List some descriptive words for tone that make no sense

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Big'Uns, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Alchemist XP

    Alchemist XP Silver Supporting Member

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    There's no doubt that many words we select could, in some way, be used to illustrate or describe a feeling or sensation. My point was that I find "organic" a curious word to describe overdrive/distortion. TONE, if we look at it honestly, happens between the ears. If what you're implying is that somehow a combination of tubes, electrical parts, pedals, speakers, cables, etc. work together in a more harmonious and integrated way, I suppose there's a point there. When we talk about tone, though, we're really describing an extremely complex sensation within ourselves (involving billions of cells working together) that occurs as a reaction to sound waves ... For whatever reason, at that moment, those waves connect with us in a way we like or dislike. One person might describe that sensation as "organic" another as uninspiring and another as too raspy or lacking energy or whatever.

    My point was that I associate the word organic more with chemical compounds that fit the definition of organic ...
     
  2. PaulE

    PaulE Supporting Member

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    90% of those terms I understand what is trying to be conveyed.
    Haunting mids is bizarre.
    The one I could never wrap my brain around is "crushed glass"
     
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  3. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    Really. Chocolate brownies are chewy. Guitar tone? Meh.
     
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  4. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    Honestly, I believe that I understand what all of those words are supposed to mean when describing tone. They all make sense to me. However, I also believe that "organic" and "great note separation" are the terms that people most often use when trying to justify/rationalize new gear purchases. I have noticed a direct correlation between the price of a piece of gear and the likelihood it will be described as having organic tones and delivering great note separation.

    I also believe there's an inverse correlation between the likelihood that someone will talk about "great note separation" and the number of gigs they've played.
     
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  5. TheDropout

    TheDropout Member

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    im just going to start making up my own tone descriptions. "This amp gives you a really good meat and potatoes sound."
     
  6. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Member

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    I agree... I tend to think people are overthinking this. Sure, of course everyone will interpret descriptions of sounds a bit differently, but that's the nature of the beast. We do the best we can with the language we have. The generalities aren't really that hard to grasp. Some terms are pretty useless, granted (haunting mids).
     
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  7. aliensporebomb

    aliensporebomb Member

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    "Tubular" = presumed the sound of a cranked tube amp but what if it's a modeler emulating that sound perfectly?
    "Spongy" = wha?
     
  8. TVa

    TVa Member

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    Just in case you're interested since you bring it up: Tone is an often-used term, if not a technical term, in music education. In vocal education at lower levels, we talk about tone all of the time--things like the tonality of the head voice vs. the chest voice vs. a falsetto tone, how different diction and mouth position change tone, etc. For reed players--we talk about getting a different tone with a different mouth position, clarinet barrel, mouthpiece, etc. There are numerous examples, and sometimes we call it something else--sound quality comes to mind, but the term is often used. By the time musicians are in college, the term "tone" isn't as often used as a college musician should not have basic issues with tone like say, an 8th grader. We would talk about the sound quality of a note approaching it like this or this.
     
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  9. mikebat

    mikebat Member

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    We may cringe at most of these words but we are not being truthful if we say that we do not get the general idea of what they mean.

    Noticeable exception:
     
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  10. slybird

    slybird Member

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    Some terms that were defined earlier by @Creighton. After a bit of this thread this is what they mean to me.

    warm: lacks enough high end.
    open: Meaningless. Opposite of compressed is dynamic, not open. I've never heard an amp sound open or closed.
    organic: sounds muddy, lacks clarity, not enough high end.
    boxy: too much lower mids.
    3D: I was way too high when I used the amp. I still wear a crystal on my neck.
    sterile: clear, very clean, precise
    quacky: sounds like a duck
    creamy: take it to mean rich and smooth OD.
    transparent: does not color the signal. everything colors the signal. It is impossible to not color a signal.
    haunting mids: no idea what this means. Agreed.
     
  11. AbstractLunatic

    AbstractLunatic Member

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  12. Alchemist XP

    Alchemist XP Silver Supporting Member

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    I brought up the word "organic" because to me, in terms of tone, it means nothing. If someone says an amp is bright or buzzy or saturated or mids forward or scooped or dark, I get that and I think most people do too. A buddy of mine uses organic all the time to describe his tones and pedalboard and was looking for a more "organic" delay. I put my trusty Tech21DLA on his board and dialed the tone knob bright and that wasn't "organic" but when I dialed it much darker, he said ... there it is, that's a lot more organic sounding. So, in his case, in this specific situation, organic meant to him that there was a lot less high end in the repeats.
     
  13. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Those first two I dont get, the last two make perfect sense to me.
     
  14. smv929

    smv929 Member

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    Bell tone is one that I don't get. I think it means a clear, clean full strong sustaining tone. My problem is I don't want my guitar to sound like a bell.
     
  15. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    The only way to describe music is to use poetic terms sometimes. Language is imperfect for music.

    As an artist, metaphor is going to be part of the deal, if language is involved.

    The alternative is just play, don't talk.
     
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  16. IGuitUpIGuitDown

    IGuitUpIGuitDown Member

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    "Woman Tone" doesn't exactly sound desirable to someone like me, for instance. Your sexual amplifier tonal preferences may vary!

    :dude
     
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  17. IGuitUpIGuitDown

    IGuitUpIGuitDown Member

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    Tan: as in wearing chinos.

    Black & Tan: as in a pint of Guinness sitting on the top of the amplifier.

    Chimey: hanging wind chimes below your elevated amplifier.

    Boxy: never taking your amplifier out of the shipping container. Instead, just drilling a hole in the box for the power cord, and just plugging it in, and then turning it on.

    Warm: your amplifier came from a hot delivery truck.

    - etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  18. tnvol

    tnvol Ufologist Silver Supporting Member

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    I just twist the knobs on my amps and guitar till it sounds like I want it to sound. I def use some of those terms but don't get too bent out of shape over them. Not to the point that I spend all my time chasing mythical tone instead of playing.
     
  19. snow and steel

    snow and steel Supporting Member

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    I had a guy tell me he wanted a rhythm track to sound "marshall-y but better".

    wrap your brain around that for a moment.
     
  20. IGuitUpIGuitDown

    IGuitUpIGuitDown Member

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    Sheen: Charlie once looked at your amplifier.
     
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