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Great Comments On What Makes A Guitar Player Sound Like They Do

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Andy Summers, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Andy Summers

    Andy Summers Friend of Leo's

    Jul 26, 2006
    Ok..So I just read an interview in Guitar Player magazine with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, who is the guitarist for the band 'Mars Volta'. He made a comment on what really gives a guitarist their personal sound, and thought I had to post it here. I found it to be quite profound..if I can use such a dramatic word here :)

    He states:

    "People always ask me, "Are you one of those guys where the gear matters a lot or not at all?" And I say, "Both." I love gear, because I'm a nerd. But the fact of the matter, it's not about the gear-it's about the person using it. It's about their life. That's what creates the music. I mean, we all know those people that obsess about, "Well, for this song, Jimi had this Marshall and he used the round Fuzz Face, and the Strat...but you have to play the Strat upside down because the extra length on the E string is what really gave him his sound.." But I say, no, the sound came from the fact that he had a tumultuous relationship with his father that never got resolved. The sound came from the fact that he had a brother who was in and out of jail. The sound came from the fact that he wanted to be accepted by the black community and he wasn't. So you can get every piece of gear that was ever in Jimi's hands, but the point is that you ain't never gonna sound like him. Ever."

    Now, we all know, it's the guitarist plus the gear. But I really liked the way he presented this. Whether the facts he mentions about Jimi are fully accurate or not, I do not know. But the point was taken and accepted by me.

    And I assume we all know who "Jimi" is in this statement.

    Oh..and he also mentioned he used mostly a Tele on their new album, 'Noctourniquet'. Which I find a very enjoyable album....yeah..I still call them albums..and I even grew up in the time when the cassette was king..LOL.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  2. bigmuff113

    bigmuff113 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 22, 2012
    San Antonio tx
    Omar is cool. I liked his supersonic days
  3. BritishBluesBoy

    BritishBluesBoy Doctor of Teleocity

    Oct 19, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    What a load of bollocks. His life...?? Brother...What?? Accepted by who... Nonsense. His tone came from him for sure but all that is just twaddle IMO.
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  5. Andy Summers

    Andy Summers Friend of Leo's

    Jul 26, 2006
    Hes really a great player...Still LOVE, At The Drive In!!
  6. Andy Summers

    Andy Summers Friend of Leo's

    Jul 26, 2006
    I disagree. I view it as the things in your life absolutely can have an effect on how you play. I'm not going to argue the Jimi "facts" he states, as I don't know how factual or to what extent these thing mattered in his life..But I do agree with him on personal experiences having a role in shaping the player.
  7. Trow

    Trow Tele-Meister

    Honestly, I would say that a guitar player gets his/her sound more from their influences than anything else. Anyone who loves Srv is gonna model their technique after Srv, therfore sound similar to him. For me, I began playing pop punk, then moved on to harder punk, then to blues. Add Tom Delonge, Scotty Unseen, Srv, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix and you have me. Also I think that your teacher has as much, if not more influence than your idols because your teacher adds his/her own style to the song that you like. Idk in the end we sound like we sound, and no amount of gear can change that (even though it is fun to collect :)) Just my 2c
  8. Andy Summers

    Andy Summers Friend of Leo's

    Jul 26, 2006
    I agree with you ponts, Trow...perhaps I should have named the thread, Great Comments On One Of The Many Aspects.......Obvioulsy it's many things..The original quote just resonated with me, and seemed to make complete sense. If you're angry with something in life, or if something is unresolved, or if sad...I believe it will come out in your music..along with everything else you've mentioned.

    Maybe Im just overthinking...haha. I know...shut up and play my guitar :)
  9. emu!

    emu! Poster Extraordinaire

    I don't know...

    What about that kid that played the blues with BB King at the ripe age of 11 years old. He could sound pretty darn good, and he couldn't have lived much of a turmulous life. Maybe some people can just emote better than others...?
  10. bowman

    bowman Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2006
    Framingham, MA
    There are many great guitar players that I love to hear. Some of them give me chills when I listen to their tunes, but I can honestly say I don't try to sound like them when I play. Sure, I'll copy licks that I think are cool, but more as an exercise to see if I can actually do it. I'll take those licks and morph them into my own style, whatever that is. So I guess what I'm saying is that I think both sides of this argument are valid - your playing comes from both inside and outside.
  11. jimbach

    jimbach Tele-Holic

    Mar 14, 2007
    Columbus OH
    Try as I might to sound like someone else, every time I pick up a guitar it sounds like I'm playing it. Electric, acoustic, single coil, humbucker, clean, dirty, it always sounds like me. :(
  12. cleanman

    cleanman Tele-Holic

    Dec 16, 2010
    Detroit, Michigan
    Given the level of technology its pretty easy to sound like somebody. Its pretty hard to sound like someone that people want to sound like unless you have something to say. Sure you can get a 4 year old to recite Shakespeare or Omar Khayyam but can you get them to be believeable. Technique is just vocabulary, writing a poem is art. Creating art that truly touches folks, magic.
  13. GhostofJohnToad

    GhostofJohnToad Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2006
    Toledo, Ohio
    Who a person is defines what they create. It may not be a conscious choice but it is there. There are just so many variables that define how something is created that it is senseless to make sense of it.

    Omar has a very realistic approach it seems to me.
  14. Andy Summers

    Andy Summers Friend of Leo's

    Jul 26, 2006

    I agree completely, Ghost :)
  15. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 15, 2010
    Underpants come in all sizes, so you'll probably never know for sure.
  16. A.B.Negative

    A.B.Negative Friend of Leo's

    Aug 26, 2008
    Me too.
  17. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 18, 2009
    St. George, UT
    You're talking about Jimi Vaughan, right? White guy who played blues and wanted to be accepted/recognized by the black community for his talents?
  18. kelnet

    kelnet Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Substitute music for sound in this, and it becomes more accurate. The sound that comes out of the amp can be changed with a simple turn of a knob. The music comes from the person.
  19. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Holic

    Nov 14, 2003
    Kittery, Maine
    Ever have a bad day and come home and thrash on your guitar to work out some issues? I'd say all these life situations definitely influence the way you play.
  20. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Friend of Leo's

    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    Why would you want to sound like someone else?

    "You" are the product of your upbringing, experiences & life in general. So Jimi was everything in his background & experiences.

    Or as Charlie Parker put it more succinctly,
    “Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn.”
  21. jimbach

    jimbach Tele-Holic

    Mar 14, 2007
    Columbus OH
    You obviously have never heard me 'play.'
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