Fact or Fiction?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by guitarmoron, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. guitarmoron

    guitarmoron Tele-Meister

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    I have often heard that if a guitar doesn't sound good unplugged, that it wont sound good plugged in, is this true? if so it would help me a lot in the future while shopping.

    thanks
     
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  2. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    No.
     
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  3. kinkstah

    kinkstah Tele-Afflicted

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    Fiction.
    And it works both sides (sounding "good" -an electric solidbody?- unplugged does not mean sounding good when plugged).
     
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  4. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

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    Fiction
     
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  5. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

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    Define "good." If the strings rattle or buzz it will still rattle or buzz plugged in. If the pickups aren't to your liking you won't be able to tell unplugged. Common sense stuff.
     
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  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I think it is true with semi-hollows, but only from my own limited experience. It might me true in solid bodies in extreme circumstances, but even then, probably pretty subtle. That said, I'd select with best feeling neck first, then how it sounds unplugged. This strategy has worked for me.
     
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  7. Downshift

    Downshift Tele-Holic

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    You'll hear salesmen on youtube all excited about "listen to how resonant this thing is unplugged!"

    Cool. I guess. Completely irrelevant to how it sounds plugged in.

    Same with fretboard material, weight, saddles, etc. You're running electricity through magnets, wire, pots, cords, tubes, and speakers, not to mention the settings of the guitar and the amp. You can not tell a difference.
     
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  8. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's my go-to test. Play it unplugged, if you like it a lot, then plug it in. If it's resonant you'll physically feel it for sure. That WILL transfer to being plugged in at low volumes. My two keeper strats almost tickle my ribs unplugged. That's why they rose to the top of maybe 8-9 I've had.
    But "sounds good" is different than "resonant" to some extent. It depends on what YOU like. Also on HOW you play. If you are playing in front of a Marshall stack really loud, then how a guitar resonates unplugged matters far less. If you are playing a small club at reasonable volumes, it matters a lot.

    Here's another case in point. I love the feel of the old Gibson L6S guitars. And they are cheap (for a reason). Mostly like the neck and the tummy cut they have. BUT they are maple bodies and are bright and lifeless to me. I have tried 3 different ones over the years. The first one I tried every type of pickup including P90's, Strat SC's, P94's and various HB's. Nothing really changed the character of the guitar. Sure you can roll the tone down so it's not so bright, but then it's dull and lifeless.
    I've had many guitars that I realized pickup changes wont solve my dislike for them. Pickup changes get you a minor difference only.
    Another example is a warm sounding jazz archtop I had. Pickup changes didnt really change the character of it.
     
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  9. Shuster

    Shuster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Unless it's an Acoustic, you need to plug in Any electric guitar to really know what you have, and if you'll want to keep her;),
     
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  10. King Creole

    King Creole Friend of Leo's

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    It's fiction. But some guitars have a certain snap and liveliness both plugged and unplugged in a way that makes me play better. It's intangible but it's real.
     
  11. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    Sustain matters. I don't think tone does.
     
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  12. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    True! I've had my Danocaster on a stand here in my office, and while my amp is sitting right next to it I haven't even bothered to plug it in. It's got such a nice snap to it unplugged.

    Sounds even better plugged in, though.

    - D
     
  13. Matthias

    Matthias Tele-Afflicted

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    Good indicator of sustain and buzzes, and sympathetic ringing. But buzzes can be excused if you can’t hear them through the amp. That’s about it, though. Most of the balance and frequency response comes from the pickups and pickup height.
     
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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    What you are asking is between these two videos. Then ask who benefits if it's true (marketing department) or false (every player). Who was that guy that said follow the money?...




    .
     
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  15. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Fiction unless you're talking acoustic guitars. I remember my old Sheraton sounding pretty nice unplugged, so maybe different for a hollow/semi-hollow too.
     
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  16. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    If you like how it sounds and/or feels unplugged that may help your overall opinion of the guitar, but it doesn't necessarily translate into sounding good plugged in. It just means "Man, this feels like a tight setup on this guitar!" That could be a good sign though as to its overall quality. And if it sounds good plugged in as well, win win! :D That's how I've always thought about it anyway.
     
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  17. Sean Mac

    Sean Mac Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I like the physical sensation of "resonance" from the instrument.

    Haptic, tactile or vibrant qualities appeal to me.

    I like to feel it working.

    There are quite a few ways to adjust the amplified sound.

    :)
     
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  18. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Meister

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    "Not in the sense that you mean" Anton Chigurh

    BUT I have found guitars that resonate or you can feel a tone from "MAY" have a tone that translates.

    Acoustic builders tap the tops to analyze them and the bracing along the way.. so it's a FACT the plain old tone of the wood "MAY" indicate a certain quality.

    It's not like you're gonna lift a Tele off a shelf and play it and get some guitar you can impress girls with without an amp.

    But my critical experience is limited. I'll defer to the "experts" and have read enough that ANY resonance and tones from an unplugged guitar is pure coincidence and no indication of tone... I'm just not 100% convinced of this...

    Tex
     
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  19. DugT

    DugT Tele-Holic

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    That line was made famous by the movie about The Washington Posts investigation of Nixon and Watergate. "Deep Throat" the nickname of the White House informant" advised the Post reporters to "Follow the money".
     
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  20. Sean Mac

    Sean Mac Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Latin scholars might trace it back to Cicero and "Cui bono?"

    Tricky Dicky was not the first of his kind :rolleyes:

    :)

    Edit

    intended as historical amusement rather than political commentary
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
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