#1
I have no intentions of trolling; I merely would like to state my opinion, in hope that others share it. I post here in the gear forum, as this is a topic about tone, and amps in and of themselves.

The way I see it; if you have to ask about your tone, you might not be familiar with it. I’ve heard good, bad, indifferent, and just ugly sounds. Tubes, SS’s, the lots. I agree, SS amps don’t sound as warm, (if that’s even what we call it). But a Ford Mustang doesn’t sound much like a 69 Dodge Charger RT either.

The point I’m driving home is simple, pick what you like, what you can afford, and what you want. I’ve played a few gigs through my old Spider III, and now I gig through my Fender FM100H Stack, and I’ve never heard a fan say “You should get a Tube Amp.” Or overheard someone say “That guys tone sucks!” They might say it, but my tone doesn’t seem to draw a smaller crowd.

Come to think of it…..I’ve never heard a gigging guitarist around town say it. My Bassist plays guitar, better than I do I might add. He owns a 1964 Org. Super Reverb (it’s the heat, let me tell you), he doesn’t tell me to get a tube amp. His Reverb is awesome, he knows it, and I know it, so where’s the disconnect?

The kicker is simple; he’s not saying it, because I don’t NEED it. I like the sound of my amp just fine, most of UG hates it, and that’s fine. I use pedals, albeit BOSS pedals, most of the UG faithful have claimed their bad as well. Suffice to say, my Rig is far from UG eye candy. But it works. The fans like it, I like it, and that’s all that matters. I’m not looking for validation, I have that, our live show is proof of that. I’m no hero with the stick, but I do good enough to make money and book shows as a headliner. Power chords can get you somewhere, I suppose.

Why the long rant? I only hope that there’s a young guitarist on here that’s gets something out of this. Like what you like, love what you love, and make some awesome music along the way. Tom Morello once said, and I am paraphrasing, (It’s in a recent Guitar Player Magazine, don’t know the month, it’s the one about pedal boards) “Once I stopped caring about how I sounded, I wrote some kick ass songs”.
That’s what I want. I’ll trade tone for songs any day of the week. Someday I’ll have some tubes, and then again, maybe I won’t. That’s fine with me.

What’s your feelings? Tone or substance? Do they have a balance for you, as they do for me?
1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty)
1980 Marshall JMP 2204
#3
you need substance in order to have a need for a 'tone'. having 'amazing' tone is useless if you cant use it, and that is how i look at it.

although what you have brought to light about live situations is very true. i've only had one or maybe two live tones of other guitarists that i can actually say i did not like. and to be honest, they were just EQ issues (far too much treble).
#4
Dude, you should totally get a tube amp!

To me it sounds like you are justifying your Frontman, you make good points in that one shouldn't always be caught up in tone but nobody should sacrifice one for the other. When you are writing songs forget about tone. But when you aren't writing, why not spend your time/money on improving your tone? Just my thoughts.
Tele - EP Booster - DLS - Big Muff - Ekko 616 - Rocker 30/AC15
Last edited by Hesh_09 at Jul 22, 2009,
#5
Not to mention that most people don't know what tone is, let alone agree on what good tone is, so as long as you don't sound absolutely horrible, you'll be fine.

Also, there are lots of great artists out there with not so great tone, IMO, but I still love them, so I guess you're right.

But I'd still rather have great tone and great music.
#6
Quote by Hesh_09
Dude, you should totally get a tube amp!

To me it sounds like you are justifying your Frontman, you make good points in that one shouldn't always be caught up in tone but nobody should sacrifice one for the other. When you are writing songs forget about tone. But when you aren't writing, why not spend your time/money on improving your tone? Just my thoughts.


I appreciate it, really I do. and thanks for the advice. Im sure the day will come. But for now, Im happy getting paid to do what I love to do. This journey is a blast, imamaking great freinds and having too much fun on the way.
1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty)
1980 Marshall JMP 2204
#7
Its all in the fingers dude.
"Good and evil lay side by side as electric love penetrates the sky"
#8
i agree with you totally mate... i have a mate who gigs with an SS rig and his tone is great... because he is such a phenomenal player. I spent ages messing about with different valve amps... ive owned loads, and now im sticking to a simple tonelab to PA im playing my best... im not worrying about tone anymore. I do think too many noobs buy into UGs valve hype when a valve amp is quite simply not what they need. quite often it would be far too loud for their needs but they get one because they'd be shamed for getting SS.

I agree my friend! not sure if you're allowed to post rants, but what the heck... i enjoyed it
#9
Sometimes I see Guitar "Tone" like a singers voice. I love Claudio Sanchez's voice - but dont care much for Geddy Lee, dont ask why, its hard to explain. I like the way Dimebag's Guitar sounds, dont care much for Messugah or Lamb of God, its all in the ears of the person.

No one would tell Claudio to change his voice, or tell Mic Jagger to stop yelling. Sound is perceived as much as it is created.
1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty)
1980 Marshall JMP 2204
#10
Honestly, I could probably play an Epi Les Paul through a Blues Deluxe and no one in the audience would know the difference or care.

...but I like my grossly oversized rig. It sounds good and it (literally) makes me smile every time I fire it up.
#11
Quote by Mitchell?
I'll take both.

Kthxbai.

/thread.

Tone is a personal preference yes, and 9/10 people in most audiences won't be able to tell the difference between a $200 and $2000 amp. But your the one that has to listen to your tone more than anyone else, just because most of your audience doesn't care less (although they will depending on what sort of genre you play) doesn't mean you shouldn't chase the best tone you can.
As for a balance, you shouldn't have to sacrifice either, it's not like "oh i'll spend 30% less on my tone and make my songs 30% moar gooderer."
^Note: Probably sarcastic
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#12
well, do you want to listen to recordings of you and be able to hear the horrible sound of a cheap amp? you hear it more when recorded because your not working to play it. imo, a gutiarist who doesn't care AT ALL about tone doesn't deserve my listening too.

"The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
#13
Quote by metallicafan616
well, do you want to listen to recordings of you and be able to hear the horrible sound of a cheap amp? you hear it more when recorded because your not working to play it. imo, a gutiarist who doesn't care AT ALL about tone doesn't deserve my listening too.


I cant expect everyone to like it, that just goes with the territory. The balance for me is that I dont have the desire at the momment to drop a grand on a new amp head, or a whole new set up.

Got a show tonight, me and old trusy are back on the road again.
1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty)
1980 Marshall JMP 2204
#14
If you're happy enough with your amp, and it delivers a sound that you enjoy rocking out to, then good for you! I don't have a massively expensive rig, all I use nowadays is my Gibby lp, or 1960s teisco into my Sound city mk6 head, with a bad horsie wah and sd-1 as a boost.

Its a very simple rig, but it's all I need. Its not massively expensive or impressive, but nothing makes me smile more than firing up that amp at a gig and listening to it roar.
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#15
But...they aren't mutually exclusive. You don't have to choose between tone or substance...you can have both.

Right now I'm living in Seoul and have a nasty little 10watt SS amp but I can still write songs on it, but I can't wait to play through my Orange again and feel my music actually come alive. Sure, you might sound OK now, but who settles for OK with their passion?
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Ibanez GRG170DX
Fender Telecaster MiJ - 1986
Swing T-Through

Ibanez TS9DX
Sovtek Small Stone - c.1985
EHX Big Muff
Kimbara Wah - c.1974
Boss GE-7

Orange Rocker 30 Combo

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#16
If you've found a set-up that you're satisfied with, you're a step ahead of almost everyone else on here.

I don't know what you're driving at about tone or substance. If I played john mayer's gear through his rig and he played through mine, he would sound better. A good player is much more important than gear (I don't even like John Mayer). At the same time, I've seen some guys start a solo, and after the first two notes they roll the tone knob back a touch and turn the volume from 7and3/4 - 7and7/8. I couldn't hear any difference, but they obviously felt something was a little off because they now have a grin on their face instead of a grimace.

Tom Morello stopped caring about how it sounded the first time he did a solo.
#17
Quote by Kurapica
Sure, you might sound OK now, but who settles for OK with their passion?


Sounding OK is a matter or preference. I understand your POV, and thats cool. Its interesting to see so many responses. I dont see too many reasons to improve. My AMP is like an old jeep, rugged, usefull, and road ready-and-proven. I dont buy a new car every time something better comes out. Thats just dumb, unless you got the greenbacks, in which case, love it and enjoy it.

Tone and Substance are not exlcusive, I did not want to insinuate that they were. I am happy with my rig, Frontman or not. Tone is good, good enough for me. Oh believe me, I hear the difference, and its a big one. But this isnt about my opinions on Tube sound vs. SS sound.

You guys have some great points, and most of your are very persuasive. What if everyone owned a Tube amp, how would some define good vs. bad tones then? I think the debate is interesting, and I love to see it, as I find myself usually on the sidline, watching the purists at GC squabble, while I practice my riffs with Instructor, or play with the new pedals.

Thanks for all the responses.
1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty)
1980 Marshall JMP 2204
#18
^ I can understand your point of view and I'm by no means one of those valve amp "purists" (my friend has a rather nice Peavey SS of some kind which takes pedals beautifully), but I just think it makes for a more enjoyable experience when you're with a great amp. But that's really up to you man. Maybe one day you will be in a financial position where it'll be OK to throw a grand at an amp, but until then, just enjoy what you've got if it really works for you
Ibanez PGM301
Ibanez GRG170DX
Fender Telecaster MiJ - 1986
Swing T-Through

Ibanez TS9DX
Sovtek Small Stone - c.1985
EHX Big Muff
Kimbara Wah - c.1974
Boss GE-7

Orange Rocker 30 Combo

http://www.myspace.com/paythelay
#19
Quote by Jonny Ryan Mac
I have no intentions of trolling; I merely would like to state my opinion, in hope that others share it. I post here in the gear forum, as this is a topic about tone, and amps in and of themselves.

The way I see it; if you have to ask about your tone, you might not be familiar with it. I’ve heard good, bad, indifferent, and just ugly sounds. Tubes, SS’s, the lots. I agree, SS amps don’t sound as warm, (if that’s even what we call it). But a Ford Mustang doesn’t sound much like a 69 Dodge Charger RT either.

The point I’m driving home is simple, pick what you like, what you can afford, and what you want. I’ve played a few gigs through my old Spider III, and now I gig through my Fender FM100H Stack, and I’ve never heard a fan say “You should get a Tube Amp.” Or overheard someone say “That guys tone sucks!” They might say it, but my tone doesn’t seem to draw a smaller crowd.

Come to think of it…..I’ve never heard a gigging guitarist around town say it. My Bassist plays guitar, better than I do I might add. He owns a 1964 Org. Super Reverb (it’s the heat, let me tell you), he doesn’t tell me to get a tube amp. His Reverb is awesome, he knows it, and I know it, so where’s the disconnect?

The kicker is simple; he’s not saying it, because I don’t NEED it. I like the sound of my amp just fine, most of UG hates it, and that’s fine. I use pedals, albeit BOSS pedals, most of the UG faithful have claimed their bad as well. Suffice to say, my Rig is far from UG eye candy. But it works. The fans like it, I like it, and that’s all that matters. I’m not looking for validation, I have that, our live show is proof of that. I’m no hero with the stick, but I do good enough to make money and book shows as a headliner. Power chords can get you somewhere, I suppose.

Why the long rant? I only hope that there’s a young guitarist on here that’s gets something out of this. Like what you like, love what you love, and make some awesome music along the way. Tom Morello once said, and I am paraphrasing, (It’s in a recent Guitar Player Magazine, don’t know the month, it’s the one about pedal boards) “Once I stopped caring about how I sounded, I wrote some kick ass songs”.
That’s what I want. I’ll trade tone for songs any day of the week. Someday I’ll have some tubes, and then again, maybe I won’t. That’s fine with me.

What’s your feelings? Tone or substance? Do they have a balance for you, as they do for me?


I believe we need some clips.
#20
Quote by JilaX^
I believe we need some clips.


sure. Ill get on that this weekend, got a show tonight. I am by no means all that great, more or less a Power chord hero that does a wee-bit o lead work. Thats fins for me right now.

But sure, I have a few riffs that I need to record anyways. Im not that great with Cubase SX, maybe I'll just make a video.
1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty)
1980 Marshall JMP 2204
#21
Quote by Jonny Ryan Mac
sure. Ill get on that this weekend, got a show tonight. I am by no means all that great, more or less a Power chord hero that does a wee-bit o lead work. Thats fins for me right now.

But sure, I have a few riffs that I need to record anyways. Im not that great with Cubase SX, maybe I'll just make a video.


It's essential to hear it in a band situation aswell.
They tend to mush up a bands sound like mad. (This is much more noticeable to folks than bad tone, however they won't be able to point out what's wrong.)
#22
I've heard a good show even with a line 6 spider. But it was used in the right context and went well with there band. Every other SS amp band I have heard sounded horrible. But about 35% of the tube bands I have heard sucked as well. You are correct on your points but its up the the person to make an educated decission and pick the amp that is right for them. If they pick SS and it sucks because thats all they can afford that is cool for bedroom use but why go on stage with it? People do talk, even my wife that knows nothing about amps will hold her ears and say that sounds horrible. Also me and my buddys watch what gets pulled up on stage and we know ahead of time if it will be a decent show or a horrible one.

Also I have seen clips of Pro guitarists using bad rigs and it sounds horrible so playing skills do not always overcome. I've seen a number of bands as well with players just as good as pro's id not better trying to make it to the ranks with cheap gear and they sounded horrible. Enough so I will not go to anymore of there shows. I personally dont care if your one of the greats, if your tone sucks I do not want to see your show. No matter how good the songs are
#23
^Agreed.

I think tone is equally as important in songs. There's a few songs I like more for the tone than anything else. I'm a gear junkie before a musician and a good tone for me can be as enjoyable as a great riff.

If I won the lottery I'd probably build a 100k plus studio in my house complete with hundreds of amps simply so I could jam out some A5 chords.

I also gotta agree on the skill =/= good tone. I will say a lot of the tone does come from the player, but you can be an average player (like me) and still have good tone if you know what you're doing.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#24
you would be surprised how many people are thinking that your tone is awful. its not like people are gonna come up to you and say WOW YOUR TONE SUCKS! And to the people that is matters to, like the musicians, possible record label scouts, sound guys, and other people in the room, it will not be good if they see you don't have great tone. Obviously a good player can a get a good sound out of most amps, but the thing about solid state amps is that they don't respond to you playing style, so its almost like cheating. anyone can sound good out of a solid state amp.

My first amp was an old ampeg combo amp and then i played a peavey valveking. neither of those amps were very dynamic and i sounded tight and awesome. when i got my red bear head, i realized that you have to actually "play" the guitar in order to sound good through a real tube amp. You have to dig in, and be basically perfect on the fretboard or it will show.

Tube amps make you a better guitarist. i will stand by that.
Quote by shakin'cakes
First of all, I enjoy deathcore for it's complexity and it's the only genre heavy enough for me



Quote by Highway60Bob
I want an amp good for playing hippie tunes. I want it to be an actual amp, not a tube amp.
#25
Quote by pmeg568c
you would be surprised how many people are thinking that your tone is awful. its not like people are gonna come up to you and say WOW YOUR TONE SUCKS! And to the people that is matters to, like the musicians, possible record label scouts, sound guys, and other people in the room, it will not be good if they see you don't have great tone. Obviously a good player can a get a good sound out of most amps, but the thing about solid state amps is that they don't respond to you playing style, so its almost like cheating. anyone can sound good out of a solid state amp.

My first amp was an old ampeg combo amp and then i played a peavey valveking. neither of those amps were very dynamic and i sounded tight and awesome. when i got my red bear head, i realized that you have to actually "play" the guitar in order to sound good through a real tube amp. You have to dig in, and be basically perfect on the fretboard or it will show.

Tube amps make you a better guitarist. i will stand by that.


I will agree on this. I love a dynamic amp, it's the reason I would spend 3 grand on an amp. A clear, articulate amp will show you your mistakes, which is good since you can then correct them.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#26
I know a couple guys who use SS amps and sound okay. Mostly, they don't use the amp's distortion. I know a guy who runs a Boss GT-6 in front of a Frontman 212 combo and he sounds pretty good. Conversely there was another guy who used some Zoom multi-FX in front of his Fender ss combo and he was horrible-sounding, very piercing, because the unit apparently put out too much treble.

Part of it is knowing how to EQ, I suppose. Many people who run SS amps are beginners and so they're not quite sure how to set the EQ and so it can get too trebley/too bassy/too middy but they might not be able to tell. Of course, a more experienced guitarist could make the best of their gear and still sound good through a crappy rig.
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#27
Quote by pmeg568c
you would be surprised how many people are thinking that your tone is awful. its not like people are gonna come up to you and say WOW YOUR TONE SUCKS! And to the people that is matters to, like the musicians, possible record label scouts, sound guys, and other people in the room, it will not be good if they see you don't have great tone. Obviously a good player can a get a good sound out of most amps, but the thing about solid state amps is that they don't respond to you playing style, so its almost like cheating. anyone can sound good out of a solid state amp.

My first amp was an old ampeg combo amp and then i played a peavey valveking. neither of those amps were very dynamic and i sounded tight and awesome. when i got my red bear head, i realized that you have to actually "play" the guitar in order to sound good through a real tube amp. You have to dig in, and be basically perfect on the fretboard or it will show.

Tube amps make you a better guitarist. i will stand by that.


Funny story, im the exact opposite.. My skills and playing are 10 times better on a good dynamic tube amp over most. Even my wife was like ohhhhh thats what you are talking about when you say expensive amps sound better. I can play the same exact stuff and it just comes alive. But im a have to hear it to play kind of guy. If it doesnt sound right or theres no dynamics then my playing suffers. Which is one reason I hate ear plugs, if I cant hear the nuances im screwed.
#28
Yeah, tone is subjective. I was listening to an old pink floyd song, obscured by clouds, that lead has the worst tone ever, makes my ears bleed, but probably through some vintage 60s tube amp with a great guitar. So yeah, whatever works.
#29
well yea thats pretty much what i mean. once you CAN play on a dynamic tube amp you can't go back.

you have probably also noticed that playing different dynamic amps gives you different inspirations. If i play a super clean amp with nice mild overdrive i am full of like indie rock riff ideas and if i play something that sounds heavy as **** i pump out metal/hardcore riffs.
Quote by shakin'cakes
First of all, I enjoy deathcore for it's complexity and it's the only genre heavy enough for me



Quote by Highway60Bob
I want an amp good for playing hippie tunes. I want it to be an actual amp, not a tube amp.
#30
Quote by IbanezPsycho
I've heard a good show even with a line 6 spider. But it was used in the right context and went well with there band. Every other SS amp band I have heard sounded horrible. But about 35% of the tube bands I have heard sucked as well. You are correct on your points but its up the the person to make an educated decission and pick the amp that is right for them. If they pick SS and it sucks because thats all they can afford that is cool for bedroom use but why go on stage with it? People do talk, even my wife that knows nothing about amps will hold her ears and say that sounds horrible. Also me and my buddys watch what gets pulled up on stage and we know ahead of time if it will be a decent show or a horrible one.

Also I have seen clips of Pro guitarists using bad rigs and it sounds horrible so playing skills do not always overcome. I've seen a number of bands as well with players just as good as pro's id not better trying to make it to the ranks with cheap gear and they sounded horrible. Enough so I will not go to anymore of there shows. I personally dont care if your one of the greats, if your tone sucks I do not want to see your show. No matter how good the songs are

By the same token, I've seen phenomenal players go through very expensive gear and thought it sounded horrible, but hearing them play through the same stuff in a different band and it sounded great. That's the reason I'll never see the dtb but I'll catch every abb show that i can. Context is just as important as skill and gear, as someone else stated
Last edited by pak1351 at Jul 23, 2009,
#31
Quote by Kevin Saale
^Agreed.

I think tone is equally as important in songs. There's a few songs I like more for the tone than anything else. I'm a gear junkie before a musician and a good tone for me can be as enjoyable as a great riff.

If I won the lottery I'd probably build a 100k plus studio in my house complete with hundreds of amps simply so I could jam out some A5 chords.

I also gotta agree on the skill =/= good tone. I will say a lot of the tone does come from the player, but you can be an average player (like me) and still have good tone if you know what you're doing.


+1

Id be right there with ya...

Quote by pmeg568c
well yea thats pretty much what i mean. once you CAN play on a dynamic tube amp you can't go back.

you have probably also noticed that playing different dynamic amps gives you different inspirations. If i play a super clean amp with nice mild overdrive i am full of like indie rock riff ideas and if i play something that sounds heavy as **** i pump out metal/hardcore riffs.


Yup, certain amps make me want to crank out blues and rock riffs and some are just begging for chugga chugga.

Quote by pak1351
By the same toke, I've seen phenomenal players go through very expensive gear and thought it sounded horrible, but hearing them play through the same stuff in a different band and it sounded great. That's the reason I'll never see the dtb but I'll catch every abb show that i can. Context is just as important as skill and gear, as someone else stated


+1
Last edited by IbanezPsycho at Jul 23, 2009,