1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Clapton tone

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Axegrinder77, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,745
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    I don’t know about Clapton, but give me 5 minutes with any guitar and amp and I will have found “my tone”. It astounds me that my tone is nearly identical no matter what gear I use!
     
    41144 likes this.
  2. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    1,706
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2017
    Location:
    Brummagen
    Whilst Clapton's tone is certainly one of the tones to aspire to - attaining it without his guitars, his amps, his technique are simply that... Something to aspire to.

    Yes, he has 'on-board' active boost but that famed 'woman' tone comes as much from his fingers than anything!

    Like many here, I've been round the block on pedals...
    But currently I would recommend the humble TC Spark Boost, (not the mini one) with the switch on mids - Gain @ 1, Level @ 9, Bass @ 11 and Treble @ 1 (all those are o'clock).

    Those work for me with an Am Std Strat and an AV64 (humbuckers not so) into a Rocker 15 or a HT40.
    Now just got to sort out the technique ;)
     
    Axegrinder77 and Cali Dude like this.
  3. SoK66

    SoK66 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,384
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Location:
    Four Corners USA
    It's JMHO, of course, but what he did with the mid boost was try to turn his Strats back into Gibsons. He was at his best on a Les Paul, though a Marshall, and with John Mayall. Add Bruce & Baker for that special sauce.
     
    Cali Dude and rand z like this.
  4. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,515
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    trumansburg, ny
    I've always been a big EC fan.

    I prefer his tone(s) from Layla up to Just One Night.

    After that, it sounds to me like he's trying to "sound" like Eric Clapton (parody).

    (Or maybe chasing his "Cream Sound" on a Strat.)
     
    Chiogtr4x likes this.
  5. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,760
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    This is how I feel too.

    I think Clapton has always sounded very good regardless of his gear evolution, because, duh, he is a very good player, is smooth/puts thought into his phrasing....

    But when it comes to his Stratocaster tone, he sounded best to me, with the Layla/first solo album, through Just One Night.
    You really hear the beauty, dynamics, and power of Strat into a Fender or Music Man amp.

    The 'modern' EC Strat sound is something else- processed, by comparison, IMO, and it it doesn't matter if he is using Tweed Twins, or similar.
    It's not a Strat sound to me. It is not a bad sound, but different- 'removed' from the real deal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
    spurgie79, Frank Entele and rand z like this.
  6. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,515
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    trumansburg, ny
    "You really hear the beauty, dynamics, and power of Strat into a Fender or Music Man amp."


    Yeah... this is what he is missing, today.

    imo.
     
  7. Frank Entele

    Frank Entele TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    32
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Location:
    The Old South
    Chasing the nasally, weak Clapton tone of his noiseless era? No idea how to get it, never tried, I run in the opposite direction of a Tele, Strat, LP or ES plugged straight in and cranked volume. I can’t play exactly like him, but sometimes stumble on a few phrases that are worthy.
     
  8. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,448
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    yeah maybe on the Leslie, although it sounds more chorus to me. He could have it set up to be dead slow rather than stock Leslie fast/slowish.
    I'm not a huge fan of Eric's tweeds. There's a little bit of harsh crackle edge in them to my ears. Live especially. I've heard him many times live. But the sound is generally good, just not smooth as it was when he played Marshalls! I'd love to force him to play a BF Twin or Super sometime!:eek::lol:
    At the first Crossroads in Dallas we heard him with at least a dozen players, he stayed on stage a lot.
     
  9. Jimbodiddley

    Jimbodiddley TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    17
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto
    The woman tone is not mostly from fingers. It's from backing off the tone.
     
    pontiacfan46 and gmann like this.
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    24,485
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Yesterday after listening to the posted video of EC with Sheryl Crow playing Little Wing I plugged in to see how I sounded playing some of that tune. Not the whole thing, I've never played that song and didn't try to learn it all but aped some essential parts.

    I've loved many players sounds but aim more for aspects rather than a whole package.

    We read over and over that a player has a distinct sound that stays with them but I don't hear it that way and I think most of us would agree if the sound we think of was played to us with some other players phrases.
    EC on that Little Wing recording had indistinct distorted chording and even low string single notes, sort of a raspy fuzzy sound that could have been much better/ clearer/ more distinct/ more intense/ less farty.

    Then he had some high notes that were that signature Strat tone you really can't fail to get with a Strat neck pickup into any amp.

    And his TONE was a basic dialed in fat not too bright tone.
    Easy easy easy to get that basic tone with a Strat neck pickup, again into a BF Fender amp, a Vox or a Marshall, a Hiwatt or a Matchless, just keep the mids up if there's a knob for that, hold the bass back just enough, and cut the treble just enough.
    Then pick a good distance from the bridge.

    But what's IME harder is to get really fat really sustaining sound while also having distinct clarity all over the neck, including clear bass even with power chords.
    Some of that clarity is technique, or really a lot of that clarity is technique.
    Dial the amp back for all clarity and it takes less technique but it's easier to control with modest technique.
    Set the amp chain for a more dirty singing intense sound and it's harder to control, or easier to make a mess of.

    Mr Clapton is a very good guitar player so he has the skills to manage potential mud and keep it distinct.
    On that video IMO his gear was not quite up to his task.
    Of course there's a second Strat player there, and I'm not sure what amp EC was using.
    Get on stage with your perfect gear and find the band volume or your monitors make it hard to hear yourself, maybe turn a small amp up for volume and lost your perfect clarity?
    Or the other guy plays the same chord riffs with more mush and louder?
    But his amp was IMO distorting too much for his usual signature sound.
    Certainly nice high notes, but he didn't need that much fuzz in his tone to sound like his own best sounds.

    Anyhow, what I did taking a crack at his sounding of that Hendrix tune that is IMO too durn hippy and too durn Hendrix era for me to play, was set my SUF Violet Ram muff with gain full up. mids up a touch, tone cut a touch, into my 18w TMB.
    Playing a Strat with single JM pickup at the bridge.
    Yes, I get my neck pickup tones with a bridge pickup, because: clarity including the bottom strings!
    (Yes, the right muff set with gain up gets clear bass and clear distinct highs if handled carefully)
    (And no, the "neck tone" I get with a single JM bridge pickup is not a Strat neck tone)

    Looking to Gilmour we note that he pretty much always uses a huge clean amp and varies his input to get different sounds, where EC keeps changing amps and has a more mixed bag of success. Meaning Eric recorded great and not so good sounds over the decades.
    Hendrix too, made often great and sometimes terrible sounds.
    Comments that Hendrix sounded the same using a Flying V live are IMO greatly exaggerated.
    Hendrix' technique was Strat dependent and his sound with the HBs was lousy to me.

    So I'm saying pick apart the recorded sounds you hear, look at it like a scientist.
    Then pick apart your own sound like a scientist, at least when deciding on your signal chain.
    When amps were big enough we could play a show and if our sound was not distinct enough just bring more or bigger amps to the next show. But now things are different and we depend on pedals for dirt and small amps for loud guitar.

    Upon close examination I hear too many guitars get indistinct sounds at least some of the time or on some of the neck.
    If your rig sound fat on the high strings but muddy distorted on the low strings, just say no to the muddy bottom and get tools that are distinct all over the neck at the required volume!
    Depends on the mix too, muddy lows might fly in a less dense mix.
    Like White Stripes or Black Keys.
    Or the bedroom...
     
  11. Gary135r

    Gary135r Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    108
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Location:
    Maine
    You made me buy the DVD :D I've always loved the Sheryl Crow songs from this show I've seen on Youtube. $3 Amazon. Can't go wrong.
     
    Axegrinder77 and Cali Dude like this.
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    24,485
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    I'll add that WRT my former post, I think my biggest struggle with electric guitar technique & tone is maintaining clarity of all phrases when using distorted sounds.
    I recently added an ISP Decimator to eliminate noise during pauses, and it's been a great tool for both noise reduction and technique isolation.
    With no hiss during "silence" every little string noise is an explosion.
    In a band those noises might be inaudible but it's still good to reign in the noises.
    More important is choosing gear and particularly picking for clarity.

    Otherwise the struggle for clarity of all ranges including low end has been ongoing since not too long after I started playing electric.

    I interpret what I hear from many players, as that many of us just don't even bother to try to get low note clarity when using distorted sounds. Many players seem to only use the high strings for single note leads, then use the low strings for/ in, power chords that are not really clear, but don't really need to be.

    In addition to picking the low strings more gently to keep them clear, I prefer bridge pickup for low string clarity, and also need speakers that are capable of low end clarity.
    So while I use an 18w Marshall (TMB) clone, I do not use Greenback speakers because they fall short in bass clarity.
    Great distorted rhythm sounds but not great clarity.
     
    Cali Dude likes this.
  13. ducati900

    ducati900 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    27
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Location:
    australia
    As much as every one likes Eric's tone etc.
    For me its was Peter Green, he's the high priest of guitar tone and sound.
    Thanks Peter RIP.
     
  14. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Holic

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    909
    Joined:
    May 20, 2020
    Location:
    California
    Great suggestions. Thanks. I may need to get a new noise reduction pedal. That makes a lot of sense.
     
  15. GibAnn

    GibAnn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    82
    Posts:
    30
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2019
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand



    To Me, When I play after all these years of playing, On stage, I say to myself, I've I'm playing a Kieth urban song, Vince Gill song, Eric Clapton, Van Halen, or any other great artist I like, I'm Thinking "Hot Dam, That sounds a lot like my fave Guitarist". The Audience clap, & some people say, "Man that sounded great" But you know that deep down in your heart, we will never ever get their sounds because they all are ****ing Aliens. If we could really sound like all our favorites, We most probably not be on these pages writing about it--------- You might as well all look at "Gib Williamson, Nessun Dorma on a PRS" Youtube,, Say Hi NZ
     
  16. GibAnn

    GibAnn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    82
    Posts:
    30
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2019
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    To Me, When I play after all these years of playing, On stage, I say to myself, I've I'm playing a Kieth urban song, Vince Gill song, Eric Clapton, Van Halen, or any other great artist I like, I'm Thinking "Hot Dam, That sounds a lot like my fave Guitarist". The Audience clap, & some people say, "Man that sounded great" But you know that deep down in your heart, we will never ever get their sounds because they all are ****ing Aliens. If we could really sound like all our favorites, We most probably not be on these pages writing about it--------- You might as well all look at "Gib Williamson, Nessun Dorma on a PRS" Youtube,, Say Hi NZ

    Gib
     
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    24,485
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    I recall when SRV first released recordings of his near perfect copies of Hendrix songs, much of the guitar player community was a bit stunned.
    Since then we’ve seen more and more college guitar players with staggering abilities and gotten used to the idea that mere mortals can do what we thought only Gods and aliens could do.

    In the end of course we will never be as good a fake of some other player than the real thing version of ourselves.
     
  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    24,485
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Mine connects noisy pedals in a loop so the guitar goes into the decimator first then the dirt then back to the decimator.
    A noise gate after the noise can’t respond to the guitar as well.
     
    Cali Dude and black_doug like this.
  19. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    2,714
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I bought this pedal recently. I just haven’t had a chance to gig with it yet.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  20. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Holic

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    909
    Joined:
    May 20, 2020
    Location:
    California
    Cool, thanks for the advice. I appreciate it.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.