Overlooked Tone Factors?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Passenger84, Feb 18, 2008.


  1. Passenger84

    Passenger84 Supporting Member

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    I was just thinking about some of the factors for tone that I have overlooked in the past and how important they have ended up being. Some of them I thought were little things and turned out making a bigger difference than a new guitar or a new amp. Of course, I'm still learning and next year I might hate all my own opinions, but for what it's worth, the main ones for me are:

    --Changing strings!!
    What a world of difference when I change my strings every week. Makes my rig sound brand new. To my ears, a bigger difference than my favorite boost pedal.

    --Speaker efficiency
    It seems to me that speakers really need to be pushed to sound good. A pushed speaker seems to have an almost tube-like quality...again, maybe it's just me. But matching speakers to amps has made an enormous difference in tone for me.

    --No cold solder joints
    Self-explanatory, but wow, that can make your tone go south in a hurry.

    --Using overdrive pedals to your amp into overdriven tones...not as magical amps in boxes.
    This one was huge for me. If I don't like the sound of my amp's natural overdrive, I'm never going to be happy with any overdrive pedal. The trick for me is finding the ones that let my amp sing instead of adding to much out of their own circuitry...and then finding a few with some different tonal characteristics.

    --And of course, running the Tim at 12 volts. :)

    Anyone got any more finds??
     
  2. tybone

    tybone Member

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    Use the tone controls on your guitar.

    Most guitars have at least one and the really nice ones can have 2 or more. They should be used when ever you want to warm up the tone or add some brightness. They really work well as long as your amp is setup to be as bright as you need to be. I usually run the tone controls on my leas paul around 5-7 on the bridge and wide open on the neck.


    Let your amp do the heavy lifting.

    I wish that was my expression but to me it means doing all the coarse adjustments to your tone from your amp. From there you can fine tune overdrive using guitar volume control and tone using the tone controls and pickup selector.



    Try new amp settings.

    Don't use the same old amp settings. See what it sounds like with everything at 10 or dialed way back.

    Cheers
    Larry
     
  3. Captain Crunch

    Captain Crunch Member

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    I recently tried this with my Classic 50. Backed off the pre and post gain knobs to about 11 o'clock, instead of having them dimed as I usually do. It gave me a nice, smooth OD tone that I didn't realize I could of had all this time. Add to that my Silver Kiss with just a scandalous hint of dirt and I was good to go!!
     
  4. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Member

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    :dudeOverlooked Tone Factors?
    ... I definately take all my own opinions with a grain of salt, but for what it's worth, the main factors when testing for tones are:

    --Turn That Stereo Down!!
    What a world of difference when I turn off that loud music!

    --Like Taking a Blanket off the Speakers
    I literally had a blanket on my speakers, why? I cant remember--I think it was even wet, but now it's off, it sounds better.

    --Sober Up
    Self-explanatory, but wow, that can make your tone go south in a hurry.

    --Reading the Gear Page is taking Time...
    That could be better spent A/B-ing carbon-zinc batteries with alkaline ones and trying to figure out which direction my cables sounds best.

    At least I'm learning to type:cool:
     
  5. Rumblefish

    Rumblefish Silver Supporting Member

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    Well if you are blessed like me and have an original '68 Plexi 50 watt(you may
    touch my arm)and you just happened to read Hogy's thread last week that a bunch of local "experts" piled on about running your vintage British amp at 220 volts with a step-up transformer-and you went and got a step-up and tried it,you'd be smiling wide right about now.My ears are ringing from playing and hearing my beloved wife(I mean Plexi)singing like she's never done before.
    Simply amazing!Thank you HOGY!:dude:RoCkIn

    And to those that pooped on a thread by one of the best amp builders ever(he makes Komet Amps)-----:moon
     
  6. j_m_s

    j_m_s Member

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    turning UP the volume.

    some pedals are made for LOUD volume ala live use. turning your amp up will not only unlock secret characteristics in some pedals but also your amp might hit its sweet spot.
     
  7. fendergeek

    fendergeek Member

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    +1 on turning up the volume! Most of the time I can't turn up past 2 or 2 1/4 (sometimes I only get a chance to play late night). But when I get a chance to turn up just to about 3 or more..... Everything seems to come Alive!!
     
  8. Theorywolf

    Theorywolf Member

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    + to everyting said. For my tone upgrade, I recently went from 10s to GHS TNT thin/thick, 10-52s and WOW! What was always missing in my tone chain was these strings! Brought out my strat, super reverb reissue, and my 57-62 pups! As said, like taking a blanket off! Its Alive! To get SRV on the spot, I gotta use his strings, GHS! Just ordered his set called Low Tunes, 11-58! Finally put the tone on the money! As above, putting the volume up is also imperative! Some pedals sound like bird doo at low volumes! My TS pedals are like that!

    Mike
     
  9. djinn1973

    djinn1973 Member

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    I have gotten some interesting results using different gauges of picks. Also with things like where I pick, close to the neck, over the neck, and so on.
     
  10. enditol

    enditol Member

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    I find quality cables and power supplies get overlooked a lot. I agree with you about using OD pedals for boosts, I much prefer amp overdrive as the base tone and then tweak it with pedals in front.
     
  11. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    Using your fingers:

    - Playing cleaning
    - Adding vibrato and string bends
    - Dropping the pick
    - Increasing / lightening touch
     
  12. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Get combo amps up off the floor

    Make sure your pickup heights are dialed in correctly/optimally
     
  13. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    playing in traffic...
    Speaker change has already been mentioned
    Pickups
    Pots
    Caps
    Wiring
    wood type,age,quality...
    nitro finish vs. the rest...
    ...those would be the big ones
     
  14. Andy J.

    Andy J. Member

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    Really? I've been under the impression that doing this messes with the bass response? Must try fo' meself...
     
  15. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Depends on what you mean by 'messes with' - I find that getting the amp up off the floor allows the cab to resonate more which I happen to like. If you play a combo that isn't a solid pine or nice plywood cab it probably makes very little difference.
     
  16. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    Practice playing with your fingers or thumb, it's a whole different type of tone and sensitivity than using a pick, and there are many more ways you can attack the strings.
     
  17. aaron1433

    aaron1433 Supporting Member

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    find the right pick for the job/your preferences. I switched from a standard .073 tortex to a jazz III shape & thickness and it's made a huge improvement in my desired tone.

    Use variety where and how you attack the strings.
     
  18. BuckeyeBrown

    BuckeyeBrown Supporting Member

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    Someone said Pickup Height

    Man how true is that! I'm telling you its huge! Tiny little 1/4 turns can really make a difference. Take a screwdriver. Put it in your back pocket. Play. Tweak big and then tweak small once you narrow it down.

    Note - louder signal does not equal sweet spot. Sometimes backed away a little with the amp doing more work is better.
     

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