• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

"Dude, where's the originality? Stop the fanboyism."

mathiassiv

Member
Messages
284
"Dude, where's the originality? Stop the fanboyism."

Got this thrown in my face at a forum a few days ago. I've been thinking about it a bit. It came up on a thread where I asked if I should pull the trigger on a Two-Rock Studio Pro 35 or a John Mayer signature CLONE built by a friend of mine. Since I am a big John Mayer fan (and have been since '04), I am looking for the tone he had during the Continuum era. He told me to stop being a fanboy, and look for something else. I have seen this several places, including here on TGP. "Be original". "Do your own thing". "Get your own tone".

What does this guy really mean?

I mean, since I am hunting that particular tone, why should I take the detour and try/buy a lot of gear and go "meeeeh, this is not IT"? I know I will end up selling all the stuff that I don't like a 100%...

Any opinions?
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,480
Sometimes truly being yourself means getting what you really want despite the other dude's judgments/disapproval.
 

hudpucker

Member
Messages
6,454
If it provides what you're looking for, get it.

BUT....if you're going to play Mayer licks and songs through that amp while playing a Mayer sig strat then...yeah, you might just be a fanboi.

Keep in mind though that many great players started out as fanboys before finding their own styles/voices.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,927
If you had the exact rig from the tone you seek you'd still have your own tone unless you are aping the players style. Too many these days think getting the gear is all there is to a particular players tone.
 

tommyg

Member
Messages
1,545
Your at TGP!!!

I wouldn't be surprised if the person who told you that was a Robben Ford/Larry Carlton tone fanboy who has a roomful of Dumble clones.

:hide
 

darkstriker

Member
Messages
251
I think you can get whatever you want, really. The trick is to want that gear because it works towards giving you the sound you want to get from it. If it's similar to John Mayer's that's fine. It's just less cool if the only reason is "because John Mayer uses this one".
 

hobbyplayer

Member
Messages
1,543
Keep in mind though that many great players started out as fanboys before finding their own styles/voices.


True for many performers.

From Conan O'Brien's 2011 Dartmouth commencement address:

One's dream is constantly evolving, rising and falling, changing course. This happens in every job, but because I have worked in comedy for twenty-five years, I can probably speak best about my own profession.

Way back in the 1940s there was a very, very funny man named Jack Benny. He was a giant star, easily one of the greatest comedians of his generation. And a much younger man named Johnny Carson wanted very much to be Jack Benny. In some ways he was, but in many ways he wasn't. He emulated Jack Benny, but his own quirks and mannerisms, along with a changing medium, pulled him in a different direction. And yet his failure to completely become his hero made him the funniest person of his generation.

David Letterman wanted to be Johnny Carson, and was not, and as a result my generation of comedians wanted to be David Letterman. And none of us are. My peers and I have all missed that mark in a thousand different ways. But the point is this : It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It's not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention."
 

kidmo

Senior Member
Messages
1,149
The real issue here is why are you letting someone on teh interweb annoy you? That will be $.25 please.
 

JWDubois

Member
Messages
8,070
On one hand I agree with him, find your own voice.

On the other hand, I found my current sound by spending the last twenty years trying to sound like Eric Johnson. I don't sound like EJ, but I wouldn't sound like I do if I hadn't been trying to.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
20,330
I'm not judging one way or the other, and if you WANT that tone, go for it.

The thing that might be good to keep in mind, it's quieted down quite a bit now, but for many years here on TGP and elsewhere folks were clamoring to get the elusive "SRV tone". Even though he played with more than one tone/voicing, and it was a slippery slope, we all knew kind of what the goal was...THAT sound.

So people went on all kinds of quests, and...many just continued on buying more, trading it back when it didn't get it, etc.

Some people, to MY ears pretty much nailed it but still didn't feel like it was "close enough". So the continued on their quest, never satisfied. And that is where I kind of dislike "quests for tone" because when it leads to obsession, it actually diminishes your playing, more hung up on the sound than the chops (and a LOT of the sound has to do with how you play, left hand vibrato, how hard picking, what phrases, etc. but say you have that all down) and it's a distraction.

People also have faulty tone memory, so as I say, even if they pretty much nail it are still in "find that tone" mode and ONLY hear what they percieve as the differences. So they never arrive...they never get there, even though to others they have. So they aren't happy.

I think the best is to have a balanced idea. "I'd like to get a tone similar to that one", but also at the same time, actually listen to what tone your rig is sending out (not always comparing it with the ideal in your head) and start making adjustments not to get to nirvana tone, but to improve what you hear the rig is giving you. It might end up with a tone that is still similar, but different, and the best your rig can give you.

I liked hobbyplayer's post, quoting Conan on originality, and it is totally true. Similarly, someone that say stuck to the plan of being Jack Benny, and never deviated wouldn't have gotten far. It's cool to use inspiration, and yup...STEAL licks, sounds, phrases, etc. but then the next step is make them your own. With regards to tone, that would apply too. Because it is a good deal in how you play, but also the equipment, it's best as a start point (and not obsessive) and then see where it leads.

Say you get a tone similar to what you are after, but you find out if you adjust the amps bass up and mid down, it is less like that tone you sought, but actually is REALLY cool...that is where you should follow even if it leads away from the original goal. There might be something even better there!

Balance...not obsession seems to me the way to go.
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
What does this guy really mean?
I'd assume he means don't try to copy your way to originality. But that said, that doesn't mean he's right. It's, like, his opinion, man. Lots of people have copied their way to being original - hell, I think perhaps everyone does that along their progression (and yes, I include the greats in that). However, there does come a certain age and a certain skill level, I think, when it's frowned upon to try to totally cop someone else's style.

  • 14 year old kid who has been playing for 2 years? Totally awesome that he's completely trying to "be" SRV
  • 24 year old man who has been playing for 10 years? It's disappointing when you hear him totally trying to "be" someone else
  • 44 year old man who has been playing for 2 years? Totally awesome that he's completely trying to "be" SRV
  • 44 year old man who has been playing for 20 years? It's downright sad to watch him play SRV's solos note for note on an SRV strat through a Vlux while playing with a hat containing a feather in it.
 

doctorx

Member
Messages
4,481
I don't like John Mayer in the least, but if you want to buy gear in search of his tone go ahead. All of us have bought particular guitars and gear because we like the rockstars that play them. It doesn't mean you are going to be a JM clone.

I play a strat because I like Hendrix, Trower, Blackmore, and Gilmour. My technique and tone aren't anything like that of any of those guys.

Don't let the post of some anonymous internet twerp bother you.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,480
I know people who will change their restaurant orders if the persons before them order what they really want first. Tear down the walls, m-f.
 

Matt L

Member
Messages
11,567
I'd assume he means don't try to copy your way to originality. But that said, that doesn't mean he's right. It's, like, his opinion, man. Lots of people have copied their way to being original - hell, I think perhaps everyone does that along their progression (and yes, I include the greats in that). However, there does come a certain age and a certain skill level, I think, when it's frowned upon to try to totally cop someone else's style.

  • 14 year old kid who has been playing for 2 years? Totally awesome that he's completely trying to "be" SRV
  • 24 year old man who has been playing for 10 years? It's disappointing when you hear him totally trying to "be" someone else
  • 44 year old man who has been playing for 2 years? Totally awesome that he's completely trying to "be" SRV
  • 44 year old man who has been playing for 20 years? It's downright sad to watch him play SRV's solos note for note on an SRV strat through a Vlux while playing with a hat containing a feather in it.

Sad to you, but if those people have no other goal than to play as close to their hero as possible, and that's what brings them joy, then I say go for it. There are millions of people who play guitar. Most of them are not pros, just hobbyists. They have no desire to be on stage, or have a lifelong pursuit of musical expansion and growth. They just want to make the sounds that they love hearing. If that means learning every nuance of SRV's playing, then so be it. Is he a "true" musician? Maybe not, but who cares?
 

katydid

Senior Member
Messages
2,387
Interesting thread, particularly the Conan quote.

You could look at this two ways.

First, even if you have his exact rig---and hell, go a step further...even if you have his rig, grew up in the same house, went to the same school, studied with the same teachers, listened to the same music, ate the same food, etc, etc---you're still going to sound like you and not like JM.

So in trying and failing to be JM, you actually define your own sound.

British musicians did this with Black American music, and the result was what we now call Rock and Roll.

The second way to look at it is that, acknowledging that you'll never be JM, just try to find your own sound. Maybe use JM as a reference, but don't try to copy his style or tone.

Anyway, I think that even guys who start out trying to copy their heroes end up eventually going in their own direction.

It's called 'finding your voice'.
 

Matt L

Member
Messages
11,567
Oh, and to the OP.....you are exactly right. I can't tell you how many times I have searched for a certain tone, but wanted to use "less obvious" equipment. After much trial and error, I realized I needed that exact piece of gear that everyone else uses to get it.
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom