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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. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yes, in small ways. New products improve on past technology. One example - noiseless pickups.
     
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  2. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    A good sound hasn't got better, just cheaper to achieve.

    There is no such thing as "better" anyway, as everyone's idea of what is "good" is rooted at some point in the past that we're trying to emulate.

    Anything different would be considered "worse".
     
  3. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Meister

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    They might get sortakinda the approximate sound, maybe, sometimes. Not really...sorry, but your Mustang/Katana/Blooze Jr./whatever other PCB nightmare really doesn't sound as good as you think it does. And they still can't play for s**t and spend more time futzing with pedals and other junk instead of practicing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
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  4. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Friend of Leo's

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    I'd have to go along with this. IMHO, electric guitars of the '50s and '60s had the best tone, partly because they were played through some of the finest sounding amps ever such as Fender tweed and blackface amps.

    I think there was a decline in sound quality of electric guitars starting in the '70s. That's what prompted the after market pickup manufacturers like DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan to offer aftermarket pickups, which in many cases improved tone.

    However, it seems guitar tone has either improved over all since the early 2000s or it has taken on some subtle tonal differences that are pleasing. Maybe it's a little of both. But my ears have noted there are some really great sounding guitars being built today. Many of them coming from the Pacific rim.

    I started playing guitar in the very early '60s and I recall how guitars in those days sounded superb. I purchased several new guitars in the '70s and '80s. So many of them sounded thin and generic. Those guitars I automatically replaced the pickups. But for the most part I think non-vintage guitars today mainly just sound different from one another and sound pretty good to my ears.
     
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  5. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I vote 'No'
    There may be more modern ways to get good tone, say smaller amps, and pedals as an example,

    But I know every sound I TRY to get came from vintage guitars and amps, effects, made no later than the late '60's /early '70's.

    And the music made
    was say from the 1950's to the '70's,
    OR later folks, trying to recreate those sounds as well, say Danny Gatton, '80's Jump Blues, Rockabilly etc.
     
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  6. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    It's gotten better for bedroom warriors and the average person. But rock stars had the good stuff in the 60s and 70s.
     
  7. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't know about any other genre, but I can say that Metal guitar tone has gotten better. I mean, the classic Marshall/Mesa tones are classic and hard to beat, but gone are the '80s - '00s scooped mids and jars of bees (for the most part), having been replaced by an instantly recognizable modern tone you can actually hear while still being tank-tread heavy.

    Too bad every other Metal band has a singer that wants to sound like a rabid Grizzly in dire need of a Ricola or three. Props to those who can still sing, though good riddance to the '80s "I'm an opera singer in another life" crapulence.

    Not a fan of the "thwippy" hyper-compressed drums you hear in some modern Metal though. Give me a big, round, woody '70s thump/smack/pish any day.
     
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  8. blue17

    blue17 TDPRI Member

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    Better? Not necessarily, but unlike the 60s and 70s, I can have broken up Marshall tone AND neighbors.
     
  9. Paulie_Boy

    Paulie_Boy Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    "I got a standard box. I don't never want anything special. Then if I drop my box, I can borrow somebody else's."
    -Wes Montgomery


    Wes had the most recognizable guitar tone ever. (It's in your hands, not your gear.)
     
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  10. Goldenshellback

    Goldenshellback Tele-Meister

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    I think guitars are better than ever. Everyone chases tone, the tone in your head. I’ve played a lot of vintage guitars at Carter Vintage Guitars, and a lot left me unimpressed. The current run of pickups produced by Gibson and Fender are outstanding, I’m not going Doug and Pat show here, but unless you have a pristine 58 Les Paul with pristine PAF’s you really can’t make a accurate comparison. I don’t own a 52 Telecaster so I won’t say the Fenders I own don’t compare tone wise. But the tone from my American Original 60’s is tone I like.
     
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  11. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    Good tone may be more affordable than it used to be, but it isn't any gooder.
     
  12. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Friend of Leo's

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    Probably the only industry/technology from a half century ago that nailed it and modern companies are trying to copy and failing.
     
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  13. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes; access to great guitar tones has become easier and cheaper for everyone.

    Which means it has become better, via the associated reduction of crappy guitar tone in the average household.
     
  14. dlew919

    dlew919 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think it's easier to get a better tone, so yes, tone has improved.

    Whether playing, songs, etc have or not (they haven't, but they are no better nor worse) is another matter.
     
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  15. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    How would you quantify "better", tone is awfully subjective?

    What is the goal? Is there some ideal tone that no one has reached?
     
  16. Newbcaster

    Newbcaster Tele-Holic

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    I've been reading these comments and I have to chuckle a bit. finding the right metaphor, and ive been reading a few bad metaphors and examples in this thread....

    The answer is a categorical, almost without exception... NO. And I only say almost because I acknowledge that there may be SOMETHING which has improved tone and that I just can't think of it at the moment.

    Take noiseless pickups. Can someone REALLY look another in the eye and say that 57 strat pickups sound worse than today's noiseless pickups?

    Of course not. What one CAN say is that 60 cycle hum is annoying. but beyond that the "tone" has not improved, it may have gotten worse. Who knows what a 57 pickup sounded like new in 57. But it sure as hell sounds better now than today's noiseless.

    We have modelers that get to 90, even 95% of the juju of a good deluxe reverb. that allows me to own, for a mere 1500 bux, 1000's of glorious amps...well, 90% of them anyways.

    But gimme a 60's supro thunderbolt anyday. couple knobs and the truth. An old Gibson GA 40. Fender Bassman, Super 400, etc.

    Hell, a Rivera TBR5 Whatever.

    Analog is already perfect to the ear. Digital isnt better, even perfect lossless. Its only equal. Take recording medium. In a digital world. We all have spotify. If you listen to the same song for a week. then listen to the same song as a lossless recording...you may even get a headache because there is so much more info in a FLAc recording versus the compressed youtube version.

    FLAC... essentially vinyl or a good tape. Analog.

    What about Guitars? Are active pickups better soundign than passive pickups? No. just different and more complicated.

    So tone, really, has not improved ONE IOTA. What has improved is efficiency in music management.

    So no. No improvement at all. besides. Those a-holes who distribute for Kemper in the US reneged on a coupon they promised me for 40% off. if i do want the ease and portability of digital, I'll do fractal or Quad Cortex/Neural or Line 6 HX stomp.

    There is now that I think of it, ONE case where time has improved our tone, not because of digital, but because of a better process.

    i think Stephen Marchione is the first one that I knew of who built a totally one piece guitar with no glue joins except fretboard.

    but Johnny Tsakanikas, aka, Johnny rushmore, is an effing genius, truly, for building a business out of one piece guitars. The tone is incredibly, angelically sweet and full of rock god van hagar fury.

    2 cents FWIW.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've had the old holy grail gear, the old crapo gear, and the new affordable good gear.

    My sense is that today's tone chasing and cork sniffing just tries to get to the sound of the old junk punks dragged into dive bars in the '60s & '70s because it was affordable and plentiful.

    Guitar sound can be quieter now though, old amps sounded great but were more noisy due to both some of the wiring in the amp and also the wiring in buildings before grounding was standardized.
     
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  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Neighbors are like, overrated, man.
     
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  19. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    the tone has not gotten any better its what you do with it that makes the difference there are no striking inovations to the sound of the guitar just in how its applied to the sound. if everyone uses the same blue or green boxed tones there will be no inovations at all
     
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  20. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Probably not got any better, but we’ve all talked about it & had endless discussions!
    Those who are into such things, will for sure invested in pedals galore, chasing the holy grail
     
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