Is great clean tone somewhat dated?

gerraguitar

Member
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323
This weekend I was playing around with running my rig in stereo, had a twin reverb and a JC120. Now I mean, that's pretty much as clean as you can get. Running fx into them was great sounding but it made me think about how I don't know if really great clean tone is chased around as much these days as great driven sounds. I guess it sees to original music instead of cover groups, but all I could think was how perfect this sound would've been in the 80s, with the Roland chorus going and all that, and now it's all about driving 30watters. There's nothing wrong with that obviously, and of course this isn't true for everything and every player, but does anyone else notice this?

I'm reminded of a recent gig I played with a group and we covered "Holiday" by Madonna, with that clean guitar part.

Thoughts?
 

shoepedals

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3,792
I dunno about that. Look at Radiohead's most recent two albums. There are some really filthy sounds but also equally memorable are the great warm clean sounds on songs like House of Cards. I think a lot of the heavy reverb sounds in indie rock are more or less clean as well but there's a lot of reverb on there so you may not notice exactly. Jazz guys are still mostly playing clean or very light drive too. Seems like its a mix to me.
 

Twinattack

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I think the OP's statement is overall pretty true. Obviously its not a blanket statement and there are exceptions, but overall I agree. Pristine clean isn't nearly as common these days. It is with me! But then again, I'm a child of the '80s.
 

ledzurso

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80
I agree; I really love a good clean tone. Jeff Buckley used a jazz chorus, but moved to fenders (vibrolux?) A pushed low wattage amp is so great, tho. Any thoughts on all these low wattage amps being used live? Do they belong in the studio?

I get a nice balance with my Pro Reverb. It's about 40watts so there is some headroom, but it responds nicely to a boost pedal.

great discussion!
 

Kestrel

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1,693
A great clean tone is timeless, for me. I tend to agree with what V stated about jazz players and several indie rock bands going after clean or very low gain tones with nothing else more than reverb, which to some may seem kind of retro. But, to me the only thing that would really date your tone is a heavy dose of chorus. Instant 80's. Nothing wrong with that if 80's tones are what you're after.
 

paddywhack

Gold Supporting Member
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1,321
,,,definitely….overdriven and processed guitar tone is by far the sound you're gonna hear most often…90 plus percent of the time i'd guess….but….i think big clean tone is poised to make a comeback and we'll soon be talking more about how to get it here on TGP...
 
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Super-saturated, drop-tuned mega-metal madness is also pretty much of a dodo bird these days, too. Perhaps guitar-driven rock itself. At least in pop music. Because guitar-driven music has had to kind of go underground, the concepts of "dated", "trendy", "modern", or "popular" start to lose a lot of their significance.
 

ledzurso

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80
Most of the sounds that most people seem to be chasing are dated.
A good thought, but I'm beginning to believe that it's all been done before. A pleasing clean guitar sound and a pleasing overdrive sound is a little less than subjective. To say they're dated is just a refection on the recordings of that time.

I've been starved for new music. If anyone has a recommendation that re-defines clean and OD guitars I'm all ears! I've been digging Tame Impala but that's a total throwback; albeit a good one with great production.
 
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No. If its dated, I'd say its not that great, hence the reason people use the term in the first place. Nobody says "Kind Of Blue" is a dated jazz record. But most people would say "The Grand Illusion" is a dated rock record.

"Dated" and "great" are subjective, though.
 

dejvid

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125
It all depends on what fits the song. I'd say that a sound which has very little in the way of effects and is closer to the amp may age better than the heavily effected sounds of the 80s, which sound like a product of their time, and thus dated. An example of that was when I heard Mike Stern perform in Malta - great playing, but I felt I was in a timewarp.
But as I said, it all depends on the song.
 

dejvid

Member
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125
And on the topic of Radiohead - their latest material does have some good examples of clean tone. I doubt that it will come to sound dated in 20 years' time. The same can be said of OK Computer though - it's very heavily effected, and yet (to me, at least), it still sounds fresh. Clearly, effectology IS an art.
 

gerraguitar

Member
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323
It all depends on what fits the song. I'd say that a sound which has very little in the way of effects and is closer to the amp may age better than the heavily effected sounds of the 80s, which sound like a product of their time, and thus dated. An example of that was when I heard Mike Stern perform in Malta - great playing, but I felt I was in a timewarp.
But as I said, it all depends on the song.
It's funny you mention Stern..

I remember doing a Bob Berg chart in studio orchestra at school, and going to check out vids of his group doing it with Stern, and his tone was good, but for some reason I couldn't get into it. It's fine because I feel that's sort of Stern's thing, and again it's not that it was bad. Missed him last year at Scullers (I think it was there), would like to see him live to see how I feel about it then.
 

crambone

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18,010
Being a big ska player (although not in a band setting) I LOVE to mess around with clean tones and find that perfect match of twang, reverb and punch to get my nice syncopated chords.
 




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