Top 3 factors in an electric guitar's sound

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by slhguitar, Jul 23, 2006.


  1. slhguitar

    slhguitar Member

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    I'm sure people have different opinions on this one, so thats what I'm looking for. And I mean a guitar's sound, not a player's sound. I know that the player has too much of an effect on tone, so lets say thats a given.

    I personally think that the top 3 are as follows:



    1st. Wood.

    Wood type, thickness, density and design all effect the tone. The body wood, the neck wood and the fretboard wood all play a crucial part (in my eyes anyways).

    Tied for 1st.- P/Us

    Not only type (HB or SC), but resistance, output, and position make a huge difference for me.


    3rd. strings.

    String type and thickness have an effect for me, but not as much as some people think. Yes, they are the things that are physically creating sound, but a vibrating peice of metal is a vibrating peice of metal in the eyes of a magnet.




    So there you have it, my top 3. Now, fellow forumites go nuts!!! I have been very interested in this for a long time, and I would really love to hear what you people think.
     
  2. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    Pickups--Huge difference between pups
    Scale length--Helps make a Fender sound snappy and a Gibson sound warm
    Amplifier (although that's probably not what you meant)
     
  3. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    1)Neck wood
    2)Pickups
    3)Body wood
     
  4. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    don't forget construction of the neck. dual truss and graphite reinforced necks sound nothing like single truss necks. my top three would be SCALE PICKUP PLACEMENT PICKUPS
     
  5. Beergoblin

    Beergoblin Member

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    Scale
    Neck Joint.....bolt on vs set neck etc
    Pickups

    In no particular order
     
  6. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Silver Supporting Member

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    1. Wood
    2. Pickups
    3. Design (neck joint, trem, stoptail, etc.)
     
  7. slhguitar

    slhguitar Member

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    I was considering bridge type and joint type, but I didnt know how to put them in one coherant category. You did it well with the name "design".
     
  8. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    +1 except in a variant:

    1. Wood
    2. Design
    3. Pickups

    Stick a PAF into a frankenstrat - I think EVH may've made it popular - and I don't hear a Gibson. I hear a great humbucking sound, but not a Les Paul. To me, that means Design comes before Pickups.

    Design to me includes scale length. What I would add as a standout criteria is Neck Grip + joint. If the neck is big and the joint is big - e.g., big heel, long tenon, just a lot of wood involved in whatever way possible - really matters to tone to my ears.
     
  9. JWK

    JWK Member

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    One word - purfling.

    Nothing else need be said.

    Need I say more?

    Wait... I already answered that question, didn't I?
     
  10. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    I can only think of 2

    Electricity .....Guitarist
     
  11. lbw

    lbw Member

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    1. pickups
    2. wood
    3. scale length
     
  12. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    1. Pickups
    2. Scale length
    3. Trem or Hardtail bridge
     
  13. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    +2 except for a variant

    1. Design
    2. Wood (& other materials)
    3. Pickups

    IMHO, if an instrument is designed like a small body Steinberger, then I would think the instrument's materials would play a much lesser role in shaping the instrument's raw tone and the electronics would play a much larger one. Also, to me the neck joint design can make a HUGE difference in terms of the high end response and midrange resonance of an instrument.
     
  14. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    1. Color
    2. Case
    3. Case candy

    (challengers: strap and guitar stand)
     
  15. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    1. Amp
    2. Pickups
    3. Strings
     
  16. sosomething

    sosomething Member

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    If we can include other gear (excluding pedals which would overcomplicate things) the list would be:

    1. Amp
    2. Pickups
    3. Wood / construction method

    without other gear:

    1. Pickups
    2. Wood
    3. bridge and other hardware
     
  17. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    Serious Poo (love the username, btw), I do hear you and can go back and forth on that one. I suppose I was automatically assume the basic design types came into play, but that is limited.

    I am surprised that so many posters are putting pickups so high - I simply don't find that to be the case. But then I stopped and thought about a conversation I with friends - you can either play the wood or play the pickup. By that, we mean you can have a guitar that is meant to deliver a woody tone via great design and wood and comparatively lower-output pickups - in other words, the tone of vintage instruments like 50's Gibsons and Fenders - or you can have a guitar whose tone is largely dictated by its high-output pickups - e.g., a Superstrat, which has a locking, floating trem anyway, so the likelihood that the body material can impart much to the tone goes way down...
     
  18. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

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  19. c_mac

    c_mac Member

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    1. Tremelo Springs
    2. Pickguard Material
    3. Strap Pins

    :D
     
  20. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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