#1
Thought of doing this the other day. Everyone gets so caught up with the variables that make up a guitar:

Tone wood
Neck wood
Fretboard wood
Neck construction
Pickups
Trem design
Scale length
String brand/gauge/etc..

I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could tell a difference. While playing my mind tells my ears what they're supposed to hear, based on what I've heard and read on the Internet. Recording allows me to focus on listening. I had fun doing this and I bet y'all would too.

Here's the result. Two different guitars, both E standard, played in sequential order. 5 little riffs, guitar 1 plays first every time, followed by guitar 2.

Everything after the input jack on the guitar is the same. Obviously the same amp settings for each pair of riffs, as well as cables, power sources, etc.. Same location in the room, played while standing, etc. Single tracks, raw sound. The only difference lies within the guitars themselves.

Please excuse the low quality playing, gear, editing, and the setup on the 2nd guitar (when you get to 14s you'll know what I'm talking about).

https://soundcloud.com/guitarkid8/project

The riff that is played again at the end of the clip has the mids fully scooped, just for kicks.

Try to guess the difference between the two, then do the same with your own gear. You might be surprised with what you hear (or don't)!
Last edited by guitarkid8 at Oct 7, 2016,
#2
What do mean by "everything after the input jack is the same"? The guitars or the rest of the rig? Like, how different are your guitars?
#4
I can hear some of these things some of the time. For example, I know when I've got GHS Boomers or Dean Markley Cold Steels on a couple of my guitars. I can hear scale differences in the bass registers on others. I can tell which Floyds have the big brass sustain blocks. But if you asked me to identify a maple burl body against exactly the same guitar in solid koa, I'd probably pick wrong 50% of the time.
#5
I hear the difference in pickups pretty clearly on my own guitars. I probably can't say which is which in a recording, but they don't sound the same for sure.
#6
So for this I kept string gauge, brand, & freshness the same. Same pickup height.

Guitar 1: Universally hated EMG HZ H3 pickup with basswood body,

Guitar 2: Universally accepted Seymour Duncan JB, alder body w/maple cap

Both 25.5" bolt on maple neck rosewood board & 24 frets. Floyd Rose on both.

Only guitars I have at the moment, sorry it wasn't very interesting.
Been planning on swapping out the HZ's, but after this experiment I see no reason.
#7
I played my ec-401 with the emg 57/66 set, ibanez sz with 81/85 and another ibanez (dont know the name) with 85/60 set, and i could hear a difference. It was all trough my amp of course, i just switched guitars. They are all mahagony body and neck with set necks. I could definetly hear a difference, and i guess it was the pickups, combined with differnet string gauges.

Other than that i really didnt do any tests, except a squier telecaster and an epi LP trough my friends spider II (yeah). The telecaster was a bit more twangy, but honestly, with some tweaking you could get them sounding remarkably similar. Go figure.
Jo┼ża je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#9
Pickups: Yes
Tremolo design: Yes/No I notice a different in sustain between hardtail and tremolo but not so much between tremolo designs.
Strings: Yes

As far as tonewood and wood in general I notice an audible notice the difference on acoustic guitars but not on solid body electrics.

As far a neck joint construction I can't say that I have noticed ant tonal or sustain differences between my bolt-ons, set/glued in, and my neck through although the neckthroughs offer better upper fret access than all of my others with the exception of the Stevens Extended Cutaway bolt-on on my Washburn which has crazy awesome upper fret access.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#11
no offense dude but your recording lacks dynamics and much of where one might be able to hear differences. a ton of distortion covers up a lot. betting this wasn't done through a nice amp either. doesn't sound like your guitars are all that different either. how is anyone supposed to tell a difference?
#12
I can tell the difference between my guitars (both being Telecasters but with different body woods, fretboard woods, bridges and pickups. I suspect that the majority of that difference is the pickups and the bridge/tailpiece (possibly also the fretboard radius insofar as it affects the distance between each string and the pickups). If it was only something like neck or body wood between them, I suspect I'd have a hard time distinguishing the instruments, at least amplified. I think probably I could tell a difference between two different sets of bridge saddles or pickups.

I know that I feel a pretty tangible difference between the sustain characteristics of a Fender and something Gibson-ish, unamplified, but I've no idea at all whether that's down to scale length or body wood or construction or whatever.
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Nov 8, 2016,
#13
I can tell the difference with my guitars, Kind the reason I own them I guess, 3 are mahogany bodies, Ones actually a 3 piece with Ebony laminate between the slabs, Don't see that everyday, 1 Ash, another that's a 3 piece Silver leaf Maple with Poplar wings, and another semi hollow, with 1/4" solid Flamed Maple Top and Back with Mahogany sides, Don't see that everyday either, Thing sounds more like a LP than a LP, Also have another SH with a Fiberglass body and Ash center block, All are equipped with different pickups, Couple are even 13 pin MIDI equipped, In other words there's no way these guitars can sound the same as one another, You can try but one just wont sound like the other when push comes to shove, You could play them all through a crappy amp and make them all sound like crap but that's about it, They'll all sound like crap just different,
#14
Quote by monwobobbo
no offense dude but your recording lacks dynamics and much of where one might be able to hear differences. a ton of distortion covers up a lot. betting this wasn't done through a nice amp either. doesn't sound like your guitars are all that different either. how is anyone supposed to tell a difference?


None taken.

This thread is not about me, my low quality playing, or my low quality gear. I wanted to inspire others to conduct their own tests in a similar fashion.
#15
When I'm playing my guitars, that's when I care about these details - everything from the neck profile, fret size, neck angle, body weight and thickness, pickup height, string gauge, neck relief, bridge or tremolo type, positioning of the controls and the finish etc. all makes a huge difference to the feel and the response of the guitar, that you wouldn't be able to appreciate if you were just listening. The experience of playing and listening are two totally different things.

Speaking purely from a listeners perspective - tests like these are simply not useful or necessary imo. Personally, I don't care if I can hear differences if I record myself playing a bunch of different guitars and then play back the recordings, and I care even less whether I can identify such things by listening to someone else. As long as what I'm hearing sounds like it belongs within the music that's being played... I'm just not interested in the specifics of the gear that was used.
Happiness is a warm Vox AC30
#16
Quote by guitarkid8
Thought of doing this the other day. Everyone gets so caught up with the variables that make up a guitar


Not everyone.


There are a whole lot of us that just play them.
#17
Quote by dspellman
Not everyone.


There are a whole lot of us that just play them.
Some of us manage both
#18
Quote by guitarkid8
None taken.

This thread is not about me, my low quality playing, or my low quality gear. I wanted to inspire others to conduct their own tests in a similar fashion.


admirable but similar fashion will just yield no results. your criteria isn't well though out and there is no methodology to your test. no controls nothing. guitars with different pickups are very likely to sound different so not much of a test there. all 3 of my strats have different pickups and wood. they all sound like strats but not exactly the same either.

again nice thought but fall a little short of the mark. oh and your playing isn't that bad you just obviously are thinking about it to much when recording.
#19
I think it was Keith Richards (don't quote me on that) who when asked about his vast selection of guitars responded by saying that if he were given a few moments he could get them to all sound the same.
#20
I don't really get it.I think if you had a few different guitars all with the same pickups in and recorded clean it would be a better experiment.Different guitars with different pickups are always gonna sound different.
2016 Gibson Les Paul Traditional T in Light Burst
'77 Hardtail Strat
Epiphone Sheraton MIK Duncan '59's
MIJ 84/85 Tele
MIM Std Tele
Fender Blues Jnr
Digitech Screamin' Blues
#21
this is so overdone and i am sure it will get closed, but i am bored and will throw in my two cents.

i can [should be obviously] tell the difference between my ibanez prestiges' (i have five) and my gibsons. yes. totaly different gutiars.

i can tell the differences from my teles and LP's [fucking obvious]

i can tell the difference between the bridge, to a degree construction and neck joint readily IF heard acoustically. easily.

now you take all five of my prestiges, and record them through a full rig (guitar/effects/amp/speakers/mic/etiting), i am confident i could not tell you which is which. they are all very similar with similar dimarzio pickups.all trems, all same woods (with an exception of one having a maple fretboard).

what matters to me is that they play different and feel different and have different purposes. tone is only one.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.


***"What Trashed Hoards"*** (updated 2016-11-27)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#22
LOL I can tell the difference between all of my guitars which are made from various woods but TBF that are tuned different, loaded with different pickups, and are not all shaped the same nor are they the same thickness.

I would not pass up a guitar that played and sounded good because of the wood type.

Edit: Unless it was plywood.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#23
Quote by Evilnine
LOL I can tell the difference between all of my guitars which are made from various woods but TBF that are tuned different, loaded with different pickups, and are not all shaped the same nor are they the same thickness.

I would not pass up a guitar that played and sounded good because of the wood type.

Edit: Unless it was plywood.


pretty much this.

IMO the only reason i would chose one wood over another was if it was prettier.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.


***"What Trashed Hoards"*** (updated 2016-11-27)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#24
Quote by Evilnine
LOL I can tell the difference between all of my guitars which are made from various woods but TBF that are tuned different, loaded with different pickups, and are not all shaped the same nor are they the same thickness.

I would not pass up a guitar that played and sounded good because of the wood type.

Edit: Unless it was plywood.


Why would it be bad to have a plywood guitar if it sounded good? Are there any downsides construction-wise? I mean, I wouldn't go for it either if I knew, but if it was sprayed solid and you had no way of knowing it was plywood and it sounded good, why not? :P
#25
Quote by I K0nijn I
Why would it be bad to have a plywood guitar if it sounded good? Are there any downsides construction-wise? I mean, I wouldn't go for it either if I knew, but if it was sprayed solid and you had no way of knowing it was plywood and it sounded good, why not? :P


I guess it would be out of principle using gheap wood is one thing but using plywood?

That said, companies that are making guitars out of plywood are not likely putting quality electronics or hardware on them either so the odds of a plywood guitar sounding good are slim then there is resale value to keep in mind.

I had a B.C. Rich Bronze series given to me it was a project guitar that had been dissasembled it was plywood and not very good plywood at that. It is still in pieces.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge