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Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 9:01 am
by Lee
We all keep harping on about tone on this forum but it's so damn subjective. So let's analyse TONE.

Qualifications to talk about TONE:

I've been playing the guitar for 30 odd years. I've had virtually every guitar you can think of and probably every amp (this was when vintage was cheap). I'm no slouch when it comes to banging a tune out and doing the odd widdle type solo. I've done thousands of gigs in all types of venues from concert halls to shitty Working Mans Clubs (Pennies from Heaven).

So what is TONE?

It has to be a guitarist?s ultimate goal, the holy grail of guitar playing. It?s like asking, ?What is Love?? There is no straight answer.

For me, the search for TONE is ongoing. If I stopped looking for TONE I might as well give up playing. TONE is what makes a good guitarist shine. If you don?t have good TONE you won?t shine.

Why won?t you shine Lee?

Because if the guitar sound you?re hearing behind you on stage or the sound emanating from the monitors at the recording studio doesn?t meet your liking, then you won?t be playing at 110% of your ability. Thus you won?t shine.

?That guy is a great player but he has a ^&*( tone?

GOD I?ve heard this so many times. It doesn?t matter if his tone is ^&*( to your ears. To him it may be audible ecstasy. If he?s having an off day you?ll know it because he?ll be fiddling with his amp knobs throughout the first set. If you don?t like what you?re hearing - walk out.

Waking up to TONE:

There comes a time for every guitar player when he notices TONE. I never wondered about TONE until I heard Steve Lukather play the solo on Hold the Line. That was the sound I wanted to hear coming out of my amp. That was the instant I switched the TONE knob on in my head.

So who did it for you, Hank Marvin, Wes Montgomery, Peter Green, Clapton, Page, Joe Perry, Carlton, EVH, Vai, and Satch? Oh and of course Mr. Hendrix.

Generally I guess making music is like painting or sculpting, if you?re good at it people will take notice. It?s an art form with lots of personal expression involved. I think it?s a combination of everything but mostly it?s about YOU. I know guys who can make any guitar plugged into any amp sing, and boy do those guys shine!

By the same token, I?ve heard players with top-notch kit make it sound like Bacon frying.

So, what?s your definition of TONE?

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 9:10 am
by Lee
In case you're confused, ^&*( = Sh1t :roll:

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:00 am
by loverockerUK

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:00 pm
by Paladin2019
Tone = Les Paul into a Marshall at mid-gain. Tweak to taste, but that's what Tone means to me.

Zep, Gary Moore, Guns N Roses, Cream etc etc.

Oh, and the strat neck pickup with the tone rolled off is really nice too.

Subjective enough for ya? :lol:

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:04 pm
by Lee
Day off in fact :D

That's strange you mention MS before he cut his hair off Barry. I was thinking of our Mick whilst writing my little piece above. That was a great tone. I especially liked the kicked back wha-wha sound he used a lot, Rockbottom being a good example. Obviously you and I are from the same stable of influence.

Now back then, that was just a sound to me and not a tone and there is a lot to be said for just plugging your guitar straight in the amp as Paladin describes.

That's basically where I started, SG into a 50w marshall top and 4x12 cab.

I then went through the old floor pedal phase (Electroharmonix gear, Bell, TS808, Jet Phaser, Copycat) then onto the big rack in stereo and now I'm back to floor pedals again with a bit of pickup swapping for good measure along the way.

I guess all this experimentation is helping to build your style and shape your tone whether it's good or bad.

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2003 2:08 am
by Nik Lloyd
I have to agree its all down to the Player. In the late 70s/early 80s when I was playing seriously, I had all the best gear my Mom & Dad could be persuaded to buy ! I refused to use any effects on principle. Then one night at rehearsal, I met a young guitarist from the band in the next room. His name was Steve Harris (no not the bass player !) The band was called "Shy", a much underated UK Metal Band. I went in to listen, wow !what a player and what "Tone", then I looked at his gear. His guitar was some crappy "star" shaped no name thing, his amp something like a Carlsboro Stingray (remember them ?) and then, about 4 various old distortion and fuzz pedals all linked together. The whole lot couldnt have been worth more than ?75. I sank to an all time low, that guy could make a wet fart sound good !!!! I just think youve either got it, or you havent ! Trouble is, you never hear your own sound the same as others hear it !

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2003 6:42 am
by luis
Hey Nick I remermber Shy,there must be a LP(the first released one) somewhere in my home,I will listen it again.Nice group!

Posted: Sun May 04, 2003 11:07 am
by tokaiguy
The topic of Tone as noted by Lee is an elusive and confounding concept! Gremlins that hide in the amp and change yesterdays full lusty bottom to a harsh shrill Sh*t Tone, go figure! My 13 yr old daughter has a friend who is discovering Classic rock, everyday I get a question about Fleetwood Mac, Zep ,Cream etc... Her friend is now a Bad Company freak, I suggested he would like Free. :D I love Free! Paul Kossoff has to be mentioned when Tone is the subject! I went to Kazaa the other day and downloaded a live version of "Mr. Big" and the ultimate in the Les Paul thru a Marshall "I'll be Creepin". Talk about clean lows, If you have a copy of this song listen to it and if you don't... get one! I made a Free compilation the other day sat out by the pool , smoked a cigar , shot some Tequila {HerraDerra Silver} with no trainning wheels{no salt,no lime} a couple of Michelob Ultra's and was intoxicated in Tone! 8) TG

Posted: Sun May 04, 2003 3:28 pm
by luis
I also am a die for Free Bad Company fan for ever,there is no swiming-pool at my home but the beach is near if it serves :D .

Posted: Mon May 05, 2003 8:39 pm
by tokaigeezer
Kossoff had a lovely tone and a superb vibrato. I also like the way JJ Cale plays ? a distinctive style, never overplays and always the proper tone for the song. JJ can do anything, from spanking highs to monstrous crunch. There are also some guitar tones to die for on Lucinda William's latest, "World Without Tears." She always gets some killer players for her recordings.

Tone is highly subjective. I like a Tokai's neck pickup with a little reverb and vibrato just on the verge of breaking up a good tube amp, an EVH pickup through the same amp, and sometimes a clean jazz humbucker sound through a Les Paul neck p/u. Different strokes, though. huh?

Posted: Mon May 05, 2003 10:32 pm
by ramsale
I went to a local shop and played through some expensive "vintage" Fender Super and Twin amps, and they have a true tone mojo going on. Sometimes you CAN throw money at a problem, and help it out, but for me, I'd rather pay for lessons and learn new tunes than dump a grand or more into an old amp...but WOW, it sure sounded nice!

Posted: Tue May 06, 2003 3:05 am
by loverockerUK

Posted: Mon May 12, 2003 6:05 am
by Lee
I had meant to add Kossoff to my list at the top but couldn't remember if it was one 's' or two. Yes the man had it.

Strange isn't it that we all seem to agree that its a subjective issue :-?

Posted: Tue May 13, 2003 2:47 pm
by tokaiguy
The Tone thing is as old as time! I have an old Bug's Henderson instuctional video from the 80's {on Beta} He is at Charly's Guitar Shop showing some of the ingrediants that constitute tone. He plays a vintage Dot neck 335 and gets a real smooth jazz tone. Then a Strat and plays some Hendrix type riffs. Later in the shoot he A/B's a blind test to see if you can tell what he is playing...both examples this time were done on the Stat style guitar, Bugs comments "Made by our friends in Japan,Tokai" his point was the tone is in the Hand of the Man. He played a Candy Apple Red AST 62 as smoo :wink: th as as a Vintage 335! TG

Posted: Wed May 14, 2003 3:12 am
by Lee
That reminds me of Big Jim Sullivan who appeared weekly on the Bay City Rollers TV show back in the 70's. This guy would play a 2 bar lick and amaze the sh1t out of Woody (and me).

No Barry, I didn't have a crush on Les. I would tune in each week to watch BIG JIM burn just in case you were wondering :wink: .