Do we worry too much about tone suck when it comes to pedals?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by guitarrhinoceros, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    I play loud. I play with a lot of pedals. I noticed some tone suck, but honestly nothing that I would ever constitute as being major suckage. How about you? I used 9 pedals -- inside and outside the chain.
     
  2. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus Member

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    Well that isn't very punk, is it?
    I think it's really up to the listener. If you hear more tone suck than you deem to be acceptable, then it's a problem. If you notice some, but not enough to provoke you to action, it isn't much of a problem at all. I prescribe to the latter group; I have a bunch of tone sucking Boss pedals, but I'm too cheap/lazy to get a true bypass looping system and it's not that bad.

    It's all in the eyes of the user, and I think it's unfair to judge anyone else on whether or not they care about tone suck.
     
  3. cubistguitar

    cubistguitar Member

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    I like to weed out any suckers if i can. But a little suck is inevitable, it hasn't stopped me a bit from getting a great guitar sound.
     
  4. saultime

    saultime Member

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    Yes.

    It's something worth being aware of, but if you look at 99% of pro setups, it's obvious that they don't worry about tone suck a fraction as much as most of us do.
     
  5. rootbeersoup

    rootbeersoup Member

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    Once I realized how much cable and non-"true bypass" or buffered bypass pedals that Hendrix was using at Woodstock, I stopped caring completely.
     
  6. AXXA

    AXXA Supporting Member

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    I don't worry about tone suck at all, but I have before. My board has 12 pedals, including Boss pedals and a volume pedal. I hear absolutely no difference between playing straight in and through my board. I'm sure some here could hear a difference, I guess everyone's ears are different. I'm just glad I like my sound. I enjoy plugging straight into my amp, but more for psychological reasons really.

    I don't worry about having buffers either, because I always have at least one pedal on. That's why I use a pedalboard, I like using pedals. ;)

    I used to have a fear of Boss pedals in particular, I thought buffers were 'bad'. And of course the dreaded volume pedal tone suck.... The way I see it, if its useful to you, use it. I'm still a bit weary of hard wire bypass, maybe I'll get over that eventually.
     
  7. aporcelainsky

    aporcelainsky Member

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    +1 :red
     
  8. vintage66

    vintage66 Member

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    I was watching a Joe Bonamassa pedalboard demonstration and he said he actually likes the tone suckage of his Vox wah and how it kills some of the highs. Something to ponder. It does change the sound a little, but some of the best sounds ever produced are from the '70's and true bypass probably wasn't invented yet. Of course not many people had 12 pedals on a pedalboard then either, so it has it's place. I have 2 or three non-true bypass pedals on my board, but I wouldn't want 10 of them.
     
  9. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    I used to care more, but at the moment I'm (A) really busy with work and (B) really poor. So my board just keeps on going, week after week.
     
  10. Calaban

    Calaban Member

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    I used to go straight through 6 or 7 pedal with probably 40 feet of cable (maybe more) and there was a noticeable decrease in high end content. When I got my Musicomlab EFX MKII the problem went away and now I love my sound (most of the time).

    I love hi-fi sonics.
     
  11. josh_w

    josh_w Member

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    What if the "tone suck" effect is an intentional part of someone's tone? I met a guy once who toured with some pretty huge names using Hosa patch cables between his stomp boxes. He said he actually preferred them to the higher fidelity cables because of the way they dampened the high end a bit.
     
  12. UncleLarry

    UncleLarry Member

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    Folks only worry about tone suck because someone talked about it on a message board in the early '90s. I was there.

    I don't think Hendrix, Clapton, or Page even knew what it was.
     
  13. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    Yeah, I'm really glad there are some other like-minded individuals out there. It is a relief!
     
  14. AXXA

    AXXA Supporting Member

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    Exactly, and someone read that message board and told me as an impressionable young guitarist that Boss pedals sucked tone.... I never even gave them a chance until last year. And big surprise, they sound just fine!

    BTW, I'll also add to this discussion that I favor mid range over treble and bass frequencies. 'Tone suck' really refers to treble attenuation, so I'm not likely to be as sensitive to it as those who love tons of treble. Its quite possible that I perceive 'tone suck' as stronger mids, so who knows... I hear no difference at all with my giant board plugged in and bypassed though.
     
  15. WhoJamFan

    WhoJamFan Supporting Member

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    Tone suck is a big buzzword that really only applies to a few pedals. Most pedals and cables will only take off a little of the high end, which you can recover in the amplifier by turning the treble up a hair. If you are just a bedroom/livingroom warrior, this is really more of an issue than the person playing live. When you play live you're competing with the cymbals for highs, and the rest of the gear for everything else. So, turning the treble up a hair just fixed your "suck" problem, and turning up the volume to be heard in the mix fixes up your tone and feel.

    If you play an overly bright guitar, than this can be a good thing. Jimi used those coiled cables because the capcitance of them took the shrill out of running a strat into a Marshall. There is a big article on that in Bill Lawrences website.

    It's nice these days that replacing a footswitch for true bypass is simple on a lot of non Boss pedals, but the inexpensive loop pedals will allow you to take those monster offenders right out of the loop until you wish to use them.
     
  16. KevinFinn

    KevinFinn Member

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    It's not really that simple. WHERE frequency comes from in a signal path is of equal importance to whether it's there or not. High end from the guitar means a lot toward chime and clarity and attack and spank and sparkle and snap... that is not replicated by simply upping the ante for the treble on the amp end of things.

    That said, the overall point is solid. It just depends on the person. Some people owe their sound to tone suck "focusing" it to a degree.
     
  17. gear007

    gear007 Member

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    I play acoustic with an undersaddle pickup. There is plenty of high frequency present that must be eq'd out. Losing some of that frequency is welcome with buffered pedals.
     
  18. gear007

    gear007 Member

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    ^great point!
     
  19. p.j.

    p.j. Member

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    Quoth Nels Cline: "My sound is degradation."

    PJ
     
  20. zztomato

    zztomato Supporting Member

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    Tone suck bugs me. Where it shows up most though is at home playing at low levels by myself. That's why so many obsess over it, because the vast majority here are hobby players with real jobs that can fund their hobby.
    I'm kinda both. I've played as a pro for a long time but now have another profession. My ears are good and I notice all the shortcomings of my rig because I play it a lot at home. I can tell you though, when I do play out, it sounds awesome. Ultimately though perspective is important; it's the way a person plays that gets noticed first.
     

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