Obsessing Over Tone More Than Playing

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Wagster, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. HughesP

    HughesP Member

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    I don't think this is a new thing...

    I recall around 20 years ago going into a guitar shop and they had their electric guitar room closed off - I couldn't go in because there was a client in who came in generally once a week or so and would buy a new custom shop fender/gibson, or new amp each time. He could hardly play, but the shop loved him because he was steady revenue for them.

    Most people can't do that with high end guitars, but pedals can be a bit of an addiction - the newness is part of the fun, and the price makes them more accessible to people. I know I am guilty of flipping/trading/buying pedals a lot more if my gig schedule isn't busy. But when I'm busy, and have new things to work at/learn, I realistically end up just liking consistency and have far less interest in new pedals.

    Both things are journeys though... finding tones you love is a journey, becoming a great player is a journey. As long as you ultimately are involved in both, I think that's fine, and at different seasons you might have your focus more on one than another.
     
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  2. Jacob Van Noy

    Jacob Van Noy Member

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    I’m guilty of this.

    Here are some ways to get out of it.

    1. Realize that your mood or psychological state at the time of playing has a huge impact on how you interpret and hear your tone.

    2. Record yourself, record rehearsals, record shows. Often times I found myself totally digging my tone and playing on playback but disliking it in the moment, in the room. Trust that your head is getting in the way in that case and learn to let go and play. If you hate the tone on playback, lose all pride and make adjustments or get rid of pedals and tones that don’t work for the context and move forward.

    3. Most tone problems (psychological or not) disappear when I learn a new and inspiring song, or at the very least just something new like a technique or voicing. This is probably the easiest way to forget about all the tone issues because you have to learn to actually inflect and play the new song properly and that comes down to rhythm and your hands.
     
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  3. joshofsorts

    joshofsorts Supporting Member

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    I have gone through phases of tone obsession. Usually it was during a time of high stress in my life with little time to actually pick up a guitar. Instead, browsing on here and ordering pedals on Reverb in spare moments functioned as escapism or a substitute for the creative process I would have rather been engaged in at the time. It has often been an expensive substitute, but over the years, has netted me a great rig that I am happy with. Now that I have a rig I really like, I am trying to refocus on upping my playing abilities & practice instead of tone and gear.
     
  4. RockDebris

    RockDebris Member

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    The guitarist who practices more will be able to buy the tone they want one day.

    The guitarist who obsessed all the time about tone as just a factor of gear buying will never have what they want. When the other guitarist comes over and plays their gear it will sound brilliant though.
     
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  5. LqdSndDist

    LqdSndDist Member

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    Maybe more people have come to realize that no matter how much you practice, the odds of “making it big” are slim to none.

    I don’t think I’ll be on the PGA tour no matter how many trips I make to the driving range. I also don’t think I’ll be headlining an arena gig no matter how much I practice, especially at this point in my life.

    So what am I working towards, if I’m not simply enjoying the hobby ?

    Fewer and fewer gigs, little to no pay, not enough time, band drama, venues making you turn down ... what’s the point I’m sure lots of people wonder....

    Nothing ruins a fun hobby more than trying to make it into a job. Most of us already have a job so we want to keep guitar as something fun, and if that means getting new toys instead of running through scales, who cares ?
     
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  6. mikey69

    mikey69 Member

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    Maybe they just demoing the tone of the pedal and not trying to play you a song?
     
  7. mdubya

    mdubya Member

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    Anybody can play well.

    But good tone is hard to come by (or even recognize, for some). :eek:

    :p
     
  8. Sloppyslim

    Sloppyslim Member

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    i haven't jammed much less gigged since getting out of prison 30 years ago.
    i know i'll never perform again, but i still pose because it's the only thing between me and a 3rd strike blaze of glory.
    i'll keep holding my mud till i can call god a liar and tell satan to kiss my ass
     
  9. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Supporting Member

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    I'm grateful for guys like that. I've seen (and learned some things) from videos that only happened because someone collected enough effects or pickups or tubes to swap them in one at a time and record the results. I saw one and was wondering why the guy was so into guitar when he was a beginner-level player. But he took the time to gather up 20 or so sets of pickups, swap them into a single guitar one at a time, record each one, add commentary, edit the video, etc. That's not something I'd ever do, but I learned something from him doing it. More power to him.

    And yes, some people do "collect", whether guitars or amps or effects. Nothing wrong with that, especially of they're offering comparative info for free.
     
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  10. chankgeez

    chankgeez Member

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    Haven't read the thread yet (other that the OP), but I'd rather listen to someone with good tone than good technique. :oops: :dunno
     
  11. gigs

    gigs Member

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    Few famous bad guitar players with great tone for good reason.
     
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  12. Pick'n'strum

    Pick'n'strum Member

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    I don't feel like tone-searching and practicing are mutually exclusive. Can't you have both? You can't practice 100% of your time.

    With that said, I personally prefer to practice than mess with gear but I do still like to mess with gear.
     
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  13. mattjayworker

    mattjayworker Member

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    I'd say it's mostly a mecanismos de copiado for most of us chasers.
     
  14. ToneIsKing55

    ToneIsKing55 Supporting Member

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    Ummm. Sorry.... Must’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in the “playing and technique” forum, meant to go to the “effects and pedal” forum

    Oh wow.... Thats weird, I AM in the right place. Another post where the OP is condescending towards lesser players....

    Joe B., is that you buddy ;)
     
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  15. squishcat

    squishcat Member

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    Everyone is at different skill levels because that's the natural order of life. If everyone played and sounded like Billy Badass nobody would.

    If you want to learn to slam dunk you're gonna have to get good at dribbling first (accumulating proper gear, tone creation & lots of practice).
     
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  16. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

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    Then again, a lot of great players have obsessed over their tone for their whole careers.
     
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  17. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    Isn't it a sub-section of the hobby? For some the hobby is creating a a tone in their head? Similar to writing a song in your head or playing a guitar part in your head?

    Tone matters to me but what I do with that tone matters even more. I gotta put it in a song.
     
  18. davidespinosa

    davidespinosa Supporting Member

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    No need for rhythm, melody, or harmony when you have TONE !!!

    :sarcasm
     
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  19. aynirar27

    aynirar27 All You Need Is Rock and Roll Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm at a point in my life where playing in a band isn't a possibility at the moment, but I do get 20 mins here and there to let it rip in the basement. so when I do, I fiddle with amps and guitars and tones. I don't have time to practice enough to stay in tip top playing shape like I once was, but I can slam an A cord and watch pictures fall off the wall and it makes me happy
     
    monty likes this.
  20. Dr.Picklebottom

    Dr.Picklebottom Member

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    its the same thing w women that love buying shoes and purses. they dont need most of them its just the dopamine spike they get when consuming something that they enjoy.

    a lot of tgp are consumers more than musicians.
     

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