"The audience can't tell the difference."

vintagefox

Member
Messages
1,217
I've read this, or something very similar to the thread title countless times from people. I never understood this logic when it comes to pedals or other gear.

Seriously, who cares if the audience can't tell between Boss and Strymon. Can't YOU tell the difference between different pedals? Aren't you playing for YOUR enjoyment and satisfaction? I understand if you aren't picky, or simply don't want to spend a lot of cash on something, but using the audience's ear as a way to justify gear that might be questionable (or just plain suck) makes zero sense to me.

Btw, I'm not saying one pedal is better than the other. We all hear things differently, so let's not turn this into a pedal VS pedal thread.

I just want to hear from people who go by this logic, so that i can have a better understanding of the "I don't care if the audience doesn't care" motto.
 

Sloppyslim

Member
Messages
310
VH1 ... the audience knew the difference

addendum:
is the thread about different flavors and diminishing returns or capabilities
jimi's wah, fuzzface, octava, and univibe, pages echoplex, doobie brothers slap back, eddies phaser, the audience is gonna notice
otoh, some people can make jaws drop playing eruption on an acoustic so it depends
is it the difference between a dan electro chicken salad and a fulltone deja vibe or the difference between a digitech xp100 & xp300 (whammy/wah and a spacestation)
what people notice and what people care about are two different things, and how many hooks have people been playing wrong for decades

addendum2:
someone compared gear to cullinary tools, but I think it's a bit more, like ingredients... or paint.
the audience sees the forms and shades, but the artist has to mix the colors.
the audience won't know or care if the artist used cadmium red because they were out of alizarin crimson, they only see the painting.
“I can paint you the skin of Venus with mud, provided you let me surround it as I will.” Eugene Delacroix
and most of the audience is there trying to experience or re-experience the painting, knowing it's a reproduction.
yes, there's always the olympic judge rating the 5th performance of an Ice skaters routine in the rolling stone...
but I've never even been to a grammys [good call btw:rotflmao]
 
Last edited:

Shiny_Beast

Member
Messages
9,934
Most of my fav guitarists have one thing in common, they always sound great. IMO It's one of the many reasons why Neal is as popular as he is, his guitar tone always kills and the audience can tell.
 

topperdoggle

Member
Messages
340
I think the point is that these differences are:
  • Not as important as some people like to think.
  • Not always very audible in a live room, or in a mix.
If we as musicians struggle to hear differences in practice, what chance does the audience have? It's less that they don't care, and more that they don't hear.

There is a lesson here for us too, that we can opt not to let marginal tonal differences interfere with our performance, because that makes us sound much worse than the difference between a Soul Food and a Klon.

Also, I am definitely playing as much for their enjoyment and satisfaction as I am mine, and a lot of my satisfaction is actually a function of theirs. It is a relationship. I get no satisfaction from having "amazing tone" and aimlessly wanking over chord progressions that only other musicians care about. But I really enjoy watching the crowd when we play a Play That Funky Music / Sex Machine medley and the groove kicks in.

(Of course, it doesn't pay to sound terrible, I'm not justifying crap sound, that's no fun for anyone.)
 

andy474x

Member
Messages
569
I think there’s a balance between being inspired/our enjoyment, and the audience’s enjoyment. And then, of course, it depends on what, specifically, we’re talking about. If you want to bring your Dumble, Klon, and ‘59 Strat to the gig, and you don’t care if they get damaged or stolen, knock yourself out. But, if you’re too worried about your nice gear and want to leave the good stuff at home, and it means you play a MIM Strat into a HRD, don’t whine about not being inspired and you can’t enjoy the gig. Or, if you just can’t swallow the idea of playing the show without three full stacks in a wet/dry/wet setup, but it takes you a semi truck to move and two hours to set up. That’s when the part about the audience can’t tell the difference , and you have to ask yourself if you play for the music and the people, or yourself and the gear... if the gear is that important, might as well be playing in the basement.
 

jblake

Member
Messages
2,091
If you have a holy grail piece of gear that gives you 100% tonal bliss but also has functional quirks and is not readily replaceable, what percentage are you willing to sacrifice for a bulletproof and easily replaceable alternative?

I'd love to gig an Echoplex, but a mass-produced analog delay is close enough and convenient enough to get the job done.
 

GeorgeNada

Member
Messages
1,653
Some folks prefer to focus on other aspects of being a guitar player and a musician. I get the mind set If your main goal is to create music for an audience, and that audience can’t notice or doesn’t care about subtle differences between pedals why spend your time, money, and attention on it?
 
Messages
5,619
Audible or not it's there to make the guitarist their best.

Most 'audience arguments' come from non-guitarists or guitarists who either don't know gear or don't love their gear. The rare case of a guitatist admitting to the secondary experience being quite different from the first hand one.
 

stevieboy

Clouds yell at me
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
37,335
The audience can’t tell the difference, because they’re not listening to a comparison. And most wouldn’t know what you were comparing, if somehow you could be.

What the audience does do is hear what they hear. They don’t care about about the details, but they are capable of liking what they hear. Sounding good is real. Playing good is of course the major part of that, but everything goes into it to some degree.

I figure that you should just try to sound good, whatever that means to you and however you go about it, and hopefully that will come across to the audience.
 

Comanche5

Member
Messages
1,831
I've read this, or something very similar to the thread title countless times from people. I never understood this logic when it comes to pedals or other gear.

Seriously, who cares if the audience can't tell between Boss and Strymon. Can't YOU tell the difference between different pedals? Aren't you playing for YOUR enjoyment and satisfaction? I understand if you aren't picky, or simply don't want to spend a lot of cash on something, but using the audience's ear as a way to justify gear that might be questionable (or just plain suck) makes zero sense to me.

Btw, I'm not saying one pedal is better than the other. We all hear things differently, so let's not turn this into a pedal VS pedal thread.

I just want to hear from people who go by this logic, so that i can have a better understanding of the "I don't care if the audience doesn't care" motto.
It's more about not sweating the small stuff. Look, it's one thing to dwell on these small details in your home, but get on stage and there are way more factors that are going to alter your sound. Stage size, stage material, room dimensions, amp placement, mic, mic placement, mixing, EQing, monitors, FOH, etc. Do you even know what you sound like in the room while you're on stage? Alright, after that $hitstorm, pop in your earplugs (unless your stupid). Yeah, why did I spend so much time dwelling on Boss vs. Strymon?
 

BlueRiff

Member
Messages
6,034
I've read this, or something very similar to the thread title countless times from people. I never understood this logic when it comes to pedals or other gear.

Seriously, who cares if the audience can't tell between Boss and Strymon. Can't YOU tell the difference between different pedals? Aren't you playing for YOUR enjoyment and satisfaction? I understand if you aren't picky, or simply don't want to spend a lot of cash on something, but using the audience's ear as a way to justify gear that might be questionable (or just plain suck) makes zero sense to me.

Btw, I'm not saying one pedal is better than the other. We all hear things differently, so let's not turn this into a pedal VS pedal thread.

I just want to hear from people who go by this logic, so that i can have a better understanding of the "I don't care if the audience doesn't care" motto.
The degrees of difference of certain pedals is much smaller that the degree of guitarist tone obsession between the same pedals. I agree - at the volumes being played out front to the audience, I think pedal tonal subtleties get buried. At least from what I’ve heard.
 

rockon1

Member
Messages
12,501
Playing gigs at local bars I started caring less actually , to make things easier and in the end more enjoyable for me. For a long time I'd schlep bigger than I needed, then I started to
downsize. Lunchbox head, 1 x12 cab, etc. These days Im happier if I can grab my mini board and plug into a backline amp. The last gig I did I used a $25 mini pedal on my mini board for dirt and nobody said my tone sucked, lol. Actually I got quite a few compliments on my playing though which was nice.
 




Trending Topics

Top