How do you know when tone A is better than tone B?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Leonc, Aug 11, 2005.


  1. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,031
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Upstairs, L.A.
    Does it involve looking at who made the amp?

    Does it involve knowing whether or not it is a PCB amp?

    Does it involve understanding the codes on the particular speaker that was used?

    Does it involve knowing how many layers of baltic birch were in the cabinet's baffle?

    Does it involve knowning whether or not pedals were used?

    Does it involve knowing whether or not it was the 4 button or the 5 button version of the Ultimate Tone Salami pedal?

    Does it involve knowning what guitar was used and which version of whose pickups were in it?

    Does it involve knowing who was playing and how many cold records they have?

    My argument would be that unless you're an absolute moron with a lump of luke-warm oatmeal where the should be a brain, none of that matters.

    Discuss.
     
  2. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,031
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Upstairs, L.A.
    BTW, yes, I am selling Ultimate Tone Salami pedals. Whichever one you think sounds better.
     
  3. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,486
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Location:
    near Philly
    I'm only happy when the blood pours out of my ears.
     
  4. Kappy

    Kappy Member

    Messages:
    14,044
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    West Village, NYC
    I only know good tone when someone on TGP who doesn't even like the same music I do and who doesn't have the same idea of what good tone is tells me that it's good tone. Without that, I'm completely lost.
     
  5. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    Razorback Country
    Nice topic. I believe some need their gear to be respected or regarded by many in order for them to stay happy with the sound.

    I also believe that this goes back to the "rig as a whole" topic that was posted a couple of days ago. Find something that works for you and build upon that to find YOUR sound.

    Also, there seems to be 2 schools of tonedom on this forum. The first would be guys that want to emulate the tones from their favorite artists and recordings. Emulate.....check that....replicate! The second would be guys that want to find their own sound, and will not stop until they hear THE tone. Both can be damn elusive and tricky especially with all the viable choices in quality gear.
     
  6. mude

    mude Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,495
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    It may be obvious, but I think your point is right on the mark Leon.

    I would also suggest that liking tones when someone else is playing does not necessarily equate to liking similar tones when you are playing. So, if we are talking about your own tones.......

    Does it involve other people sounding good with a particular product?

    Carry on Swami of the Tone Salami. :D

    Evan.
     
  7. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

    Messages:
    6,168
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    New Brunswick, NJ
    When my ears tell me it is better. However even the best ears can be trumped by the eyes. Here's a thought experiment for you. Put 2 electric guitars in a room and have players choose. One is the most BEAUTIFUL specimen ever conceived of a well known style (Gibson, Fender) but it plays and sounds like ****. The other is a Butt-Ugly off brand, with a weird shape, awful color, strange wood, dings etc, but it plays and sounds better than any guitar EVER. How many walk out with the fugly axe? Not many I'd wager.
     
  8. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    I'd take the fugly axe every time, especially if it plays/sounds better. character = mojo & mojo = tone

    If you're looking to find your own sound, the sound that's in your head, I've often found you find it in places most others haven't... so for me, picking up a strat or les paul and running it through a fender, marshall, line 6, crate, peavey, whatever has literally NEVER been the answer I was looking for on my personal tone quest. I've always wanted something different so my sound would have a better chance at being unique... just like everyone else ;)

    So yes, my ears tell me that A is better than B IF it is closer to finding the sound I hear in my head. The sound in my head is a dynamic thing however, and it evolves as I've had a chance to play more gear, and hear more of the tones of other players... famous and not so famous. The old adage about 'the good poets borrow, the great ones steal,' also applies to tone.

    I think finding a unique sound requires more than just unique gear or unique gear combinations (as discussed in another thread on TGP recently) though too. It requires a unique approach to the guitar in general. Gear A may help you focus on the that unique approach more than Gear B however, and I find that is often my personal litmus test.
     
  9. rh

    rh Robo Sapien Noise Maker Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,417
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    New York, USA
    I think we'd all say that none of that matters, except that unconsciously we mostly believe it does.
     
  10. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,572
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    The more outrageous the name of the product, the more likely it is to have great tone, as they have a significant hurdle in getting past the name.

    Frankly, I'd imagine your Ultimate Tone Salami and my about to be released Scumpedal will be arch enemies and rivals.

    I challenge you to an outrageous name tone duel to the death...tonight...at the usual location, bring your second and your tonal arsenal. I am calling you out, LeonC.

    Arm yourself accordingly, or else! :dude :D
     
  11. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,650
    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Kingston, WA
    I'll take the 5-button version. More buttons = more tone, right? :D

    It doesn't matter what it says on it or what it looks like - it has to sound right AND feel right to stay here.
     
  12. GasMask

    GasMask Member

    Messages:
    3,439
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Location:
    West of Weird
    I thought everyone knew that the sexiest gear sounds best!
     
  13. Swarty

    Swarty Member

    Messages:
    1,143
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    When the tone is right for me, I just get lost in playing.. An hour will go by in what seemed like a couple minutes. When the tone is not right I find myself analyzing stuff while playing... I much prefer to get lost in it...
     
  14. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,793
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    If you are simply talking Tone A vs Tone B, none of that matters.

    If you are talking Amp A vs Amp B, all of that matters.

    There is more to a good amp than *only* tone, unless you are talking about just using it in one place at one time for a recording session. Reliability, weight, flexibility with various pedals and various guitars, price, and resale value (directly tied to who built it) all matter.
     
  15. Amplite

    Amplite Member

    Messages:
    1,429
    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Let me simplify this for everyone.
    The more you spend the better your tone!!!
    What's in your wallet????????



    :D
     
  16. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

    Messages:
    6,887
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    You obsessively monitor the smallest details. Those would be the hairs on the back of your neck or arms. If they are standing up, you're on the right track.

    Internet hyperbole is what it is. For me, no more than a possible sign post of what to try. But builder reputation is harder to ignore. When you find a manufacturer who by evidence of hand, "hears" things the way you do, then it's pretty easy to stay on that bus.

    Knowing how things are built can be very valuable. Some Engineers are more imaginative or sucessful than others, neither quality guaranteeing the other, or implied to be mutually exclusive. So actual understanding, grounded in practice, yields consistency. Sometimes a product is arrived at through dumb luck, but not very often. Leon, you know way more than you admit to about the things that go into music tools. Are you being self-deprecating?:)
     
  17. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    31,250
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    New Jersey

    Totally agree, BUT, put amps behind a curtain and watch how even your own hearing changes! I have proved this to myself over and over again. A few of my friends (who swear by Marshalls) will not even participate in "blind" listening anymore. :D No mater how unbiased someone thinks they are (myself included), it is a real ear opener.
     
  18. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,572
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Tag, I'm confused here. Did someone accuse you of being "unbiased"?

    The nerve of that person... ;)
     
  19. mude

    mude Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,495
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    I have not done much of this, but I really suspect that it is true. If fact, there are certain builders that I like personally and I suspect that it influences me as well. If someone is a good person, I tend to want to like their stuff and give them the benefit of the doubt more than the opposite.




    I really agree with this. There is a lot more to satisfaction with an amp for me than just a single pure tone. I respect guys like Tag that know exactly the specific tone they like and will go to all ends to achieve it.

    I find that there are lots of other factors that influence me (although tone/feel are right up there at the top). Flexibility/features, price/value, form factor/weight, reliability/upkeep, mojo/general appeal to me are all things that will influence my happiness with an amp.

    Generally if anything from my list above does not mean some basic requirements, then the amp is gone (or never arrived in the first place). It has to meet the minimums in all requirements and generally has to be great in at least some to be considered. otherwise, there are too many other choices.

    Evan.
     
  20. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    31,250
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Hey Evan. You are right. Tone is all that really matters to me. I really do not care if I like or hate the builder, if the amp is built like a tank or not so great, how the amp looks or whatever. My Brunos are built incredible, but even if they were bad, I would HAVE to own them for tone. When I was playing live, and when I do again, I will, and did always have a lightweight, decent sounding amp as a back up, so no problem. I have just never had many problems with amps anyway. Carry around a PV classic 50 and or a HR Deluxe 1\12 with some pedals as a backup, and you can cover ANYTHING, and have world class tones aa well.
     

Share This Page