Do you sound like your guitar …

Orpheum

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 7, 2021
Posts
191
Location
south of France
A (seasoned) musician sounding like somebody else is a very sad thing to hear. The main purpose of a musical lifetime should be to discover your inner sound, the one that is you, and nobody else but you, whatever your instrument.
 

beagle

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jul 20, 2010
Posts
5,103
Location
Yorkshire
I found out around 40 years ago that I sound like me no matter what I'm playing, which is probably why I've never been a gear chaser since then.
 

naveed211

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 16, 2009
Posts
4,002
Location
Iowa
Yeah, it mostly just sounds like me, which is half the reason why I don’t have a big collection (other half just because I don’t want a lot of stuff around).
 

thelighterthief

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Posts
36
Age
49
Location
United Kingdom
A slight twist on this...

I sound like me on every guitar I play. The ones where the guitar disappears and I barely notice it whilst I am playing it are the keepers. My guild 2012 M120E and my 2017 classic series Telecaster are those guitars... However I sound best (or most like I sound in my head) on my player Strat, which I find a little awkward to play (9.5" radius doesn't agree with me, keep catching the middle pickup with my pick, can feel the backplate all the while). As a result the Strat ends up on most recordings but I don't like playing it in a group situation.
 

Skyhook

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Posts
1,714
Location
Turku, Finland
I always sound like me.
My sound provides the "shape" of the thing.
My choice of guitars and effects combine to provide the "color" the thing is painted with.

I can't hide my shape behind anything. I can merely color it differently.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Posts
4,351
Location
Goonieville, OR
Since I tend to drone on and not make any sense, like my playing, and my scratchy voice being parallel to my guitar tone, I am going to have to say the answer to the question is a big YES, and I still don't know which is which.
 

Cheap Trills

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 11, 2016
Posts
1,219
Location
NJ
Yah, I always sound like me, for better or worse, and I'm still trying to find a way to make that work.
 

StrangerNY

Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
Joined
Sep 6, 2010
Posts
5,812
Location
Somewhere between here and there
I always sound like me, but my choice of guitar for this gig or that changes what I play. Rock licks don't always work in country tunes or 'jam-band' situations, and vice versa, and I always work to make what I'm playing more appropriate for the material. Still sounds like me, though.

I'll use different amps depending on the venue (and my own whims), but I use a modeling board so that gives me a level of consistency tone-wise, no matter which amp I drag out on a given night.

- D
 

Flaneur

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 24, 2010
Posts
5,944
Location
Scotland
I used to laugh, when my friend, who had played just one Strat, for forty years, would fiddle with all the different guitars I'd rehearse with- to make them sound as much like his Strat, as possible. Later, I realised that I was doing a similar thing. I had a range of guitars but only ever took Fenders to gigs- and almost always a Tele, with a Broadcaster pickup and a fat neck. Amp settings were always similar and I hardly ever used pedals.

The sounds in my head are always what I hear, from old Chess-era recordings. What I play is an emotional response to that- how they make me feel. I've never thought to copy those licks but I do pay tribute to them, in different ways and different tunings.
 

Slim Chance

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Posts
1,760
Location
Beltway, USA
Is this a bad thing? Does Santana ask why always sounds like himself? Unless you play in a tribute band, many of us would like to have our own sound. That said, I’d prefer to sound like Santana. ;>)
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
33,012
Age
62
Location
Maine
You can always say a crowd doesn't care, because you can't measure such a thing.
Music can move people more or less, so I never think a group of people just liked something or they didn't. I always wonder how much better it could've been for the individuals who were moved the most, and the least.
This doesn't usually come back to gear.
But sometimes it does.
I won't use modelling amps or acoustics with piezo pickups, for this reason.
I can sound like me on whatever guitar, but I can sound like a better me on a guitar I like better.

I find grandiosity is the surest way to the audiences heart!
A little extra volume is good too, though at times riling up the audience also riles up the bandmates who are allergic to any attempt to upstage them.

As for the frequent internet claims that the audience doesn't care?
Good heavens sell shoes or get a telemarketing job!
Leave live music to pompous aces who want to rile up the drunks!

I'm gonna say I think part of the study of music is the study of audience response to your own playing.
Blend in too much, avoid playing too loud or hogging the soundscape now and then, seriously, go big or go home.
Of course my opinion may break up bands, but dammit, music should break through the listener, not be sedative that lulls them into the bottom of their beers.

More about the player and the playing, but I agree that gear has value when moving strangers with sound.
I can also understand finding something that works and making choices to cut back on ideals if ideals just don't fit the band or the venue or our own physical ability to drag our most awe inspiring rig to a wine bar.
Part though is just making ourselves feel good about what we hear as our sound.
I need my gear to disappear when playing music, or I'm playing gear annoyance instead of music.
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
33,012
Age
62
Location
Maine
I used to laugh, when my friend, who had played just one Strat, for forty years, would fiddle with all the different guitars I'd rehearse with- to make them sound as much like his Strat, as possible. Later, I realised that I was doing a similar thing. I had a range of guitars but only ever took Fenders to gigs- and almost always a Tele, with a Broadcaster pickup and a fat neck. Amp settings were always similar and I hardly ever used pedals.

The sounds in my head are always what I hear, from old Chess-era recordings. What I play is an emotional response to that- how they make me feel. I've never thought to copy those licks but I do pay tribute to them, in different ways and different tunings.

I read on the net fairly often that players use a graphic EQ to fix the tone when changing guitars.
Odd first because why not go to the amp EQ?
But more so, why change guitars then try to eliminate their character extremes with a graphic EQ?

Agreed though, I have a long history of trying to get that same old sound I have stored as my ideal guitar sound.
A couple of years ago I was comparing recordings of dirt pedals to hone in on best sounds, and noticed that I made the damn things all sound the same!
So I made a project of dialing in first just two distinctly different sounds, but sounds I liked, then had to get used to them.
I still want that center tone but do try to make different sounds.
This is just gear sound settings, which is invariably lean not bassy mid forward but not nasal and fairly bright.
Within the gear settings I vary dynamics a lot, but it really took effort to want and chase a broader tonal palette.

The other issue is my bad hearing, which has me dialing in excess treble.
On playback I notice sometimes shrill tone, and that's a struggle to avoid because at high volume I judge tone poorly.
Sometimes I think i should dump epoxy on pedals I dial in and confirm in a recording!
Stop adding treble!
 

cousinpaul

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Posts
4,009
Location
Nashville TN
I was listening to Gary Clark Jr recently. He was bouncing back and forth between vocal lines and guitar fills and I was struck by how well his guitar sound mirrored his vocals. Absolutely seamless. I don't know if it's something he's worked up or perhaps comes from a deeper place but it's become something I listen for, particularly with the great players. Kind of a different take on sounding like one's self, if you will.

As for me, I sometimes feel like the curator of 50+ years of old songs, hot licks, theory, gear knowledge, etc. It's a heady brew. Sound like myself? How could I not?
 

bottlenecker

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
5,499
Location
Wisconsin
I find grandiosity is the surest way to the audiences heart!
A little extra volume is good too, though at times riling up the audience also riles up the bandmates who are allergic to any attempt to upstage them.

As for the frequent internet claims that the audience doesn't care?
Good heavens sell shoes or get a telemarketing job!
Leave live music to pompous aces who want to rile up the drunks!

I'm gonna say I think part of the study of music is the study of audience response to your own playing.
Blend in too much, avoid playing too loud or hogging the soundscape now and then, seriously, go big or go home.
Of course my opinion may break up bands, but dammit, music should break through the listener, not be sedative that lulls them into the bottom of their beers.

More about the player and the playing, but I agree that gear has value when moving strangers with sound.
I can also understand finding something that works and making choices to cut back on ideals if ideals just don't fit the band or the venue or our own physical ability to drag our most awe inspiring rig to a wine bar.
Part though is just making ourselves feel good about what we hear as our sound.
I need my gear to disappear when playing music, or I'm playing gear annoyance instead of music.

But my music is exactly a sedative trying to lure people to the bottom of their beers. Or the bottom of something.
I didn't say where I was moving them. I just want to move them effectively.

The nice thing about not being a rocker is I use small amps, and mostly a bunch of old fashioned acoustic instrument players in my band to make pretty sounds. Go ahead and talk, we'll just play quieter and slower until it gets akward.

That transparent instrument thing just doesn't work for me as a way of thinking about it. If an instrument is transparent, why is it there? I could just sing. That would sound like me. Sounds and textures are part of how I make music. It's not about just which of 12 notes will I select next.
 

JL_LI

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 20, 2017
Posts
8,844
Age
72
Location
Long Island, NY
I posted here already but I’ll give it another shot.

Literally, “Do you sound like your guitar?”

For most of us I think the answer is yes. We pick a guitar for what we want to play. Jazz, country clean, metal, we choose gear for what we play. Yes, you can play metal on a Telecaster and you can play jazz on a Jackson, but we tend to pick hear that helps us sound like we want to sound. The guitar collection? In my case, it evolved with my evolving musical tastes. This is a chicken and egg kind of thing. Which came first, the choice of music or the guitar? Or was it something as simple as I have $299 to spend?
 




New Posts

Top