clean tone chops vs. high gain chops

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by coxswain, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. coxswain

    coxswain Member

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    Alrighty,

    So I was just playing with my EBMM Silhouette through my Egnater Tourmaster and Boogie 1x12 cab with a touch of reverb and a Xotic BB preamp for a slight pushed clean sound. As I was playing I relized that my clean playing is FARRRR superior to my high gain/distorted playing. I came to thinking, "man, the majority of the compliments I ever get with my playing is when I'm playing through a clean channal or an acoustic guitar".

    I start thinking, "Maybee I should just give up high gain playing all together and focus just on the jazz/bluesy side of my playing." I guess this development of the clean chops could have been to do the fact that I played acoustic guitar and acoustic guitar only through my time at college. Thing is I've always loved hard rock, metal, and all sorts of high gain tones.

    I don't know, have any of you guys had similer thoughts on your playing?

    Chase
     
  2. digital jams

    digital jams Member

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    During exercises I play clean with maybe just a splash of verb to ensure that I am nailing each note, IMO playing cleaner clean is far tougher.

    I do not subscribe that gain hides faults though, anyone with an ear can tell flubbed notes.

    Yngwie learned playing clean so I cant be too wrong.
     
  3. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    I think the less short cuts you have in practice (distortion, delay, reverb, forgiving amps, etc) the better your chops will be. Of course, there is more to playing than just chops, such as bonding with your gear, but if we are just talking about chop building, I think practicing on a acoustic guitar where you have no helpers adds a lot of technique when translating to electric.
     
  4. coxswain

    coxswain Member

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    It seems like my time on acoustic guitar has actually made my high gain electric playing worse. When I get on the acoustic I feel at home. My runs are clear and I feel like I have a better overall controll of the instrument. I'm thinking maybee it has to do with the way I'm able to mute the strings on the acoustic. I also tend to play better on arch top guitars with thicker strings.

    Chase
     
  5. IPlayHamers

    IPlayHamers Member

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    Clean practicing is very important. I usual try to do some speed exercises clean or with my acoustic. It really helps when playing with overdrive/distortion.
     
  6. The Captain

    The Captain Member

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    It's all swings and roundabouts.
    Distortion is a helper for sustain etc, but you also have to be more meticulous with muting etc.
    I find if I play a lot of one style, another style suffers a bit from the style difference.
     
  7. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    They both require different abilities. Although, I think playing w/ a clean tone is harder to do well overall. And I have always practised w/out an amplifier. But playing an acoustic guitar is very different from playing clean on electric. Think of it as playing acoustic piano vs. Hammond organ.
     
  8. coxswain

    coxswain Member

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    Yea, I thing the way I'm muting on the electric is where I'm going wrong. I also think I need to be digging a little harder.
     
  9. coxswain

    coxswain Member

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    Or maybee I'm digging the clean playing because it offers me more options to carry the melody. For example when soloing with a clean sound I can maybee do a mixolydian run followed by some chordal melody work. With the gain sound I feel limited...like I"m fighting the instrument. But I love high gain sounds and high gain playing....Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert, Brett Garsed, Al Di Meola etc.
     
  10. The Captain

    The Captain Member

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    MAybe you are more versed in clean style playing, esp if you focussed on acoustic while at formal school.
    It may also be about what peple like to hear.
    High gain guitar coming raw from an amp is a far cry from the processed, compressed, tamed, mixed down stuff coming from a pop music recording, so your audience may be overwhelmed by that, as opposed to clean stuff which comes across as more civilised.
    I know I love cranking high gain stuff when I am jamming to CD's, but anyone in the room with me would need to be deaf or dead to be having as much fun as me.
    High gain stuff is like a souped up hot rod, clean is more like a cruise in a limo.
     
  11. TRW

    TRW Member

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    I sound better clean than I do with OD. OD doesn't hide my clams at all...

    Must work on better string muting. Clean playing I love - thats how I play 80% of the time.

    -T
     
  12. Unabender

    Unabender Member

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    I tend to use more a lot more force when playing with acoustic. It definetely changes things.
     
  13. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

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    There is definitely a technique and art to all styles in this case clean and distortion.

    In my earlier years of playing, I was really into harder styles of rock. So naturally the majority of my playing/practicing was based on hard rock. At the time I really didn't care for "cleaner" tones at the time.

    As I matured, my tastes did as well. I started liking older and more traditional rock and other genres as well including Country, Blues, Jazz, Christian rock and P&W. I really started to appreciate "cleaner" tones in general.

    Today, I really have just naturally grown away from playing the modern and more aggressive rock but I still like it. I even sold off all my higher gain stuff. I recently got the bug to get into a modern hard rock thing again and when I was demo'ing new high gain amps, I noticed that I don't have the chops that I used to when playing with high gain. Another words its a little rough and I need some practice. I got so used to playing clean or lighter OD stuff that I even forgot all the cool harder riffs I had. I felt a little embarrassed but I guess I have some chops to work on now.
     
  14. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    If you can play clean, you should be able to play dirty in no time. I play clean 90% of the time, and the only thing I notice is that some lines just sound BETTER clean that overdriven. (And vice versa) With overdrive, you have to adjust your phrasing a little bit because of all of the sustain. WAY WAY easier to play with overdrive though. You dont have to be nearly as clean or accurate. You just touch the string at the note pops out. The bad thing is that dynamics prettyy much go out the window, so all of your little picking nuances are gone for the most part. Playing with the least amount of overdrive you can get away with helps a LOT in that area.
     
  15. Dave L

    Dave L Member

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    My playing changes with changes in tone. I use a completely different set of chops when playing clean/semi-dirty than with high gain tones, and I noticed this when we were recording a few years back. It´s not that I´m incapable of doing roughly the same stuff with a clean tone as with more gain, but I definitely tend to gravitate toward a very different approach.
     
  16. coxswain

    coxswain Member

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    This is very true. I'm probably so used to my clean styled approach (from the acoustic) that it isn't translating well to my high gain playing. I think its time to woodshed the high gain playing again.
     
  17. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    I used to think high gain would make playing easier untill I played a boosted VHT ultralead. I couldn't controll it for love nor money.:puh I'll stick with boosted marshall type tone as it's easier for me to deal with.
     
  18. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    It's important to do both well. When playing clean it's probably easier for the people to hear the tones which is why you get the compliments.
     
  19. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    I think you need the chops for both if you do both. Clean, there's nowhere to hide. But high gain, can sound sloppy if you're not super tight. Some might say the gain hides the slop, but I think it emphasizes it as much as clean, just perhaps you don't notice it as much, but I think if sloppy, it all sort of runs together.
     
  20. John Thigpen

    John Thigpen Member

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    I agree that practicing clean is important, as too much distortion can cover up your mistakes, but I also think you need to know how to control the tones you use. It can be very difficult to control your dynamics if you use high gain, so I think practicing both ways can be beneficial.

    John
     

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