Break down electric guitar sound...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by tedjac, Jan 25, 2006.


  1. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    What percentage of the overall sound/tone do each of the following contribute to the electric guitar:

    1) Guitar non-electronics (body, strings, etc.)
    2) Guitar electronics (PUPs, wiring, pots, switches)
    3) Amp chassis (electronics except tubes)
    4) Amp tubes
    5) Speakers (incl enclosure)

    This is kind of a make an estimate kind of question. Break it all down... what do you think...?

    (This is just for fun...)
     
  2. agentcooper2001

    agentcooper2001 Member

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    1) Guitar non-electronics (body, strings, etc.) 10%
    2) Guitar electronics (PUPs, wiring, pots, switches)20%
    3) Amp chassis (electronics except tubes)40%
    4) Amp tubes 5%
    5) Speakers (incl enclosure) 25%
     
  3. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    To keep it in perspective...

    1) Hands (90%)
    2) Guitar non-electronics (body, strings, etc.) (4%)
    3) Guitar electronics (PUPs, wiring, pots, switches) (2%)
    4) Amp chassis (electronics except tubes) (0.5%)
    5) Amp tubes (0.5%)
    6) Speakers (incl enclosure) (2%)
     
  4. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    Serious...

    I totally understand what you are saying... I really do... but I'm thinkiing about it from a purely mechanical/electrical perspective. Granted that a very gifted/talented/schooled player can make any guitar/amp sound better than a hack.

    Let's... just for the sake of consistancy, leave the player out of the equation. If a robot was measuring the percentages kind of thing.
     
  5. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    1) Guitar non-electronics............( 9%)
    2) Guitar electronics..................(28%)
    3) Amp chassis (design/circuitry).(40%)
    4) Amp tubes............................( 9%)
    5) Speakers..............................(14%)
     
  6. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    So it looks like so far the amp type and pickup type seem to have the lead, with speakers hanging right in there. Seems to be about right to me...
     
  7. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, yeah, assuming you hold the player constant...which is still a very important tone factor. ;)
     
  8. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    Yeah... I guess I'm more asking about the objective physical process and not the player technique. This also sort of leaves the subjectivity aboudt what "good" tone is... I think we all know that you'd never get any broad agreement on that!
     
  9. spikeRI

    spikeRI Member

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    what? no mention of the most important tone contributor............
    COLOR OF TOLEX- 99%
     
  10. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Player: 55%

    Amp: 25%

    Guitar: 20%

    Breaking down the amp:

    Circuit: 70% Tubes: 30%

    Breaking down the guitar:

    Wood: 50% Pickups/circuit: 25% Strings: 25%
     
  11. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    The player is physical - and not just the hands. The player's hearing is important.
     
  12. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    The player is important, and agreed, most important of all. And yes, attitude, intonation, technique , all play into tone, but even though you recognize a player regardless of the gear he's using, doesn't mean that that player can make a single coil sound like a humbucker. And the players you are all talking about, with the hands you're talking about will notice this difference, and most likely dial his gear in to get HIS sound. It's not like the magical player with the magic hands can plug a stock strat into a twin, put everything but the bass on 10 and sound like he normally does(unless that's the way he normally dials it in.) Gear makes a huge difference in tone, or we'd all still be playing the same type of amp/pedal/guitar, and not talking about it here.

    1) Guitar non-electronics............( 9%)
    2) Guitar electronics..................(35%)
    3) Amp chassis (design/circuitry).(25%)
    4) Amp tubes............................( 6%)
    5) Speakers..............................(25%)

    To me, Marshalls don't sound like Fenders which don't sound like Vox which don't soiund like Boogie Dual Rectifiers. Different. Not better, not worse, just different. No matter how hard one might try to dial them in that way, there will be differences. Sometimes less than subtle. I used to think it was all in output tubes. Played around with different stuff IN THE SAME ROOM AT THE SAME TIME to figure out that's just plain not true.

    I'd say speakers are very significant. I have cab switching amps, and switching cabs makes it sound like it's almost a different amp entirely.

    The one thing I just cannot get out of my head is the difference between single coils and humbuckers.

    Try playing the intro to Free Ride (Edgar Winter) with a real single coil guuitar. (Meaning single coil, bridge/middle, bolt on neck) Now try doing the same with humbuckers. Tapped or otherwise. No amp, no speaker, no wood, no tube AND NO PLAYER can compensate for that difference. I sat there playing it on a PRS going why can't I get this to sound like that? Picked up my strat and figured out why.
     
  13. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    Yes... but try and think of it as "if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound" kind of thing. I'm not debating the FACT that different players can and do get different sounds from the same gear. I'm asking, from a purely gear perspective, which part of that gear is responsible for ANY SOUND... good or bad... that is produced by said gear and by what percentage. Think of it as a scientific inquiry into the way an electric guitar works... not how much can a player influence what an electric guitar sounds like. That is a completely different question... on a completely different level. You may feel that asking this question the way I am is irrelevent to the way you think about this topic... and that very well may be. The reason I'm curious what people think is that I've been getting back into playing (after many years of not) and spending money on equipment... and I'm wondering, in a round about way, where putting money into equipment will have the most dramatic effect... and all of this aside from the playing part. I know practice and lessons and learning are all part of being a good player. My question is... where should said player put his money to produce the most fun for the buck. Get it...?
     

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