Why not your own sound

GulfportBound

Member
Messages
8,548
Duane Allman had the perfect thing to say, about this in an interview he did about 2 months before he passed away . . .

What advice would you give a guitarist...today?

Skydog:
I’d tell him to remember that you can’t never play just like anyone else so you ought not to try . . .
Right there says it all.
 

jaxjaxon

Member
Messages
559
I was listening to a wide variety of music before I started playing the guitar and before I started playing guitar I played a little piano and then drums. Now because of how I hear music I have come to play with a combination of many styles. I will give one sound and style a break and decide to go in a different direction Like phrasing my sound like a horn section plays or set my rig up to play and sound like a hammond organ a use phrasing like a piano. I approach playing the guitar like its a instrument that can be used in many ways. I try and sound like some one else if I am playing one of there songs. If you where going for some ones sound then I will suggest Frank Zappa.
 

Jim Hagerman

Vendor
Messages
177
I approached it from the beginning of having my own tone.
Good for you! This is exactly what I went for when I started a pedal company. In hindsight, it may have been a gigantic mistake. Most players are looking to copy a specific sound. I did not do that, instead coming up with all new designs, not copies or clones of existing equipment. I really expected more artists to be pushing the envelope. Seems I got on the wrong train...
 

Kevsonic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,911
I'm surprised at how repulsed so many comments sound here. Jeez, it's not such heresy to want to sound like yourself, is it? Even if you don't achieve absolute originality, what's the harm in reaching for it? And if the topic annoys or bores you, for the life of me I can't figure out why you'd participate in this discussion at all!
 

MoosBros

Member
Messages
161
I think a few folks here are misinterpreting what the OP said, which I understood to mean simply that he never set out with the goal of sounding just like someone else. That does not mean he managed to achieve some new, unique tone previously unknown to mankind.
I just wish I could sound like someone better than me. ;)


T$
I accidentally copped Jack White's "Ball and Biscuit" tone recently.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.
 

VaThump

Member
Messages
108
Some musicians think of tone like sex. In that mindset, I might choose to be tonally adventurous, wanting wide experience. Or, like albatrosses, I might mate for life. Others are serially monogamous. Some settle, others never find love. But, in any case, there is an imagined moral dimension to our choices. And, depending on your own inclinations, you might find others' choices baffling.

Others think of musical tone as akin to cooking. You probably have some wide ranging general preferences, but you don't count it as a moral victory if you just serve up peanut butter sandwiches morning, noon, and night.

As usual, expectations probably map to lived experience. (For example, I suspect that musicians who play more than one instrument in multiple genres and many musical settings tend to be drawn to a wider palette.)
 

BeeBaa

Senior Member
Messages
693
But what does “good tone” mean? I assume you are trying to communicate something through your note choice, phrasing, and tone.

A long time ago, in the late 1990s a number of us young guys at a firm I worked at at the time went up to the house of a guy who was one of the Editors of Wine Spectator Magazine because the firm wanted us to learn about wine from him so we wouldn’t look like knuckleheads when out entertaining clients.

This guy had us sitting around the table where he poured bottle after bottle of amazing stuff.

Afterwards, we went out for drinks and I asked him, “hey that was truly awesome, but most of that stuff is tough to find, and I’m never going to buy a $500 bottle of wine at home. So what’s some “good” bottles of wine in the $25-30 range.

He looked across the table at me and said, “F- -K YOU! Have you not heard a word I said?? The point is not to find a “good” bottle of wine. The whole point is to find a bottle of wine that tastes like no other - where the taste of land (terroir) where the grapes were grown, and the winemakers personality, and the weather that year, etc combine in the wine to make it like no other. This is art. And you are looking for something unique - not just something pleasing. The concept of ‘good’ wines is for rubes. Leave that to the idiots clapping themselves on the back as they order the Silver Oak. You are better than that. Get it together!!! I don’t want to ever hear you use the phrase ‘good wine’ again. That’s embarrassing.”

This thread reminds me of that. Because, while he was absolutely right, there’s also nothing wrong with a cheap wine. Sometimes you just want something to go with pizza or to serve at a party.

I also think we always have to be cognizant of asking too much of people. And we need to realize that many people just want to sound “good” for other people because that’s what they need at that point in their lives.

And 20 years later I still don’t know Jack about wine (outside of now being completely burnt out on all those big reds that were all the rage for a while). I usually have the waiter pick (ain’t my first and won’t be my last - and don’t get me started on people who ask to sample wines or beers in restaurants or brewpubs.).
I don’t think the wine guy was absolutely right. He was absolutely wrong. It’s easy to make something unique. It’s harder to make something good. And the point of drinking wine or making music is to enjoy yourself, not to congratulate yourself for being different from the masses. The guy sounds like a complete tool.
 

coltranemi2012

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,539
I guess I kind of don't get the question. Who has an original tone? I guess some guys have original styles but for the most part it seems guys using traditional tones? Like how do you develop your own tone? A specific pedal setting? I guess I don't get it 100%. I'd like some better examples than the Edge or Morello.
 

GhostJam47

Member
Messages
15
Others think of musical tone as akin to cooking. You probably have some wide ranging general preferences, but you don't count it as a moral victory if you just serve up peanut butter sandwiches morning, noon, and night.
I like this. I do sort of think of my tone the way I think of my cooking. I like to make my own marinades/rubs, but if I'm starting with something outside my wheelhouse, I might start with an attempt at a full copy. Once I'm comfortable with it, I might say I like the cooking method in this recipe, but I prefer the amount of garlic in this recipe. This was one uses lime, but I prefer lemon.

Same with guitar tone. My tonal foundation is a direct rip-off of Trey Anastasio's Double TS/Compressor tone, but I'm playing through an HSS strat or a Les Paul, so I'd never get all the way to that semi-hollow tone even if I wanted to. I add in bits and pieces of other things I like. Sometimes the originality comes from things you stumble into on the way to trying to replicate an element of someone else's tone.
 

RevDrucifer

Member
Messages
1,157
My interests in artist’s gear is strictly for the gear nerd in me. I have no desire to copy someone’s tones, at least in the context of my own music.

I bought an AxeFX specifically so I could carve out my own tone. Being able to tweak the amps without electrocuting myself is a treat and it’s teaching me a lot about how physical amps work with hotter/colder bias, negative feedback, sag, tone stacks, tube types, etc. It’s a treat for a nerd like myself.

But that also comes with the ability to dial in some tones of my influences, which I’ll load on days I just want to screw around and I’m not focused on writing. Eventually, i want to build little mini-rigs using mini-heads, I’d love to have a little EJ rig, a little Gilmour rig, etc.
 

DonaldDemon

Member
Messages
9,299
I'm surprised at how repulsed so many comments sound here. Jeez, it's not such heresy to want to sound like yourself, is it? Even if you don't achieve absolute originality, what's the harm in reaching for it? And if the topic annoys or bores you, for the life of me I can't figure out why you'd participate in this discussion at all!
I don’t get it either, but I do know the cover band guys here can get awfully militant about what you “should” be doing, to the point of ironically being dismissive of the original music scene, of which they are making money off of.

I guess I kind of don't get the question. Who has an original tone? I guess some guys have original styles but for the most part it seems guys using traditional tones? Like how do you develop your own tone? A specific pedal setting? I guess I don't get it 100%. I'd like some better examples than the Edge or Morello.
First thought is Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, who not only has a very unique tone, but is also adamantly secretive about it. He uses a combination of mid heavy amps and pedals and actually nails the album tones live, albeit with a pretty elaborate setup.
 
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coltranemi2012

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,539
I don’t get it either, but I do know the cover band guys here can get awfully militant about what you “should” be doing, to the point of ironically being dismissive of the original music scene, of which they are making money of.



First thought is Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, who not only has a very unique tone, but is also adamantly secretive about it. He uses a combination of mid heavy amps and pedals and actually nails the album tones live, albeit with a pretty elaborate setup.
It seems like most people quote guys who are more based on sounds than actual playing if you know what I mean (not a diss). Which is almost like niche thing in a way.
 

NorCal_Val

Senior Member
Messages
13,383
I tend to sound like myself regardless of the gear.
This.
Sure, I’ve used my favorite players’ tones as jumping off points.(EJ’s clean tone, EVH’s rhythm tone, George Lynch’s lead tone)
But ultimately, I sound like me, regardless of guitars, pedals, amps, and speaker cabs.
I’ve got my own “sonic fingerprint”, for better or worse.
 

coltranemi2012

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,539
No, I don’t know what you mean, cause that does sound like a diss. Care to elaborate?
Meaning that they are perfect for their bands but they are not known as players that can play with anyone in any context. That said, maybe Josh can? I don't know his music too well. Just going off of what I heard which is minimal. But for example, Edge does the Edge thing very well and just got really good at doing that.
Edit: Example...most guitar players don't look at the Edge and say "wow, I wish I could play like him" when they are picking up guitar. It's more like "Wow, I love U2, great songs. I love the way the guitar sounds." It's not like EVH where some people are like "wow, he is amazing. I want to play like him. I like some Van Halen songs." Does that make sense?
 
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MDrummey

Member
Messages
146
I'd say "to each their own". There's something really fun about chasing your favorite artist's tone and gear. I've got a few friends that play in Grateful Dead/JGB tribute acts and they're always having fun getting the Jerry gear/tone through the years. It's a special skill to be able to accurately recreate the vibe of someone else's playing. If that's what makes you happy then go for it!

I think if you saw my rig/board you'd be able to tell immediately who my biggest influences are. Just the sight of a Maxon SD-9 and a Voodoo-1 probably gives it away already. I'm cool with that. I'll always end up sounding like myself anyway.
 




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