“Chasing Tone”...anyone else not get it?

Magnets And Melodies

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,354
Tom Morello chased tone for years before just leaving his settings where they were permanently and learned to play with the sound he had. It became the sound of Rage Against the Machine. I'd say it worked out pretty well.


Cut to 0:17s

Yeah.... totally in the fingers.

Tom Morello would not sound anything like he does without his pedals. Take away the Whammy and you already lost his signature tone. He's really a good example of how the gear does/can define your sound. In fact he's a really great example of a tone chaser who found his tone.

Now to all the "but it's all in your fingers", "It doesn't matter what gear you play through if your a good player" people out there..... Go try doing what Tom does with a Tele into a DRRI with no pedals.
 
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smallbutmighty

I do my own stunts.
Messages
11,242
There are a million different kinds of people in the world, and just as many different approaches to everything. I'm not going to throw shade at anybody who approaches things in a way that doesn't make sense to me. In fact, I have learned a lot from those people.

I play in a bunch of tribute bands. You would think copying those tones would be a big deal to me, but it's really not...except one. Scorpions tribute? Meh...a generic Marshall is fine. Bon Jovi tribute? Meh...a Marshall. AC/DC tribute? Marshall-type-thing is fine.

Boston tribute? I had to pay a little more attention to recreating that guitar sound, and the tone-chasing people here and on YouTube saved me a lot of time.
 

Baba

Silver Supporting Member
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7,817
If you practice enough the tone will start chasing you.
:rockin


30dugl.jpg
 

macatt

Member
Messages
1,414
Chasing Tone is about sounding the most like yourself. This is more a matter of eliminating things that get in the way of sounding like you. Or adding things that make up for deficiencies in what you have (like adding an ep booster as an always on tone shaper). Sometimes you add, sometimes you take away.Chas Sometimes you have to make compromises based on things you have to do vs things you want to do. It all amounts to the sound in your head coming out to the audience in a way that sounds and feels the way you intended.

^This^
Says it perfectly.
I'm known locally for having a unique and always recognizable style and sound but I'm often forced to make adjustments depending on the limitations I'm having to deal with in different environments.
It may be because of volume constraints or a poor acoustic space or other players playing unbalanced etc.

[Laservampire] said in a post above:
"The tone isn’t in the fingers or the gear though, it’s both. Every little thing from your pick attack your choice of strings or how your guitar is set up makes a difference to the sound being produced."

I'll add;
It's several things; your technique, your musical imagination, feeling, passion as well as being able to manipulate and have excellent control over your gear.

S Mac
 
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macatt

Member
Messages
1,414
If you practice enough the tone will start chasing you.
:rockin

Ha,
The best player in my area is an amazing older jazz cat who can technically play circles around me (and I've been at it for 56 years). But he has the worst tone. It's as if only notes matter to him and he completely disregards tone or timbre.
I find that very strange.

S Mac
 

macatt

Member
Messages
1,414
Well, don’t Lord it over your kid... you’ll give them a complex!



Try a violin sometime.

Once you can do that, you’ll find a guitar one day that likes your music better than the one you bought. Then the chuckleheads will call you a corksniffer, and tell you to go practice...

It’s a little game guitar players seem to like. Personally, I find it rather boring.

dc

I tried a violin once for about two months and came to the conclusion that they are impossible to play. I'm sure of it. :)

S Mac
 
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JosephZ

Member
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4,075
Ha,
The best player in my area is an amazing older jazz cat who can technically play circles around me (and I've been at it for 56 years). But he has the worst tone. It's as if only notes matter to him and he completely disregards tone or timbre.
I find that very strange.

S Mac

Can he really play circles around you then???

I think we tend to overly glorify the technical aspect of playing too much. I’m not saying it’s not important but I just don’t see it as the end all be all of playing guitar as the end goal is really to create music from the instrument, and a big part of that is good tone imo....however I find when certain players get too obsessed with the mathematics of music, it can make them heard to listen to regardless of tone or how good their chops are but that’s a bit of a tangent I went off on and another subject entirely lol.
 

macatt

Member
Messages
1,414
Can he really play circles around you then???

I think we tend to overly glorify the technical aspect of playing too much. I’m not saying it’s not important but I just don’t see it as the end all be all of playing guitar as the end goal is really to create music from the instrument, and a big part of that is good tone imo....however I find when certain players get too obsessed with the mathematics of music, it can make them heard to listen to regardless of tone or how good their chops are but that’s a bit of a tangent I went off on and another subject entirely lol.

I'm aware of that and I agree with you. I have the ability to really move people, but I still would like to have his kind of knowledge. More tools to work with is always good.

S Mac
 

DC1

Member
Messages
15,413
I'm aware of that and I agree with you. I have the ability to really move people, but I still would like to have his kind of knowledge. More tools to work with is always good.

S Mac

Ever notice that guitar culture always tries to move us to our level of incompetence? And keep us there?

If you do this well, then you had better learn to do that, after all, my friend the local hotshot does that, and you don’t want to be not-as-good as him, or you won’t deserve your success! Right?

Do we actually believe that?

Think of a big hit. Say Proud Mary. Is that hard to play? No, it’s very easy to play. Let’s say you play it really well, and just wrote your own song in the same sort of genre. Guitar-culture will criticize you because (insert hotshot player) plays fusion/prog/etc and is a “better player than you”.

So, you have two choices:

1. Go play your simple song all over the world to screaming fans, make a great living, and die knowing that in 200 years they’ll still be singing that song.

Or.

2. Work on your fusion chops until you die, alone and unknown, finally having gotten somewhere about 1/4 as good as Al Di Meola or some other hot player, but your 2.5 friends in guitar-culture land adore you and post your videos here on TGP playing fusion to 12 people in a bar who are not listening.

Which would you rather do? You get to choose. That’s the beauty of the arts. You get to follow YOUR muse. Not Al’s, not Vai’s, not Steve Morse, not anyone else. BTW, I’ve hung with Steve Morse. He doesn’t care how hot your are, he cares about your originals. Really.

Don’t let guitar-culture keep you in a place of incompetence. USE what you do well, and sound the best you can. That’s my solution.

dc
 

No_Stairway

Member
Messages
4,277
Whether you're trying to sound like player X or not I would say most of us are chasing a tone or at the very least tone-courious. Don't get me wrong there are some cats out there playing the same es-335 into a fender for the last 35 years and hsppy with that and man have they probably saved some serious money but I find that boring.

I'm not after trying to sound like anyone but I do hear sounds I dig, like I know from hearing several different players play a Les Paul I need to have a LP, it's not to sound like anyonebut to sound like a LP. Always chaising tonenwith OD pedals but again not to sound like someone but to try ton ind a new tone I like.
 
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Bussman

Member
Messages
2,811
Tone is in the brain. I think intent trumps gear more often than not when it comes to tone. IOW it's not so much what you use but how you use it.
 

scottosan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
666
Im on the opposite end. Who cares the frets, neck profile and weight. Just play it like it was rented
 

C-4

Member
Messages
15,264
After reading this thread, I have come to the conclusion that even if some of us are chasing another's tone, we can only approximate it as we all hear differently. So, what I hear as being "X" tone is not necessarily going to be what anyone else hears exactly as "X" tone.

There are too many things that are going to be different right down to the valves, and the time on them they currently have, since being first put into an amp, the speakers, cables, strings instrument, everything. This is even if we are using the same exact brand and type of each part. It's like guitars, in that even identical models are not going to sound "exactly" alike.

So this must mean that we can get close, but maybe just not be able to get totally there for the tone some players are chasing.

In this case, is "close" good enough? Or is it that "close" only counts for hand grenades, and atom bombs?
 

qblue

Member
Messages
1,052
I don't 'chase' tone as I have my own setup, amp and guitars.


However, I did get a Soul Driven overdrive (by Xotic) which has REALLY enhanced my chosen tones on all my guitars.
 

305thODST

Member
Messages
231


Cut to 0:17s

Yeah.... totally in the fingers.

Tom Morello would not sound anything like he does without his pedals. Take away the Whammy and you already lost his signature tone. He's really a good example of how the gear does/can define your sound. In fact he's a really great example of a tone chaser who found his tone.

Now to all the "but it's all in your fingers", "It doesn't matter what gear you play through if your a good player" people out there..... Go try doing what Tom does with a Tele into a DRRI with no pedals.

I double-checked my original post just to make sure but I never said anything about anything being "in the fingers" or that his tone came from a magical place and not his gear. The point I was making was that he stopped swapping out gear and changing settings to find tone he liked. He just left everything where it was at. In addition, adding effects doesn't always effect one's tone. It just does what it is and produces an effect.
 

lperry65

Member
Messages
17
I think context makes a difference too, if your in a tribute or covers band then your going to look to sound like the song/band your covering. And if I’m jamming to one of my favourite tracks I’m going to dial in a tone that works for the track etc. As for “Sounding like me” it’s all been done, I play the music that inspired me to play guitar in the first place, the rest is practice and enjoying your music !
 
Messages
1,550
Only tone I've ever chased is my own. It has to come out of the guitar acoustically before anything else good can happen. Strings need to ring clearly, play in all positions cleanly, bends have to go as far as you want without dying out on vintage Fender radius.
 

Gclef

Member
Messages
4,913
Fine. I’ll be that guy. I’ve just never cared about copping Player X’s tone from Album Y or whatever. Furthermore, I often can’t tell the difference between multiple options of the same guitars. Im far more likely to notice the difference in neck size/shape/frets between three Strats than I am to notice much in the way of tonal difference. “I dunno-sounds like me playing a Strat.”

I’m just trying to be the best “me” on the guitar as possible, and I find that the guitar/pedal/amp combo is a much smaller part of that “me” than the actual me (practice, playing style, etc).

Having said that, I do love gear, but it’s probably no surprise that while I’ve got nice guitars, none of them are duplicates (a Strat, a Tele, a Strattish thing with P-90s, and three dual humbucker guitars- one solid, one semi hollow, and one full hollow). It’s also probably no surprise that both of my amps are simple volume/tone affairs, and I don’t twiddle many knobs there or on my pedalboard.

I mean, I get the difference between different sounds, so if I’m playing along to late-period Zep, for example, I’m going to grab the solid humbucker guitar, and play it through my more Marshall-flavored amp. Not the 6V6 fender-y one. That’s about as far as I go, though. I’m certainly in the ballpark, but the idea of obsessing over mids, lows, highs, whether haunting or not is just...well, it does nothing for me.

Am I a heretic for posting this? The idea of “dialing in” a specific tone from some record is just...I’m more likely to go golfing.

There. I said it. “Tone” is overrated.
Get outta my head!! I could not have said this any better.

I will add that I don't get the artist obsession thing.

For example: get a bonnamassa guitar, then swap in the bonnamassa pickups, then ge the amp, etc.
We will never sound like them, even through the same gear, so why bother?
 

seward

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,879
On one hand, I get it. On the other hand, when I used to do it (when I was younger), part of the fun was figuring out the pedals and such on my own - or not even bothering, and just using what you have to get what you want. I can get a Fripp sound from a DS-1, a Strat and a Gorilla 20-watt. I prefer to get it from my Gibson LP Studio, through something like a Bogner Red, into my Gries 5...but I had some good times with that Gorilla.
 




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