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#1
I think this would go here, but correct me if I'm wrong

My band, and quite a few guitarists I know, don't think that tone is important. (By tone i mean specifically like amp settings. sorry if it's not the correct term)

They seem to think that it all sounds the same, no matter what settings I use and don't see the problem when I get mad about people messing with my settings.
So am I just over-reacting when my settings get messed up, or is it actually important?
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#3
blasphemy!

no justification needed.
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#6
you are under-reacting. slap em around more.
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#7
if someone messes up your settings it should be fairly easy to get back to how it was. at least close enough. if you're crying cause it's not EXACTLY how you had it, you're over-reacting. remember the basics of your amp settings and you should be able to get pretty darn close every time.

plus it's not at all bad to be able to play with different amp settings. a different tone can work wonders on your creativity if you know how to use it right.

go look at how many players out there have different tones from eachother. now tell me that having the PERFECT tone is vital to your band's success.
#8
Well, as long as you can hear what you're playing, and it doesn't just sound like a giant thump, don't worry. You WILL worry later, but if you don't care, see what happens.

It may turn out terrible, but you will have learned. If it turns out fine, then do it again.
#9
It's like being technically excellent as a singer but not possessing a nice voice.
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#10
yes, tone is very important. I especially hate it when somebody messes up my EQ in the middle of practice and I have to find the best tone I can all over again.
#11
Here's the thing. Tone in a professional recording setting has less to do with the guitarist than you think. As you go through the mixer, a wise engineer will change your EQ to better sit in the mix. This will occur again during mixing. They will also add compression, gating, reverb and other effects as needed. A smart guitarist knows which frequency range his instrument should be sitting in. At a live show, where there is less time to perfect such things at the board, this is important. A guitarist who dials in too much bass will interfere with the bassist and kick drum. Too much high end, and you're sounding whiny and thin. So tone is very important to getting a proper mix. Every instrument should know where they belong in the frequency range, and adjust accordingly, or you'll end up being a muddled mess.
#13
I do agree with all of you. Yet I believe tone comes also from the technique of the player.. I hate people chasing after their "perfect tone" purchasing numerous effect pedals and setting their EQ all the time yet paying no attention to their actual technique..
#14
Listen to one of the millions of guitar covers on YouTube with bad tone. Even though they're playing the song perfectly, it's still almost unbearable to listen to because of the bad tone.
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#15
I'd rather listen to a great guitar player with bad tone than a bad guitar player with great tone just like I'm sure most of you would. It's not that tone isn't important, it is, but it isn't all that hard to get. I don't even know what make my guitar is, but i've been complemented on my tone nonetheless...
#16
I think playing is 75% of a guitarist and tone is about 25%. It can make a good guitarist sound great and adds to the appeal to any guitarist exponentially in my opinion.

Additionally, the tone of my guitar has inspired me to write a lot of music.
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#17
it all depends on the amp...u say that u think it all sounds the same...

what kind of amp do u play...ill tell you this...on a JCM 800 u can barely move the knob and u will hear drastic change in the tone.
#18
Quote by Alkaline 64
I'd rather listen to a great guitar player with bad tone than a bad guitar player with great tone just like I'm sure most of you would.

That is exactly it. Almost like a baby giggling. It is somewhat entertaining, and sounds cool, but once they grow to an adult you can have a serious, in-depth conversation.

Personally, I think that great things happen with limitations, and especially when one overcomes those limits with creativity. My Destroyer doesn't have a trem, so no dive bombing, but i've got it to where i can take the low E, tune it way down, and back up without missing a beat. Creativity man, its what music is all about!
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#19
Quote by Alkaline 64
I'd rather listen to a great guitar player with bad tone than a bad guitar player with great tone just like I'm sure most of you would.
No. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDC3ade3JxU

If a guitarist doesn't good tone, they're crap in my book.
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#20
I think part of being a great guitarist is the ability to have a good enough ear to make any adjustments you need to get the tone you want, whether that means fiddling with knobs or adjusting how you play. If you are picky about amp settings, you should have them written down/memorized so that if people fiddle with your amp (and people will fiddle) it's no big deal. Also remember that a good tone when playing solo is not always a good tone with a band so you should be open to suggestions in case your band mates know what they're doing.
#21
Quote by wagos408
it all depends on the amp...u say that u think it all sounds the same...

what kind of amp do u play...ill tell you this...on a JCM 800 u can barely move the knob and u will hear drastic change in the tone.


I don't say it sounds the same, my band members and a few guitarists I know say it's all the same
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#22
To the people saying tone>technical skill, you're going about it all wrong. I can look up the "tone" settings on ________'s gear and get something to use that will be neutral at worst. Most of your tone comes from your gear and therefore someone who can barely do more than play chords could listen and figure out good tone for the instrument. We're not talking about woodwinds or brass, where how you play is responsible for 90% of the tone. Therefore, it would be more comparable to say

Someone with great tone and bad skill versus
Someone with neutral/average tone and great skill
#23
It varies by musical style. For metal, you can't really go wrong with a distorted tone as long as you can basically understand what notes are playing (This is an extremely broad generalization), whereas in a style like classic rock or blues, there's less going on in the guitar, so the tone is more important. The opposite is true for shred, but tone is no less important in shred because the guitar is the main instrument, like the singer, and the tone defines how the guitarist plays.
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#24
Quote by mybandsuks_15
I think this would go here, but correct me if I'm wrong

My band, and quite a few guitarists I know, don't think that tone is important. (By tone i mean specifically like amp settings. sorry if it's not the correct term)

They seem to think that it all sounds the same, no matter what settings I use and don't see the problem when I get mad about people messing with my settings.
So am I just over-reacting when my settings get messed up, or is it actually important?


If they don't think tone is important, why are they messing with your settings?

If you're the one that cares about tone, and they don't, then you should be the one messing around with settings, and they should let you go about your business because it doesn't make a difference to them either way.
shred is gaudy music
#26
First starting out, tone is less important. You're going to sound like crap, it doesn't matter if you're playing a Starcaster through a Squier amp or a 60s Les Paul through a Marshall half stack.

But once you actually get decent, tone is incredibly important. It defines how you sound.
#27
Quote by Anteaterking
To the people saying tone>technical skill, you're going about it all wrong. I can look up the "tone" settings on ________'s gear and get something to use that will be neutral at worst. Most of your tone comes from your gear and therefore someone who can barely do more than play chords could listen and figure out good tone for the instrument. We're not talking about woodwinds or brass, where how you play is responsible for 90% of the tone. Therefore, it would be more comparable to say

Someone with great tone and bad skill versus
Someone with neutral/average tone and great skill


i dont agree with that. how you play on guitar affects the tone a lot as well. its how you can have two people play the same gear and sound different. the gear obviously shapes and colours the tone but how you play affects a lot too. i highly doubt you'd ever see someone with amazing skills and terrible tone. but then again, terrible tone is opinion.

anyways to the TS, its important and i cant believe your band mates would tell you otherwise. one thing i try to remember is to turn up the mids and low end the louder you play. i find too many gutiarists use WAY to much treble in their tone and it just sounds like a shrill wall of noise. honestly, i rarely go any higher than 6 on my treble knob and i usually turn the tone knob on my guitar down to half or even 1 or 2. trust me, a nice warm, mid range sound sounds better than a harsh treble sound. i usually have my bass and mids on full and my mid boost on. everyone always says i have a nice smooth tone and i believe its because i make sure to not have a lot of treble.

edit: id like to ad that the reason why i have my guitar knob low is because i like to also have the option of adding more treble if i need it. usually for really clean stuff ill turn the knob up to full to make it have more sparkle. i sometimes turn it up when doing lead stuff but not much. im amazed how many people dont actually use the tone knob.
Last edited by Blind In 1 Ear at Oct 17, 2009,
#28
I have a Peavey Vyper, so they like to pick up my guitar, turn knobs (randomly), and see what comes out of it, then when it comes time to continue practice they set it down and don't bother to put it back on it's setting (one time they saved the setting which is why I told them to stop touching the knobs)
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#29
Quote by Anteaterking
To the people saying tone>technical skill, you're going about it all wrong. I can look up the "tone" settings on ________'s gear and get something to use that will be neutral at worst. Most of your tone comes from your gear and therefore someone who can barely do more than play chords could listen and figure out good tone for the instrument. We're not talking about woodwinds or brass, where how you play is responsible for 90% of the tone. Therefore, it would be more comparable to say

Someone with great tone and bad skill versus
Someone with neutral/average tone and great skill


Actually, most of the tone comes from the player. Like Blind in 1 ear said..... If you have 2 people playing through the same gear, you can usually tell the difference.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 17, 2009,
#30
Tone is not important to the audience. They generally can't tell the difference between amp settings. It's really just a guitarists in-thing.
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#31
To the TS, I also react badly to people messing with my amp, however, I have been doing this long enough to be able to reset it without much hassle. Mind you, during practice and jams, I am more concerned with technique and timing than the actual tone (I use a solid state Marshall piece of crap, no sense lugging a heavy tube combo around). During "dress rehearsal" (we generally rent a place, break out the real gear, play through the set without interruption using our sound guy and record it for debrief) my tone becomes more important. Show day is a whole different story, sound checks are for sound, not a jam session like a lot of people treat them.
Quote by AlanHB
Tone is not important to the audience. They generally can't tell the difference between amp settings. It's really just a guitarists in-thing.

This is the truth. I have been told that my "sound" was awesome through my Twin Reverb by one person, then two minutes later someone else told me how crappy my tone was because Fender tube amps, especially reissue models, give "harsh" overdrive. You tell me which comment came from a teenage guitarist and which came from the guy that paid us?
Quote by J.A.M.
No. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDC3ade3JxU

If a guitarist doesn't good tone, they're crap in my book.

Most professional "live" recordings you hear start as multi-track recordings. The last show we recorded and filmed, all line feeds from the stage were recorded on a Radar unit before they even hit the console using a breakout box. It was mastered in a studio. We also recorded the live mixer's line out to the DSP for comparison and a starting point for the sound department to master the audio. If you compare the mastered version with the "live console" version, there is a huge difference in tone. (Just a note, I was not a performer, I worked as a technician for the video crew).
#32
Quote by GuitarMunky
Actually, most of the tone comes from the player. Like Blind in 1 ear said..... If you have 2 people playing through the same gear, you can usually tell the difference.


Compare it like this. I can play every different French horn and sound virtually the same, while someone else playing them sounds a lot different. In the same vein, I can play the different guitars I own, and they sound completely different. Every person of equivalent skill levels who has played my gear has the same sounding tone as each other. Sure people of different skill levels may sound different, but not nearly as much as how the change in gear affects the difference in sound.
#33
Quote by Anteaterking
Compare it like this. I can play every different French horn and sound virtually the same, while someone else playing them sounds a lot different. In the same vein, I can play the different guitars I own, and they sound completely different. Every person of equivalent skill levels who has played my gear has the same sounding tone as each other. Sure people of different skill levels may sound different, but not nearly as much as how the change in gear affects the difference in sound.


Its hard to compare wind instruments to contemporary electric guitar though. Generally speaking, we are all trying to achieve the exact same perfect full dark warm rich milk chocolaty pear shaped tone on wind instruments. Contemporary guitar tones are different enough from genre to genre, band to band, and player to player (and thats just amp/guitar setting, let alone what the actually player is doing to get their tone with their fingers)
#34
Quote by Anteaterking
Compare it like this. I can play every different French horn and sound virtually the same, while someone else playing them sounds a lot different. In the same vein, I can play the different guitars I own, and they sound completely different. Every person of equivalent skill levels who has played my gear has the same sounding tone as each other. Sure people of different skill levels may sound different, but not nearly as much as how the change in gear affects the difference in sound.


Obviously, the instrument itself is a factor, but you're wrong to trivialize the relevance of the person playing the instrument.
shred is gaudy music
#36
Quote by Alkaline 64
Seriously?

Because that's really narrow minded.

Looking back on what I said, I was probably being a bit hasty. What I mean to say is that tone is what I consider to be one of the most, if not the most important things in judging how enjoyable I find a guitarist. I can't understand how somebody who has spent years developing a great awareness of melody, rhythm and harmony wouldn't pay attention to tone.

When I chose to link a video of David Gilmour, I wanted to show how incredible somebody can sound even when what they're playing is not hugely technically impressive, but because of the way they play something. I do enjoy guys like John McLaughlin (who in my opinon has terrible tone on the Mahavishnu Orchestra's album The Inner Mounting Flame, but I don't mind it because it was recorded in 1970).
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#37
Quote by J.A.M
When I chose to link a video of David Gilmour, I wanted to show how incredible somebody can sound even when what they're playing is not hugely technically impressive, but because of the way they play something.


Isn't that more relevant to the choice of notes he uses when constructing a melody on the guitar? Although he does have a great tone, it's his musicianship with the instrument that makes it sound good.

If your enjoyability of music depends on the tools used to create a melody, rather than the melody itself, you may want to re-examine how you approach playing songs.
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#38
Just don't let it become a weakness. It can't hurt to try and dabble around and find whats right for you.

...and don't let "friends" mess around with your equipment.
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#39
Quote by AlanHB
Tone is not important to the audience. They generally can't tell the difference between amp settings. It's really just a guitarists in-thing.

Tone is not just the amp settings, tone is how each note you play sounds, the attack and decay of each note.

So tone is incredibly important to the audience, because most audiences won't be listening out for that demi-semi-quaver quituplet run or that crazy modulation, they will just be listening to how you sound (which is the notes you play + your tone).
#40
There is no good tone and there is no bad tone, It's completely subjective. Just like some chords sound dissonant to some and not to others.
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