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What Have We Guitarists Done To Ourselves?

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by GoldDeluxe5E3, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. GoldDeluxe5E3

    GoldDeluxe5E3 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    782
    Aug 5, 2015
    Concord CA
    I had an interesting experience last weekend - twice. Saw two live bar bands playing small venues. In each situation, the drummer sounded like a live drummer, bass player like a live bass player, the singer like a live singer, heck, even the digital pianist sounded like a live piano.

    The guitarists in both cases?

    One of them played through a string of pedals.
    The other played through a small digital amp.

    Both of them sounded like recordings of electric guitar, NOT A LIVE GUITAR. Both had a thick schmear of distortion to simulate power and volume. They had plenty of sustain, but were tucked in just beneath the general volume of the band. Both sounded phony, stereotypical, and musically sterile.

    The irony? Both were good players.

    What have we guitarists done to ourselves?
     

  2. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    48
    Aug 17, 2012
    Seattle
    Some people can make anything sound great, some can make anything sound horrid. In most cases it isn't the gear.
     

  3. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Tele-Afflicted

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    What have we done?

    Smothered the steak with A1™

    Drowned the icecream in topping.
     

  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    My theory is this:
    In our effort to control every parameter of our sound, we have lost spontaneity and the simple joy of interactive music making.
    Everyone wants control of everything, the venue owners, sound guy, band leaders, band members, the audience.
    I loved the days when people made loud music at a venue, and people would come and just watch and listen.
    Now musicians have every sound imaginable in our gear, and every venue has a sound guy controlling the overall EQ and volume.
    Kinda vibeless, IMO.
     
    dablues, Skub, BorderRadio and 11 others like this.

  5. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Tele-Afflicted

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Rattle-can painting versus paint-brushing!
     

  6. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    I would like for all the band members to sound studio, live, myself. No need for such bombast.
     
    maxvintage and Frodebro like this.

  7. maggieo

    maggieo Tele-Holic

    593
    Apr 7, 2004
    If they sounded phony, stereotypical, and musically sterile, then they're most definitely not good musicians.
     
    Frodebro likes this.

  8. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

    648
    Dec 21, 2015
    Caraquet N.-B. Canada
    Yep Golddeluxe5e3, sounds like a fellow guitarist I know. He is a great player, but so much is happening between his guitar and his amp that it sounds yerk. Too much of every digital effects known to man...
     
    GoldDeluxe5E3 and daddyplaysbass like this.

  9. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    Age:
    65
    725
    Jul 5, 2010
    West Michigan
    I do see, or rather hear, quite a bit of that. Guitarists trying to cover every square inch of sonic territory at brew pub volumes and it comes off ultimately as this over processed, bland thing buried in the mix. And, most of them are really good players.

    It's why I stripped down to what I use. I make no real effort to sound like the guitarist who originally did the song I'm playing. It's a Tele through an old Deluxe with a touch of delay and an OD used when needed (the amp rarely gets above 3 or so in most places anymore). It cuts through the mix and sounds like an electric guitar.

    I actually get comments frequently (uh,not on my playing) regarding tone. Basics work.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018

  10. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Well, they seem to have the sound that they want. It might perfectly fit the role in the music they're playing. If it was a cover band, they were probably trying to reproduce the sound of the recording.
     

  11. Ooba Tooba

    Ooba Tooba Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    301
    Jul 10, 2017
    Toledo Ohio USA
    Last time I played guitar out, I played my Tele through my Vox ac15. Top boost channel for dirt, tone knob at 5, and reverb at 3. I also used an old EH analog pedal for one small part of one song and nothing else. Got a lot of compliments on the sound. I was considering getting some sort of boost or drive pedal for special moments to stand out, but I haven’t yet.
     

  12. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    I'm of the considered and hard-won opinion that it's the notes in time that carry the day. When we hear a cool guitar sound, it is because of what is being played. There are some videos out there of Albert King, Roy Buchanan, and others (Lonnie Mack?) playing through phasers. Other than being conversation starters, I don't think they made much of a musical impression.

    I can't believe how little credit we sometimes give to the impact of note choices in music.
     

  13. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 14, 2013
    Indiana
    +50

    I'm sorry, this is so insightful, I just want to highlight it and applaud

    in our desire for "professional" control of EVERYTHING, we are losing our humanity, spontaneity, honesty, and humor

    men won't even piss in a common basin at the stadium, it's ridiculous
     
    brookdalebill and 3fngrs like this.

  14. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Holic

    735
    Jan 17, 2014
    Bucks Co. PA
    ... I use a few pedals ...over drive, an organ synthesizer, and very occasionally a wha pedal. I also use an analog delay in some situations to give the sound some depth in very small venues. In my mind a lot of this stuff is over kill but it can be used sparingly and effectively.
    I see guys out there playing through Line 6 amps with 20 pedals on a board. Got to admit that it sounds over processed and crappy. If I could get away with it the only pedal I would use would be a volume pedal. After a while even if the cat had chops the electronic gizzmos camouflage them.
     
    Teleterr likes this.

  15. user34603

    user34603 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    67
    360
    Dec 5, 2016
    Richmond VA
    ...'we' who? those few guys are who you saw and tens of thousands of guys all over the country do not do that
     
    dogmeat and Dan R like this.

  16. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    A musician can be a good technical player, but without flair/emotion it can sound sterile. Same for singers. They can have a great voice, stay in key with the notes being right on, but without that emotion/personal additive it just sounds like a canned performance. Like they're just going through the paces and not enjoying what they're doing.
     

  17. Dan R

    Dan R Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    59
    Mar 17, 2003
    Charleston, SC
    Don't try to perfect perfection. If you have a good rig and sound good, that's it. However, I don't play in a band where specific sounds are required for certain songs.
     

  18. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Holic

    929
    Oct 29, 2008
    Dixie
    Yes sir.
    The notes, the dynamics, -the spaces betwixt the notes.
    It's that whole what you're able to play and what you choose to play thing- the part that's "in the fingers".
    As much as so many love to talk about "tone" -if we heard our Guitar Heroes playing through completely strange gear -and thereby getting very different tones.... we'd still worship them and their skills'd still be appreciated.
     
    3fngrs likes this.

  19. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    In any case, by and large I don't think of it as "what have we done to ourselves", I think of it as embracing technology or just sticking with loud and proud.
    IMO, there is light years of improvement available, sound wise. At what could only be once attained at high amp levels
    Next time I'm setting up the bass to fire 2 10s forward and two at the wall. Experiment.
    Bet It works like a charm.
     

  20. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA
    I hear you. I don't even bother plugging in anymore. Pure, unadulterated tone is where it's at.
     

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