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Help with Guitar Tone

PainterCarl

Member
Messages
10
I started on electric guitar two years ago after playing acoustic since the sixties. I have an Agile Thinline copy and a Microcube RX practice amp. I get an acceptable but uninspiring generic sound with the Blackface setting and a little reverb on rhythm and lead.

Yesterday I played with a guy who has not touched an electric for years. He tried mine and the difference was amazing. He got all of the twang and dynamics that you expect from a Tele using the same settings that I was using. He is a hybrid picker and apparently used the same technique that he used on his acoustic. He sounded very country while mine sounds flat and boring.

I know it is all in the fingers. I would like some ideas on how to improve my tone.

Any ideas will be appreciated
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,746
I started on electric guitar two years ago after playing acoustic since the sixties. I have an Agile Thinline copy and a Microcube RX practice amp. I get an acceptable but uninspiring generic sound with the Blackface setting and a little reverb on rhythm and lead.

Yesterday I played with a guy who has not touched an electric for years. He tried mine and the difference was amazing. He got all of the twang and dynamics that you expect from a Tele using the same settings that I was using. He is a hybrid picker and apparently used the same technique that he used on his acoustic. He sounded very country while mine sounds flat and boring.

I know it is all in the fingers. I would like some ideas on how to improve my tone.

Any ideas will be appreciated
There are so many variables here it's hard to be sure.

One of the first things I'll say is that we all tend to be overly critical of our own playing, so you may only think you didn't sound as good as he did.

So not necessarily all in the fingers, could be some in the mind too :)

But, as for the fingers - pick? Did you both use the same pick?

How you pick can influence tone drastically. You can really dig in, or just let the pick brush over. You can also "pluck" a string by putting the pick on it, then applying pressure until the pick snaps off, or, you can "hit" a string where your pick is already moving as it strikes the string.

You can also apply downward (pushing the string towards the top of the guitar and fingerboard) pressure. Likewise, if you use your fingers, you can also hook your finger underneath the string and "snap" it up (which also makes it snap against the fingerboard).

So there's a lot of things you can do with the RH alone.

The LH is even more complex because of vibrato, hammers/pulloffs, slides, etc.

If you have access to this guy, you may ask him over to play and try to learn exactly more about what he's doing - most players are happy to share what they're doing in an informal jam/hang-out session.

Don't be too hard on yourself though. Just hard enough to force yourself to improve is good. Oh, and a real tube amp!

Best,
Steve
 

5E3

Member
Messages
5,055
Good advice from Steve above.

I would also suggest you try and find an experienced instructor to take one or two lessons from. Don't commit to an entire package of lessons up front. Talk to any potential instructors on the phone first. Let them know what you are trying to accomplish, the genre, etc, and how you feel about your playing.

A couple of hours interacting with an instructor in person can make all the difference in the world. Maybe all you need is to get set on a different course by someone who has been there and done that. Worth considering anyway.

I personally spun my wheels with books, CDs and videos for 1.5 years and then found an instructor and advanced more after 3 lessons than the entire time prior. Your results may vary :)

Keep at it!
 

shane8

Member
Messages
31,458
go down to the crossroads @ midnight........ or hang out with + watch players that inspire you...... a lot of this has to be absorbed rather than learnt and not everyone can be great anyway
 
Messages
2,517
The best thing anyone ever told me about tone was, to clean up my playing. I had to take my guitar right into a clean amp, nothing else and see how my tone over chords and scales was. At that point, when I played a chord not all the notes rang out, I was not making good contact with the fretboard and was muting a few notes. I had to work and playing good clean chords. When I played lead, I was rushing it and also not letting all the notes ring out. Then came pick and pick attack, I ended up going with a heavier pick and changing my attack some. The point is, if your a sloppy player, your tone is going to suck.
 




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