What makes the most important contribution to your sound?

What makes the most important contribution to your sound?

  • Guitar/Bass/Other instrument

  • Amplifier

  • Effect(s)

  • Playing technique/It's the notes that I play

  • Other/Combination of the above


Results are only viewable after voting.

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,176
We've all seen the debate: "tone is in your fingers" vs. "tone comes from your gear." I'm curious to see a tally of where your individual sounds come from; what makes you sound like you? This includes the sound of your actual guitar/bass/whatever, and it also includes the way you play. Is it your favorite pickup that identifies you or is it the unique way you use a pick? Do you dime every knob on your amp or do you use 5 pedals in series to create a carefully-constructed ambience?

Vote away!
 

ganttmann

Member
Messages
587
I seem to always sound like me. Many years ago, when I only owned one electric guitar - an early '60's Strat - I had to put my guitar in the shop. I borrowed my best friend's Les Paul w/ mini-humbuckers. Nobody in my band even realized I was using a different guitar. They didn't look, they didn't know. Sounded just like me, I guess. I have a '74 Deluxe Reverb that's been "black-faced", a Fuchs modded Bassman head and a Bruno UG30. I have a pedal board that I take to some gigs and leave at home for others. Still sound like me whatever I take out. So, I think the sound, while it may be in the hands, starts in my head and heart. My friend Mike Ault is a great guitar player. He's been thru dozens, maybe scores, maybe even HUNDREDS of guitars and amps in the 30 some-odd years I've known him. Always sounds just like Mike. Head, heart, then hands.

Gantt


We've all seen the debate: "tone is in your fingers" vs. "tone comes from your gear." I'm curious to see a tally of where your individual sounds come from; what makes you sound like you? This includes the sound of your actual guitar/bass/whatever, and it also includes the way you play. Is it your favorite pickup that identifies you or is it the unique way you use a pick? Do you dime every knob on your amp or do you use 5 pedals in series to create a carefully-constructed ambience?

Vote away!
 

tnvol

Ufologist
Messages
6,745
For me, it's a guitar that I'm comfortable with. The rest just falls into place.
 

Dave Wakely

Member
Messages
1,863
A combination of techique, tools (I use a variety of guitars, but a rosewood dugain pick, a good compressor - Barber Tone Press or Wampler Ego Squasher - and a slightly fattening booster - Hao Rust Booster is my choice - play their part, along with an amp with a decent reverb), but mostly I think it's what I hear in my head and then try to create. Biggest influences in terms of tone are probably Frissell, Philip Catherine and Terje Rypdal, but they're not the biggest influence in terms of note choice or playing style. (That goes to Leni Stern, Steve Masakowski, Bill Nelson, Scofield and a few others.) I can't sing, but I suspect part of my brain is working on a 'given how Kenny Wheeler uses Norma WInstone's voice as a insturment, if I could sing over this music, what would I sing?' line of thought that probably shapes what comes out of the amp more than anything else.
 

Scott Auld

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
12,337
When the question is "What's the most important contribution?" ... then it does not make sense to have one answer be "Combination of all" ...

Of COURSE it's a combination of everything creates the sum sound, but your question is what is the most IMPORTANT part of the combination.

So IMHO, that last item shouldn't even be a choice.

Of course it's a combination, but among those other items listed, IMHO playing style and technique plays the largest role in shaping sound, at least for me.

If someone made a guitar, amp or pedal that could compensate fully for lack of technique, the world would beat a path to their door.

That said, guess what we focus on more:

 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,176
Of COURSE it's a combination of everything creates the sum sound, but your question is what is the most IMPORTANT part of the combination.

So IMHO, that last item shouldn't even be a choice.
Actually, I agree; I just figured that if I didn't include it, I'd get a whole bunch of responses saying "I can't choose one, it's a bunch of factors."

I expected the top half of the poll to get the most votes, considering how little is discussed in the "Playing and Technique" forum. I'm surprised that amps have beaten out guitars (so far), considering that people are always asking "What's the next amp I should buy?", suggesting that few people around here have a signature amp.
 

Bluedano1

Member
Messages
7,045
I think for me, it's my attack.
I think with me (although I am a complete "budget gear" junkie) it my guitar playing (as I pretty much taught myself and have a good ear) seems to parallel how good I can hear something and understand it. It could be a phrase, a new chord, pattern, rhythm or a whole song. I'm not saying if I hear it, I can play it 100% (no way! there is a lot of guitar I will never be able to play or understand) but comprehending something when I hear it and then making associations has been the way I seemed to learn how to play- like "theory, after the fact"
 

67blackcherry

Senior Member
Messages
11,855
I will sound like me whether I'm playing through my rig, your rig, Joe Perry's rig, etc.

I will sound like me whether I'm playing straight ahead (original) rock, or covers, or if I'm faking my way through some jazz or country or death metal.

My sound is in my soul which flows through my fingers.
 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,250
You left out the main ingredient ~Good Sense of Time... pocket... groove...

Doesn't matter what else may be involved,
developing a good sense of time will instantly make the most important contribution to sounding good..
Good time will make whatever kind of music you're playing sound better..
Whatever gear you're playing sound better...
Whatever solo you're taking sound better ...

Good time can make someone with less chops sound more musical
then another guy with ton's of chops but no pocket ...
 

semi-hollowbody

Senior Member
Messages
17,786
I picked effects, but what I meant was pedals...
I play through a clean DRRi and peavey classic, but I have an eq pedal, reverb pedal, a barber launch pad, and a boost pedal that are always on...
 

Russorama

Member
Messages
624
For me I'd have to say what's in my head....my influences.
Years of listening to the BLUES as well as old school Soul, R&B,
funk and gospel and jazz.
 






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