Poll: Does playing on a bad amplifier help technique?
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View poll results: Does playing on a bad amplifier help technique?
Yes, it does.
5 23%
No, it really doesn't.
10 45%
Doesn't matter, enjoy your equipment!
7 32%
Voters: 22.
#1
Opinions? I'm curious because technically playing on a bad little amp, you could improve Pull Offs, Hammer Ons, Tapping, etc. because lets face it, most poor quality amps don't have great overdrives, they are ether clean with some grit, or just awful.

Let's not debate guitars here. They range to much. Lets assume you have a decent guitar with a poor amp. What is the opinion on bad amplifiers training technique more?

My opinion is a poor amp can help because most likely you'll be forced to play clean and therefore listen more to the notes rather then the tone. You can't cover up those mistakes on clean like a distrotion! Then when it comes to playing on a nice tube amp, you have strong accented notes, that may need a minor bit of cleaning up

Your guy's view?
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#2
if an amp is poor then it cant do clean or dirty well. there are plenty of amps that have amazing cleans but dont do overdrive and visa versa. but IMO, regardless of the quality of kit its best to practice clean and dirty.
#3
I would think playing on a crappy guitar would do a lot more for technique than playing on a crappy amp. The more difficult guitar will make you work harder than a nice, well set-up guitar. The crappier amp probably won't affect your technique; it just won't sound as good.
#4
If the gear is functional and the guitar has decent intonation you should be fine for learning physical aspects of playing. But you really gotta have a tone you dig to capture the feel of what you want to play when you start creating music. If you're not getting the sustain you want or tone you want to achieve what you are trying to make, it can be frustrating.

I started on a marshall with an OD channel and spent the majority of my time in a drop tuning crunching away. It sounded rather sweet. Sure the amp had a clean channel but I'll be damned if I used it when the OD option was there.

Then that amp broke and I was stuck with a vox amp my dad gave me. It was clean only. So I was forced to play clean and I hated it. At that time I had no guitar distortion pedals, only bass ones and they were at my band house. But learning dynamics by playing clean helped my dirty playing a lot more. Heavy distortion kinda covers up techniques like that.
#5
Quote by callumbloodpuke
if an amp is poor then it cant do clean or dirty well. there are plenty of amps that have amazing cleans but dont do overdrive and visa versa. but IMO, regardless of the quality of kit its best to practice clean and dirty.


What I bolded is my point Lets say the amp can't produce the signals well and it comes out weak, so now you have to fret a little harder, pick harder, and accent more. Then when you switch over to a better amplifier, you just have to adjust a little and you should in theory, play with a stronger, firmer technique.
Gibson Les Paul Custom (Aged White)
Custom Kramer Baretta
Custom Fender Strat
Epiphone Black Beauty
Epiphone AJ
Marshall JCM900 4201
Blackheart Little Giant
MXR Dist. +
MXR Six Band EQ
MXR Phase 90
#6
I don't find playing with a crappy tone beneficial at all. If you have to use the clean channel simply because the gain sucks, or you just can't dial in a good tone at all, might as well be playing unplugged. I find it important to be inspired by the tone I'm using, even on less than ideal equipment. When it comes time to practice with an amp, I think it's actually important to use a certain amount of distortion to properly work on muting and finger noise.
#7
Quote by Xter
What I bolded is my point Lets say the amp can't produce the signals well and it comes out weak, so now you have to fret a little harder, pick harder, and accent more. Then when you switch over to a better amplifier, you just have to adjust a little and you should in theory, play with a stronger, firmer technique.


if it cant really do distortion it would be better to get a distortion pedal to change the sound rather than learning to play agressively. and then when it comes to playing with a proper high gain amp it will actually sound good. using heavier guage strings would most likely bebetter for a stronger/firmer technique
#8
I think it can be a distraction from learning unless you havent developed an ear for good tone and technique etc. For instance say you have a decent rig, but a quieter practice rig is of horrid crap quality...the crap quality could drive you nuts if you know you could sound better on the better rig etc.

meaning you would be constantly trying to tweak the rig to get it to sound decent instead of accually just playing.
#9
Depends. I feel more comfortable using my 200 Peavey with a Floyd Rose (that I've personally put lots of man hours into) rather than my buddies pops' 70's Paul. The Peav makes me play harder to stay in tune because the intonation is rather out, and it's nice to know that I haven't lost my hearing quite yet
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#10
Quote by Xter
Opinions? I'm curious because technically playing on a bad little amp, you could improve Pull Offs, Hammer Ons, Tapping, etc. because lets face it, most poor quality amps don't have great overdrives, they are ether clean with some grit, or just awful.

Let's not debate guitars here. They range to much. Lets assume you have a decent guitar with a poor amp. What is the opinion on bad amplifiers training technique more?

My opinion is a poor amp can help because most likely you'll be forced to play clean and therefore listen more to the notes rather then the tone. You can't cover up those mistakes on clean like a distrotion! Then when it comes to playing on a nice tube amp, you have strong accented notes, that may need a minor bit of cleaning up

Your guy's view?


What you're talking about here is a lack of compression which, in my opinion, is what makes a good amp. A bad amp is one where you can't hear everything you're doing and the tone is poor. In fact an amp that has a hefty amount of natural compression is a bad amp to me because you lose dynamics in your playing which would lead to a lack of the kind of control that a good player should have.

Bad amps are ones that cover your mistakes so no, a bad amp will make you a worse player because you can't clearly hear what you're doing. A good amp will let you hear each and every single detail of what you're doing.

Some people may like the feel of a compressed amp and it's good in some cases but it should be an option from an outside pedal rather than a part of the amp itself.


As for guitars... really as long as it stays in tune, doesn't fall apart and the pickups aren't horribly muddy the rest of the guitar is down to personal taste anyway.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Jan 13, 2012,
#11
A bad amp will muck up your technique, because it will mask a lot of the mistakes and little nuanced errors you make. A really good amp brings out everything and makes almost every sound audible, which magnifies any and all mistakes you make. So no, a bad amp is not good for your technique. You might think it is, but only til you play a high end amp.
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#12
The only thing I would add is that an amp which doesn't produce sounds which you find pleasing will leave you LESS satisfied and lead you to practice less. This will hurt your development probably more than minor quibbles about some of the stuff you guys are describing.
#13
Quote by HotspurJr
The only thing I would add is that an amp which doesn't produce sounds which you find pleasing will leave you LESS satisfied and lead you to practice less. This will hurt your development probably more than minor quibbles about some of the stuff you guys are describing.


I think the whole question works around the assumption that you're going to play no matter what, without that the whole question is completely meaningless
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#14
I don't know that using a bad amp intentionally is going to make you improve any more than normal. What I can say is that I used to use way too much gain and too many effects in my signal path, so my muting technique is now a little overzealous thanks to too much noise and no noise gate.

You really ought to be able to practice on a clean and distorted channel, so an amp with a bad gain channel is not good for practice. Muting on a clean tone is way easier than muting on a distorted channel, since you don't have to deal with a more processed and compressed signal, which amplifies any flubs in your muting technique. Thus, a bad amp is bad for practice.
#15
A good guitarist could make a bad amp sound good.

Either way regardless of amp it is better to practice on clean so that you can hear all the little errors that distortion would cover up.
#16
Quote by dascalmer
A good guitarist could make a bad amp sound good.

Either way regardless of amp it is better to practice on clean so that you can hear all the little errors that distortion would cover up.


Not quite. Playing clean covers weak attack and poor synchronisation whereas playing with gain really highlights poor muting technique. You should be doing both to be a good player.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


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#17
The main point that comes to my mind would seem to be that one often can't be comfortable with their own playing if they don't like the tone they are getting. As a psychological matter, this can lead to poor playing, because you're just not having the right experience of yourself when playing, and hence you don't play with confidence.

The OP's statements about amps confuse me a little. I don't see how a low-quality amp means you're going to be more likely to have a clean sound. Neither do I see how it would be more challenging in and of itself. If anything, the opposite thesis makes sense: a high-quality tube amp brings out your mistakes more, especially if you close-mic it and record yourself. They thus have a kind of learning curve that could potentially improve your playing.