Tone Is In The Amp, Not Fingers!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Tag, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Squigglefunk

    Squigglefunk Senior Member

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    sounds about right
     
  2. justonwo

    justonwo Supporting Member

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    Wait. I thought tone was in the wallet?
     
  3. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

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    I read an article about Pat Metheny a few years ago. He was on a Polish TV station being interviewed and was talked into doing an impromptu jam session. He is using a Polish guitar with rusty strings probably around 0.014 E string through some Russian amp. After it's all over he retires to his hotel room where he turns on the TV and what does he find......the interview/jam session. He's amazed that with out his gear, amp, guitar etc he still sounded like him. I think he was referencing more than his style but his tone also. I've played other peoples rigs and they heard them say, "I don't sound like that", not, "I don't play like that"

    Hands are not every thing but they are important. Frankly I think the amp is more important than the guitar in an electric set up but in the final analysis it is the some of the parts;
    Hands+Strings+guitar+cables+amp+speakers=your sound. If you had to weight every element which on would you put the most weight on? Probalby the amp.
     
  4. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    I went to a PRS Forum Event some years back, at the Stevensville MD plant. Paul lectured us about tone that morning. To sum it up (from his POV on tone determinants): "Everything matters." Player to speaker...and everything in between.

    Thus endeth the lecture,
    S.
    j
     
  5. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    AHHHH!!!! So I have to read this book to learn to use my hearing! No wonder I cant play as well as Benson! I do not know how to use my ears correctly! :p
     
  6. JubileeMan 2555

    JubileeMan 2555 Member

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    I disagree.

    I think the tone is in the fingers, and an amp AMPLIFIES that tone. Different amps amplify THAT TONE differently.

    If there is tone in the amp that is separate from your fingers, then its not an amp...its a signal generator.

    And I might get attacked, but thats what I hear in certain amps folks worship. Makes them all sound the same.
     
  7. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Thank you. It is COMPLETE common sense to know that you can use your fingers to make your tone darker, a hard pick to make it brighter, pick harder to make it louder, softer to make it quieter etc etc etc. Does that even need to be discussed? I mean, maybe if someone FIRST picks up a guitar, but even then that seems so obvious. Ford incorporates all those techniques in pretty much EVERY song, and so does almost every good player. But the amp you are using has a given tonal stamp/tone that you can not change, no matter WHAT you do. No other amp I have heard nails the amp that Robben Ford uses to get his TONES. the TwoRock Custom sig 2 does. VERY simple.
     
  8. glman

    glman Member

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    what I think confuses people is that when people say " Tone " they are mixing it up with good tasteful playing that bombards the ears in such a way that actual " Tone " is overlooked and playing plays a major part.

    Lets take a grandma off the street whos never played a guitar.
    give her a week with a guitar teacher and teach her to play ONE note!!
    Take Larry Carlton and put him through the cheapest Chinese battery operated kiddies practice amp and get him to play the SAME note - Then take the Grandma and put her through a Komet concorde flat out playing the same note and then tell me about tone and hands. -
    I understand what most people mean but they are still confusing Tasteful masterful playing with " Tone ".
    why do so many of us keep chasing all these boutiques and 60's blackface fenders and marshalls instead of going to guitar lessons with our battery operated chinese practise transistor amps?
    Tone is in the Amp and Guitar and a persons taste as to what he dials in - The playing is what makes it intresting to hear as opposed to playing crappy licks.!
     
  9. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane apolitical Silver Supporting Member

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    Tone is only in the amps that are turned up past nine and a half.
     
  10. lchyi

    lchyi Member

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    Tone is in the ears.
     
  11. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    We should all probably talk about what an amp CAN sound like, or maybe what it can make ME sound like, not so much what it DOES sound like.

    Player's feels are so different that even through the same amp and guitar, different players sound different. The combination of your touch and an amps' feel, as well as the guitar used and signal path, sorta is makes up your tone.

    One of my friends, P, is never gonna sound good through a Marshall Plexi - his touch on the guitar is all wrong to get good tone from a Plexi. He's got a really light, somewhat tentative right hand - sounds great on a Fender Blackface amp very very clean, but awful on a Plexi turned up for gain.

    I can lighten up my attack to sound good on his settings, but he can't increase his attack to sound great on a Plexi. He'll never sound like me, on any amp we both play through. His touch is so light the amp reveals every little nuance, so it sounds noisy and picky when he plays through a Plexi, and worse on a stiff amp like an old Orange. He sounds fine with a Tube Screamer pretty much, but way better playing clean. He'd sound awful through a Dr. Z Stangray - too papery and revealing. I sound pretty good through one - you can hear every mis-cue clearly. (GRIN)

    The amp is one starting place for tone generation. Tone isn't exclusive to the amp, to the guitar, or to the fingers. It's a combination of them all, and the fingers make up a larger portion than most of us would care to admit, methinks.

    Dana O.
     
  12. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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    I just watched a video on you tube recently, I wish I could remember the link, anyway.. steve vai is telling a story about Eddie Van Halen coming over to his studio. He said that EVH picked up steve's ibanez jem and played through steve's rig. Steve said that it still sounded exactly like EVH. I personally to think that the fingers have alot to do with tone.... would a sax player sound different with a different sax? I think that how hold the pick and just the pressure and angle of your hand on the board has a huge influence on your tone... I mean, the singer in my band is a pretty bad guitar player and if he plays through my rig he still is...

    so take that into account for whatever its worth...
     
  13. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    All my amps must be broken then. Take my Strat for starters. When I listen to it acoustically, it sounds nothing like when I plug it into my TwoRock with the gain all the way up, all the way down, or anywhere in between.

    Here is a GREAT experiment I just did too. I tuned my guitar to an open E chord. I had one of my employees come in the room and I strummed it without ANY fingers on the neck into the TwoRock. An open E chord. I then unplugged from the TwoRock, and did the same into the Cowtipper. I asked him if they sounded the same, or different. He said completely different, the SAME thing I heard. He then thought I was being stupid when I dragged him into my other room and repeated into the AC 30. Totally different tone again, with NO FINGERS.
     
  14. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Then how did VanHalens tones change so much from the first album to his most recent, or cant you and Steve Vai hear any difference?? I read all the time about guys saying his tone changed after the first few CDs, so I take it many guys CAN tell a difference.
     
  15. homerayvaughan

    homerayvaughan Supporting Member

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    I agree. Tone itself is objective. What a good tone is to me could be a bad tone to you. What IS tone is more of the question to me. I hear players that no matter the amp or guitar I hear that person's tone coming through. Good or bad is up to the player and listener. Someone may like a stratocaster tone - but some will they sound too thin...whereas a Les Paul is a thick tone, but some will say they are too thick and heavy...what IS tone???
     
  16. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    If I didnt know any better, judging by your posts, I would think you are in Lalaland or somewhere like that. Oh..wait a minute... :D



    KIDDING, JUST JOKING. (Come on now, I could NOT resist!)
    ;)
     
  17. Squigglefunk

    Squigglefunk Senior Member

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    that's great, as scientific as it gets!!

    you must be a scientist on top of being the first guy to ever prove factually that you've nailed robbin ford's AMP tone on politician. :rotflmao

     
  18. Miles

    Miles Member

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    I think just as much tone is in the guitar as it is in the amp. Tone comes out of the amp. I guess it's a big trivial as to what we're really arguing and getting all heated about here.

    My tele through a Boogie and then through a vox isn't horribly different, it is different, but not super-drastic.

    However, my tele vs. a 335 through a vox and the difference is HUGE

    I just wired a humbucker in my tele bridge, and a hot single coil in the neck in such a way that my middle position is out of phase and quacks at me like a wah pedal, really cool for the indie artsty fartsy rock 'n roll I like to write.

    Anyways, it sounds just like THAT through every amp.

    For me, with tone the bottom line is this:

    There is always going to be something that you would change about your tone. Sometimes, you end up gigging in a room with awful acoustics and you just want to leave your amp at the gig, other times, a cheap pedal into a beater amp brings your playing to life. You just never know.

    For me, I want a warm, snappy, articulate, high fidelity tone that is well voiced for any pickup configuration and cuts it in a band mix and is reliable without too much lugging. I don't care what name is on the front of it, so long as it makes the instrument fun to play. I am also at a point where I have given up on finding the perfect sound and I want something simple that's easy to use. Too many frills and I get put off, but it needs to be a stimulating sound, most of the time.

    I mean, ****, we are talking and arguing about electronic parts that amplify an instrument when you really break it down. There is no PURE tone or method, it is simply achieving a certain sound.
     
  19. homerayvaughan

    homerayvaughan Supporting Member

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    Their tone (amps-guitars-fx) changed, but you can still tell it's Van Halen. That to me is the Van Halen tone - you know it's him. No one can replicate that.

    This whole concept is like the chicken and the egg....
     
  20. phsyconoodler

    phsyconoodler Member

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    The basic tone is definitely in the amp,however that being said,the way to get every last drop of that tone out of the amp is to improve your playing style.
    Case in point:I'm not a horrible player,but I'm no virtuoso either.I build dumble style amps and am not all excited about some of the tones I can get out of them.So a friend who is a session musician comes to try my latest creation and he nails all those Ford/Santana/Carlton tones we hear with very little effort at all.I believe that's why the vast majority of people don't choose a dumble amp because they simply can't get the tones they hear in their heads.Sure the amp is totally capable but we aren't.
    I like a Fender Blackface amp or Tweed amp for me because I can get good tones easily.Not so with the overdrive on the Dumble.
    Build a killer sounding Fender amp and most people can get a very satisfying tone out of it.they sound like scratchy sandpaper with a Dumble.Pedals are a must for some people and some can squeeze a tone out of a rock.People are as different in their playing style as there are numbers of amps out there.
    I don't think we can totally quantify whether it's 'in the fingers' or the amp.I know a guy named Jack Semple who can easily get a very satisfying tone out of a solid state peavey practice amp.When I play it,it sounds so bad i want to crush it.Now put a killer amp in his hands and the sounds are something like what Angels hear.
     

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