Ok, mind blown. This is worth watching.
Very interesting, Josh.
Or how to turn an electric guitar into a pedal steel, part 1
Absolutely brilliant, so with a bit of care and attention and the right pickups you can turn a kit into a nice sounding guitar!
Must get weaving on my HB Telecaster kit!
Thanks, that was really interesting. It is time to learn more about pickups.
@mari you should watch this.
What isn’t mentioned is playability. A good neck, frets and weight balance will make the guitar nicer to play and easier to play well.
But the lesson is to put your money into the pickups and to adjust them properly.
Result isnt much of a surprise is it?
The pickup is responsible for generating the electrical signal, from the motion of the strings.
So the relation between those 2 plus the pickup itself is the main variable.
So sure, the wood, bridge etc etc could have small secondary effects on how the strings vibrate but thats unlikely to be much noticeable it seems
Thanks Gordon, that looks really interesting.
That was a very interesting video.
Wait until @brianlarsen Mr Larsen see’s this, it will reaffirm to him that he really only needs one guitar. Just lots of different pickups.
Yes and portability, how does he get the work bench rig to gigs ?
Heading in the right direction- but the dude hasn’t even scratched the surface yet.
My contention is that even the the pups, bridge, saddles, strings, tuners etc. only are of peripheral importance when it comes to the tone.
The AMP! determines the sound. (I still have L-plates on mine)
I’m gonna hafta stop there, before I’m forced to go buy another guitar to prove my point
No just pop to BnQ and buy a couple of benches, Some binding wire, bag of nails and then off to Thomann for pups n pots (or Pets At Home ??). Simples ! No NGD needed.
Thanks, that was super interesting… but I got tons to do this morning lol!
See you at the OM Brian.
Always loved Osibisa !
Not for me.
As you say, the pickup is the primary element on the guitar for creating the signal input into the amp, and the primary interaction is with the strings.
The surprising thing for me is how many luthiers make claims about the tonal characteristics of the wood, often placing them above the pickups. Clearly, to anyone who understands anything about Physics, that’s nonsense but we are told that they are “the experts” and it is they who should be believed.
All that tells me is that most luthiers don’t have a Scientific background.
The one that staggers me the most is when people claim that one of the major tonal differences on a guitar is due to the wood used on the fingerboard: a part of the guitar that isn’t directly connected to the strings during normal use, and which probably makes up less than 1/20th of the wooden part of the guitar.
Sure it can have a major impact on the feel and playability, but on the tone? Really?
I do wonder if there’s a mixture of hype, and of people (including those in the business) buying into that hype. There might be a touch of snake-oil just like there is in the hifi industry where the most ridiculous claims are made about expensive upgrades (like interconnect cables). And, I suspect, a degree of self-selection, indoctrination, and peer pressure in the industry.
People hate being told that something they have believed in for most of their life is, fundamentally, wrong.
From the Physics point of view, of course the “resonance” of the electric guitar can have an impact on the notes being played, but it’s not normally in the way people assume or claim: any resonance in the guitar components will subtract from the vibration in the strings. This will, normally, reduce the output from the pickups in some way, normally by affecting the “envelope” of the note, rather than the tonal structure.
In practice, this means resonance in the guitar body, neck, nut, bridge, etc. will, mostly act to reduce sustain as it robs energy from the strings.
An example of this is semi-hollow and hollow-body electric guitars which have sound boards and resonant cavities which act more like an acoustic guitar. Typically these have less sustain than solid-body electrics because this acoustic resonance is robbing energy from the strings and, thus to the pickups.
Note that these guitars are a bit of a different beast than solid-body guitars because they can (and do) pick up feedback from the guitar amp which causes them to self-resonate which could, potentially, change how the strings vibrate.
Equally acoustic guitars are totally different: here the bridge is attached to the soundboard and is designed to transfer energy into it, to make the guitar cavity resonant and amplify the sound. With an acoustic (or hollow/semi-hollow electric) guitar it’s very likely that the wood has a major influence, especially the wood used for the soundboard.
But on a solid-body electric guitar? Not so much, as this video demonstrates.
Does the resonance of the wood impact the tone (as in the EQ) of the guitar at all? Possibly, as the amount that the guitar body steals energy from the strings/pickups could have a frequency component but the impact should be negligible compared to the impact of pickups.
Especially as most solid-body guitars are designed and built to maximise the sustain. In other words, to minimise the effect of body and neck on the sound. IoW the concept of “tone wood” and the desire to have good sustain characteristics are largely incompatible with each other.
Yes and no. Pickups (and pickup position) definitely have a major impact on the tone that is obvious when you switch between pickups. Everything else on the guitar (other than the tone controls), not so much. Those other things mostly impact how the guitar feels which may influence sustain, envelope, or how you play it, but the direct impact on the EQ of the guitar should be negligible.
And with amps, it depends on how the amp is dialled in to a degree. If you are operating within a fairly linear part of the amp’s operation (i.e. super clean) then I reckon a lot of amps sound quite similar. If you start to approach saturation and break-up, this is where amps start to sound different IME. But, even then, this can be subtle and can be offset (to a degree) using EQ controls.
For instance, the main difference between the “British” and “American” amp sounds is in the mid-range with British-style amps having more midrange, and American amps having more of a “scooped” midrange with greater emphasis on the low-midrange creating a “warmer” sound. This is all EQ and can be approximated by manipulating EQ.
Of course, a seasoned guitar player could probably still tell the difference (there’s probably subtle differences in “feel”) but most non-guitar-playing listeners probably would not. The point I’m making is that these differences can often be quite subtle.
Where an amp definitely does (IMO) make a big difference is with the speaker and cabinet. The voicing of the speaker and the interaction between the speaker, the cabinet and the room is quite complex and can have a significant tonal impact.
I will add that “tone” is a rather overloaded term in guitar circles. Strictly speaking, “tone” refers to EQ, but it seems to me that many guitarists extend its meaning to include things like string attack, muting, pick noise, sustain, and even vibrato, bending style, and use of techniques like pinch harmonics.