#1
I was watching an interview with Johnny Marr (The Smiths) the other day and he was talking about Fender amps (Deluxe I think), and he was talking about how even though his sound in the Smiths isn't overdriven/distorted and was very clean, it still had attitude.


It got me thinking about trying to make clean sounds sound aggressive or have lots of attitude. For years now, the aggression you hear from guitars is mostly due to overdrive/distortion and I was wondering about the possibilties you could get with creating an equal (or greater) sense of aggression with the guitar.


Any thoughts?
#2
idk, my friend took a bass practice amp and ran a guitar with an SD invader in it. at first, it was clean, (no pedals running, may i add real quick, and there's no "overdrve" switch on the bass amp) and he started messing with the eq. I think he cranked the mids and hightened the bass, and lowered the treble. then he played again, it was quite crunchy out of no where. so playing style + EQ will help in this kind of idea, i believe.
Quote by pedromiles101
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#3
Dynamics, volume and articulation do wonders. What you play and what the bass and drums do to accent it do matter even more. Being able to write a song that sounds very agressive and yet clean is doable, it just requires a wholly different approach. Speed doesn't work as well, neither do things as palmmutes.
#4
Interesting responses


I honestly believe this kind of approach is the next thing for guitar music simply because overdrive/distortion has been at the forefront in creating attitude/aggression. There has to be solid niche in the interaction between guitar and amp than could cater for this type of sound, whatever it may end up being.
#5
A good starting point is something really simple - open chords/strings. Marr and other people like him (John Squire in The Stone Roses) use a lot of open position chords as they have more resonance than chords fretted higher up the neck.

To my ears it gives the sound an extra depth and power, which with the right playing style could be aggressive, yeah.

The other option is another basic - a loud tube amp. I think I saw a Marr interview where he said he blended a Marshall and a Fender amp together to get his sound. There was no actual OD but since they were both turned up nice and high they were still working a bit harder.
#6
I say it comes from your arms, man. You need to really hammer it, not literally be like a moron, but like a bonehead trying to express themself in a nice fashion, you know.

I personally do a lot of my playing with my right hand
#7
Quote by Blacknoise
I was watching an interview with Johnny Marr (The Smiths) the other day and he was talking about Fender amps (Deluxe I think), and he was talking about how even though his sound in the Smiths isn't overdriven/distorted and was very clean, it still had attitude.


It got me thinking about trying to make clean sounds sound aggressive or have lots of attitude. For years now, the aggression you hear from guitars is mostly due to overdrive/distortion and I was wondering about the possibilties you could get with creating an equal (or greater) sense of aggression with the guitar.


Any thoughts?

a tube amp even on clean will distort a bit if its played loud enough or you play hard enough into it. that might be the reason. it might not sound overdriven, but it wont be the same as if it were on solid state or if it were clean on low volumes.
#8
Play a telecaster on the bridge pup through a cranked fender amp. Sounds cliche, I know, but it's SO TRUE. Sounds aggressive and is super dynamic (that's absolutely KEY to an aggressive sound). The best advice I can give you with your gear right now is to turn up that clean channel and play hard!

EDIT: Just searched for "johnny marr gear" and found this on the first link

A lot of 'The Smiths' was actually recorded with a '54 Telecaster belonging to John Porter.
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Last edited by bingeandletgo at Sep 2, 2010,
#9
i just brought home a pigtronix philosophers tone, ill be doing a review in a week or so. but a compressor is great for cleans. the harder you hit those chords, the more intense the picking dynamics will sound (this is obvious) but the compressor will make sure that your signal wont be boosted by the heavy picking. youll have aggressive picking, and no break up in tone
#10
It's gotta be the tubes he's talkin' about. I can get that kind of sound out of my Blues Junior by turning up the gain volume juuust right, AND THEN TURNING ON THE FAT CHANNEL.

Fat channel is God's gift to man.

I <3 it lots.
Gotta finish my work, then play some grooves, so I can turn my room into a house of blues...
#11
yeah i run tubes... but what does it have to do with the sound, im not understanding what you mean??
#12
I've read that on several Smiths tracks Marr recorded with his amplifier at very high volume. It was clean, but the sheer level of volume probably imbued the sound with dynamics that it would not have otherwise had. The other thing to consider is that there was probably a fair amount of post-production tweaking done in the booth before the final product was released.

There is also the fact that Marr is an excellent guitarist. I imagine that had something to do with it.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#13
Good responses people but I was wondering what can be done physically to the guitar in terms of messing around with the setup. I think what I'm looking for lies in the pickups so I'm gonna try and learn more about the functioning of em to see where I can get.

I have a lefty flipped Danelectro 59 (I'm a lefty) and the amp I got atm is crap (MG10, but got my eyes set on a Egnater Tweaker), and I'm loving the sound of the pickups struggling to catch the signal from the strings due to the reversed polarity. It gives off a very real and intermittent wave kind of sound. It's very hard to hear, but it's definately there and with the right amps I'm sure it will bring it to life.

Anyone know of any good sites about pickup modifications?
#14
why would you replace pickups before getting a new amp when you JUST said that a new amp will make your sound be pronounced?
Quote by pedromiles101
you're not gonna want to take a dump in a gross, off-colored, vintage toilet. you want something that is white and pearly; something that shines. something that you can put your cheeks against and say, "f*** yeah"
#16
man if you want it on guitar terms, my 2 cents is this.

on my tube amp, gain down volume up to whatever desired level. clean sound now, but what about natural hi volume clipping?? turn your guitars volume knobs down to lessen that breakup. now the small amount of breakup from heavy picking should be gone too.

hope that might be even a little helpful, and not irrelevant.
#17
When I think of an agressive clean tone, I think of a bright one. Something like a blackface Fender with a Telecaster maybe, with the volume just below break-up. They even get a lot more harsh and agressive once they overdrive, can sound really nasty (in a good way).