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Do You Change Your Tone for LIVE Playing?

robbph37

Member
Messages
291
I am just curious. We discuss lots of stuff on here so I hope this is OK. I play a lot during the week trying to keep what chops I have up and hopefully add something new. Youtube is addictive for me as I learn more new stuff than I can incorporate into my playing. Anyway I know what type of tone that I want for me. I strive for a thick,chunky tone that has as much clarity as possible. I can not stand loose, fizzy low freq. I can dial this in with my rig at home and jam for hours feeling that my tone could not be any better. The problem is when I get to a live situation I feel that my tone is forced to become very bright for any solo spots. I hear the term ice picky on here a lot and I know what you guys are saying. However in our group if I dont dial in more of an ice picky tone I can't hear most of my notes during a solo. I have a boost so it is not a vloume problem. We are a Christian Rock Band with an 80's, 90's style if that helps. There has been much discussion on TGP about famous players and bad tone. One of the top complaints is thin, ice pick tone. I am with you as well and have noticed this. Maybe these guys figured out a long time ago that they needed more of an ICE Pick sound to cut through the mix. I know some players take it to the extreme (Paul Gilbert) I love his playing but when he teaches with no other music his tone is super thin and piercing. I like Vinnie Moore but his tone is awfull when teaching or away from a live performance. Anyway for me if I can't hear the notes of my solo and know what I am playing then whats the point? Fortunately for me with the Egnater M4 I can switch back to my Vox mod for a warmer sound when the solo is done.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,810
i like the same tone all the time. But i may tweak the amp differently from room to room to make it work for me in that particular place. I think what you mentioned about having to adjust for more brightness to cut thru and then the tone becomes ice picky is the symptom of an amp that isn't very consistent from one room to the next. And i've always found thats the case mostly with fenders or fender style amps because of thier lack of mids. The mids are what give you a consistent sound from room to room because they aren't affected by room acoustics and band mix nearly as much as bass and treble are. So look at it from this point of view....if your amp is mostly highs and bass like fenders generally are, in a room that eats treble frequencies you tone is going to be mostly lows and will sound muddy. in a room that eats lows your tone will be tinny. But with an amp that had full thick mids like a marshall, the body of the tone is always there leaving a useable tone even when the room is acoustically horrible of the band is loud and big. thats what led me to use marshalls to begin with. i started with fenders and fender style amps and always had the problems you and i described. But once i started using marshalls i literally had those issues 95% less. Almost never.
 

Bluesbuff

Member
Messages
546
Band dynamics are critical for solos to cut through without resorting to excess treble. The non soloing players have to dial back a little just like during softer vocal sections so the soloist can be heard clearly without increasing the overall volume very much. Just boosting the guitar can lead to more noise and make it even harder to hear clearly.
 

3 Mile Stone

Member
Messages
5,935
I made vertually no adjustments last weekend to my MOD 50. I do use various boosting for solos. Fulltone Fat Boost and xotic BB. It helps.

What module are you using for solos?
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Messages
13,764
I often find that a tone I like at home get's lost in the mix when you combine it with bass, drums, piano, keyboards, accoustic guitar and vocals. Personally I don't find it's highs that let me cut through the mix as much as mids. There's a reason the Tubesreamer is so popular.
 

somedude

Member
Messages
7,603
The mids are what give you a consistent sound from room to room because they aren't affected by room acoustics and band mix nearly as much as bass and treble are....
Wow. I just learned something new. I never thought of it like that before (I use mid heavy amps), but it makes total sense.

For the OP... yes, I change my tone for live playing. Typically I dial back the bass and I'll add a touch more presense to my tone.

Band dynamics are critical for solos to cut through without resorting to excess treble. The non soloing players have to dial back a little just like during softer vocal sections so the soloist can be heard clearly without increasing the overall volume very much. Just boosting the guitar can lead to more noise and make it even harder to hear clearly.
+1.

I also play drums, and during solos I back off the intensity and the cymbols to give more space to the guitar. Further, if you know your guitarist you can use your intensity to help build the solo to it's climax.

Also, the Fulltone Fulldrive 2 is outstanding for live use. At home I hate the damn thing... so bright (in the upper mids) and thin sounding... yet live it cuts through like a knife with plenty of clarity.
 

bluegrif

Member
Messages
4,938
I use a fairly wide variety of tones both live and in the studio. But live, I do tend to use a bit more gain. Not that I'm a high gain player at all. In fact, other guitarists who are intelligent and knowledgeable hear my live tone as being mostly clean but with an edge. The sustain coming mostly from technique. As far as frequency range goes (bias towards mids, treble or whatever) that doesn't really change much from live to studio. Although in the studio it does get modified in the mix to sit best with the other tracks of course.
 




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