People who can't really play, offering their expertise on tone

T92780

Member
Messages
8,283
I'm a home noodler with a decent amount of boutique gear, if someone's asking about an amp, pedal, pups, etc tone, which I own, in most cases, I offer what I feel is a legitimate opinion/help. I only compliment others tone and don't post that their tone can be improved, that's rude.

In regards to playing expertise, I call myself a hack, noodler, etc, but, I don't think because someone plays local gigs, dodges puke and fights off people wanting to sit in with band all night as having more expertise in tone, sorry, I don't, heck, my GF knows good guitar tone when she hears it.
 

Phletch

Member
Messages
9,896
What if the player you are describing acknowledges that his playing sucks? Does that necessarily mean that he doesn't know good tone?
He might know good tone, but he can't demonstrate that a piece of gear can produce good tone.
Good tone is like pornography...can't define it but I know it when I hear it.
Most people judge porn visually, but I guess if she's a screamer your analogy is valid. :banana
That's not what we're talking about. Again, it's not the ability to *hear* good tone, but, rather the ability to *produce* good tone.

There is a difference.

People bringing up producers, soundmen, Leo Fender et al are missing the point. If somebody clearly has trouble stringing some notes or chords together, or has no dynamic variation with pick/finger/right hand attack, how can he possibly demonstrate how responsive the amp is? However, his lack of ability to do that has no bearing on his ability to recognize the ability of others' good tone.

How about this? A lot of people know about cars and engines and horsepower, etc. They can recognize a fast car on paper and they can tell that the car is fast by the lap times or the et it turns at the track - but they can't drive. Are you going to give much consideration to their assessment of how well the car brakes and turns into a corner or how the back end feels throttling out of the corner? Or, in the case of the amp builder who can't actually play, it would be like the guy who can build an awesome car but can't drive. Being a great mechanic doesn't mean that one is also a great driver. Being an automotive enthusiast is not the same as being an automobile racer.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,912
Just an observation here from a weekend warrior nearly 50 year veteran.

I spent a lot of time & money over the years chasing the VaughnC tone and I finally found it about half way through it all. And here's a funny story about a "tone test" in my den a few years ago. One day, I was sitting in my den practicing & enjoying the rig that finally defined my tone when my wife walked into the room. Now my wife has no interest in guitar, making music, bands, etc.....and, just out of curiosity, I asked her to strap on my guitar and try to make some kind of sound with it. She did so...and, as expected, the playing was horrible. But, you know what, I could still hear that VaughnC tone I spent so many years trying to find...but she had no idea what I was talking about ;).

Yup, tone is very subjective...I've heard tones I liked and tones I didn't like from players of all ability & experience levels. So, bottom line, I'm not really sure what bad or good tone is...but I do know what tone I like with me providing the guitar input. Beyond that, whatever blows your skirt up is fine with me ;).
 

Lewguitar

Senior Member
Messages
5,663
There's a thread over on the Seymour Duncan Forum entitled:

"What makes a bad pickup?"

After reading some of this 17 page thread on TGP, I almost answered: "A bad player!" :)

I do think that many of the complaints on online guitar forums about guitars and amps and speakers having bad tone are coming from players who lack the ability to produce a good tone on any gear.

I've read posts about how the Klon is uninspiring and nothing special and then the guy will post some clips of him playing his Klon clone and his playing is completely one dimensional and lacking in the touch, the technique and the ability to use the guitar's volume and tone controls that it takes to take advantage of what the Klon is all about.
 

Echoes

Senior Member
Messages
6,218
We were talking specificlly about people who couldn't play very well, evaluating a piece of musical equipment as a tool. Essentially saying, "I find this to be an ineffective tool at producing a specific result" that would imply and possibly even require that the reviewer had a certain degree of skill in using that tool.

Would it help if the guy showed humility and said "hey, I have a great amp here and I'm trying to get a nice tone, please forgive my sorry playing as I am still working the old chops..."

Or....

"Hey, your playing is great but the tone is rather shrill to my ears, I'm not as good a player as you are so just MHO and YMMV....."
 

btdvox

Member
Messages
2,852
Skill is subjective just like Tone is subjective.

I honestly don't think I'm a great player comparing to those who I idol, doesn't mean I don't know good tone or at least what I THINK is good tone.

My point being that I think people who shred suck. I'd rather listen to Mark Knopfler than Paul Gilbert any day.

So what you consider good skill might be ****** skill to others. Just something to remember.
 

grill

Member
Messages
5,685
there are very few guitarists i think of, when i think tone.
jeff beck in his "rough and ready" days is one. loved his strat tone.

i never think of page, in that way, for example.
i always thought tone was in the guitar, anyway, and skillz played a huge part of what i liked.
and i guy i know that makes me look like hendrix, has the best acoustic tone that i been trying to chase, for a couple years.

i do p&w only, live. i use an ac-30, instead of the marshall.
the songs and volume we play at, really doesn't support a marshall but when i do my own stuff at home, it's a different story.

whether someone is qualified to comment on tone, if they are a sub-par player or whatever, is invalid to some, is not something i care about.

if it's a piece of gear, that's different, i know that i don't know the limits of amps, i had a 60's twin and never had it over 5!

after the 17pgs of drift in this thread, i'm so confused, lol!
 

oldtelefart

Member
Messages
4,670
When I was about 10, me and my little petrolhead friends would have serious arguments about whether a Ferrari was better than a GT40. We earnestly repeated everything we'd heard or read.
Our opinions were informed and valid.
Of course, none of us had ever driven a car or even seen the cars we were arguing about.

If we'd had the internet then.............
 

CharlyG

Play It Forward
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,772
I will chip in as a primary bassist but have played rhythm guitar at home for years. I am still learning lead guitar, but I can evaluate tone, and can play enough lead with dynamics, feel, etc. but not fast. In my world, any guitar player who is concerned with "cutting thru the mix" is a hack and doesn't understand tone in the context of a band. Just let me turn it up and play kinda thing.
 

McShred

Member
Messages
2,940
Skill is subjective just like Tone is subjective.

I honestly don't think I'm a great player comparing to those who I idol, doesn't mean I don't know good tone or at least what I THINK is good tone.

My point being that I think people who shred suck. I'd rather listen to Mark Knopfler than Paul Gilbert any day.

So what you consider good skill might be ****** skill to others. Just something to remember.

Skill is not subjective at least if we are talking facility of the fretboard and mastery of the instrument. Musical preference is totally subjective, you can prefer Mark Knopfler to Gilbert and be 100% right on. There is no objective scale for personal preference. If you said Paul Gilbert sucked as player, you'd be a buffoon.

Michael Angelo Batio for example.... I couldn't be paid enough money to listen to his catalog, no way. In person however, his prowess on the instrument is awe inspiring, if totally unmusical...at least to my ears
 

art_z

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,218
That Jim Marshall guy didn't play guitar, somehow he seemed to make a decent amp. Same could probably be said for Matt Mathias and Cliff Cooper.
 

McShred

Member
Messages
2,940
Of course, humility and just genrally coming off as nice goes a long way.

Guthrie Govan is about the most proficient guitarist on the planet, technically speaking, its astounding. He's also a really nice guy, humble and friendly. Though he's definitely 'better' than 95% of the guitar universe, he'd never ever present himself as so

Would it help if the guy showed humility and said "hey, I have a great amp here and I'm trying to get a nice tone, please forgive my sorry playing as I am still working the old chops..."

Or....

"Hey, your playing is great but the tone is rather shrill to my ears, I'm not as good a player as you are so just MHO and YMMV....."
 

hudpucker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,463
Skill is subjective just like Tone is subjective.

My point being that I think people who shred suck. I'd rather listen to Mark Knopfler than Paul Gilbert any day.

Preferring Knopfler to Gilbert is a subjective preference. You prefer not to listen to shredders and you don't value Gilbert's skills.


Your preference has nothing to do with skill; Gilbert is immensely skilled no matter what you believe.
 

sector9

Member
Messages
573
I've been following a particular amp thread, and there is this guy who keeps posting, offering himself up as quite the connoisseur of big iron amps, posting his largely negative impression of the amp in question. No harm no foul, different strokes for different folks right? WRONG. I just watched a couple videos of this guy playing, and he's just terrible. Can't find the beat to his backing track so he's just laying old guy blooze slop all over the place. It's obvious he's not a good player and yet there he is waving his high post count around like he's some kind of Matte Henderson or David Torn.

I wish we had some sort of skill level ranking system so that it would be easier to determine which members should be ignored. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, but all opinions are not equally valid.

What do you guys think about this issue, does it chap your hide when you find out the guy who's been all over your thread talking up a storm is actually a 60 year old bedroom player who is so unaware of how bad he is, that he actually uploads clips to youtube. He literally couldn't get a gig to save his life

I wish I could put the link up here so you'd see what I'm talking about, you can't make stuff like this up.

"he's just terrible" "old guy blooze slop" "he's not a good player" "waving his high post count around" "determine which members should be ignored" "opinions are not equally valid" "is actually a 60 year old bedroom player who is so unaware of how bad he is" "couldn't get a gig to save his life"

Maybe you should be ignored. That's a lot of ****** comments about someone in one little post.
 

gibson3798

Member
Messages
1,538
Steering this back on track, we're not talking about evaluating these sings from a "how does it sound" standpoint, in which literally everyone with ears would have a valid opinion. I like chocolate, I hate chocolate.... you're both right!

We were talking specificlly about people who couldn't play very well, evaluating a piece of musical equipment as a tool. Essentially saying, "I find this to be an ineffective tool at producing a specific result" that would imply and possibly even require that the reviewer had a certain degree of skill in using that tool.


Producers most certainly do make suggestions on musical equipment in trying to craft a tone. They suggest amps, guitars, etc. I take it you realize they suggest different mics, am I right? Must they be great singers to do that? What about a mediocre guitar playing amp builder? Can he earn your stamp of approval to comment on tone?

A bunch of you guys with inflated egos regarding your skill levels are doing nothing to make your point when you denigrate other players. You go out and gig, playing the same old cover songs and call yourselves artists. Get friggin' real here. You have a level of proficiency that will keep you doing the same gigs until you're too old to be cool and some new smartass will be questioning your talent. Get some humility before it takes a bite out of your pompous a@@.
 

McShred

Member
Messages
2,940
Producers most certainly do make suggestions on musical equipment in trying to craft a tone. They suggest amps, guitars, etc. I take it you realize they suggest different mics, am I right? Must they be great singers to do that? What about a mediocre guitar playing amp builder? Can he earn your stamp of approval to comment on tone?

That's not at all the same thing is it? A producer is trying to fit a piece in a puzzle, looking for the right tone to go with his vision of the song, he's as much an artist in that capacity as anyone in the band. The producer is not reviwing the amp from a players perspective or frankly, reviewing the amp at all.

A bunch of you guys with inflated egos regarding your skill levels are doing nothing to make your point when you denigrate other players. You go out and gig, playing the same old cover songs and call yourselves artists. Get friggin' real here. You have a level of proficiency that will keep you doing the same gigs until you're too old to be cool and some new smartass will be questioning your talent. Get some humility before it takes a bite out of your pompous a@@.

I think there is a big difference between saying I find it annoying when relatively unskilled/unexperienced players review a piece of gear touting their experience as the end all be all and saying what you've accused me of; that I'm the best guitar player, or even a good guitar player. You put those words in my mouth. In fact, you just flat out made up a whole bunch of stuff there at the end.
 

Ben Furman

Member
Messages
2,950
Pete Thorn: we have all seen his videos and lets face it everything he plays sounds great, He is likely to be able to get great tones out of even the cheapest gear, but he has tested lots of high end amps and is likely to be able to offer some useful insight.
Me: I probably sound like crap to most people even with a Tone-King and Cornford amp and Suhr/Tyler guitar, BUT I sound better than I did with Vox Valvetronic amps. So can I give an opinion on Tone-King/Cornford/Suhr/Tyler? Yes I think so, but don't expect me to sound as good with Tone-King/Suhr as Pete would with Squier/Valvetronic.

I was going to say something similar, but I like the way you put it much better. Even those of us who are hacks on guitar (me included) can have a detailed understanding of gear performance within our limited frame of reference. Some gear is simply dramatically more inspiring to use even when it's used principally as a learning tool.

I personally try very hard to admit the caveats about my own limited experience, but I can get defensive as much as the next guy when I think there's a clear difference between items I've owned and used for months or years.

We were talking specificlly about people who couldn't play very well, evaluating a piece of musical equipment as a tool. Essentially saying, "I find this to be an ineffective tool at producing a specific result" that would imply and possibly even require that the reviewer had a certain degree of skill in using that tool.

Nowadays, I try to say things like "I like X better than Y because...." or "I think Z is a better value if...." I also try not to extrapolate my experiences too far, and I have certainly realized that I still sound like me no matter what the nuances are.

I am a violinist first, guitarist second. In the classical world, they pretty much grade all equipment based on price. If a person isn't skilled enough to appreciate the difference between a $500 bow and a $5000 bow, then it is a waste of money and breath to make a larger investment. On the other hand, there is a fair amount of snobbery involved, mostly due to the subjective nature of "feel," and there is also a huge difference between individual pieces at any price level. The musician must know what works for him when he feels it, or at least it should be experienced by a teacher with a thorough understanding of the student's weaknesses. The right equipment can accelerate a player to the next level. But impersonal internet recommendations almost always boil down to price vs. experience.

For good or ill, there's a range of great-sounding stuff at all different price levels with electrified guitars. Musicianship transcends the gear no matter what, but the right stuff in the right hands is magical.
 

Hacksaw

Time Warped
Messages
10,208
So, this is all interesting, but, just so I'm clear, who is the judge of this hack level cut off point after you guys decide what is
"appropriate"?
 




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