Wondering if others even care?
Do you like the tone of your guitar? Acoustic or electric.
I always kinda liked hi fi stereo music. The closest I can get to listening to live music.
I feel the same way about how my guitar sounds.
I got lucky in finding a acoustic that I like the tone of. The unaltered, live, sound of it. I didn’t even chase acoustic tone as my acoustic just fell into my lap, used. All I knew was that I needed a good sounding (to me) acoustic. I just got lucky with acquiring it.
I’ve chased electric guitar tone to a degree.
I’ve had 2 electric guitars that I wasn’t fond of the tones they produced. They were lack luster and sounded thin and non-inspiring. One I still got and just don’t play so much, the other I gave to my boy who don’t play at all hoping that perhaps he’d at least give playing a try.
In acquiring electric guitars, I mostly did research on the www to come up with something I liked.
Same goes for amps.
I have a very uninspiring amp that I near hated the tone of. And I don’t hate anything. But man, that amp just sucked.
I gave it to my boy too. Figured he needed something to amplify the uninspiring guitar I gave him.
I know, pretty uncool of me to give him uninspiring stuff.
I just figured if he wants to play, even uninspiring gear is better than no gear. Besides, I used that uninspiring gear for years and I did get by with it.
I did the same for how I decided what amp(s) I thought sounded good. Also ones that were in my price range. I checked many out on the www.
I ended up with three quite different amps. Two tube amps and one older solid state amp.
In my search I also came to the conclusion that I didn’t want new, fancy, computer inspired gear.
It makes me feel old to say it. But I grew up listening to real amps. Amps that did there own thing. They don’t try to replicate something that they are not.
They all have minimal controls. Not a lot of knobs. They don’t have effects built in short of reverb which I ‘personally’ think is a must have on a amp. While it is an effect, it’s an effect that has been on many amps from the past.
I also have found in playing for awhile. I like the tremolo effect. Again, an effect. Again an effect from the old days that many amps of yesteryear came with on board the amp.
The amp I gave my boy had no effects onboard. The three that I got all have onboard reverb and one has onboard tremolo.
At this point, I’m satisfied with the tones my guitars and amps produce and I really don’t have GAS since my last purchase which was a new amp I got back in maybe April of last year.
Now I can concentrate on my playing. At least that’s how I feel in my own mind.
So, do you like the tones of your gear?
Have you gone through a lot of gear to get to your best end result for you?
If you’d like, state what guitar and/or amps that you’ve used/or have, that make your ears happy.
If I didn’t like the tone of my acoustic guitars I wouldn’t have bought them. Plus tone comes mostly from the player, how you attack the strings, hold your pick or strum.
I’m like you about older gear, it just sounds better.
I’m generally happy with my guitar tone because I think I’m fairly good at dialing in something I like.
Although I’m older, I grew up with technology (I was experimenting with digital sampling on 8-bit computers in the 1980s) and most of my early experience with electric guitar amplification was with modellers (Boss Cube, Digitech RP pedal), and a lot was through headphones.
So I’ve learned how to use these tools to shape tone and, to an extent, learned how my playing technique affects how things sound to me: as I have got better at controlling the guitar and tweaking the amp, I’ve got better at getting something that could be considered “good tone”.
I still use a lot of modelling gear. I’m away from home, staying with my Brother-In-Law in Malaysia at the moment. My “rig” is my Travelcaster travel guitar, my Yamaha THR10ii, a Nux Mighty Plug MP3, and a Boss Pocket GT.
For the last couple of years I’ve mainly been using my Revstar Standard with P90s. When I went back to the UK over Christmas, I spent a bit of time with my other guitars and, after so long not playing them it was interesting.
I spent quite a bit of time with my Gibson SG which, until recently, had never really gelled with me for playing, but I loved the look of. That has P90s too so, now, having spent an extended time with a P90 equpped guitar, it was more familiar to me. I also found some new love for my G&L Legacy Tribute S-Type, and had a lot of fun exploring the single-coil tones.
I love my PRS S2 Singlecut: how it feels, and how it plays. But I actually found myself a little disappointed with the tone recently, as it felt a bit muddy on occasions. Although some tweaks on the amp EQ mostly fixed that. I think because I always had humbucker guitars when I started playing I was used to the sound of them. Being away from humbuckers for a couple of years, I think I’m now more used to (and prefer) the sound of single coils: I think they tend to have more character.
As far as amps are concerned, I’ve mostly been using the Yamaha THR 10ii, and my Boss GT-1 for the last couple of years. I would take the GT-1 with me for group Jam sessions, plugged into one of the Blackstar or Orange valve amps at the rehearsal rooms we booked. That usually took a little tweaking to get the EQ right with each room and amp, but I could usually get somewhere decent. Part of the issue is I’m not used to playing loud amps.
I used to have a Boss Katana 100 Mk1 and that was a great amp for me: just the right amount of tweakability without being overwhelming for more general use. Yes it has effects built in but, most of the time, the only effect I used other than Reverb and gain was delay, and that’s easily controlled on the top panel without messing with computer editors (although I like doing that sometimes too).
Back at home in the UK I found myself mainly using the GT-1 still because it had the tones I had dialled in, either with headphones or plugged into the FX Return of my valve amp (Bugera G5 Head with Harley Benton Vintage 30 cabinet).
I did mess around with the Bugera on it’s own with each of the guitars and, frankly, the valve amp on its own was the least inspiring to me. I think that’s because it didn’t have the range of EQ controls on it on the clean channel that I have on my other options. The dirt channel was better, but wasn’t really anything I couldn’t do on the GT-1.
Here in Malaysia, I’m really digging the sounds I’m getting from the Travelcaster with the Nux MP-3. The pickups on the Travelcaster are remarkably characterful. It’s a shame it’s a bit awkward and uncomfortable to play. And the Nux MP-3 doesn’t work well with it physically, due to the positioning of the jack socket. I might go back to using it with the Pocket GT.
My brother-in-law has a PRS McCarty 594 that he says I can use, as well as his Fender Tele which I looked after for him for many years. I will have to find some time to give them some love.
He has a small Orange Crush 12, as well as a Spark 40 which I gave him (which I doubt I will bother using). I’m interested to hear how the 594 sounds through the various options.
Tone is a very important element in guitar playing. It seems pointless to play with a sound that is unappealing or uninspiring.
I recommend learning how to dial in a good tone right away, and continue working on your tone every time you play. It needs to be second nature. It’s not a one setting or one catch-all tone that fits every type of musical situation. For me, most times it’s a matter of fattening up my tone with some slapback delay and maybe a splash of reverb. For extra dirt I like a Rat clone pedal. Use your ears, experiment and have fun.
If your amp is lackluster, your guitar will sound lackluster as well. Consider getting a pre-amp pedal or two if you’ve tried everything else. Being fond of Fender tone, I often use the Joyo American Sound and/or the Flamma FS06 (on the Blues Jr setting) pedals. If you can bypass your amp’s pre-amp, so much the better.
Try different strings if you have a lackluster acoustic guitar tone. Also, try playing in a different room. You would be surprised how much the configuration and size of a room can alter/improve your tone.
Cool, sounds like ya found just the right acoustic to meet your needs.
While I agree with your assessment that the tone is in the player. Me personally, I think there is something to which guitar you play. ie My 1st acoustic was a harmony stella from about '69. It was very lacking in tone compared to the acoustic I use now, a Epiphone masterbuilt DR-500MCE. There just is a large difference in the tone when them two guitars are compared. The stella, I didn’t get to buy, I was about 9 when I got it and didn’t know anything about guitars, and neither did my folks who got it for me to see if I’d become interested in guitar. @Majik
You have a very interesting perspective. Starting with you playing with others. That, I’ve no expereince with, but I want to and from reading, tones played by oneself in our normal environment is not the same tones you get in different rooms or tone you need while playing with others.
I’m with ya on P90’s for sure. The last guitar I got has 2 P90s in it. That was the tone I was chasing. I just didn’t know it.
I do need to try some single coils like in a tele or a start, but I’ve not had the chance short of checking out guitars at the music store. So can’t really say if I dig them kinda single coils or not. Not referring to p90s since they’re single coil too.
I think perhaps you’ve got something there.
It’s what we’re used to. Or perhaps, at least willing to experiment with.
I mostly played a 12 string acoustic growing up. It came after the stella. The 12 was all I had for a couple of decades.
1st amp I got was in around 2000. A peavey bandit 112 transtube, silver stripe. A good amp that does many tones and a 2 channel amp at that. Jump to now and the silver stripe sits unplayed. My new solid state love is the same amp, but the red stripe version.
I didn’t get a tube amp till I picked up the guitar 4 years ago.
1st was a supro blues king 12, shortly after it came out in 2018 or so, maybe 19? If ya want a amp with wide tone control, imho, that’s the one. The tone controls seem to be passive. Ya turn bass, mid, treble all the way down and there is no sound at that point, vol. can be at max, no sound w/tones all the way down. Ya can control them from there to whatever ya want.
fwiw, peavey transtube does work. While it’s a solid state amp, it does try to simulate a tube amp, just not any particular one.
The bandit is a 2 channel amp, my other two are single.
It’s unusual for me to use the dirt channel on the bandit.
What few effects I have all go to the ft. of the amp. Bandit is the only one with a loop, but it goes unused. I have tried it though with time base effects through the loop, and I do like it running it that way.
Anyways, real good insight for what your getting for tone and how your getting there. Thanks.
Interesting Roger. Tone, imho does get better with time, and with practice.
As for tones recreated by our ‘telephones’. imho, even they pick up the difference. I can hear the change in tone of my recordings w/ a telephone. Setting my guitar to this tone or that tone. The phone recreates what tone I’m giving it. Extreme example. Clean tones vs high gain tones.
Right on Clint!
Like try the bathroom out… ‘super’ natural reverb!
I agree too. Find a tone ya like. To me, playing is for sure more inspiring with a tone that I’m diggin at the moment. I also experiment with different tone settings too. Mostly at the guitar, but some at the amp. Seems there are near infinite sounds to be had though I find myself using the settings that I’ve found to work well. Interesting to me is that with three amps, all three the tone settings are near the same. About midway for all knobs. I adj. minimally from there usually.
Yep, infinite tones at our fingertips. To me, a big part of the game. How to put the pieces of the puzzle together in a pleasant, moving, fun, sounding way.
Acoustic less so though. I’m down with the acousitc as for me, it’s unforgiving. While the acoustic I’m playing is important, what, and how I play is much more important when I play acoustic. No knobs or peddles or anything to tweek, it’s me (you) and your guitar.
I’ll do that too when recording.
So far, I’ve come to the conclusion that playing into a interface, just direct in, no effects period. This is how my electric guitar sounds w/o the color of a amp or the amp environment. A great way to see if you like the tones of your electric guitar as that’s all there is and the interface ain’t supposed to color the tones short of what you plug into it. Your guitar.
Congrats on the tele.
If I get GAS again, I could see it for being something like a tele, though I have mostly considered stats. Point is though. I ain’t tried single coils out and I need to at some point so I can make an informed decision as the tones that I like come from p90s. And not experiencing tele/strat style single coils is leaving me uninformed. As of now, I got one guitar w/ 2 dog ear p90s, one with a p90 neck and humbucker bridge. The guitar I don’t like has 2 active humbuckers. Part of what I don’t like about that guitar is likely them ‘active’ humbuckers. That’s my suspicion anyway.
Cool the responses.
I just like the tones I get from my guitar and wondered how others felt and how they got to where they want to be.
I just find acquiring the tone I like to be pretty darn fun and for sure a part of playing guitar.
Especially when the tones start to work out…
It’s pleasing to my ears and fun to be working towards that goal.
Oh, lastly, my thrid amp is the last one I got. A fender '65 princeton reverb reissue. It has the tones I was looking for…
And now a different point of view - My father had one of the first stereo systems in the city when this technology was made available. I grew up in a house that had high-end music systems and it became a hobby of mine. When I took up playing a stringed instrument as an aging adult, I found that the pursuit of sound equipment became less and less important. The quality of the music as it was written and performed took on primary interest. I’d rather listen to a stunning orchestral piece over AM car radio than some lesser collection of sounds over an expensive hi-fi system. The same is apt to be true with guitars and amps. How many people would purchase Willie Nelson’s guitar in a shop if they didn’t know it was his. One more analogy, do you think an amateur golfer with the best modern clubs would have a chance against a pro golfer using clubs that are 70 years old? That said, I have nice guitar gear. I just don’t know how important that is.
I’m with you. I dig my hi fi stereo and have needed good sounding tunes my whole life too.
That said. I do get the rest of your comment too.
What you said made me think of a cat (person)(sorry, no pun intended here) I seen on the youtube playing a hello kitty guitar. I kid you not, he made that guitar sound pretty darn good.
Chris cornell may be ontoit. I don’t know, I don’t have a fender guitar. But I do got that prri, and for me, that was a real good step towards the tones I was looking for.
All I know is that I been playing all weekend and my fingers are tired. But I don’t want to stop playing. I think because what’s coming out my amp just plain has a good sound (tone).
It sounds good to me and inspires more playing. Hence, I think a tone you like is important to playing.
An amp played through headphones sounds different from the same amp played in your bedroom
An amp in your bedroom sounds different from that same amp in a rehearsal room.
That amp in an empty rehearsal room sounds different from that amp in a rehearsal room with a bunch of people in it.
That amp in a rehearsal room with a bunch of people in it doing nothing sounds different from that amp in the same rehearsal room where the other people are playing/singing.
And all of that sounds completely different from a recording of the same amp on a mixed track.
And that’s something I like in a solid-state amp, which is also why I like the Katana. It’s about getting good tones, not about trying to slavishly emulate something you hear on a record which, in my view, is almost always a fool’s errand because of all of the other factors involved.
That’s not a criticism of the ability of these amps to faithfully model these other amps, but more down to the expectation of how well you can emulate the tone you perceive in practice, given all of the other variables (plus the fact that the tone you perceive in your head is probably nothing like the actual tone as played).
I think that’s down to unrealistic expectations which, is anything, is a criticism of a marketing of a lot of these amps.
I will mention that Nile Rodgers frequently did this on a lot of his recordings (years before amp plugins were a thing), and I’ve not seen any complaints about his tone.
Definitely try both. Tele style tones tend to be higher output and “twangier” than strat tones, primarily due to the difference in the pickup construction. Strats give you more versatility because you have more pickups and combinations to choose from, but some people just prefer the tone of teles. YMMV so, yes, give them both a try.
This is also quite broad brush as different models (and brands) of guitar will sound different too.
That’s why I dont keep my small Spider V30 at minimum volume when I’m playing during regular hours in the day in my bedroom (otherwise it’s headphones obviously)
It’s fascinating how much influence physical locations have on tone - both for guitar and singing. I was marvelling that a lot on the weekend. I had always played in our relatively empty living room… and that was ok. Sitting on the bed in the bedroom…and then during the weekend still in the bedroom, but close to the wall behind me and closet next to me…benefitting from natural amplification for singing. No microphone needed that way
@HappyCat I have to try out the toilet thing. Strangely I have a song in mind… where this might be a really good fit. Oh, the poor neighbours
Interesting topic. I think along the same lines as @dblinden, I think. When I listen to a recording of myself and think “How can I make this sound better?”, I might make a list of things that would help. “Getting better guitar tone” would not make the top 10 of my list. Here are some things I would put ahead of “better tone” (I’m thinking of an acoustic blues piece, which is what I have been focusing on):
Keeping better time
Paying more attention to dynamics
Avoiding string noise with better fretting technique
Avoiding string noise with better muting technique
More consistent palm muting
Getting nice staccato notes, when appropriate
Crisper pull-offs and hammer-ons
More accurate slides
Play up to tempo
Explore additional embellishments
Explore variations to the melody line
Possibly add a vamp section to lengthen the overall arrangement
Any of these things will improve my song more than having better tone. I concentrate on those things and don’t worry about tone.
Plus 1 on everything John said. One more comment - I think that the pursuit of sound with all of the tools that are available falls mostly into the realm of being a hobby. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. My life has been filled with more hobbies than anyone might believe. The ability to make music, however, is a talent and requires great skill and endless effort. I do have the effort part down, but am woefully lacking in talent. Absent might be a better description. Still fun trying, though.