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Author Topic: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.  (Read 37168 times)

Offline sybersitizen

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #75 on: May 03, 2013, 11:51:47 PM »
I don't have much to say on the original topic, or on the offshoot topics brought up recently... and I did try to listen to Dan Boul for a little while, but really can't take much of that - sorry. However, for what it's worth, I did notice that he posted this message yesterday:

'Just want to clarify from yesterday's show. I LOVE MODERN MUSIC AND I DON'T THINK ROCK IS DEAD! :-) :-). I received a few comments from people who seemed to get the exact opposite of what I was trying to say and I apologize if I wasn't clear about it. My bad . . . I'm sorry. My concern is why isn't all this good guitar music that's around getting mainstream traction? I just posed the question in a provocative way to get a reaction . . . cheap tactic I admit! But again, just to be clear . . . there's a TON of modern music that I really love, not putting it down at all, just want it to break through a bit more . . .'
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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline Spiderplayer

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #76 on: May 05, 2013, 12:55:25 PM »
Ok, so here's my take on this one. I've been playing a long, long time now and this topic often comes up. And I've heard the 'playing through someone else's rig and sounding just like yourself' one an awful lot, but I really don't buy it. Years ago I gigged with a band that had another guitarist. For reasons I can't remember now I played a '63 Gretsch Tennessean (in many ways a horrible guitar) straight into an old Fender Twin which needed an overhaul and got pretty loud but never distorted. The other guitarist had an old Les Paul and played through the lead channel of a Mesa Boogie, a DC-5 if I remember rightly. He also used a load of pedals, a Tube Screamer and others. As you might imagine, the contrasting guitar sounds worked pretty well (one clean, twangy, gnarly; the other thick, fat, sustaining). But if I picked up his LP and played through his rig using his settings and he played through my rig with my settings, we sounded like each other - not like 'ourselves'. So in this extreme case, tone (or sound) wasn't in the fingers but in the rig(s).

I think that this misconception about tone comes from this common situation - a good guitar player is invited to a jam session, or just to have a go through another guitarist's rig. He/she knows the basic amp types (Marshall, Fender, Boogie etc.) and how they sound, the basic guitar types (Fender, Gibson etc.) and how they sound, the basic effects types etc. and can immediately see what the rig consists of. So he grabs the guitar, plays a quick chord, stops playing and then spends about 30 seconds tweaking the amp's EQ, gain, distortion pedal drive levels etc. What's going on, of course, is he's manipulating the rig to get the sound he likes - his sound. So an observer would come to the conclusion that - miracle! - his sound is totally different and that 'tone comes from the fingers'. Hell, even I can do this (my favorite 'test chord' is Asus2, if you must know). When I used to play festivals etc. and played through provided backlines I could tweak amp settings and get close to my sound without even playing a note - just because I knew the basic amps that tended to be provided. So here's a test - set up two completely different-sounding rigs and get two different guitarists to play through them and then swap over - but don't let them adjust anything on guitar or amp. You'll find that they sound more like the rigs they're playing through than themselves. Every time.

So here's what I think about it all. If you distinguish between guitar sound (extremes of tone) you'll find it's mostly the rig (biggest component of this is the amp, IMO). But if you want to talk about tone, then that comes from the fingers, generally. In other words, 2 different guitar players playing one after the other through the same rig (especially if they don't twiddle any knobs when it's their turn) will sound subtly different and therefore have a different tone - because of things like pick attack, angle of pick against the strings, finger vibrato etc.

But I don't buy the 'plays through someone else's (very different) rig and sounds like himself' comment because he will almost invariably have spent time knob twiddling, even if it was only 30 seconds' worth. So I guess I think that sound comes from the rig and tone comes from the hands - oh no, I agree with the original post!!

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline bembamboo

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #77 on: June 12, 2013, 02:40:41 PM »
Andy Marshall: A lot of these things that supposedly contribute to the sound of this or that amp are overrated, but sometimes manufacturers have to deal with public opinion. Before we introduced THD’s interpretation of the 4×10 Bassman, which was the first “reissue” style of any amp by any company, we did a ton of research. Those old Fenders all used solid pine cabinets. We looked at solid pine, mahogany, and various plywoods — birch ply, apple ply, all kinds of stuff. Some of the pine ones sounded quite good; some didn’t. They were inconsistent. We would take a chassis from one amp and put it in another cab made out of a different wood and do listening tests. We recorded all of these things, trying all the different cabs and woods. We took a scientific approach and concluded that it was very difficult to generalize. Some of the pine cabs sounded better than other pine cabs. Or this plywood one sounded better than that solid one, but this solid one sounded better than some other plywood cab. Even the grain in the wood can affect it terribly.
 
So we ended up going with plywood because it was more consistent. We used finger joints — frankly for marketing reasons. The fact is, there are stronger joints, but people seem to think that finger joints were the best way to go because that’s what was used on old Fenders. There are other kinds of joints that are less expensive and hold up better, but we were trying to do exactly what Fender had done, wherever reasonable.

pure guitar vol. 2
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 02:47:30 PM by bembamboo »

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline Paul Marossy

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #78 on: June 24, 2013, 04:28:21 PM »
From this article here: http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/under-investigation-jeff-beck/150802

"Why does Jeff Beck sound so different from any other guitarist on the planet, and how does he keep getting better?

It’s certainly not about his gear. While Beck has long been revered for killer tones, his chosen axes, amps, and effects have always been fairly Spartan. We’re talking Fender Telecasters and Gibson Les Pauls in the early days, and then Strats, Strats, and more Strats beginning circa 1972. Add a vintage, modern, or reissue Marshall or Fender amp—Beck used a beefed-up Fender Pro Junior paired with a Klon Centaur overdrive on his recent Rock ‘n’ Roll Party tour—plus a Snarling Dog Whine-OWah, and you’ve got the essentials covered.

So if it’s not the vehicle, it must be the driver. For instance, Beck essentially stopped using a pick beginning in the late ’80s, and his bare-skinned, constantly changing attack brings out harmonic overtones that just don’t exist for most of us! In fact, Beck’s fingerstyle technique is so organically integrated that he often has three or four different things going on simultaneously— perhaps a volume-swelled micro-bend decorated with a dip of the whammy bar"


Guess that's not in the hands, must be that all the guitars and amps he's had over the years all have the same sound/tone whatever you want to call it.

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline bembamboo

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #79 on: June 25, 2013, 12:36:34 PM »
paul's original post was that tone was in the hands, quoting blackie who said tone is in the heart.

so, unless tone doesnt mean treble and bass, sustain, feedback, fuzz, the sound coming out of the speaker, then the majority, oreven 90%, of tone is electronically and mechanically generated.

now using jeff b. as an example hits close to the heart.  i stood next to my lil brother who would grab jeff's slide off the floor whenever he dropped it, holding it up for jeff when he needed it next!  the kid was 10 in the early 70s and he had an intimate relationship with jeff just by smiling back and forth! i loooove jeff's technique, however it can get abrasive, but i do not like his tone these days, as it is often abrasive.  jeff has always rather enjoyed annoying listeners purposely with sick guitar tone.

let it go you guys.  it is a non-point you are trying to prove with all your new-agey notions that finger tips and heart create marshall/celestion ceramic 003 coned/ mullard/maple-mahogany, PAF ROOOOAAAARRRR  (OR FOR THAT MATTER tweed/swamp ash/ mary wrapped single coils/jensen alnico P10R/finger jointed/rectified 5881 spank).

and you guys also dont seem to think it is important that a speaker cab be built of resonating wood like dry old solid pine, or birch ply which may have 13 layers of glue?  strads dont have much glue and it is hide glue to boot.  my theory in guitars too is, as little glue as possible.  firebirds and les pauls, two piece, three piece bodies, laminated necks, the glue and even bolt-on necks seem to threaten sustain.

anyway, you are talking about technique: muting, vibrato, picking, bending, etc. ... all of those things that give a unique player an identifieable style.  when you finally realize you are developing  technique (it took me 5 years in the beginning-today with high tech tools no doubt it can occur quicker), or as dan boul/65 amps says over and over, when you learn to play the instrument, then you might agree.  but i doubt it.  we become wedded to our opinions.

listen to david lindley as i recall, on Jackson Browne's 1986 world in motion (link to follow IF YOUTUBE POLICE ECT. HAVEN'T MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO ACCESS FOR FREE-BTW i am all for paying for original music). fabulous TECHNIQUE. use an oahu lap steel and a dumble or nother great tube amp and who knows what cab or accessories, and you'll get this tone, IF you can play the instrument. fabulous TONE.

can't believe i'm posting this...rant.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 01:41:34 PM by bembamboo »

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline bembamboo

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #80 on: June 26, 2013, 06:22:26 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYepBEoyyos&feature=share&list=RD02NQxrHqKFFqc
lindley and ge smith

http://youtu.be/OG1Eux9mLlo 9:15 - 14:15 leslie west closes fillmore east, 1971 "good tone is like pornography, you know it when you see it...been chasing it for years." premeir guitar

http://youtu.be/drAv2FoYji8  1:20-3:12 jeff beck-nadia strat clean and a lotta technique

http://youtu.be/m9N8Qi6zLSU  clapton beano little marshall blues breaker, les paul

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ_AgS4LkFE&list=RD02JkxYnrjyygQ  clapton a year later, BIG marshall stack, sg

http://youtu.be/MRz28adsdIU  strats-clapton tweed, beck marshalls, bramhall ll marshalls (gadd east preston)

http://youtu.be/fALdOkf_eCM  jeff and beth and buddy (didnt mean to include here but what the hell, buddy is why we are all here!)

http://youtu.be/nevfUDgEU4Y  raitt badcat strat, gary moore 335 brown super or concert?, and a few other cats and kits that know tone

again from tonezone-pure guitar, amp builder Steve Carr: I had the good fortune to hang out with Eric Johnson and to talk to him about sound. He likes his amp to sound a certain way. On the clean side, he likes it extremely bright — make-your-teeth-fall-out bright. If you took an amp like that and put it in a store, no one would buy it. People would think it was broken. But when he plays it, he can control it. His hands can make it sound dark if he wants it to, but all that top end is there for him to work with. We all have to remember that guys like that are phenomenal; they get the sound they want with their hands. That amp is not necessarily going to work that way for the rest of us mortals.



« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 09:56:21 AM by bembamboo »

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline bembamboo

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #81 on: July 07, 2013, 10:16:47 AM »
robben ford http://youtu.be/4MDk_bn69fM
a nice vid of an older tele, a bf super "reverbing", a cord, and no surprises in tone, by a master guitarist whose student and friend randy barker, a boulder 335 guitarist taught me alot in the mid 70s. there is another of robben playing "spoonful" as i remember with some serious tone with a fuzz i will search for, as well as a famous quote i saw presenting paul's side.  i am trying to present my side of this debate, and paul's as i can see where these folks are coming from.  i am sure you are all tired of it but it is intriguing.

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline omaplata

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #82 on: July 12, 2013, 12:52:06 AM »
This is sort of a matter of semantics and perspective. On one hand, you can click a switch and change the way your guitar sounds more drastically than anything you do with your hands as far as pure objectivity is concerned. On the other hand, you can't inject soul into your music using electronics, and soul is what differentiates great sounding guitarist from mediocre sounding guitarist whether the sound is clean, distorted, or whatever else.

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline Paul Marossy

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #83 on: July 22, 2013, 09:14:57 AM »
This is sort of a matter of semantics and perspective. On one hand, you can click a switch and change the way your guitar sounds more drastically than anything you do with your hands as far as pure objectivity is concerned. On the other hand, you can't inject soul into your music using electronics, and soul is what differentiates great sounding guitarist from mediocre sounding guitarist whether the sound is clean, distorted, or whatever else.

I agree, to a point. Django Rheinhardt is a great example. A lot of people back at that time thought they could get a big bodied Maccaferri guitar and sound just like Django, but that's not what happened. Only Django sounded like Django. He could pick up any guitar and it still sounded like him. It all starts with the player, his hands, his heart. Everything else is an embellishment.

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline Tectonix

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #84 on: July 22, 2013, 02:36:35 PM »

I agree, to a point. Django Rheinhardt is a great example. A lot of people back at that time thought they could get a big bodied Maccaferri guitar and sound just like Django, but that's not what happened. Only Django sounded like Django. He could pick up any guitar and it still sounded like him. It all starts with the player, his hands, his heart. Everything else is an embellishment.

I've watched this topic for a long time now, and------+1 Paul.
I started out in life with nothing and still have most of it left!

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline bembamboo

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #85 on: August 11, 2013, 11:38:37 AM »
high five JAMALL.  see my reply #7 in 2011 when paul started this madness:)  volume=stress on power tubes=sustain/crunch=tone. BEANO! 

but the majority op is that fingers, or heart, produces tone.  say something enough and it becomes true.  really?  the housing bubble burst causing recession BECAUSE OF ALL THOSE LITTLE PEOPLE BUYING HOMES THEY KNEW THEY COULDNT AFFORD TO PUT A ROOF OVER THEIR LITTLE FAMILIES.  really?  that brought down the world economy.  really?

prolly not the best analogy, but.... ;D






Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline Patzag

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #86 on: December 13, 2015, 07:07:38 PM »
Teal Fly Classic 1998 / White Deluxe Hard Tail 1994 /Axe FX III

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline Nefarius

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #87 on: December 14, 2015, 02:53:49 AM »
That's impressive. :o
Useless but impressive. :P

Greetings...
Nef

Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline Piplodocus

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #88 on: January 10, 2016, 09:19:07 PM »
Tone isn't in the hands if I use my z vex fuzz probe or my subdecay ring mod. Then it's definitely in the knobs and pedals. Although the original statement still stands as I'm using those generally <10% of the time! :D
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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.

Offline TinMachine

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Re: 90% of guitar "tone" IS in the hands.
« Reply #89 on: January 22, 2016, 01:33:25 PM »
Just ask Ted Nugent about playing on Eddie Van Halen's gear.