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Has Guitar Tone Gotten Any Better?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Cheap Trills, Oct 26, 2020.

Has Guitar Tone Gotten Any Better?

  1. Yes

  2. No

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Cheap Trills

    Cheap Trills Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    You can argue that recording technology / quality has improved, but has guitar tone improved since the 70's? Since the 80's? 90's? 00's?

    A lot of effort has been put into tone chasing. There have probably been more new pedals released this year than existed even 20 years ago. I guess we're still playing vintage guitars and amps, but there have been innovations in guitar and especially amp design. I guess some different pickup designs have been adopted, there have been some innovations in string making...

    But taking a step back and asking a simple question -- Do we sound better? Do you go to a show today and is the guitarists tone better than if you went to a show decades ago?
     
  2. DaphneBlue

    DaphneBlue Tele-Holic

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    Let me put it like this: we sound different :S
     
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  3. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Different - yes. Better - no.
     
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  4. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    Some of my favorite all-time guitar tones are Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel in his 50s records, Quite a number of Beatles tracks from the mid-60s onwards, Billy Gibbons in his 70s recordings, David Gilmour pre-Wall, and Albert Lee in the 70s.

    Hell no :p
     
  5. SonicMustang

    SonicMustang Tele-Meister

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    Probably not no. I think there is only so much a set of strings, pickups and speakers will do.

    If you go to a show and the guitar sounds good and impressed you, it’s probably better PA or front of house technology.
     
  6. smoothrecluse

    smoothrecluse Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Overall, I think so. Not necessarily for the professionals, but it’s much easier nowadays for a beginner player on beginner equipment to have tone that approximates the pros.
     
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1 Yes.

    The least expensive guitars are as good as high-middle-market guitars were back in the olden days.
    Pedals that can do everything a player doesn't even need an amp, certainly don't need a high maintenance tube amp.

    .
     
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  8. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Holic

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    Well, if tone has gotten better, it sure is funny how much effort & money is spent chasing tone that existed 50-60 years ago.
     
  9. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, and in two different ways: as @smoothrecluse says it’s easier for an amateur to approximate the sounds a pro can make; and the advent of digital processing and guitar-synths gives guitarists a whole range of sounds that just were not available to the guitarist in the 1970s or earlier.
     
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  10. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    People are using the latest technology to chase after tones created by technology from the 1920s. Once folks start looking forward instead back we'll start seeing some crazy new stuff.
     
  11. Telefan33

    Telefan33 Tele-Meister

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    Honesty, I have seen some really amazing talent with not so good tone or live sound. My favorite guitarist who will go unnamed sound was loud and shrill. Probably one my favorite bands couldn't get their mix right and messed up in the middle of a song and the audio cut out. The last concert I saw was too tame for me but was one of my favorite singers so it was still interesting.

    The best live sound was actually bands I didn't really think sounded that great recorded but live they were using really rare or new gear that you never find. I saw a band using a Sovtek amp and the guitarist created a monster sound that filled the small venue and was very cool. The other performance I saw that impressed me was when a band was using Fractal Audio FX.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
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  12. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Of course it's subjective but the gold standard for me is Peter Green 60s tone. One of many.
     
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  13. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    It’s easier to get great tones and great effects pedals, especially in a live setting.

    Most of the “new/modern” recordings I like are either (1) recorded the Old Fashioned Way or (2) emulating the recordings that were made the Old Fashioned Way.

    Modern rock recordings from the 00’s to the 10’s were terrible because of the Loudness Wars. The trend seems to be changing for the better...
     
  14. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    For current players, my favorites are Josh Smith, Matt Schofield and Andy Timmons, in no particular order. They cover a range of tones from 'vintage' to some things never quite heard before, mostly using modern-designed tube amps (Two Rock, Mesa) and pedals.

    Pete Thorn gets some amazing tones with his signature Surh PT 15, which is at least partly tube based, as well. And there are a number of good solid state amps these days with good dynamics and tone, moreso than even five or ten years ago, I think.

    So, that's good. There's a lot of other music and gear out there that isn't so satisfying (to me), lots of compression, too much distortion, no dynamics, etc. but that's probably always been the case that there's good and bad out there.

    (That said, probably my favorite live recording to listen to these days is Robben Ford's RockPalast show from 2007(?) with his vintage gear and Dumble...)
     
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  15. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    For the most part, no. Some consider that the vintage instruments deliver the eppitome of great tone. That's a little general for me, having experiences 60+ years of playing.
    However, if your tone chase involves a bank of pedals, then I have to think that the multitude of options avaialble now should allow you to get closer to what you are looking for.
     
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  16. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Many of us are trying to cop the tone of legends.
    Can you improve on Jimi’s tones if that’s your sound?
    How about Gilmour, Peter Green or early Clapton?
    What if you dig a Robben Ford,BB King, Mark Knopfler sound?
    The list goes on and on. I have a blues tones that I’ve heard a 1,000 times by various artists.
    Is the gear better at reproducing any of those tones? No! They are what they are.
     
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  17. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    This almost seems to be a recording discussion. As a young gregulator I often thought that the iconic Pink Floyd albums had a very modern, almost hi-fi sound to them compared to recordings made by other bands during the same time period. Call me crazy but I prefer the guitar tones I hear on the latest offerings from AC/DC over the sounds from the 70's (even though they're great), and I believe that the band are using the same guitars and amps they have always used.

    Did David Gilmour and Co. have some kind of future-now, unobtainum-built gear? Or was it how they went about capturing their soundsin the studio? With AC/DC, I think a lot of the almost-clean, incredibly clear sound I hear on their latest records has everything to do with Brendan O/Brien's production as anything.

    I think guitar tones are generally more pleasing these days, but I believe much of it can be attributed to the recording advancements that have made it so. Obviously this is not intended to be some sort of blanket statement; for example, I think that ZZ Top's tones these days are the best they've ever been, but Billy is notorious for trying out new effects, switching amp brands, and such. As an aside to that, I really loved that they played "Brown Sugar" in their documentary; I always wanted to hear that song played through their modern live rigs with their old-man blues voices, and they blessed us with that treat. I would like to hear what their First Album would sound like if it were recorded in 2020, with ZZ Top from 1971, and see how different it sounds, if at all...
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  18. wulfenganck

    wulfenganck Tele-Afflicted

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    Considering my tone: yes. I got a better tone compared to the 80s, 90s and 00s.
    Don't get me wrong, I liked my sound back in the 90s, but it wasn't as good as my present setup.

    Considering other liveshows or recordings?
    I'd say yes, because it's much easier to get different equipment without selling your soul or your future firstborn.
    Therefore there are better chances to get the sound you want - if you can transfer your imagination on to your fingers.
     
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  19. smoothrecluse

    smoothrecluse Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I mean, the tone you can get with a $120 Squier Bullet Tele and a $100 Champ 20 is heads and shoulders above the cheap garbage that I had as a teen.
     
  20. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Meister

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    I’m definitely happier with my current rig than anything prior(and there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about any of it), but I think it’s more about how my playing & tastes have evolved than the gear itself. Insofar as recording? The older stuff still wins my heart almost every time. Live can be a little hit or miss but modern sound reinforcement has improved by leaps & bounds.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
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