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EVERYTHING makes a difference!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Grumpyfatman, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. Grumpyfatman

    Grumpyfatman Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    We all know about the differences in amps, pickups, guitar types etc.

    ... well, I was on a speaker quest a couple years ago. I had my mind made up that I only liked sealed cabinets, specifically 4X12s. So I started trying different speakers, mixing and matching in my Marshall 4X12. Webers (many types including a few Alnico mag), Celestions, EV, Eminence etc. I ended up liking V30s with my Jubilee. Then I found out how much different a Mesa 4X12 with V30s sounded. Fuller midrange, less treble, harder bottom. The Marshall had to go. But I still knew I liked V30s in a sealed cab (my Egnater 2X12 TOL 100 taught me that I didn't like V30s in an opan back cab) ... or so I thought.

    Eventually I tried an Avatar open back V30 cube and liked it more than everything else I've ever tried. It's been my main cab (with a Bogner Ecstasy Classic) for a couple years now. So I currently have 3 different V30 cabinets (Mesa traditional sized 4X12, Avatar open back 2X12 and Avatar open back 1X12 cube) and none of them sound the same. At one point I had 2 Avatar 1X12 cubes with V30s and THEY sounded noticeably different - different resonance even when you knock on the cab with your knuckles made one much easier to hear in a live setting. Go figure.

    Part 2 = strings
    Never thought too much about strings as long as they were in my gage (11 - 50ish). I think I normally went out looking for Dean Markleys but using whatever the music store had in that range if they were out of Markleys. Then I tried D'Adderios and found that they were a lot brighter. Had to change all my settings on my amps, even roll off the tone knob on the guitar. Ended up trying Elixirs and loving them because of their strong midrange and rolled off treble. Plus, since I'm an acidic sweaty pig other strings lasted about one show whereas the Elixirs last me a month!

    Part 3 = picks
    This one really ticks me off.. My usual picks (Clayton USA 1.0mm) seem to be made out of something different than they were last time I bought a box of them a few years ago. They don't last as long as the older ones and they sound different. (OK by now you probably think I'm off my rocker) ... but I can hear a difference. The new ones are brighter and scritchier. So I go out this morning to find a new favorite pick and I bring home some dunlop picks. Even brighter than the new Claytons. Hmmm...

    Don't even get me started on tubes and cords. Heck, for all I know the strap might even make a difference...:mad:
  2. jezzzz2003

    jezzzz2003 Member

    Dec 6, 2005
  3. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    The key is what makes a difference to you. For some cables, picks, strings, etc make little difference. For others they make huge differences. For others the power cords, direction of the instrument cable, batteries versus AC/DC converters, battery voltage, etc make a difference. Others not so much.

    Find out what you can hear and go from there. If you think it makes a difference than it does to you, just go with it.
  4. PFCG

    PFCG Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    Calabasas - CA
    i think alot of different things make a difference to me personally. I know i like the sound of the tortex jazz 3 picks, but like the smooth feeling of the big stubby picks that are 3m thick. For strings, i like D'Addario and S.I.T. but the tension of the SIT set is not what im in love with so i only use them on occasion.

    as for cabs and speakers i think there is a huge variant in sounds with everything involved. If you use the same exact speakers with the same wires soldiered on and the same jack etc, the geometry alone is a massive factor. The size of the cab inside and out as well as materials used makes a big difference. I have a 1x12 TR cab with the big oval port in the back and i think that sounds amazing with almost everything except super high gain. But i hate certain speakers in that cabinet, like a tonker for example sounds awful to me in that cab, but ive used other speakers and they sound great.

    I just recently got a CAA 4x12 and put 2 speakers in it and it sounds so much more ultra massive than the 1x12 it is mind boggling. Using a tonker and a TR12-65 it sounded great right off the bat. Soon ill have another TR12x65 and 2 Scumback H55-LHDCs in there and im guessing it will sound very different as well as incredibly good!

    Now i dont think batteries make a huge difference, or other super miniscule things like direction of cable, but im not saying its not the truth. Its just not that important to me.

    Its definitely what makes you happy. half time time the people in the audience cant hear the things you spend tons of money on perfecting.
  5. midnightlaundry

    midnightlaundry Member

    May 18, 2006

    Dunlop Ultex is the Foots Fungus. Try 'em.
  6. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Stand up...different.
    Move left. Move right. Step out into the audience area... oooo...how does one manage?
    At some point you just have to throw out the junk and make the best of what you have.:YinYang
    Not to say it's easy or that I have 'it' together.
  7. Lonely Raven

    Lonely Raven Member

    Jun 29, 2004
    Bolingbrook, IL
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that catches these little details.

    I swear that even barometric pressure and humidity effects the tone of my amps. From one day to the next my amps and cabs just sound so different to me, I thought someone was mucking with my knob settings for the longest time.

    Too bad my hearing is going...soon I won't be able to tell the difference between a Strat and a Les Paul. :(
  8. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

    May 25, 2003
    I've given up on the obsessive chase for tonal perfection. I did it for several years only to finally realize it doesn't matter to me. But had I not gone through all of that, I would have never reached that realization. Now I just use things that get me 90% there and are easy to manage. That stuff is:

    Tom Anderson Cobra strung with Elixir 10s
    Line6 Spider Valve 212 w/ FBV Shortboard
    Whatever 20 foot cable I have and some Dunlop Gator Grip 1.5mm picks

    That rig gets me within spitting distance of the tones I've gotten out of setups that were incredibly more intricate and thousands of dollars more expensive. And aside from the Cobra, I could replace any of it at any GC, 7 days a week.
  9. BluesForDan

    BluesForDan Member

    May 12, 2006
    you are not crazy, it does make a difference. think about it. what does sound move through? The air. Barometric pressure and humidity are major constituents of the make up of air's properties. So is temperature.

    When it started getting seriously cold here in NH, I noticed 2 things. First, it got very dry, dropped from ~40% rhl (relative humidity level) to 23%. Then I noticed my amps sounded brittle, harsh, sterile...almost as if they were solid state (just kidding, don't beat me). My tele developed fret sprout. I immediately put up our whole house console humidifier. It can throw 12 gallons a day into the air. I am currently filling the 2.5 gallon bottle 3 times a day, or about 63% of the unit's (located downstairs) capacity is being used to stablize the rhl upstairs (where my music room and bedroom are) @~30%. Not the preferred optimal, but a darn sight better than the 13% that we had last year.

    My amps (champ and musicmaster bass amp) sound better, and my tele's fret sprout has subsided. It is better to not let the house get too dried out, or you'll spend all the rest of the winter trying to play catch-up. Get on top of it and maintain the rhl at a livable setting.

    if you think about it, imagine how tricky it must be to do overdubs if the original session was recorded on a different day, especially weatherwise? "Why doesn't this sound the same? Nothing's changed, all the mics, amps, settings are the same, why does it sound different?" :crazy
  10. Twangzilla

    Twangzilla Member

    Nov 25, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    Yeah, everything makes a difference and I can hear most of it but at a certain point, I stop giving a ****. If you have a good guitar, pedals and amp that work within the context you are using them is a pick change or a weather change going to take your sound from awesome to crap? I don't think so.

    There are always variables but if you have some good, consistent constants everything should be ok in the end.
  11. Grumpyfatman

    Grumpyfatman Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    Good input by all. I know at some point it's a benefit to just shut up and play. I've known a few really good players who don't even think twice about their tone. The guy at the bar can't tell the difference anyway...

    I'm not sure if having a "critical" ear is a blessing or a curse but it sure keeps the local guitar shop happy doesn't it!!
  12. Sniff_Da_Tubes

    Sniff_Da_Tubes Member

    Dec 27, 2007
    I tried the alkaline battery vs. the carbon battery test in my ts9 (analogman silver mod), and it does make a difference.
    I too have obsessed on making sure everything in the chain was just right, only to figure out that:
    a. Most people who are listening to you don't notice or care, they just want to have a good time and be moved by the music
    b. the time I spent on noodling around with equipment was time I shoulda spent practicing

    ....now about those george ls :)
  13. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    Connecticut, outside of Hartford
    And here I thought *I* was the only one that could hear a drastic difference with humidity and temperature!! My fellow musicians told me I was nuts but low humidity makes my tone totally buzzy and transistor-like, just like BluesForDan said (I lived in NH also when I first noticed this and am now in CT and still noticing it).

    re: strap making a difference. Actually, you're 100% absolutely correct. Adjust your strap so the guitar hangs higher/lower or at a different angle and see what it does to your overall tone, sustain and feedback. I promise you'll at least feel a difference and notes feedback much differently. edit: not that I worry about this but I do notice it.

    re: cable "polarity". I've heard differences here but it has nothing to do with "polarity" or any nonsense like that (guitar cables aren't polarized in any sense of the word). I think it's because most guitar cables are manufactured with very little quality control, especially the plugs.
    Ever take a cable apart? The workmanship is usually atrocious and very inconsistent....if it's not shorted and not open they ship it. Check out high quality cable sometime and then tell me you can hear the difference there. I'm not surprised that EJ goes nuts in his studio turning around all his cables until they all "line up"....the George L cables may be top notch but there's no way to install those stupid plugs with any sort of consistency.

    EJ's right about something else, by the way. I've been running my guitars without the plastic tremolo cover for 20 years. I noticed this early on when I had crappy guitars and spent my days trying to adjust some quality into them. Lots of A/B comparisons between cover on and off. I haven't figured this one out yet....maybe the cover damps the body vibration a little (like muffling a drum).

    Great topic!
  14. hamfist

    hamfist Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    My amps never seem to sound the same on different days, ever !!!
    First it makes you lose a lot of sleep, whilst your brain mulls over it all. And then it just makes you go completely barking mad - well that's the point I've got to anyway.
  15. A440

    A440 Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2003
    Central New Jersey, USA
    yes, EVERYTHING does make a difference

    I recently got together with a guitarist who was really into trying different picks. lately, I'd been happy with Clayton acetals, but he had various ones including a Red Bear tortis (a faux tortoise shell pick). I could definitely hear a big difference when playing acoustic guitar. not sure if I'd hear as much with electric...
  16. Grumpyfatman

    Grumpyfatman Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    The Clayton acetals are nice and slippery on the strings and they don't have as much snap, which makes them seem more midrangey to me. I like that!

    When I started this post I said the new Claytons seemed different than the older ones. I sent a note to Clayton USA and asked if anything had changed. They wrote back and said they are absolutely the same as they've always been. They don't sound or feel the same to me (I still have a few of my old ones) but maybe something happens with the Acetal after a few (8 or 10) years.
  17. Tonefish

    Tonefish Member

    Sep 17, 2006
    Wherever I am
    I hear yah....about all the variables....the fact that once you get someting you really like, you can't get it again. I just know the right pick for me is half way between two different thicknesses available in the type of pick I like.
  18. Spankyrigor

    Spankyrigor Member

    Jan 2, 2008
    Woodside, NY
    you know what i wish they'd make? a dunlop ultex shaped like a dunlop jazz III.

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