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

You're not as dirty as you think you are.

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by 6BQ5, May 16, 2017.

  1. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    May 31, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I also knew it was true to a certain extent, but I was astounded when I heard the proof. Last night my band played on a local radio station, and we were given a CD of the performance when it was over. I was listening to it in the car on the way home and was struck by how different my guitar tone is to an audience than how I am perceiving it in the room/on stage.

    The biggest discrepancies are how dirty and how thick it seems to me vs. how it ended up on air. I keep on clean boost as an "always on", and when using humbuckers (as I mostly have been as of late) it sounds to me as though there's just a tiny bit of grit if I hit hard enough, and the sound is generally even a little thicker than I'd prefer. I often even hear things getting more gritty than I'd like and start taming it a bit. The recording reflected a dead clean, slightly thinner than I'd prefer sound. Asking my band mates confirmed that the recording is more accurate than my perception. So I guess I switch to an honest to goodness OD for my "always on." I'm not sure how to learn how to trust that my sound is cleaner to the audience than it is to me. That seems like a weird adjustment.
    swany, Iago and RetroTeleRod like this.

  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Whew, what a relief, guess I'll bathe again next Sunday.

  3. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2012
    It's always worth having a good sound tech. Let them do the tone. It's never the same on stage. Never.

    Before you buy an od see if you can get that sound with your existing rig.
    6BQ5 likes this.

  4. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    May 31, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Oh, I have the OD already on the board. It would just be a matter of keeping it on all the time vs. just some of the time. I think my board is just set up for subtleties that don't translate to an audience.

    A sound tech would be nice, but I'm small potatoes. I have to rely on whoever the venue is able to provide.
    czech-one-2 and dlew919 like this.

  5. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009

    Most boards probably are too - set up to produce subtle differences in sound that can only be detected when playing solo at home, etc.

    I dont go for subtle, at all. When I've got a pedal on the board, its freaking ON and it makes an obvious difference.

    One thing you can try, if you have the space: play and stand about 10-20 feet in front of your amp, or even farther away. An amp will sound somewhat different standing out in front, than close up next to it.
    dlew919 and 6BQ5 like this.

  6. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 6, 2010
    I started using a Kemper. Now I know exactly how I sound to the audience, because I go direct to the PA and have an in-ear mix from the desk.

  7. Ed Boyd

    Ed Boyd Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 25, 2009
    A lot of times recordings are cleaner than guitar players think they are.

    90% of the time I hate to hear cover bands do AC/DC. They all must think Angus's guitar sounds like a chain saw. Angus's tone is actually pretty clean. It's LOUD but clean.
    Epiglottis, Jakeboy, beyer160 and 4 others like this.

  8. Redvers

    Redvers Tele-Meister

    Oct 4, 2016
    Yeah I go more for loudness than gain nowadays. But also I don't do super clean any more. Songs that I think are clean almost always have a bit of bite.

  9. ellisvertellis

    ellisvertellis Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2012
    I know what you Mean. Had the exact same experience! I thought my Amp was set fairly hairy and with the fuzz pedals and all, I figured i sounded like i was on fire of something. Turns out, on the recording, i sounded civilized, polite even... :eek:
    So my goal was to get the audience to hear what In was hearing and for that to happen, i needed a grittier, nastier sound, something you don't hear everyday. Since then I use more pronounced drives, drives that actually do NOT sound good at home, only in a live band situation. I get many complements now from other guitar players, wondering how i do it! Like someone said: when you stomp a pedal, your sound should hit a new level, not just finetune your original! :cool:
    6BQ5 and czech-one-2 like this.

  10. SnowStorm

    SnowStorm Tele-Meister

    Sep 16, 2015
    Buffalo, NY
    Here is how you really sound. :)

    nathanteal and ellisvertellis like this.

  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I've certainly had to learn that stage EQ and FOH EQ are not always the same.

    I've NEVER (I mean never) thought I was distorted on stage only find I was clean FOH. That's downright hard to fathom, to me.
    Last edited: May 16, 2017

  12. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 30, 2004
    Newly Indiana
    Interesting point. I never really go heavy, but use my old SD9 to make things dirty in a grittier-than-SRV way, and I'm pretty pleased with what I hear on tape. But I've got three boxes I use for various stages of clean, not so clean, and boost, and now I'm wondering if any of them mean anything to anyone but me! I CAN tell on studio recordings but live...? Maybe I should've saved my money.
    6BQ5 likes this.

  13. lefty73

    lefty73 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 19, 2011
    Bet you a million internet dollars that a slight adjustment to the mic that was in front of your amp would've made a world of difference to your ears and on the recording. Or using a different microphone. Or using an additional microphone. Or using different, additional microphones. Or using a different sound guy. Or an additional sound guy...

    I'd wager this is why modelers with impulse response capabilities are in demand from pros to hobbyists. Dialing in YOUR sound, and ensuring it is consistent from gig to gig, is to some worth every penny paid for a Kemper, Fractal, Two Notes, and the like.

    If I was gigging regularly, I'd pick up one of those modelers and go direct to the PA any chance I could, just to remove most (not all, given that some PAs would likely be not up to snuff) of the frustration of thinking I'm serving up a fat, meaty tone sandwich but finding out I'm really passing out boring, thin slices of cheese.
    mc84, OlRedNeckHippy, 6BQ5 and 3 others like this.

  14. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Great point, @lefty73. In fact, it's the only one that even potentially (kinda) makes sense to me for why an overdriven stage sound could be clean FOH.
    dlew919 likes this.

  15. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009

    as much as I like all my toob amps - if i was regularly gigging AND I was concerned in the least that the audience didnt hear my amp the way I was hearing it..

    (for the record, I dont care that much. I mean, I hear board tapes from my old bands and they dont sound ANYTHING like I remember hearing it onstage, so, its not just my amp, its the whole band.... the important part, the notes I played, are all there.. good or bad.. thats all I really care about, tone is totally over-rated and only guitar players care about it)

    BUT if this was important to me, AND I was assured of playing venues where there was a dedicated soundman who would not look like I was from Mars if I handed him an XLR from the back of my guitar amp....

    yeah, I'd get a modelling amp.

  16. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    Apr 12, 2014
    Two stories about sounding different than you or your bandmates think.

    For years I played through a Roland JC 55. Sometimes just the amp. Sometimes a Blue Tube and maybe a delay or a flanger in front. Sometimes a digital processor in front.

    Eventually I started leaving the chorus effect on all the time, except that sometimes I used flanger or phase shifter from the digital processor instead.

    Then somebody shot and posted to youtube a video of our worship band playing at a funeral. My guitar sounded great! But not right at all for the material we were playing, which was mostly either modern worship or old gospel styles.

    The next Sunday during warm up I had our other guitar player play my guitar while I listened. And I began the quest that brought me here.

    I still love the sound of that amp. And chorus, phase shifter and flanger. But I don't use any of them any more.

    Second story to come later.

  17. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    I have two-fold issues with this stuff.

    When I hear live recordings, I'm usually cleaner than I think I was. When I record in the studio, I sometimes can't get clean enough. I want OD, but low gain and smooth. Even with low gain pedals set low, I often have too much dirt on playback. It's a constant struggle.
    nathanteal and OlRedNeckHippy like this.

  18. TMMC

    TMMC Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 3, 2013
    According to my wife, I'm quite dirty.

    Although, to be fair, whenever I use gain it's almost always higher than the engineer/producer wants it to be and I always turn it down more than seems right to me.

  19. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    Apr 12, 2014
    Second story about not sounding like you or your bandmates think you do:

    Maybe 20 some years ago I started playing guitar in a worship band (not the first time I'd played in church, but when I started with this particular worship band). Only the keys were in the house. Bass, guitars and drums were on their own. It was a small room, maybe seated 100 or 120.

    Because we were playing mostly music that was new to me, and I was still learning the songs, I often recorded worship. This was back in the days when you could set a CASSETTE PLAYER in the back of the room and get 45 minutes. Then I'd take the tape home and listen to it.

    It seemed that no matter how low I set the volume on my amp, the keyboard player/leader almost always insisted I turn down.

    But, listening to the tapes, sometimes you could barely hear the guitar at all, while the keys were really prominent. At one point I told this to the leader and even played the tape.

    I realized that the guitar might seem significantly louder in the front row than the back--maybe blasting whoever the amp was aimed at--not as good dispersion as being in the house, etc.--but I thought the fact that you couldn't hear the guitar on a tape made in the middle of the back row was telling. The leader simply insisted the tape was wrong.

    Amazingly, I kept playing, and over time the leader's idea of appropriate volume levels changed and we started actually sounding like a band, instead of a couple other people playing along with the keys.
    boris bubbanov and Jakeboy like this.

  20. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 30, 2004
    Newly Indiana
    "In many churches your last 9 words are exactly what they want", sighs your fellow pastor and worship leader.
    PastorJay likes this.

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