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Great tone, really not that hard to find

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Squigglefunk, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Squigglefunk

    Squigglefunk Senior Member

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    Yes, I know this is the gear page and of course I love playing around with new gear as much as anyone but really... getting great tone is pretty simple IMO.

    I've seen it come from almost limitless sources, from 50 yr old sears amps to cutting edge modern designs. But it's really not that hard. A decent guitar that holds tune, a few pedals if you want, a reasonably well built amp. Decide what you're looking for and there's almost limitless choices out there, all will pretty much achieve what you are looking for with a minimal amount of research. There just isn't a "elusive" magical combination of stuff that will suddenly open up new doors of tone unheard of before in any other combination IMO.

    I mean I read so many thread where people act shocked that a $3000 amp sounds incredible. Why is that shocking again? I mean shouldn't a $3000 amp sound incredible? I'm much more "shocked" when I see a guy with totally average gear, cheap even and still gets incredible tone. That's when you start to realize it's really just not that hard.
     
  2. b2sc

    b2sc Member

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    You're right.

    Or in other words.. Tone is in the player's hands.
     
  3. DS88

    DS88 Member

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    I think he meant that an amp/guitar doesn't have to cost $3000 to sound good ;-)
     
  4. DS88

    DS88 Member

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    Also, I know I can get great tone out of a $1000 amp, but a $3000 amp is just that 5% closer to what I want the particular amp to do. Some people like to spend a lot of cash to get that 5% (guilty as charged).
     
  5. Squigglefunk

    Squigglefunk Senior Member

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    this is sometimes true but I also feel that sometimes we get so obsessed with finding something that we spend thousands of dollars in search of the grail only to end up realizing that it's mostly in our heads. That last 5% sometimes is imaginary. I've done it myself and seen it time and time again where someone already has incredible tone but keeps looking for that last 5% only to end up worse off than where they started.

    It's not that I'm saying a $3000 amp doesn't sound good, like I said, it SHOULD sound incredible. I'm just saying that what we sometimes think we're looking for is just being happy with what we already have.
     
  6. Squigglefunk

    Squigglefunk Senior Member

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    yeah but two different people can take the same piece of gear and get two totally different tones. So again, the gear is taken out of the equation and it's back to the player.
     
  7. Relicula

    Relicula Supporting Member

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    Just because an amp is 3k, doesnt mean that a player will sound good through it.

    After countless hours of practice, YOU, should sound good. I know its a cliche, but it is the major factor in what you sound like.

    Two big influences in my playing told me for years to perfect what I wanted to sound like, and rely less on the gear for that. Both of these guys worked at a music store that I frequented, you may know them, Rod, and Mark Bishop.

    The gear is not to be dismissed, I sound better through stuff that I feel comfortable with, and that is really the word here, feel. If I obtain a certain feeling with an amp or guitar, it raises my level of confidence when I hear myself play, and ultimately I play better.

    My wife claims that she can tell its me playing no matter what amp I am using, which I think may be a deceptive manuever to get me to stop buying stuff, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt, on this the day of my 19th wedding anniversary. :banana
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  8. phalanges

    phalanges Supporting Member

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    "[Decide what you're looking for and there's almost limitless choices out there...]"
    IMO this is beauty/function of TGP. Once you're able to make a decision about your sound, you tend to be able to bring it to any situation.
     
  9. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    There's more to tone then just the equipment... I call it the 5 Ts:
    Tools - equipment
    Technique - the players fingers
    Tuning - You gotta stay in tune
    Tone - You gotta set the amp correctly
    Timing - Keep hitting the notes at the right time

    You can be an average player, but keeping the five things above in mind then you're going to sound good. You could be the best at playing scales, but if you're out of tune, miss the beat or have too much treble on your amp then you're going to scare people away. Don't try to steal my "5 Ts" concept, I'm copywriting it! HA
     
  10. plexi67

    plexi67 Member

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    You can find some old amps that sound really good,for a good price... Things to consider besides getting good tone. Speaking of new amps,or custom built amps. some are harder to build,more involved,or may take more time to build,may use quality parts like transformers etc..

    This all adds up to an amp costing a bit more. And if its a combo,the amp may use some expensive speakers. As one posted,you may be ok with a production amp,but it also might use cheesey parts,or cheap speakers. Whatever to keep the cost down.

    Then if you decide to keep an amp, or if you might want to sell it later,depending on the amp,the resale value or name,may have alot to do with how much you can get out of it.

    You could say the same for guitars. there are some fine guitars that play and sound very good. The good thing is, their are alot of options to pick from now days,and you can get about anything you want.
     
  11. Luke Gibson

    Luke Gibson Silver Supporting Member

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    Well said, "Feel" is huge with me!
     
  12. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    We need a 5 year moratorium on "where is tone" threads.

    It's all BS. Tone is where you find it.

    Even the word is misleading. How we play is not the same as how we sound, and the whole thing is highly interactive.

    dc
     
  13. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    I've heard and played through many $3-5K amps that left me scratching my head and wondering where all the tone was.
     
  14. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    I totally agree. Great tone doesnt have to cost a lot. Unfortunately great reliabilty and ruggedness generally do. Bob
     
  15. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    It comes down to the player and their ability to make what they have work for them.

    You can take a someone who just started playing a few months ago, and plug them into a Suhr and a D*mble, and they will likely sound like ****.

    Take someone who has been playing for years and plug them into a cheap Strat copy and a Twin with a Boss OD pedal, and they can make it sound glorious.

    That said, I think some expensive amps are just bragging rights to their owners. I don't think they do the job any better than something that costs 1/3 the price.
     
  16. scottlaned

    scottlaned Member

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    I can't stand the sounds of the Fender Hotrod series. That is the only amp I can think of that I have experienced, from an audience standpoint, constant bad tone. From a player standpoint, it has the worst feel ever.

    The feel of an amp is much more important to me than the tone. You can manipulate tones, but you can't change the feel.
     
  17. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    I think your sig holds the answer to all this

    "Familiarity breeds contempt." -Aesop

    When you sound bad. When your instrument rattles and buzzes and does not fit your music, and your amp fights you every step of the way, you look for better gear.

    Better gear is a blessing. It is not always expensive, but it sure is sometimes.

    Then you find a net resource with all sorts of info about good gear. Your sound improves, and you take good sounding gear for granted.

    It becomes familiar. Common.

    And "Familiarity breeds contempt." so we get thread after thread talking about how none of it matters and it's all in the player.

    The hell it is.

    We can only say that because great gear is so easy to find and we have such amazing resources.

    dc
     
  18. Squigglefunk

    Squigglefunk Senior Member

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    exactly

    so we can talk about gear all day but not tone? :rotflmao

    eh, unless you have really bad roadies even most mass produced stuff will hold up well.

    this is part of my point, you get familiar with your tone, you think you need something new and sometimes when you make this change you end up going for years searching for it and then end up back where you were.

    like I said, there is certainly fun in searching for new gear and different tones, but sometimes people seem to think that it HAS to be this long search to find something great and really it's not in my experience.

    Really I feel that ANY piece of gear has potential for great tones, it's really more up to the musician to find them. I've heard jaw dropping tones with gear that defies all the "gear rules" :cool:
     
  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>That said, I think some expensive amps are just bragging rights to their owners. I don't think they do the job any better than something that costs 1/3 the price.<<

    I notice in your signature that you have a Dual Rectifier and a "modded" valve jr. A lot of people consider Mesas expensive amps, yet you found yours worth the money enough to buy it. There are players who would say your amp is just an expensive toy bought for bragging rights, too. I would disagree with them, but that's not the point.

    And you had your Valve Jr modded, I'm guessing because you wanted it to sound...better.

    So you obviously aren't against spending a bit of time, money, etc., to get the best tone for your needs.

    In the same way you find your amps worth a bit extra over standard fare, some of us are totally knocked out by other amps for various reasons.

    I certainly wouldn't choose to drop 5 grand on an amp to brag about it. To whom? No one I know would care in the slightest.

    And in fact, I don't want to drop 5 grand on an amp at all! I've only spent money on amps because I loved the way the thing sounded. Period. To tell me, or others here, why we do things...well, that's a lot of speculation and guesswork on your part.

    Give other people a little more credit. You buy what you want for your reasons, and I won't guess or criticize why you made your choices, but please give the rest of us the same benefit.
     
  20. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Most mass produced stuff have the controls ,sockets and jacks PCB mounted. This makes them much more susectable to damage-especially the jacks. Board mounted jacks are just asking for trouble. Ive repaired the input jack on my sons VC50 head twice in the last year. Broken solder joints. Bob
     

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