#1
I was watching the Neverender performance of the Willing Well IV by Coheed and Cambria (for those who haven't seen it, it's orgasmic) and my curiosity about the talk box was aroused. How do they work? Do you need to be able to hit the note vocally while hitting the note on your guitar? That kind of thing. Thanks in advance.
#2
That's so funny, when I saw this thread title, I immediately thought about The Final Cut from Neverender.

Anyway, the "talk box" is just a wah. No, you don't have to do anything with your mouth, it's just kind of impulsive.

When I tap, I do weird things with my tongue, and I can't help it - certain techniques and effects just make us guitarists do weird things.
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#4
No, you don't have to hit the note with your voice. Almost all the work is done with the guitar. It's pretty much a glorified Wah, and somewhat gimmicky. It's awesome if you have the money, but how often are you going to use a Talk Box in a set?
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#5
Wah? What the hell are you people talking about? It's nothing like a wah pedal. A wah pedal rolls off treble/bass and increases bass/treble as you move the pedal backwards/forwards, with a constant decrease in mid-range frequencies. A Talk Box uses a powered speaker to send the sound of the guitar from your amp and up a length of surgical tube into your mouth, instead of going to the speakers or mixer. You then use this sound to speak instead of your actual voice - your mouth and tongue can still shape the words just as if it was your own voice box making the initial noise. You use a microphone so that as you are speaking out the amp's output as words it can be amplified, just as if you were singing backing vocals. Basically, you're singing but using your guitar and amp isntead of your own voice box.

It is nothing like a wah pedal.

Talk Boxes can be quite expensive and they do come with some risks. The first and most common problem is that you need to set the Talk Box up just like a speaker cabinet, matching the maximum power and impedance - since Talk Boxes usually only consist of one small speaker though, they hardly match up to a couple of 4x12" fullstacks. So if you're using a big speaker cabinet or two, putting a Talk Box between the amp and the cab can cause a lot of damage since the amp will usually only compatable with one and the other will be overpowered/underpowered. If you use a solid state amp then this won't cause any damage, although you'll still experience nasty volume drops or speaker clipping. With valve amps, setting the Talk Box up incorrectly can result in damage to the Talk Box, the speakers and the amp. For this reason, most people who use a Talk Box have it set up with a second amp and use a line splitter, so they have one amp & cab for their regular guitar sounds and one amp & Talk Box.
The second problem is something that is very subjective; some people have no problem with it, most people find it annoying and some people find it very painful. When you use a Talk Box, what you're basically doing is pumping your amp into your face. If you're using a gig-worthy amp, probably 50 watts or more, that's quite a lot of power smacking you in the mouth. Your whole face vibrates; this itches like mad and will often make your eyes water, your nose will run and your teeth and tongue go numb. Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi often uses 100w-150w valve amps for his main guitar sounds but when it comes to his Talk Box he has that set up with nothing more than a 50w amp because he uses the Talk Box so extensively and if he did so with a 100 watt amp so frequently, he would be in a lot of pain. You can't use a really weak amp or turn the volume down though because then the signal will have degraded so much by the time it gets to your mouth that there will be nothing to speak out.
The third and final problem is that Talk Boxes are expensive and can burn out and break very easily, even if you match the amp well. You're constantly pushing a powerful amp through a small speaker and that tube has to go quite far into your mouth - understandably, it gets pretty disgusting pretty quickly. If you use a Talk Box quite often then it's rare for one to last more than two years and you shouldn't be surprised if it breaks after a single year.
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#6
Quote by MrFlibble
Wah? What the hell are you people talking about? It's nothing like a wah pedal. A wah pedal rolls off treble/bass and increases bass/treble as you move the pedal backwards/forwards, with a constant decrease in mid-range frequencies. A Talk Box uses a powered speaker to send the sound of the guitar from your amp and up a length of surgical tube into your mouth, instead of going to the speakers or mixer. You then use this sound to speak instead of your actual voice - your mouth and tongue can still shape the words just as if it was your own voice box making the initial noise. You use a microphone so that as you are speaking out the amp's output as words it can be amplified, just as if you were singing backing vocals. Basically, you're singing but using your guitar and amp isntead of your own voice box.

It is nothing like a wah pedal.

Talk Boxes can be quite expensive and they do come with some risks. The first and most common problem is that you need to set the Talk Box up just like a speaker cabinet, matching the maximum power and impedance - since Talk Boxes usually only consist of one small speaker though, they hardly match up to a couple of 4x12" fullstacks. So if you're using a big speaker cabinet or two, putting a Talk Box between the amp and the cab can cause a lot of damage since the amp will usually only compatable with one and the other will be overpowered/underpowered. If you use a solid state amp then this won't cause any damage, although you'll still experience nasty volume drops or speaker clipping. With valve amps, setting the Talk Box up incorrectly can result in damage to the Talk Box, the speakers and the amp. For this reason, most people who use a Talk Box have it set up with a second amp and use a line splitter, so they have one amp & cab for their regular guitar sounds and one amp & Talk Box.
The second problem is something that is very subjective; some people have no problem with it, most people find it annoying and some people find it very painful. When you use a Talk Box, what you're basically doing is pumping your amp into your face. If you're using a gig-worthy amp, probably 50 watts or more, that's quite a lot of power smacking you in the mouth. Your whole face vibrates; this itches like mad and will often make your eyes water, your nose will run and your teeth and tongue go numb. Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi often uses 100w-150w valve amps for his main guitar sounds but when it comes to his Talk Box he has that set up with nothing more than a 50w amp because he uses the Talk Box so extensively and if he did so with a 100 watt amp so frequently, he would be in a lot of pain. You can't use a really weak amp or turn the volume down though because then the signal will have degraded so much by the time it gets to your mouth that there will be nothing to speak out.
The third and final problem is that Talk Boxes are expensive and can burn out and break very easily, even if you match the amp well. You're constantly pushing a powerful amp through a small speaker and that tube has to go quite far into your mouth - understandably, it gets pretty disgusting pretty quickly. If you use a Talk Box quite often then it's rare for one to last more than two years and you shouldn't be surprised if it breaks after a single year.


Thats intresting. I didn't know all of that. I would like to have one, but I don't think it would be worth the money and fuss.
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#7
Quote by Offworld92
That's so funny, when I saw this thread title, I immediately thought about The Final Cut from Neverender.

Anyway, the "talk box" is just a wah. No, you don't have to do anything with your mouth, it's just kind of impulsive.

When I tap, I do weird things with my tongue, and I can't help it - certain techniques and effects just make us guitarists do weird things.




=/=


From what I understand you run the tube up to a mic stand, and position it so it can go inside of your mouth. Then you make certain shapes with your mouth, and it changes the tone of the note.
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Last edited by IRISH_PUNK13 at Aug 5, 2010,
#8
I'm sorry TS. I'm apparently misinformed. Please listen to the above posters.
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#9
If you're thinking about shelling out the money for a talk box the main question you need to ask yourself is how often are you gonna use it, is it gonna be worth it? They're quite fun to play around with from time to time, but they do have some physical draw backs as MrFlibble said.

As already stated they're pretty gimmicky and not really a constant use thing. Sooo if you have the money to toss around i say buy it, but if you're a guitarist on a budget i wouldn't.
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#10
Quote by jwd724
and my curiosity about the talk box was aroused.
Imagine how the talkbox felt the first time someone put their mouth on his hose!

Quote by jwd724
How do they work? Do you need to be able to hit the note vocally while hitting the note on your guitar? That kind of thing. Thanks in advance.
The guitar creates the note, but your mouth shapes the tone.

You don't need to hit the note with your voice. Just move your mouth like you were saying words.
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#11
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
Imagine how the talkbox felt the first time someone put their mouth on his hose!

Oh my.
I think I'm gonna sig that.

Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
The guitar creates the note, but your mouth shapes the tone.

You don't need to hit the note with your voice. Just move your mouth like you were saying words.


^This. All you do is move your mouth. From my understanding with the talk box it stops the signal from going to the amp, and it makes the sound run through the tube. From there your mouth moves, and shapes the sound, and bounces off back into the mic.
Quote by L2112Lif
I put a ton of my capital into SW Airlines... The next day, THE NEXT DAY these nutters fly into the WTC. What the hell? Apparently no one wanted to fly anymore, and I was like "What gives? God damnit Osama, let me win a fuggin' game!"
#12
lol ^

Quote by MrFlibble
The third and final problem is that Talk Boxes are expensive and can burn out and break very easily, even if you match the amp well. You're constantly pushing a powerful amp through a small speaker and that tube has to go quite far into your mouth - understandably, it gets pretty disgusting pretty quickly. If you use a Talk Box quite often then it's rare for one to last more than two years and you shouldn't be surprised if it breaks after a single year.
This is easily managed. Don't use your regular guitar amp to drive the talkbox. Use an amp that's low enough power that you're less likely to burn out the driver. Use a low-cut filter or turn the bass down on this little amp. Low frequencies are what normally burn out the driver.

Be realistic about the power you apply to the driver. High power rattles your teeth. It also triggers a gag reflex. Be reasonable and you won't have these kinds of problems.

I had a talkbox i made from a pa horn driver. Used it for years. Finally burned it out, but it was stupid loud when i did that.
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#13
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
words
Yes, I already said all that msyelf in the very post you're quoting. Only I also mentioned, which you forgot to, that using a much lower powered amp (or turning the volume down, either way) results in a terribly thin sound from the Talk Box which becomes hard to shape. If you want to shape recognisable syllables or even words, you need to be driving that think pretty loud and with a thick tone, compensating for the fact that a lot of the signal (especially the bass) is going to be lost on its way to your mouth.
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#14
I used to use the Heil talk box. I switched over to the rocktron self powered version. It's much easier to use and don't have to worry about the horn driver blowing and creating a no-load situation with a cranked amp head. The passive talk boxes are dangerous to amps and WILL malfunction, just a matter of time. If you want to go that route just make good friends with a tech. Plus the active version has a volume/distortion control....
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#15
if you dont want to spend a lot of money you can build one, i built one and it only cost me like $15
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