff around in the 60's though not so.....univibe, chorus, fuzz, compressors, limiters, reverb tanks, echoplexes, octave dividers, wah wah's, leslie's,tremelo, tape flanging ....I mean the list goes on and on. In the 50's it was mostly various types of reverbs, tremelo's and delays and amp break up for the distorted tones....this stuff has been used for a long time.

 

We seem to be going off course, a bit....

 

I think the original question is about guitar tone...and while the Wah and Fuzz WERE beginning to get some visible use in the late 60s by guitar players...they were certainly NOT being used much at all prior to the late 60s...even if they had already been invented. The other processing...comps, limiters, chorus...were found sparsely in some studios during that period...but were by NO means being used actively by guitar players for their tone.

And there's the heart of the discussion...what were guitars players using to get their toneand not if they ever used any processing or if there was any processing available at all during that time.

Very few were using a bunch of processing to get their tone...their core, signature tonethough they might have used an effect occasionally for a particular song or performance.

It really wasnt until the early/mid 70s that FX stomp boxes started becoming the normal part of some guitar player rigsand even then, sparsely.

I was playing out in the mid-70s (and for you real young guys and gals ;) )if you walked into any music store back then, you didnt see glass cases all full of stomp boxes and gadgets to pick from. Yeahthere were stomp boxesbut the selection was very limited.

 

The other part of the discussion

In normal audio/studio terminology.there is a difference between signal processingand the processes that are used to turn an acoustic sound into an electronic signal. Using pickups, amps (clean or distorted), cabinets, mics, tape decksetcis NOT really considered signal processing as what that phrase normally refers toand Im sure many of you know that, but I just thought were we getting a bit off course by lumping all electronic signal manipulations/conversions into what is considered signal processingas in FX processing.

 

Additionallythe original post was referring to digital processing of guitar signalsand I think thats where a lot of distinction must be made about what was happening back in the 50s/60s/70sand even part of the 80scompared to now.

Not looking to step on anyones toesbut IMO, when it comes to electric guitar toneusing analog signal processing to treat your entire guitar signal, is a lot different than tossing even one digital device into that guitar signal chain.

A nice tape delay or analog crunch box just seems to work more cohesively with pickups, tube amps and speakers.

Parallel digital signal processing is a different approach, and is very workablebut taking your entire guitar signal and running it through a digital FX box or modelerwell, it just doesnt work for me, personallybut nothing wrong of it works for your tone.

 

And thats the real question

How much of ANY type of FX processing is being used to get your core, signature toneand not if you use any FX processing occasionally to ADD to YOUR tone?

Dont get me wrongI like FX processing. I use it as effects that are applied sparingly from time to time, but I never considered any type of FX as part of my guitar rigexcept maybe for a touch-o-spring-verb. :grin:

 

I do get the feeling that there are some players who would be totally lost if you removed the pedal board from their rigstheir tone would not exist, and they would have a hard time playing comfortably

 

And I do believe that is also what rampdog was getting at.

 

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

..and while the Wah and Fuzz WERE beginning to get some visible use in the late 60s by guitar players...they were certainly NOT being used much at all prior to the late 60s...even if they had already been invented.

 

I am not really arguing with anyone's theory about tone, who get's it, how to get it, how big a role effects play...yada yada.

 

I am just pointing out the the above statement is wrong....IMO.

 

By 1970 I already had a wah, a powerbooster, a fuzz box and I was a teeanage nobody in South Africa. Pedals and effects were all over, in all the music stores and on recordings of the early to late 60's and on through. Jimi died in 1970....by then we had the Univibe, the Octavia, Fuzz Face, WEM/Watkins Copicat, Echoplexes etc etc etc. Beck and Page were using Sola Sound Tone Benders with the Yardbirds and Page on Zep1........ The wah was invented in the 40's and I think Chet used one early on.

 

Oh and just about every major studio had compressors, limiters, gates, EQ, etc etc etc which were used to great effect. Listen to any of Jimi's mid 60's stuff.

 

I think effects have been a huge part of guitar players sounds forever. We have this thing about vintage amps. Not all of them sounded stupendous. Some sucked.

 

Again, I am not arguing what is better etc, just that effects have been used as a big part of most rock guitar players sounds, in an effort to sound different, for as long as I have been listening to rock guitar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

..and while the Wah and Fuzz WERE beginning to get some visible use in the late 60s by guitar players...they were certainly NOT being used much at all prior to the late 60s...even if they had already been invented.

 

I am not really arguing with anyone's theory about tone, who get's it, how to get it, how big a role effects play...yada yada.

 

I am just pointing out the the above statement is wrong....IMO.

 

By 1970 I already had a wah, a powerbooster, a fuzz box and I was a teeanage nobody in South Africa. Pedals and effects were all over, in all the music stores and on recordings of the early to late 60's and on through. Jimi died in 1970....by then we had the Univibe, the Octavia, Fuzz Face, WEM/Watkins Copicat, Echoplexe. Beck and Page were using Sola Sound Tone Benders with the Yardbirdfs and Page on Zep1........ The wah was invented in the 40's and I think Chet used one early on.

 

I think effects have been a huge part of guitar players sounds forever. We have this thing about vintage amps. Not all of them sounded stupendous. Some sucked.

 

Again, I am not arguing what is better etc, just that effects have been used as a big part of most rock guitar players sounds, in an effort to sound different, for as long as I have been listening to rock guitar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So to say that modelers or gear or effects or anything will recreate a tone created in 1969 is just ridiculous.

 

Can you explain that statement?

 

 

I should have added the adverb perfectly. Yes, modelers have come a long way in recreating vintage tones, but nothing will ever sound exactly like you want it to in your head, or at least, what 1969 sounds like to you.

 

I stopped trying to recreate vintage tones ages ago. I just got frusturated and realized life is too short to worry about how Hendrix my overdrive is. I just play what I like and I have nice equipment and I create my own signature sound.

Shut up and play.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay.....that reads better. Vintage tones are absolutely createable.....you just have to have the $'s to buy the gear. Not every old Bassman is going to sound legendary....some will be good, others might be unbelievably fantastic and some may even be dull. But yeah trying to recreate not only the sound, but also the response and player/guitar/amp "feel" and all that is going to be tough
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess that's what makes part of playing guitar interesting. If we could all go out and buy "the sound" we hear in our heads, Guitar Center wouldn't exist. :D Of course, maybe we'd shut up and start practicing like everyone else with a boring, effectless instrument.

 

When I played trumpet you had two choices: a student model or a professional model (and a few other options like concert C versus concet Bb but let's not get caught up in that). One was a few hundred dollars, the other a few thousand. Granted there were lots of brands, but in some ways I miss the simplicity.

Shut up and play.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

..and while the Wah and Fuzz WERE beginning to get some visible use in the late 60s by guitar players...they were certainly NOT being used much at all prior to the late 60s...even if they had already been invented.

 

I am not really arguing with anyone's theory about tone, who get's it, how to get it, how big a role effects play...yada yada.

 

I am just pointing out the the above statement is wrong....IMO.

 

By 1970 I already had a wah, a powerbooster, a fuzz box and I was a teeanage nobody in South Africa.

 

OK...but I already said those were the only basic "stomp boxes" of that period that anyone was usingFuzz, Wah.

I don't know what you mean by "pedals and effects were all over, in all the music stores"...at that time period???

Maybe if we were talking about the late 70s...but certainly not the late 60s.

And I was there also during that late 60s/early 70s time period, and I was only a teenager.

I do believe I have several years on you Fumbly (maybe Im wrong?). :)

 

Also...what was being experimented with during the late 60s/early 70s in some of the bigger/better studious...was not really available to all musicians.

I just recently read about a lot of the Yardbirds sessions and how they recorded with Sam Phillipsand how Clapton accidentally found feedback by leaning his guitar against the amp without turning it down, while he went to take a leak...all barebones, minimalist recordings.

I remember reading about a lot of the Doors sessions, and how little gear they had to work with.

I also remember seeing a documentary about Cream...in the later part of their existence...and Clapton had just started messing with a Wah.

Heck...most "studios" were lucky to have a 4-track in that period...and many were still mixing in monoSo I'm just not sure just how much variety and availability there was of outboard processing...never mind what was available as stomp boxes for guitar players.

 

I mean...I'm not disagreeing about the existence of some early FX boxes back in the 50s/60s/and early 70s...but I don't recall that they were the staple of what most guitar players were using to get their tone.

 

And I thought that's what we are really discussing...

 

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...