#1
In regards to our varying ears as musicians, which would you all say is more important in contributing to the overall tone when playing electric.

Your amplifier or your guitar?

Recently my cousin let me borrow his gear since he never uses his guitar and his gear is extremely low budget compared to mine.

My gear: Epiphone Thunderhorse Explorer w/ Blackstar ID: Core 10 Amplifier

His gear: Epiphone Les Paul Special II w/ Line 6 Spider III 15 Amplifier.

Here's what I noticed, as far the guitars are concerned mine feels infinitely more comfortable to play. I mean it's a $500-$600 guitar compared to a $130 guitar?

Amps, both guitars sounded to same through either amp. The Spider was very digital sounding on it's clean channel with an annoying reverb like chime to it. The dirty channels were all but useless and sounded very harsh and brittle to my ears.

Yet both guitars sounded nearly the same through my Blackstar. Despite being a smaller amp lacking a 3-band EQ, I got much better tones regardless of whichever guitar I was using.

So it begs this question as well as this thought in my mind. If both guitars sounded nearly identical then how much really does a guitar contribute to the overall tone.

My Thunderhorse has Gibson Burstbuckers for gods sake, and this dinky Epiphone Les Paul Special sounds nearly the same through the exact same amp with it's stock pick-ups. I just don't get it.

This must be a sleeper amp then cause such a terrible guitar sounded reasonably decent through it.
Last edited by anthonymarisc at Dec 17, 2015,
#2
My current analogy du jour is that if your overall sound was an ice cream sundae, the amp would be the ice cream, your pedals the nuts & hot fudge, and the guitar would be the cherry on top.

If those amps are the ones I'm thinking of, the problem you're running into is that you're comparing what are essentially starter amps. Neither of those will sound particularly good, regardless of the quality of all the other stuff plugged into it.

Try both guitars through a better amp, and- unless the cheaper guitar was made better than average for its kind (always a possibility) and yours, slightly lesser than average (also possible)- you'll start to hear the differences.
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#3
through a good amp you can tell the difference in pickups much easier.

Like Danny said your comparing 2 crap starter amps to each other (no offence because they are better than what I had growing up) so there will not be much of a difference in sound

Pickups fine tune the sound, the amp is the main piece of gear that affects your overall sound.
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Last edited by Robbgnarly at Dec 17, 2015,
#4
I think it's a symbiotic relationship. For example, my stage setup consists of three guitars: a Les Paul, a Strat, and a Gretsch hollowbody. I use these guitars on different styles. Les Paul for rock songs, Strat for funk, blues, twangy style country, the Gretsch for jazz, softer ballads, early 60's pop, rockabilly, and melodic country styles similar to Chet Atkins.

In my case I use a POD HD500X through a Yamaha DXR12 so my patches are also geared to the style. But if I were to use the Strat on song dialed in for heavy rock it would not sound the same, nor would it sound the same with the Gretsch. And vice versa, the Les Paul wouldn't give me what I'm looking for in a jazz or funk style song. Different types of guitars have a natural sonic tendency as do pickups. For people that are generally confined to one style it's not as noticeable as it is if you play a variety of styles.
Last edited by dunedindragon at Dec 17, 2015,
#5
+1 to the above. The biggest thing I think is happening is you are most likely playing both guitars in the same style and I'll take a guess and say that the gain is cranked so there is a bit of distortion being used. Go to a completely clean setting with no effects, no distortion or anything else and play both guitars. I suspect the difference will be big.

I admit to having too many guitars but they are mostly different modals and types (Fender Strats and a Telecaster, Gibson and Epiphone Les Paul's, Gretsch Duo Sonic, Ibanez AM50 and Ibanez AF75, etc.). If I play each one of them through a clean setting on my amp with no effects, each will have it's own very distinguishable character and tone. I suspect you are burying your guitars in distortion and effects so they sound the same.

If you take two cuts of meat; one an expensive cut of steak and another a cheaper cut of steak and pour A-1 steak sauce over both, they will taste relatively the same, like the steak sauce. Without the steak sauce each piece will have a very different flavor.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Dec 17, 2015,
#6
Quote by anthonymarisc
In regards to our varying ears as musicians, which would you all say is more important in contributing to the overall tone when playing electric.

Your amplifier or your guitar?

Recently my cousin let me borrow his gear since he never uses his guitar and his gear is extremely low budget compared to mine.

My gear: Epiphone Thunderhorse Explorer w/ Blackstar ID: Core 10 Amplifier

His gear: Epiphone Les Paul Special II w/ Line 6 Spider III 15 Amplifier.

Here's what I noticed, as far the guitars are concerned mine feels infinitely more comfortable to play. I mean it's a $500-$600 guitar compared to a $130 guitar?

Amps, both guitars sounded to same through either amp. The Spider was very digital sounding on it's clean channel with an annoying reverb like chime to it. The dirty channels were all but useless and sounded very harsh and brittle to my ears.

Yet both guitars sounded nearly the same through my Blackstar. Despite being a smaller amp lacking a 3-band EQ, I got much better tones regardless of whichever guitar I was using.

So it begs this question as well as this thought in my mind. If both guitars sounded nearly identical then how much really does a guitar contribute to the overall tone.

My Thunderhorse has Gibson Burstbuckers for gods sake, and this dinky Epiphone Les Paul Special sounds nearly the same through the exact same amp with it's stock pick-ups. I just don't get it.

This must be a sleeper amp then cause such a terrible guitar sounded reasonably decent through it.


1) I'd much rather play a $200.00 Squier through a $2000 tube amp than play a $2000 guitar through $200 amp. The amp is much more important - as long as the guitar is in tune and has decent intonation.

2) That being said, the type of guitar affects the tone a lot - single coils v. humbuckers, Strat versus Hollow Body etc. But comparing a bunch of single coil guitars will not yield drastic differences.

3) Some cheap guitars turn out to be decent. I wouldn't lose any sleep over that - you didn't overpay for your guitar and if it plays infinitely better, that's worth price difference in of itself. Playability and tuning issues are really the biggest drawbacks of cheap guitars, the more you pay the better the neck/frets and hardware - but the tone doesn't improve as drastically.
#7
Quote by dunedindragon
I think it's a symbiotic relationship. For example, my stage setup consists of three guitars: a Les Paul, a Strat, and a Gretsch hollowbody. I use these guitars on different styles. Les Paul for rock songs, Strat for funk, blues, twangy style country, the Gretsch for jazz, softer ballads, early 60's pop, rockabilly, and melodic country styles similar to Chet Atkins.

In my case I use a POD HD500X through a Yamaha DXR12 so my patches are also geared to the style. But if I were to use the Strat on song dialed in for heavy rock it would not sound the same, nor would it sound the same with the Gretsch. And vice versa, the Les Paul wouldn't give me what I'm looking for in a jazz or funk style song. Different types of guitars have a natural sonic tendency as do pickups. For people that are generally confined to one style it's not as noticeable as it is if you play a variety of styles.


+1

It also depends on what you're comparing- if you compare two pretty similar guitars through two pretty different amps you'll think the amp makes more difference, whereas if you do the opposite you'll think the guitar makes more difference.

I think if I had to pick I'd say the amp makes more difference, but it's not a black and white thing either.
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#8
I think alot of people have this misconception in the beginning. You see alot of kids starting out and they get mom and dad (or themselves) to fork out big money on a guitar (probably some shred machine) then since they blew there proverbial wad on the axe there wasn't enough left for a quality amplifier, what usually winds up happening is in less than a years time both the guitar and the cracker jack amp (fart box) wind up in the window at the local pawnshop for pennies on the dollar, because the kid wasnt able to sound the way his heroes do (guitarists need instant gradification) so they give up on it.


Alot of this could be blamed on shitty salesman at your local big box music store that will tell you a guitar was dipped in the blood of unicorns to try and move product.
#9
So two part answer:

First - If they both sounded basically the same, how much does the guitar affect the tone. A lot, actually. The issue is that you're using what are basically digital modeling practice amps - the digital modeling means that it's using digital technology to model the same basic sound, so it's not going to have a lot of variance if they're doing their job correctly - and practice amps are basically all pretty similar, especially in solid-state territory. You're not going to get much color in the tone coming from either of those sources.

The second part of my answer - it's not really a good idea to separate your overall tone into 'amp tone and guitar tone.' It's a good idea to know what sort of launching pad you're going for with each when you're trying to find your sound, but to me at least, they're like salt and pepper with cooking - you need both to get the taste you're after, and either without the other won't give you the flavor you want. They're both important to your sound, and undercutting one in favor of the other has always been a mistake in my mind.

What irritates the hell out of me is that you get these elitist guitarists that think anything under a grand is absolute shit, and they preach this stuff to impressionable people who don't know better, and it feeds itself. I've seen guys absolutely rip on a sub-$200 Squier, and guys with $5k+ rigs that absolutely sound and play horridly, and if you want my honest advice, play what works for you enough that you can improve your skill on the guitar. A lot of the tone is in your hands and how you phrase your stuff. That's why Petrucci will sound like Petrucci whether he's on his own rig or sitting in a pawn shop playing a collectively $150 rig.

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#10
Anthony, I wouldn't draw too many conclusions until you try something more on the extreme. For example, a high end amp and a high end guitar. I am NOT saying that everyone needs a $4k rig, just that more experience draws to more educated conclusions.
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#11
Have 5 top guitarists play through exactly the same guitar and amp and listen to the result. Same gear but very different guitar sounds. Why is that? The were using the same exact gear??? Each guitarist makes different choices in both guitar and amp settings as well as fingers to strings. This has a massive effect on overall guitar sound and tone. We each have unique qualities that shine though on every guitar and amp we play. This is why Jimi always sounded like Jimi, EVH always sounded like EVH, Jeff Beck always sounds like Jeff Beck, and Dimebag always sounds like Dime-bag. Fingers matter a lot.

Guitar and amp choices do matter and there are practical limitations on how cheap you can go on gear to get great guitar tone. I would argue that most pros can produce awesome results with less than $1000 in gear. Less than $500 for guitar and amp would be harder but possible. Less than $200 for guitar and amp... Not likely. Find your own floor that great tone cannot go below. For me that would be a Mex Tele and small tube amp like the Blues Jr or Super Champ. If someone hands me a Teisco bolt-on and a Spider amp, I already know my tone will suffer a lot and it's going to be a long night. Others might need a $2000 PRS and a 100w Marshall to not sound like poo. Find your own level.

As to the OP, sounding the same on both guitars... Yep, the same guitarist was playing them and they are running through small cheap amps.
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#12
Quote by Cajundaddy
Have 5 top guitarists play through exactly the same guitar and amp and listen to the result. Same gear but very different guitar sounds. Why is that? The were using the same exact gear??? Each guitarist makes different choices in both guitar and amp settings as well as fingers to strings. This has a massive effect on overall guitar sound and tone. We each have unique qualities that shine though on every guitar and amp we play. This is why Jimi always sounded like Jimi, EVH always sounded like EVH, Jeff Beck always sounds like Jeff Beck, and Dimebag always sounds like Dime-bag. Fingers matter a lot.

Guitar and amp choices do matter and there are practical limitations on how cheap you can go on gear to get great guitar tone. I would argue that most pros can produce awesome results with less than $1000 in gear. Less than $500 for guitar and amp would be harder but possible. Less than $200 for guitar and amp... Not likely. Find your own floor that great tone cannot go below. For me that would be a Mex Tele and small tube amp like the Blues Jr or Super Champ. If someone hands me a Teisco bolt-on and a Spider amp, I already know my tone will suffer a lot and it's going to be a long night. Others might need a $2000 PRS and a 100w Marshall to not sound like poo. Find your own level.

As to the OP, sounding the same on both guitars... Yep, the same guitarist was playing them and they are running through small cheap amps.


I tend to agree with this for the most part, but I still maintain that as regards gear, the amp provides more of the overall tone than the guitar does, and by a significant margin. A $200 Squier with good quality electronics will sound nearly identical to the $1500 USA deluxe with the same electronics. (I would actually say "identical", but that's a harder sell...)

But a cheap amp will always sound like a cheap amp, while a great amp will make even marginal guitars sing (assuming the loose nut behind the fretboard does their part...)
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#14
Quote by Arby911
I tend to agree with this for the most part, but I still maintain that as regards gear, the amp provides more of the overall tone than the guitar does, and by a significant margin. A $200 Squier with good quality electronics will sound nearly identical to the $1500 USA deluxe with the same electronics. (I would actually say "identical", but that's a harder sell...)

But a cheap amp will always sound like a cheap amp, while a great amp will make even marginal guitars sing (assuming the loose nut behind the fretboard does their part...)



I agree. The amp is way more important to the overall sound then a guitar. Not to say the guitar isnt important.
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#15
Quote by gregs1020
i hate these threads.

my YCV50blue was $275. it sounds glorious.


As you well know, "cheap" is more a function of quality than price. I'm perfectly comfortable with inexpensive gear as long as it sounds/plays good.
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#16
Only in cheap amps do different guitars sound the same. This "the amp makes all the difference" is to simplistic and is being taken to the extreme.
There's a lot of space performance wise between cheap, decent and good.
As an example listen to the Helix Demo at Chapmans. During the tone test the guy from Line 6 is playing a high end Strat and the tone sounds killer, then he's immediatley handed an LP and simply unplugs the Strat and plugs in the LP and starts paying again. No other changes are made and the swap takes literally seconds. The tone is totally different (and still killer). So the character of the guitar shows though and if you listen it's not just a humbucker vs single coil difference.
Decent equipment isn't expensive and a decent amp and decent guitar are not priced that far from one another unless you're talking hi wattage amps (obvisouly you can't compare a stack to a combo price wise).

The thing is really cheap guitars sound like a** not matter what you play them through. I've certainly heard enough examples on forums to back this up.
Moving on.....
#17
Re: sounding like yourself- technique vs gear

My opinion is that tone is primarily in your gear (mostly amps & pedals), and all the techniques you use with that tone are in the fingers.

The techniques, phrasing, attack, taste preferences and other skills that make your playing stand out are all a product of all the things you've learned and internalized over years of playing, and show as you express yourself. That is what really makes you stand out, even from others using similar gear.

But you put Mark Knopfler on Brent Hind's rig and make him start to play without changing amp settings, he won't have the same tone. He won't sound like Mark Knopfler, he'll sound like Brent Hinds imitating Mark Knopfler's style.

I'm in Texas, and have lived here since 1982. I've gotten to hear guys like Ty Tabor and Dimebag Darryl before they were famous...plus early incarnations of bands like Helmet, Fishbone and Whyld Peach (the band that became the backup band for Outkast). I even got to see some before they were signed. And in wonderful little clubs all over San Antonio, Austin, and the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

They did change their techniques over time...and their tone definitely evolved as their gear changed.
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#19
It took me about three decades, literally, to come to grips with electric guitars, because I had been paying far too much attention to the lump of wood. It wasn't until I took an interest in vintage lap steels that I realised it is all about amps and pickups, not necessarily in that order. Even then it isn't about price, at least for pickups. My favourite guitar is Vietnamese Peavey Raptor costing Oz$65 from the local hock shop, and it still all-original except I recently changed the headstock shape. I have two good amps, and I like all six of my carefully-chosen and mostly cheap, and modded guitars, a lot better than my mate's Gibson ES339. The whole system is interactive not additive, the player, pickups, pedals, amp and lump of wood all have to work well together, it isn't one or the other.
#20
Quote by Blicer
IMO

Player>pickups>amp>pedals>guitarbody>pick>Cables


Why do think pick-ups are more important than the amplifier, it feels backwards to me. I think the amp itself plays a big role in the overall sound and different pick-ups will very subtly influence that sound.
#21
Quote by anthonymarisc
Why do think pick-ups are more important than the amplifier, it feels backwards to me. I think the amp itself plays a big role in the overall sound and different pick-ups will very subtly influence that sound.


I agree, pickups are more for fine tuning your tone. Amp and pedals are way more important imho.

Quote by dannyalcatraz
My current analogy du jour is that if your overall sound was an ice cream sundae, the amp would be the ice cream, your pedals the nuts & hot fudge, and the guitar would be the cherry on top.


I will never get tired of this analogy
#22
Quote by anthonymarisc
Why do think pick-ups are more important than the amplifier, it feels backwards to me. I think the amp itself plays a big role in the overall sound and different pick-ups will very subtly influence that sound.


I think you could argue it either way, and maybe it depends on the kinds of tones you are looking for. For example I play clean and bright, and good string-to-string balance and absence of "mud" are important characteristics of pickups for me, then after that an intrinsically bright amp. If you used a lot of clipped tones (OD, distortion or fuzz), maybe harmonic content generated by the pedals and amp would be more important than the detailed characteristics of the pickups. It isn't one size fits all.
#23
in the end your amp will make the difference. cheap amps do all kinda sound teh same regardless of what guitar is plugged in. why cuz thats as good as they can sound so anything more just won't come thru. what makes of breaks an amp is how well it picks up the sublte little things coming from the guitar. cheap guitars with crap pickups don't really pickup the little things near as well as the higher end models with good pickups. same goes with your playing if the amp can't process the little subtlties of your playing then it doesn't matter how good the guitar is. a good amp will allow any guitar to sound as good as it can. obviously crappy pickups are only going to sound so good but at least a decent amp will squeeze as much out as possible.
#24
I am proud ro be the first to mention SPEAKERS! This is the ultimate end of your signal chain and the things responsible for ALL the tone! Speakers are so commonly overlooked its pretty unbelievable!


I know a guy who saved forever and bout a Mesa Dual rec...then wondered why it sounded really crappy....Probably that flubby ass B-52 Cab loaded with god knows what kind of garbage.

Speakers Speakers Speakers! They matter!
#26
Quote by Dick Savage
I am proud ro be the first to mention SPEAKERS! This is the ultimate end of your signal chain and the things responsible for ALL the tone! Speakers are so commonly overlooked its pretty unbelievable!


I know a guy who saved forever and bout a Mesa Dual rec...then wondered why it sounded really crappy....Probably that flubby ass B-52 Cab loaded with god knows what kind of garbage.

Speakers Speakers Speakers! They matter!


Agreed, although generally they get lumped into the "amp" section.
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#27
overall, a guitar contributed relatively little compared to an amp.

guitar is more about feel / playability. then stuff like pickups, scale length etc, greatly affect the response and attack. then the design, wood, quality etc adds a VERY slight nuance.

that nuance is more prominent thru very very good gear that allows these qualities to shine thru, like a handwired amp or something like a Dr. Z, class A single channel handmade amp.

thru a line 6 digital amp? no. the amp is pretty much killing the guitar and the line 6 will make anything sound like a line 6.

that being said, playing skill is always king. aside from that, your amp and speaker cab, combined setup is about 50-70% of your tone. after that, your effects / pedal board are probably another 20-30% and your guitar, and any other little insignificant tool or trick make up the rest.
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#28
I think what's causing the disparity in answers here about the difference the guitar makes in the overall sound is due to the fact that "difference in guitars" can mean different things to different people. To some it means an expensive strat compared to a squier. To others, such as myself, it means significant difference in design such as a hollow body Gretsch compared to a Les Paul.

Another factor that plays into it is whether or not you confine yourself to a particular style or tone such as heavier overdriven styles. In that case you won't see a significant difference, but I would still say you would hear a difference were you to take the same amp with the same settings and plug in a Les Paul, a Strat, and a hollowbody Gretsch. There would be a difference in body, tone, and probably sustain without touching anything on the amp.

As mentioned previously, if you want to hear the basic tonal differences in guitars create a basic, flat, clean setting on an amp of your choice (modeling or not) plug in a telecaster, a stratocaster, a jaguar, a Les Paul, a rickenbacker, and a hollowbody Gretsch. The tonal characteristics of those various guitars will become quite obvious. If it doesn't you need to schedule a hearing test or at a minimum turn down your stage sound to protect what's left of your hearing. This is one of the main reasons you won't see Nashville players using a Les Paul that often, nor will you see a jazz player typically using a Strat. That has little to do with feel of the guitar and much more to due with the tonal characteristics.
Last edited by dunedindragon at Dec 20, 2015,
#29
You are comparing two Epiphones to each other through a pretty crappy amp. The guitars you are comparing are feature-wise pretty similar. Even through a better amp I guess you wouldn't notice that much difference between them (not saying there would be no difference but it would be a more subtle difference). If you were comparing a Squier Strat to an Epiphone Les Paul or whatever, then you would notice a clear difference because they are so different feature-wise. Different types of guitars do sound pretty different. A Strat sounds like a Strat, a Les Paul sounds like a Les Paul through any amp. You can't really achieve a Strat tone with a Les Paul by changing your amp. That's when you need a new guitar.

Your overall tone is a combination of many factors. But two guitars of the same type will sound very similar. Not saying there are no differences but they are more subtle. And as I said, your Explorer is pretty similar to the Les Paul.

Also, the more gain or effects you use, the less clear the differences between different guitars will become. Play through a clean channel and you should hear a clearer difference.

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Re: sounding like yourself- technique vs gear

My opinion is that tone is primarily in your gear (mostly amps & pedals), and all the techniques you use with that tone are in the fingers.

The techniques, phrasing, attack, taste preferences and other skills that make your playing stand out are all a product of all the things you've learned and internalized over years of playing, and show as you express yourself. That is what really makes you stand out, even from others using similar gear.

But you put Mark Knopfler on Brent Hind's rig and make him start to play without changing amp settings, he won't have the same tone. He won't sound like Mark Knopfler, he'll sound like Brent Hinds imitating Mark Knopfler's style.

I'm in Texas, and have lived here since 1982. I've gotten to hear guys like Ty Tabor and Dimebag Darryl before they were famous...plus early incarnations of bands like Helmet, Fishbone and Whyld Peach (the band that became the backup band for Outkast). I even got to see some before they were signed. And in wonderful little clubs all over San Antonio, Austin, and the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

They did change their techniques over time...and their tone definitely evolved as their gear changed.

Yes, exactly. The tone of your gear is different from the tone of your technique.

A Marshall will always sound like a Marshall, no matter what guitar you are using. A Les Paul will always sound like a Les Paul, no matter what amp you are using. A Les Paul through a Marshall will always sound like a Les Paul through a Marshall, no matter who's playing. But you will always sound like you, no matter what gear you are using. Your style is what people recognize. But you can't make a Les Paul through a Marshall sound like a Strat through a Fender Twin.

So it all depends on what part of the tone we are talking about. If you want a Les Paul sound, you need a Les Paul. If you want a Marshall sound, you need a Marshall (or something similar). If you want to sound like Slash, that's not going to happen. You can get the same guitar and amp as Slash and use the same settings, but that will only achieve the tone of Slash’s gear, not make you sound like Slash (that’s in the technique). You can of course learn to imitate Slash’s style and that will get you close to his tone.
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#30
I agree with Tony Done and Dunedindragon. The answer is all based on the style you play. I play a lot of different styles because it's the nature of what my band does and what I like to play. 60-70% of what I play is fairly clean and like Tony I look for a brighter clearer sound so the pickups make a big difference for me. If the guitars pickups sound good using a clean setting it can always be manipulated with pedals to get a different sound in another style but for me it's all about the pickups and the guitars sound to begin with. Most of the time I just want to amplify the sound of my guitar as pure and clean as possible with a little reverb or delay then use a couple distortion pedals that will take care of the crunch/overdrive when needed.
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#31
Quote by anthonymarisc
Why do think pick-ups are more important than the amplifier, it feels backwards to me. I think the amp itself plays a big role in the overall sound and different pick-ups will very subtly influence that sound.

I would say they are equal the more I think about it. Depends on how drastic of a change you make. Switching out single coils to emgs is going to be drastic difference, but so is going from orange to 5150.
#32
well jeez man if you go from a jazz box archtop to a baratone jackson with EMGs, of course that is drastic as heck. lets be reasonable here.

but in that same instance, if you plug an archtop jazzbox into a diezel herbert, its still going to sound metal. probably not ideal in any form, but that amp is still going to be the dominant factor.

____

as pointed out, SOME amps, mainly very very high quality handwired style (not limited to but mainly dominated in the market by low wattage class A amps, or amps wired to be clean single channels like Dr. Z, two rock, etc) are VERY VERY transparent. they let any nuance through, including playing style. in fact, i sound noticably WORSE playing through a Dr. Z because all my "bedroom player" technique is way more obvious.

in these scenarios, plugged straight in no effects and playing clean, the guitar is very obvious.

however, back on point THE AMP is allowing this to happen. the guitar can be heard BETTER, and later becomes a FLAVOR, but the amp is the dominant factor on this quality.

its also why people still pay stupid amounts of money for something like a two rock. only until now has digital modelling become good enough to replicate that, some would argue it hasnt. to me, im sure the right setting on a Kemper is still darn good.

you dont ned to spend about 3000 on an amp to play through a clean channel. but if you have cash like john mayer...the two rock makes the difference.
Carvin CT624
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Last edited by ikey_ at Dec 21, 2015,
#33
Arguments can be made on both sides about tone, but as far as guitars and amps go, amps win by a long shot. Guitars are relatively simple in design and internal components compared to the sophisticated electronic circuitry of amps. So, you don't need a $1000+ guitar to sound good - just make sure you have quality pots, proper grounding and shielding, decent construction, and fresh strings. Heck, you can even get away with old strings as long as they stay in tune. Technique goes a long way. Having said that though, a great guitar player can make any rig sound good, but put that same player on great gear, and proceed to be blown away. This just stems from observations in my 37+ years as a guitarist.
#34
Honestly (if using tube amps) the quality of the current going into the amp has kore effect on the sound than the guitar itself in most cases! Most people do not ever consider the need for power conditioners.
#35
Quote by Dick Savage
Honestly (if using tube amps) the quality of the current going into the amp has kore effect on the sound than the guitar itself in most cases! Most people do not ever consider the need for power conditioners.


Indeed. I've had to that in my studio to help get the noise levels under control. The only problem I have now is when my dishwasher is running. I think I need to my studio circuit on an alternate breaker, lol.
#36
Quote by Rick_Lamoreaux
Indeed. I've had to that in my studio to help get the noise levels under control. The only problem I have now is when my dishwasher is running. I think I need to my studio circuit on an alternate breaker, lol.



Had a similar issue myself with a paint mixing machine. I had it on the same breaker as my jam room and it made everything hiss like hell. I eventually found out it only happened while the mixee was running in the basement....swapped breakers and added a GFI and a power conditioner and problem solved.
#37
Regarding the amp vs pickups thing...

If you have a crappy amp, you can't make it sound good, no matter how good guitar/how good pickups you use. But play a crappy guitar through a great amp. It will still most likely sound good. At least a lot better than a great guitar played through a crappy amp.

Pickup upgrade is about fine tweaking your sound. Well, changing vintage single coils to EMGs is going to be a big change. But if you upgrade your Epiphone humbuckers with, let's say, Seymour Duncans, we are talking about a pretty small change. It will be noticeable but it won't completely change the way you sound, whereas changing your amp from a Marshall MG to a JMP is going to make a much more noticeable difference.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#38
I think I see where you are coming from now. I was thinking in terms of possibility but if you are just looking to step up quality in your gear and are only going to change one thing then yeah an amp upgrade will do a lot more for you than a pickup upgrade.
#39
^yup.

I remember when i started nearly 20 years ago (age 5) i had a 10 watt gorilla amp and a pawnshop stratclone. Then about 10 years later i finally got my first "real" amplifier i was around 15, it was a Marshall JCM 2000 combo (stolen) and that amp is what made me continue to push my playing forward because until then i had never really "heard myself". A good amp makes ir breaks electric guitar players.