#1
hey guys,

I've noticed a problem with my guitar tone since joining a band. I've always heard that isolated guitar players will have a guitar tone that sounds good when, well isolated, but when placed in a mix with other band members tends to sound too bassy and gets eaten up by lower register instruments. I however have the opposite problem and have no idea how to fix it. I've tried EQ's, I've tried using the tone knobs on my guitars, I'v tried different pickups, and nothing seems to fix it. I have three guitars at present:
An ibanez artcore with PAF pickups, a tele custom II with P-90s, and a Jaguar with a pearly gates in the bridge and a cool P90 in the neck, and no matter what I do, even with the treble and midrange on my amp turned all the way down, an eq set to cut highs, and a pedalboard doing the same wit amp simulation, I still have biting treble, to the point that it's almost icepick-like.

I've thought of trading my amp in for a bass amp, since I hear you get better tones with less treble out of them, but I'm unsure about spendin that kind of money. Also, I almost never use distortion and I need a LOT of clean headroom. any ideas guys?

Thanks!
#2
Stop scooping the mids on your amp.
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#4
Simple solution.

Turn your amp to stage volume with your band. Set your EQ 'til the amp sounds right and go!

Your at home EQ will sound good when you're playing alone, but you have to remember, you're most likely playing in a smaller room and you're at home! Your amp isn't going to sound good if you just take the same settings all the time and just adjust the gain and volume. You should be adjusting the EQ for every room/ setting you're playing in.
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#5
myabe try heavier gauge strings? .10's or .11's will be more bass-y than .09's or .08's which are more treble-y. just a cheap suggestion rather than spending lots of money on pedals, amps etc.
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#7
I don't know where you stand and how you "point" your amp when setting the EQ, but dont angle it so that you stand right infront of the speaker cause that's where all the highs go. move around a bit and you will hear differently.

Also, have you REALLY tried other PU and tone setting on your guitar? Anything wrong with your electronics?
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#8
I dont know about the artcore but i know that the jag uses 1 meg pots which would contribute to alot of icepick, you could try replacing them, or simpler yet, roll the tone knob down.

Im also shocked nobody has asked what amp you're using.?
#9
Checked the dude's other posts. Apparently, this is his gear:

Squier Custom II (the one with P-90s)
Jaguar copy (P-90 neck, Pearly Gates hum bridge)
Les Paul copy
Big Muff (NY version)
Small Clone
Whammy II
Danelectro Pepperoni phaser
Danelectro Black Liquorice octave/dis
Peavey Bandit 112


Quite a lot of naturally bright-toned gear there, not exactly bursting with bass. P-90s and Pearly Gates are pretty bright pickups anyhoo, though it shouldn't be that bright. Max out your mids, leave your treble about halfway and adjust your bass depending on how large the room is, the position of the amp, etc. Bear in mind that when playing with a full band, the bass and drums is obviously going to dominate your lower frequencies, especially from where you are most likely standing. It could be that you already have quite a thick and deep tone but you're just not hearing it because the rest of the band is even deeper. Your tone can also sound quite different to anyone facing you some distance away (i.e. an audience) than it does to you. Get someone to listen, away from the band, and see if they experience the same bright tone. Alternatively record yourselves and see how that turns out.
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#10
hey guys, thanks for the multiple responses. One thing I neglected to mention is that I use flatwound strings (.11) , and my amp's EQ settings are as follows: Bass:6 Mid:6 Treble: 2. My presence control is all the way down,my power knob is at 65% and I'm using the low gain input. I almost always use the neck pickup or both together, I rarely (if ever) use the bridge pickup only. I've had people listen and they tell me my tone is icepick like. I don't understand, considering I've done everything I can to lower my treble. Granted the amp that I use is not the best quality, perhaps upgrading to a Vox
AC30 or a twin reverb would help. However, before I shell out the big green for these amps or major changes to my rig, would a bass amp help my tone out? I can get a Sun O))) from a local dealer for about 500, and I've heard generally good things about them. I would test it in store with my guitar, but he has a strict policy on such things.

OH, and after I get this tone thing straightened out, I'll post recordings of my band up so you guys can hear what tone I was attempting.

Thanks again!
#11
If you are with a band, surely someone must have another amp there to try your guitar through? What is the result?

Quote by tufel77

I would test it in store with my guitar, but he has a strict policy on such things.


Screw him, then. I wouldn't buy on principle. What's he give back in the event you don't like it? Cash or store credit?
#13
I got this handy hint from a guitar tech in a local shop - lower your pickups away from the strings, it takes away a lot of upper mid range from the tone (well, thats what he said )

My Ibby was way too shrill, so he lowered the pups a bit and voila, a much more rounded and warmer sound, might be of some help to you
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Last edited by Casually_Spoken at Jun 17, 2010,
#14
Quote by Casually_Spoken
I got this handy hint from a guitar tech in a local shop - lower your pickups away from the strings, it takes away a lot of upper mid range from the tone (well, thats what he said )

My Ibby was way too shrill, so he lowered the pups a bit and voila, a much more rounded and warmer sound, might be of some help to you
That makes literally no sense whatsoever. Moving your pickups closer to the strings will warm up the tone, giving better response to the lower-mids and mids (though it can negatively effect sustain and clarity if you move them too close). Moving your pickups away from the strings will reduce bass and increase response and clarity in the upper-mids, although move them too far away and the pickups' magnetic fields won't be strong enough around the strings and response can start to suffer. Output also changes when you raise or lower pickups. There's really no instance where lowering your pickups will give you a warmer tone, except in something like a Telecaster where the bridge pickup will lose a little treble response if it is lowered far enough.
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#15
Quote by Razbo
If you are with a band, surely someone must have another amp there to try your guitar through? What is the result?
?

Well, I've tried through my bass player's Fender extended range bas amp and it helped a ton, so I think I'm going to steal it from him and buy him another one.

Thanks for the help and insight!
#16
Quote by yellowv
Stop scooping the mids on your amp.


This, mids will help you cut through the mix easier.
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#17
Why do people think that electric guitar is a bass or treble in a sound mix when it is mid heavy by nature. Remove the middle frequencies and you are lost in a sea of noise and mud. Where,why or how did that line of thinking start?
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#18
Quote by Bhaok
Why do people think that electric guitar is a bass or treble in a sound mix when it is mid heavy by nature. Remove the middle frequencies and you are lost in a sea of noise and mud. Where,why or how did that line of thinking start?



well, I'm actually very focused on frequencies and the overall mix, which is why I was so frustrated with the overwhelming treble. I honestly think it was the EQ controls on my amp. They don't seem to have a huge effect on the sound at all, as opposed to the bass amp I tried. I'm trading or selling my bandit, so expect to see it in classifieds soon.

speaking of frequencies, I believe that the notion of cutting the mids came from metal guitarists doing so ith extreme distortion to produce that biting sound. no midrange sucks for clean tone though. very hollow and empty sounding.
#19
Boost your Mids way up, and the roll off the gain, and maybe volume too.
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#20
TONE PARTY!!

Get together with your other guitar player and bass player. Start at a low volume and begin trying every suggestion listed above (the good ones). Find the best sounds, bring the volume up, reset everything. Find what works.

Might take about 2 hours, but you will create a balanced Band Tone
#21
Quote by MrFlibble
That makes literally no sense whatsoever.


I took my guitar to the shop with exactly the problem and asked the tech for some help, thats what he did to my guitar and it worked for me, jus' sayin'.
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#22
how loud are you pushing your amp? i agree dont cut the mids out, that will make things worse, but with a peavey bandit 112, how hard are ya pushing it? because transtube type amp technically is more solid state than anything and at higher volumes is gonna sound kinda harsh, but that depends on how much you are pushing it i suppose.
#23
Quote by WaltTheWerewolf
how loud are you pushing your amp? i agree dont cut the mids out, that will make things worse, but with a peavey bandit 112, how hard are ya pushing it? because transtube type amp technically is more solid state than anything and at higher volumes is gonna sound kinda harsh, but that depends on how much you are pushing it i suppose.


When I play my Bandit with my band, its at about a post-gain of 9 o'clock and I have to crank the pre-gran from about 12:30 to about 12 o'clock, even 11:45. Then the highs come down a touch, mids stay the same and the bass usually goes up a touch.

So when I'm playing with my band, the EQ changes quite a bit and I can still maintain a good tone. If I left the EQ where it was, the highs really come out and it sounds kind of muddy.

I think pushing this amp would be cranking it to about 10 o'clock and beyond. Trust me, it gets LOUD.
#24
honestly i had a similar issue with an olde B-52 SS head i had when they first came out, the amp sounded great on my own, mids were always rather balanced, but once i had to turn it up to compete with a drummer it because ear pinching loud with highs, really felt thats all i could hear lol. could try an amp stand too, try and see if all you need is a different angle of the amp.


now of course when i say drummer i accually mean a demonic monkey with tree branches for sticks...that kind of loud!
Last edited by WaltTheWerewolf at Jun 18, 2010,
#25
I have those problems if I don't EQ my amp when I turn it up, but other than that it sounds great loud.