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Tone: How Overrated Is It?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by tpaul, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. tpaul

    tpaul Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 18, 2003
    Vermont
    Tone: I'm getting pretty tired of hearing about it.

    Anyway, it's not that difficult. I'm getting killer, drop-dead gorgeous tone using a plywood MIK Squier Series Tele, a DOD 250 and a Peavey Classic 30. That's it. No monster cable, no cryogenic strings, no handmade scatterwound half-potted pickups, no laser-cut hand-bevelled saddles made of unobtanium. No brass nut, graphite string trees, or solid gold ferrules, either, if you can believe it.

    My concern isn't getting better tone. It's being able to play up to the level of the tone I've already got.

    I mean, this is some serious tone I'm experiencing here. Like, I have to play in a soundproofed basement, otherwise women come running from miles around. I put a container of cottage cheese next to my amp, and after playing for an hour, it had turned to sweet cream. This tone makes my whites whiter and my colors brighter, and now my farts smell like root beer. When I turn up, my tone doesn't just peel the paint; it scrapes, sands, lays down a base coat and two top coats, and then does the trim.

    But seriously... stop telling me how good your tone is since you replaced your fretboard dots with rubies. 'Cause brother, I GOTS tone. OK?
     
  2. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    This is a great post.
     
  3. djphelan01

    djphelan01 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    50
    951
    Jun 11, 2008
    Watertown, CT
    Now that is some serious tone!
     
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  5. chipbutty24

    chipbutty24 Friend of Leo's

    Oct 16, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Yeah sure but do you have Tony, Toni, Tone??

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Toriginal

    Toriginal Former Member

    658
    May 30, 2012
    Canada
    I soundproofed my basement too. Darn tone kitties.
    It's lonely here in tone country.
     
  7. raito

    raito Friend of Leo's

    Nov 22, 2010
    Madison, WI
    Years and years ago, I bought my first por level instrument, a keyboard. I plays a bit. Then, a friend who plays more than a bit played the same instrument. So how was it that his tone was better than mine? (must've been the underpants, right?)

    In another hobby, there's guys always mooning over the next piece of equipment because it'll make them better. Except that it doesn't. (Again, it's probably the underpants).

    Guys who know what they're doing can take any crappy borrowed rig and run rings around most of us, every time, bar none. (And in that other hobby, I'm the one doing rings) It's only at the very top end where it makes any difference at all beyond a certain basic threashold. (in guitars, that includes staying in tune, no unwanted feedback, pickups that work, and stuff like that). And even there, one top end player's way isn't another's. (Same way in that other hobby).

    In large part, saying one tone is better than another is subjective. Which makes saying 'better' useless without further qualification.

    Reminds me a little of when I worked in an office full of golfers. These were the kind of guys paying new AVRI prices for a single club, and having them delivered to the office so their wives wouldn't find out. I made the mistake of saying that if they really wanted to know how good they were, they'd use only tour-approved equipment and save their money to go to the courses the pros played on and compare scores with the pros. I got laid off shortly after. (But shortly after that, they went out of business entirely)
     
  8. MonkeyKing

    MonkeyKing Tele-Meister

    422
    Jul 5, 2011
    Detroit
    I think two cliches that popped up towards the end of the shred era were `playing in the service of the song` and `tone` - and that really ushered in the vintage and retro boom which is a fixture today.
    I don`t deny your tone, I just wonder where all these monster amazing tones are on the radio. We have the means undreamed of to MAKE great noises. YET . . . where are they?
     
  9. onenotetom

    onenotetom Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 27, 2009
    Colbert, WA
    If I spent as much time practicing as I do searching for tone I might truely be a guitar god! Unfortunatly the search for tone is a pastime that is easier than practicing.
     
  10. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    Guitar music isn't in. But there is some serious tone being recorded, you just don't hear it on the radio
     
  11. Carlsson

    Carlsson Tele-Holic

    744
    Aug 17, 2012
    Sweden
    Is the other hobby yoga?
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    70
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Boy Howdy, You 'n me both….

    Folks talk about it as though it's a quantifiable specification. Like there could be a tone "A" "B" or "C". Oh, to be able to hear someone say, “Gimme a Tele that has a tone “B”..” then hook one up to the tone-o-meter and see the needle move on over to “B” and lock down there…….

    To me, speaking of tone, is as ambiguous as speaking about the taste of food…. The only difference,, there is a “base line” in food… we all know what a Hamburger taste like… and can introduce other components with a known “baseline” like, Catsup. Mustard, Cheese, .. ya can’t do that with tone…. Dammit… Try describing a taste of food, without referring to a specificity… just the name of the Chef that originated the taste…

    Gimme Jeff Beck’s tone… huh ? ? ? which darn one?

    What IS the best tasting food? Grilled Steak ‘n a ‘tater? How ‘bout your bud Vinnie’s Momma Colisimo’s Lasagna? Is there any room in the discussion for a fresh fillet of Trout cooked over an open fire while camping. Lotsa “tastes” lotsa good ones too…

    Same thing with tone…. An old Gretsch sounds great, yet different from a Gibby 335… a ’60 Jazzmaster, is wonderful, as is a ’50 Broadcaster. As is a ’12 CS Strat… all very fine indeed, yet not one has a quantifiable “tone”.

    A guitar is a composite incorporating so many “disciplines” that to specify a list of parts, then cap it off with, “I want it to sound like “ fill in the name here”,” says far more about a persons lack of understanding, than anything else.

    Personally I feel that “tone” is just another “chic” buzz-word people like to throw around, so they sound informed…

    Simple fact is … all anyone making a guitar can do is make one that sounds “good”. . . good to the one making it, unless the client is within reach so he can make the decision….

    What sounds good to me, may be different than what sounds good to Tony (miss ya man),, or to Rich, or Jack, or Steve, and on and on…. So that component… tone that sounds good to the one making the thing that makes the sound, becomes a component comprising the art. Just like any art… there are pieces ya like, that lots of other people like… and art that ya may like that no one else likes…. Know what…. Both are superior pieces of art… to YOU…

    But the artist that consistently produces pieces that the general population of Art buyin’ Connoisseurs consistently gravitate to must be doing something right… maybe trustin’ them is better than, “I want.., I want.., I want.., I want..,”

    Ron Kirn
     
  13. collinsman

    collinsman Tele-Afflicted

    Funny - like they say, ' beauty is in the eye of the beholder"
     
  14. soulman969

    soulman969 Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO

    Well yeah that's true but now pearls or sapphires well that a whole different story. ;)
     
  15. william tele

    william tele Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    Ha! Ha! I sure enjoyed that, Tpaul! I don't ever really get tired of hearing folks talk about tone. From what I can tell, we all had such good tone back in the 50's, 60's and 70's that it took the digital age that started in the 80's for us to appreciate it!
     
  16. Leo1951

    Leo1951 Tele-Meister

    439
    Oct 20, 2012
    Nashville
    Tone is everything, unless U R N 2 boy bands.
     
  17. Bones

    Bones Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 31, 2005
    Luddite Island, NY
    Context is everything when it comes to "tone". Wanking around your bedroom "great tone" may or may not equal "great tone " when playing with a band. It's probably the most subjective part of playing guitar and the biggest distraction and impediment to actually getting good at playing guitar for many, many people.
     
  18. Cymro14

    Cymro14 Tele-Afflicted

    Look ee here now.....tone is in the amp. Got me a Vox AC 30...now that's tone. Any one who can afford a good amp GETS GOOD TONE ...THAT'S IT. What you do with the tone is the crux of the matter. What your fingers do on the actual guitar is FAR more important than what knobs you dial in on your amp. Anyone can get good tone......Good musicianship comes with sweat and tears .....not cash money.
     
  19. waster

    waster Tele-Holic

    Context is everything in a lot of things. Wanking around your bedroom has a completely different meaning to most people outside the US. Always makes me laugh when I read things like that.
     
  20. AndyLowry

    AndyLowry Friend of Leo's

    May 1, 2012
    Prescott AZ
    Confession: I have no idea what "tone" means. Is it anything like timbre? I'm not sure what that means, either.
     
  21. Longer

    Longer Tele-Meister

    435
    Feb 18, 2011
    Atlanta GA
    The tone hunt is a trap with diminishing returns.

    Of course, I got a thing for quality, which is a very similar trap.
     
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