The two MAJOR ways to use effects

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by StompBoxBlues, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I first thought to write this in the general discussion area, but this really is an observation I had (that is very simple and obvious...but sometimes when you look at something it rings a bell) that does have to do with effects.

    Listening to a lot of Gov't Mule lately, their original stuff, but they also have a lot of cool cover material out there. Thing is, they always sound like them, it is clearly their cover of the song, instead of slavishly copying the SOUND of everything or any one aspect they play covers as if they were Gov't Mule originals.

    All well and good. I had a longstanding wish in my bands that WHEN we do covers we make them "original", change them, etc.

    But now I realize that was missing a part of the point. I mean you can do a raggae version of "All Along the Watchtower" (actually it was pretty cool) but it is a little pretensious to always HAVE to change a song so much it sounds like another. Can be fun but not good to make it a rule.

    ANYWAY, the main point I finally realized is... I would guess most of us that hang out in the effects forum probably fall into one of two categories with the majority using effects (when doing covers) to sound as much like the record as possible. If doing Gilmour, getting that sound, or Santana...lots of gain-sustain, if Hendrix fuzz and vibe, etc.

    But the way Warren Haynes seems to go is the second way. He gets A fantastic tone, and other than some envelope follower, or trem, or slight vibe, usually stays with THAT tone (and it's natural variations) and when he plays a cover he prioritizes his guitar tone over trying to make it sound like the original recording guitar.

    I'm saying a lot to say a little maybe...but I think it is a significant thing...because though it is NOT the same as (as some here do) deciding NOT to use effects at all and just run straight into amp, it is using minimal effects and getting one major tone, and using it with various other effects when it might be cool, but not copping another basic sound.

    I had for a while a lot of effects, and was using the same basic effects as the original songs for a lot of Clapton stuff, and Hendrix. Am now rethinking that if I get a tone I love, I ought to stay true to the TONE first, and maybe even avoid the exact same effects as were on the original.

    Sorry for the length or if this is too obvious...it seems like a revelation to me myself and just wanted to share.
     
  2. NewarkWilder

    NewarkWilder Member

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    I seem to find i'm different from most guitarists in that i started out from a place where I honestly didn't have one single "guitar god" or tone that was my holy grail. I liked a lot of different guitarists with a bunch of different styles. Looking back, I guess I'd say Gilmour became that for me after a few years of playing, where i went through a phase of not necessarily trying to emulate his tone but just spent so much time trying to study all the little nuances of his playing.

    BUT... even when I'm playing PF now, I never stay "true" to the cover. Hell, I played a wierd sort of post-punk/electronica version of Echoes with my old band a while back, some would probably have called it an abomination since we broke down the sections into our own little spaces of fuzz/noise/wierdness before returning to the main themes... i think my main tone for that was coming from a Devi Ever box, and it sure didn't sound like Meddle, but it sounded good to me.

    So... yeah, tone first I guess. But make sure its YOURS and don't be afraid to play with it. I've got a pretty wide range of tones--I suppose you could make the "jack of all trades master of none" argument but i'd rather have the different flavors in my arsenal and know how/when to use them. nothing like playing some nice subtle overdriven rock and then stomping on a harsh fuzzbox and watching peoples faces as they either squeal in delight or reel in horror. i'll take either :Devil
     
  3. Dave Wakely

    Dave Wakely Member

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    The No Logo inner being is hating me for typing this, but ... depends on how you're pitching yourselves as a night's entertainment. If you're going out there as a straight covers band, get reasonably close to the recorded original.

    If you're going out as a band that happens to play covers, play it your way. (And play a few of them in a whole new way if you want to - I approve, but your audience might not.)

    Being a band with its own identifiable sound is a fine thing, but not if your audience (or the booking venue) are expecting you to be jukebox with body parts.
     
  4. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I hear you, and decided a long time ago that being a jukebox wasn't for me. I don't look down on it, and I often learn songs as perfectly as I can mimic, but that is like to get into the soul of it as well as cop cool licks ;) but I tend then to make it different.

    But the thing I think is funny, I would say MOST big name bands actually change up and cover their own songs. Often including taking some rocking song, playing it during their acoustic set, etc.

    The bad thing about being a jukebox...it is a lose-lose situation. Even if the band NAILS the song...people will say "wow, they sound JUST like the band that did the song!" but more likely something will be off...and since it is so close it is more noticeable if say the singer can't sound like the songs' singer did, etc.

    But I wasn't really meaning to start a cover vs. original take on cover...the main point really is that getting the one main tone, and using it in the cover songs as well. You could imagine Warren Haynes playing "All Along the Watchtower" but with Haynes' guitar sound, and hist phrasing...but staying true enough that you can hear a ghost of the Hendrix stuff...

    We aren't Warren, but we all have our own individual strengths that if one uses them and respectfully covers the song, but as oneself...it's one way to go.

    I think I thought I was more original for a time than I was. Because some of the more obscure (not to folks here, but like "Sinners Prayer" off of Claptons "From the Cradle") "covers" I did tend to stick more to the original, maybe not slavishly playing, but in the EFFECT USE...that if the original had a vibe, or slapback delay, etc. I felt inclined also to do that....

    That maybe the biggest point really. I found I didn't NEED the same effect for the song as the original had. Which meant I could stop having to try to get a multiple personality guitar sound...this minute Santana-ish, that minute Pink Floyd....etc.
     
  5. CarlosJesena

    CarlosJesena Member

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    I think that sometimes, it happens unconsciously. In my experience, when I play a tune, I unconsciously try to get a similar tone to that which was used in the song. I think it's just an intrinsic will to "honor the spirit" of the song in a way. Yet I always try to add my own sound and use my own sound for it. This is why lately, I did away with knob twiddling at gigs or rehearsals etc and just set up my tones like this:

    Clean->Gritty->Crunch->Full on lead

    and just choose one of those for a certain part in a song. That way I'm not trying to cop the tone of the person who played on the tune and I'm more or less injecting my own "personality" into the guitar part by using my own tone for it.

    just my two cents
     
  6. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    Just a quick thought on Warren Haynes:
    I saw him play an 1.5 hour concert and all I could think was "Man, why did he use the SAME TONE for the whole show?" I think it was prob'ly Les Paul Fatigue Syndrome on my part.
     
  7. this1smyne

    this1smyne Member

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    amen dave. my buddy made a living at the carolina oprey for 15 years singing cover songs for show. they mandated that the song sound EXACTLY as it did on the recording, because thats what people were paying to hear. some of those guys could rip too, but they had to stick to what the song was originally.
     
  8. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Good point...there is that too. Never seen him live, but on recordings (live or studio) he almost always plays some OD some clean, some vibe, or envelope...I get impressed with his varying sounds....he also (from video I've seen) seems to be constantly adjusting his volume, which I started trying out and like a lot...get more gainy sounds for some sections back it off for other.
     
  9. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    Copy, interpret, completely rework....

    Obviously there are many places in between those point. I have been in bands that broke up over this exact issue. For me, it has a lot to do with how I listen to music. I have absolutely no interest in going to a stadium show to hear said band sound just like the record. Like wise I have absolutely no interest in being a jukebox.

    I do however think that there is more to playing than finding my tone. I think different songs and composition require a wide palette. I did not understand recently the difference between picking up a tele vs a sg. I play differently and sound different depending n the guitar I am holding. I spent a month trying to get pickups in my strat to sound like a les paul... a complete waste of time. So I got another guitar.

    IMHO - Have many tools in the tool box... and no recipes!
     
  10. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    I don't particularly care for consciously copping people's tone for covers. I think the Jukebox metaphor is pretty spot on. I don't want to be that guy. Yeah I'm sure there will always be a demand for cover musicians that "nail" the original song, but I don't want to do that.


    I have a pretty big board (PT-pro), but I'd still consider myself a "naked" guitarist. I've got a few basic distortion sounds and a clean sound I can manipulate with my guitar/tone controls.

    I've got my low gain/half clean sound, a light rhythm crunch and a heavier crunch, a weird/alternative sound, and 3 lead tones.

    Of course some of the pedals do double-duty or stack, but that's my schitck - those are my flavors. Mostly variations on the same theme. In the event that I do a cover, I might ballpark my tone to be closer to the original, but only out of the tones I already have.
     
  11. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    I definitely don't play the jukebox game either. I get my basic tones and I stick with them. I control everything from the volume knob unless I hit a lead boost and that's it. The only "effect" I use is a Wah and I'm thinking about chucking that as well. If I was in a tribute act or an act that specialized in something in particular, I'd go further with the effects but, in general, no.
     
  12. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    While we are essentially saying the same thing...I would differ in two things..

    1) SOMETIMES I do want to hear the stadium band play the album. Best case in point, a band like Pink Floyd (when it was the original lineup)...
    But usually I want to hear them play old songs new ways. I hear the Eagles sound just like their recordings, I know Dylan NEVER does. It depends on the band.

    2) my real main point was just that...the wide pallette you talk about is not an automatic choice. I don't think ANY song "requires" a wide pallette of effects or sounds. I think any great song can be done fantastically on an acoustic guitar, or with Gilmours pedalboard and anything in between.

    What was a revalation to me personally was...it is all choice and there is NO "require". If I play "White Room"....I don't HAVE to have a wah to play it. Nor a fuzz. If I have a basic sound that is harmonically pleasing, I can use no pedals or some, or many, but if I keep my sound...and it is a good sound, I can ease up and not use the SAME pedals as the recording...maybe using a chorus instead of wah (if anything)...or just straight guitar, etc.

    I'm having a hard time pinning this down, but I just think back to how impressed I am by some peoples "covers" where they sound like the person themselves wrote it, but they still pay homage to the original.
     
  13. Windup 43

    Windup 43 Supporting Member

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    I feel the same way when I listen to him, my ears fatigue after a while. Never felt that w/ Dickey, Derrick or even Dan Toler. Great player, but maybe a bit redundant playing/tonewise??
     
  14. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    you'd think that with amount of money I've spent on effects that I would be using them a whole lot more...truth be told my effects get used at most about 5% of the time on stage and it is more of volumn or feel thing...I use ods to boost my solos over the band and also for sustain for more legato stuff...never have tried to immitate the effects used on a particular song and tend only to use effects for soloing or needing a particular rhythm part to stand out in the mix a bit more...

    my search has netted the pedals that I can stand to step on...most make me cringe when I do...

    of course I play mainly Blues and RnB and a lot of rhythm guitar...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  15. Wooley

    Wooley Member

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    Hee-hee.
    We used to do "House of the Rising Sun" as a medley (not first one, then the other, but intertwined) with "People Are Strange" with a reggae bridge. It was absolutely awesome and the crowd would always go nuts when we did it.
    That said, I am definitely category 2 and always have been. I use plenty enough effects, but to me the important thing is to choose a guitar, amp, and overdrive that will characterize the basic Wooley tone, both clean and gritty, rhythm and lead, and then usually pick ONE modulation pedal that will characterize the Wooley modulated sound. I add a touch of echo-type delay to most solos and that is MY SOUND. No matter what we play, I try to make it sound like ME. That also includes NOTE SELECTION. I played with a guy the other night and he commented that I used a lot of note choices and stylistic touches that never would have occurred to him (not that I'm some guitar genius, I just have a sort of style that I like to use). That is another very important part of making your sound your own.
    Even when I play Hendrix-style rhythm stuff, I do it with my favorite ODs into a Fender amp, usually WITHOUT fuzz or vibe, because that's my sound, and I'm the one who's playing.
    That's my take on the whole thing, for what it's worth.
     
  16. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    That's what I'm talking 'bout!

    YEAH! seriously....that is the kind of music I LOVE to hear when I o out.
    Something that I think "what song is this?" and it comes to me later in the song..."oh yeah...cool".

    When I go out to hear a band, I want to hear something that blows me away. Covers never do that for me but I love to "name that tune" and hear some cool intro and not know where it is from bu realze it later...
     

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