I'm learning Rob Scallon's 14th fret capo metal song, but while it sounds great on the video, it sounds very boring & dull when I play it. For example, on the video, the tone seems very exciting, and high pitched, while on my guitar it sounds very monotone and dull. I'm not sure how to describe it lol. My guitar is in tune, and I am playing the notes correctly, it just sounds bad. Is this a technique issue? Or does the video sound better because it's been professionally mixed or something?

Here's the video:

Are your strings new?
Are you using a high quality capo?
Is your guitar properly set-up?
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Are your strings new?
Are you using a high quality capo?
Is your guitar properly set-up?

My strings are probably 5 or 6 months old. I use D'Addario strings (I don't exactly remember the specs), maybe this is the issue?
I guess my capo is high-quality, it does bar the fret completely, so I don't think there's a problem there.
I haven't gotten my guitar checked out yet. I'm using an old epiphone special II edition, because my other guitar's neck widens at the 14th fret such that putting a capo there is a bit difficult. The pickups have been loosened, because one of the screws came off. But I am not sure if this could cause the dull sound?
Last edited by CanadianRock at Jul 6, 2016,
I can't imagine the higher frets sound all the great on a special II, but those half year old string are your biggest culprit. Even my elixirs are dull by that point
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It´s the strings for sure. After 2 or 3 months, they lose a lot in terms of tone.
It helps to wipe down your guitar/strings after playing too. They seem to retain their tone/sustain/etc longer if you do that. Either way though after 6 months they will sound very dull. I usually change mine every 2-4 weeks and even after that amount of time the tone difference is very noticeable when I put on new strings, plus new strings feel a lot nicer to play.
Higher frets loose energy faster since the waves hit the bridge and nut at 2 times the speed at the 12th nut than the bridge. Every time a wave reverses direction like this, it looses a little energy. A guitar with a brass, steel, or titanium bridge and/or nut would increase your sustain, as they are more resistant to these waves, they absorb less energy and reflect more compared to ones made of pot metal or zinc. Your action may also be too low, and you may be loosing energy on the additional frets. Try moving the bridge up and the headstock down (tighten the trussrod) just a little. Don't break it though, if the truss rod creaks or gives decent resistance, it's done moving that way. Another solution would be just to ignore the problem, Rob has a lot of gain on that guitar, which would help increase the power in the picking dynamics. For sustain, crank the volume and use resonant feedback in a controlled manor.
Just for laughs, try capoing the guitar on the 12th fret instead, and listen to what happens. I'm thinking you should get better sustain, and better harmonic content, with the strings split in equal halves, or octaves. The 14th fret is an odd interval, and much less prone to generate a full sound.

Capos always do, "make the sound duller", as they cut of the very low bass, and filter out much of the harmonics.

If you insist on playing capoed at the 14th, I'd suggest adding chorus, reverb, or compression, in any or all combinations.

Also, open strings are a lot more naturally resonant than any fretted note. Now, when you're dealing with a capo as high as the 14th fret, keep in mind you only have less than half (!) of the original string mass in motion. The more mass something has, the more "energy" or "inertia" it has. Which should translate to more sustain, strings open.

For restoring some of the bass when I use a capo on my acoustics, I've taken to adding an octave synthesizer, and set it to 1 octave below the guitar. Then, I just blend in enough so that it pumps up or "restores" the seemingly missing bottom end , but you still perceive it as "natural bass". I use something like 25% of the sub octave, as compared to maybe 75% of the dry signal. (Or I set the blend at about "nine o'clock", if that gets my point across better).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 25, 2016,