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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Subjective views of Tone... on youtube et al

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by burntfrijoles, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    I've been perusing youtube and others looking for examples of great or authentic tone in the Line 6 Helix.
    (Disclaimer: I am an amateur's amateur as a guitar player although I've been playing off and on for over 50 years-I have the "want" but was shortchanged on talent although it doesn't stop me from loving the guitar!)

    There are many fine examples of wonderful tone on youtube, both with conventional gear and modelers. Then there are absolutely horrible tones in abundance. Now, I have to give folks credit for being bold and brave to post their work so maybe I just don't get it.

    Sometimes the person is trying to copy an artist tone; sometimes a specific amp model group; and others are just about basic rhythm, crunch and lead tones. The tones I hear are nowhere in the ballpark of the artist, or; an over exaggeration or extreme example of the tone (think Marshall lead) or shrill (like digital artifact) of the tone. Yet other times, I just don't think the person is anywhere in the same area code of say, a basic blues tone for example or a simple crunch rhythm. Here's the kicker: some of the posted tones are by really excellent guitarists in terms of skill and technique.

    I know this might come out as overly harsh and, as I said, there are lots of great videos of guitarists who absolutely nail what they are playing in terms of tone and feel. I guess my idea of great tone is different than a lot of folks or I guess it shows that tone is really subjective and totally in the ears of the listener.
    t guitar floyd and Sounds Good like this.

  2. Zeonoid

    Zeonoid Tele-Meister

    Dec 17, 2008
    Slovakia, EU
    the tone and the spirit of music, whole concept of art/sound is in brain, heart and hands ..the amplifier, guitar, stomboxes and even mastering tools can help but also ruin what is there at the begining
    Chicago Matt and Sounds Good like this.

  3. pondcaster

    pondcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 29, 2010
    Tryon, NC
    Tone is really subjective and almost totally in the ears of the listener.

    - wise old tdpri'r

  4. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 20, 2013
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    Yep. Yep. Yep.

    I was looking for a Vox AV30 when they came out. Could not find one locally, and the videos I saw were uninspiring tone wise (tone was OK, but every video seemed to have a ton of slap-slap string noise - amp? Every player? Who knows.) I never did find one I could try out, and went a different route.

    I got a Mustang III, because I did not know what tone I wanted for myself. Lots to choose from there, and my favorite changes every month.

    Tone is a fickle mistress. She seems to be moody and change her mind just to keep us on our toes. Maybe others have found "it", but not me. Searching online is all but pointless - the mic does not pick up subtleties, and a lot of "it" is just feeling big air being pushed, and my laptop speakers won't do justice to a 12" amp speaker, etc. All you can really tell is "will this get me in the ballpark?".

    Kinda your point though - it's so hard to tell much, and what one person thinks is "really close" or sounds great, may be well off the mark for others.

    There - I just posted nonsense that adds nothing!
    xafinity, Sounds Good and pondcaster like this.

  5. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Holic

    May 7, 2015
    youtube compresses audio and video, so what you are seeing and hearing is not what the poster posted. Without knowing the settings and filters they are using for compression, its difficult to anticipate exactly how your video will sound/look to the masses.

    yes different people have different taste, otherwise we'd all be bored to tears and everyone would talk the same and beleive the same things and drive the same car,etc.

    Are you suprised that audio sounds different to different people? The whole point of tone is to have a pallette that you can choose from to express different emotions and ideas at different points in a song or to emphasize different elements of the music.

    There is no perfect tone, only whats perfect for the composition and to your ears.
    Sounds Good likes this.

  6. paratus

    paratus Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    I agree there are good and bad examples, but I find it pretty hard to judge much of anything good on Youtube. If a high quality file is posted, it may only be compressed once, but most are not that good so they might be double compressed, and at a low bitrate as well. In addition, unless the computer has a high quality DAC or interface, the conversion back to analog will be further compromised. And what can you say about guitar/amp reviews recorded on a cell phone through a rig with a half dozen stomp boxes. It's difficult to tell what you are listening to!

    That said, there are videos out there that DO sound good, and make you smile. Just not very many of them it seems.

    Bottom line, at least to me, Youtube makes it hard to use your ears when it comes to tone.

  7. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

    Oct 2, 2017
    Luton UK
    Tone yes is a Great Subject! i know i have been through many and then disregarded them. High gain like Paul Gilbert even, but it seems sort of to thin to me now, but he is a great player and many like his tones. Also one can get good tones from non tube amps btw, i have two and can, a modified vetta for one and even spider amp but with certain effect units in front.

    So to me no one is going like certain tones even if they are exact like the original artist of a song you play, as well i think much more can be in the fingers to bring out the feel of any song, and then one can just feel the rhtymn of the song more than the tone. Example look at some people who play none electrics on utube, how they can make any song sound great with just a basic tone and their fingers.

    But yes sadly i do the tone searching just like all other electric and pedal folk i suppose, but i dont treat it that seriously, and i just use it to help my playing along more and plus so i can live with it myself as well.

    Is a Great Thread btw! will be interesting to see peoples different thoughts on tone.

  8. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's

    Mar 23, 2016
    Raleigh, NC
    I have a POD HD400, and there's a great online community where users can upload and share tone settings. I would assume the Helix is similar.
    Anyway, I've learned much the same through there - there are some patches that do a really good job of emulating a given artist's tone on a particular song, but just as many that sound way way off to me.

  9. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    That's not really what my post was about.
    The amount of youtube compression does not account to what I am referring. Now of course, people are using different mics or perhaps even an iPhone or Android phone so naturally quality is different. Also, room acoustics etc.
    Neither am I talking about taste. I don't listen to death metal or any metal for the matter, save the occasional Metallica tune. I don't listen to shred etc. I am not looking for those tones.
    Of course different tones are needed to fit the song. Maybe you want a crunchy tone with delay over an acoustic guitar that is mellow. Perhaps you want a singing lead tone or a chorused clean tone. Maybe you want to play the chorused verse of Purple Rain rhythm and add some power chords in the chorus. I get that.
    As I wrote in my original post sometimes what the person intended is not in the ballpark or even the same area code of what I would expect. Personally if I posted something to youtube and it didn't come out as I intended I would pull it.
    It's also the same for user posted patches in the Line 6 Custom Tones user section or Fender Fuse etc. Now obviously, every person hears it a little differently and their recording environment differs but there are some very good patches and absolute "what were they thinking" patches.
    paratus and t guitar floyd like this.

  10. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    Emphasis on the "old"! :D

    BTW, from my many posts on the threads regarding the Mustang GT: I have made the jump from the GT40, which I still think is great, to a Helix. But it all started with realizing how good the modeling is in the GT40.

  11. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 24, 2015
    my Mom's basement
    Well said. And at the same moment we each hear it differently. Angels singing for you, Devils complaining for me.
    YouTube demos/tests/shootout videos are fun but not always as you find the product in your own hands.
    I can buy a Super Reverb but will I sound like Freddie King or Albert Collins? Hmmm..
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    t guitar floyd likes this.

  12. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    all guitar tone is subjective, and more importantly, the only people that really care about it, are guitar players, who obsess over it endlessly.

    If you go over to the Gear Page, you'll see a Helix thread that goes on for well over a 100 pages. You are not alone.

    Over here, I dont know. No Helix required for me, for my needs, and probably way too much trouble.

    This weekend I'm playing a state fair with my Tele, Deluxe, a wah, a tuner, and an OCD.

    Thats all I need.

    and this lamp.

    and this hair dryer.

    Thats all I need.
    Flat6Driver and Sounds Good like this.

  13. t guitar floyd

    t guitar floyd Tele-Holic

    Feb 4, 2016
    sw US
    If I could buy a Super Reverb I would most definitely do so. I probably wouldn't sound like King or Collins, but I would be a very happy cat! :cool: :)

  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    If anyone can hold up any example of what the masses do these days that does make sense, I'd like to hear about it!
    magicfingers99 likes this.

  15. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    The guys that everyone tries to copy? They basically work with what they have, and what they like.

    EVH started with Brown Tone, then went to a lush sort of chorus-y sound come Sammy Hagar.

    Alex Lifeson went from s fuzzy, univibe sound in early Rush, to a more British Crunch with later albums, a clean, vibrato / spongy chorus during Rush's synth years, and then to a deep, almost grunge-y distortion recently.

    The problem with "tone" is that if you apply one kind of "tone" to every song, some songs will sound great. Others will suck. Badly. But, in the end, the tone must match the song, and what the player wants to deliver, and not who they are trying to emulate.

    I can see chasing after a specific tone if you are a tribute band, and you need to match what some player was doing in a specific song. But not if you're looking to create new stuff. You match the tone to the mood you want to create. A great example was this song written by Kerry Livgren (ex Kansas) called "Cold Gary Morning." There are two versions of this song out there; one being on the Kansas album Freaks of Nature. The other on Kerry's solo work called Collector's Sedition. My opinion is that the Kansas version was WAY better than the solo version - it had more of an edge, with a blusey sort of interlude. The one Kerry put out was WAY over-orchestrated. The mood was lost when all of the layers were applied. The sound you were hearing wasn't matching the tone the rest of the song (including the lyrics) were trying to create.

    I forget what sculptor said it, but they said that the statue was already in the marble, all they had to do was chip away the excess. The point being, the song dictates the tone, not the other way around.

    Of course, you mileage may vary.
    magicfingers99 likes this.

  16. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

    Oct 2, 2017
    Luton UK

    This is very true 99.9 of people are just fans of certain types of music, and even if it resembles the original they are happy, even more so after a few drinks. Plus a bit improv and change of tone can add alot spice i think personally, i like to see songs played a bit different myself i admire the cheek of the player.

    On utube i suppose many of the critics are other guitarist arguing that so and so is best, or a certain tone suck, and the trolls windup merchants.

  17. Felino

    Felino Tele-Meister

    Apr 28, 2016
    When I'm about to buy some piece of gear, I usually watch Youtube videos, of course. Better something than nothing.

    Beside Youtube audio compression, problems are: different recording techiniques, different microphones, different recording chains, different production (if any), etc,, you get vast differencies between videos for the same piece of gear. That's a real problem.

    Near every time I made my decision based on Youtube video, I was wrong. The gear usually sounded better in real life (I intentionally lower my expectations when watching videos knowing that recording is usually a bad one) but also worse sometimes.

    Yes, trying gear at store is much better idea. But, I often do this: I try to read as much customers' opinion as I can, especially negative ones. Why? I don't really care about positive reviews, I am going to buy it, so I like it already, right? What I am mostly interested in, are problems that that particular piece of gear might have. So, I sort opinions like lowest rate first or something (MF, Amazon, Zzounds, B&H, etc) and read. Some flaws are not valid for me, some of them (if any) are. So, if everything is fine regarding potential problems I might have with that piece of gear in the future, I buy it.

  18. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    ...also, the big name players on YT have 'their tone' because it sits well with their band / usual musical setting.

    'Their tone' may sound completely different on a solo YT recording.

  19. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    I've never really understood the desire to replicate another artists exact "tone" ...

    You are not them, Why try to be?.... Sure, cover their song as true as you want to... but do it in your style..

    I'm keen to hear that...:)
    Felino likes this.

  20. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 5, 2012
    South Louisiana
    I've spent a good bit of time and money over the years trying to aquire the perfect one. Problem was once I got one I liked I didn't like it as much as I thought I might like a different one.
    Now I mostly just focus on playing.
    Jules78 likes this.

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