Q for those who have achieved their own tone. - Jemsite
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2003, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Q for those who have achieved their own tone.

just curiosity:
HOW did you achieve the tone you were looking for? what tricks? pickups? amp settings? what?
and what's your tone?

(please, don't post if you didn't achieve your tone yet.)
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2003, 10:40 AM
 
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Re: Q for those who have achieved their own tone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuno
(please, don't post if you didn't achieve your tone yet.)
Hehe ... well, let me tell it this way: a famous musiscian was onced asked about his songwriting. He answered that he was trying to write for the perfect song, and every song he wrote was just a try into that direction...

Take that for the guitar: lot of us are looking for their perfect tone. Everything we will hear is just a step into that direction.

Or even better, from the Hitchhikers guide: When someone will find out the reasons why the Universe is there it will vanish and be replaced by something even more strange.

Sorry, no answer
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2003, 11:12 AM
 
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Re: Q for those who have achieved their own tone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LennyNero
Or even better, from the Hitchhikers guide: When someone will find out the reasons why the Universe is there it will vanish and be replaced by something even more strange.
Ah, nothing beats Hitchhikers
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2003, 11:39 AM
 
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I guess I've probably gotten about as close to "my tone" as I ever imagine I would. I'd say that the key was experimentation. I've gone through a ton of amps, guitars, pedals, pickups, etc. It's all been a learning experience, and was a lot of fun too

I went through a Fender phase, a long Mesa phase, a Matchless phase, a modern phase, a vintage phase, etc. All in search of the "perfect" tone. Of course...everybodys idea of good tone will differ.

Once I got my Rivera TBR-2SL, the search was over. It's the only amp I've had where I can plug directly in with no FX and it's my ideal tone. Clean, dirty, REALLY dirty...it's all right there. Once I add in the rest of my rack gear, it's the ideal setup for me. I can get any sound I could possibly need, and the tone is unlike any other.

I don't have any tricks or tips, other than play as many different amps/guitar/pick combos as you're able to. Make a checklist of what you're looking for and see which amp best suits your needs/wants. Then, go from there. Of course, the amp is only a foundation for your tone. Finding the right guitar and FX is equally important.

I'm sure that there are a few people here who could offer a lot more detailed insight than I can, but that's how my personal experience has been.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2003, 02:29 PM
 
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I used the Eric Johnon method...rubberbands, special cables, vintage batteries, particular pedalboard plywood, proper compass orientation...the rest doesn't matter.
Greg
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2003, 03:42 PM
 
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Re: Q for those who have achieved their own tone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LennyNero
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuno
(please, don't post if you didn't achieve your tone yet.)
Or even better, from the Hitchhikers guide: When someone will find out the reasons why the Universe is there it will vanish and be replaced by something even more strange.
Dammit, i knew I shouldn't have asked God that evening, but after the 8th or so pint, things got a touch fuzzy...

(God drinks Guiness, if anyone's wondering)

-D
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Q for those who have achieved their own tone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Two hands31
...nothing beats Hitchhikers...
sorry, what's or who's Hitchhikers?
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 05:37 AM
 
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a series of books: the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 05:54 AM
 
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I'd say that finding my tone was more about developing my phrasing and technique rather than getting a specific amplifier. About two years ago I had to use a Marshall Valvestate during a couple of band rehersals and that was when I realized I sound like me no matter what amp I play through.
It's part how I dial in any amp I use but even more the way I play the guitar with all the subtle nuances that make my playing unique.
It was quite a revelation for me, and it was a turning point in realizing what I want/need in an amp (and other gear).
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 09:38 AM
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I think everyone is always striving to better their tone. I also think the quest is always cyclical. I've honestly been playing on stages for 30 years now and have never been satisfied for very long with tone. That's the live side. My first professional studio where I rented space and charged a fee was 1979. Had one ever since in some form or another. There it was a different quest for tone, so when you ask, do you mean live or studio, or do you seek just one tone? Acoustic or Electric? See how subjective it can be?!

Didn't mean to de-construct your post, but to me, tone is your (current) signature. Look a Clapton or SRV or Rick Derringer - now he's doing smooth jazz. Al DeMeola, STEVE VAI, Satch, Jimmy Page, Andre' Segovia, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Adrian Legg, Belew, Fripp, Howe, Young, etc... they all evolve as time goes by. Ain't it great?
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 11:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Platypus
I'd say that finding my tone was more about developing my phrasing and technique rather than getting a specific amplifier.
You know, I was actually thinking about that in the shower today (showers are kinda a meditative experience for me- they're isolated, relaxing, and give me some time to think. I know, I'm weird, but we all take what we can get, right?).

What's the biggest difference between Satriani's tone and Vai's tone? When youg et right down to it, very little. I mean, satch is a little "fuzzier," and Vai's clearer and darker, but the actually aural differences are quite slight. What it really comes down to, for me, is their vibrato and their pick attack. The way the notes are played colors our perception of their "tones" much more than actual gear settings.

That's less true than in the case of, say, Satch vs. Petrucci, but even then, my money says most of "The Extremist" was cut with a Mesa Mark-IV, and Petrucci uses a Mark-IV heavily in the studio, and while i'm sure their settings are different, we're probably not talking anything too drastic. The difference is in the way they play, not what they play through.

Personal opinion, of course, feel free to disagree.

-D
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 11:31 AM
 
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I do have to agree that tone is in the fingers as much of a cliche' as it is, I've played at house shows and had someone else's gear, but I still sound and play like me. I think the tone just gives you your ideal way to get there. My tone isn't 100% where I want it, but its always evolving too, I'm never quite satisfied since the tone I want depends on the song I'm writing or jamming to. I try to keep a tone that is heavy enough, but still thick when soloing or doing fills without having to tapdance to change parameters.

Bamm
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 11:34 AM
 
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If you want an example of tone being in the person's technique, and not the equipment, take a look at my other guitarist in one of my bands. He plays an Epiphone Les Paul through a Boss multieffects thing-y, a Boss OD-10, and a Vox Wah into a crappy used Crate amp that barely works, and he sounds exactly the same playing my Shecter Revenger-7 through my Flextone II. Did I mention he never uses a pick?
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 11:39 AM
 
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I agree with Drew...to an extent I don't thing that it can really be argued that technique and phrasing constitute a HUGE part of finding your individual SOUND, but...I think that "tone" is a different thing from "sound".

I firmly believe that tone is a direct product of the equipment that's being used. Tone is the actual sound that's generated from the combonation of the guitar, amp and whatever else you choose to throw in between the two.

I agree that if you put Satch of Vai through a little Peavey Rage amp with a Hondo Strat, they'll still sound like Satch or Vai...from a playing standpoint. However, their individual signature tones are generated by their unique choices in equipment.

One guy who definitely has a signature tone (love it or hate it) would be Carlos Santana. He's basically used the same Boogies since their inception. Granted, he's gone from Les Pauls, to Yamahas to PRS', but his amp setup has remained, for the most part, unchanged for 20-odd years. If you put Carlos straight through a Fender Twin, he's still sound great, but...not the same.

I'd never underplay the importance of developing your own playing "style"- that's the first step towards becoming a unique individual. However, finding the right amp/gear setup is every bit as important a part of finding your own TONE.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2003, 12:46 PM
 
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Since there's some debate about the differences between "sound" and "tone", I'll stick with "tone" (which I see as more of a function of amps & FX)...

Finding my tone wasn't an inexpensive or quick process--it took me years to find the right combination of components (read: pedals, preamps, power amps, FX, & cabinets). Along the way, some of the major things I learned (none of which are rocket science):

1) All it takes is one crappy component in your signal path to hose your overall tone.

2) When experimenting with different components in your signal path, only change one at a time. e.g., if you're looking for a different sound, try changing your preamp OR your power amp, but not both at the same time. This allows you to better understand the contribution that EACH component makes to your overall tone.

3) There is no direct relationship between the number of compontents in the signal path and how good the overall tone is. I think of it as a quadratic function--tone gets better as you add more components to a certain point, then the quality of tone begins to decrease.

4) I think the same thing goes for tubes--while having tubes in the preamp and power amp circuits certainly improves the tone, at some point you reach diminishing returns where having more tubes doesn't really make much difference.

5) There's also no direct relationship between the complexity of a component (# knobs & switches, # circuits, # effects, etc) and the quality of the overall tone. In general, more complex means more things that can break! However, since complexity generally is related to flexibility, there's probably a better chance of finding your right tone in a component with a lot more options.

6) Unless you absolutely have to, don't sell a component immediately to buy another component. Sometimes, while you're getting used to a new component, it's nice to have the old component around for reference/ comparison. Plus, if the new component doesn't work out, you can always sell it and go back to the old.

7) Some components, plain & simple, just complement each other better. This is something you'll learn with trial & error. For example, some wahs don't sound as good with some amps as they do with others.

With that in mind, here's how my rig has changed over the years:
1) Digitech GSP21 & IPS33, Crate mini-stack
->
2) Digitech GSP2101, Crate Blue Voodoo & Fender M80 combos, Roland GR-09 & VG-8
->
3) Johnson Millennium JM150 combo
->
4) Boss DS1, Mesa Triaxis, TC Electronic G-Major, Mesa 2:90, Johnson 2x12 cabinet
->
5) Ibanez TS9, Mesa Mark IV, TC Electronic G-Major

In the early days, Digitech gear was clearly working for me. Once I discovered both Mesa amps and TC effects, however, I know I'd never go back! Is there something out there that's closer to my dream tone that my Mark IV? Perhaps, but I haven't found it yet...

Wow, this was long. Where did my lunch break go?

--B
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