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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

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  1. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I'm kind of wondering what bass players responses would be in regards to bass tone. One thing's for sure, for gigging bassists, their gear has certainly gotten louder and lighter over the years.
     
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  2. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    Define "better."

    If you're referring to the sounds coming out of an individual guitarist's amplifier..No, not really. That peaked somewhere around 1978.

    If you're talking about how that sound is recorded or how it's delivered to a live audience...then I'd say yes, absolutely.
     
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  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yes WRT the convenience of pedals that make big amps turned down sound like they're turned up.
    Followed by smaller amps.
    Followed by big and medium size amps with preamp distortion.
    Followed by small amps with preamp distortion and attenuators.
    Followed by pedals with all that crap stuffed inside.
    Followed by tiny amps the size of pedals.

    In alternating order.

    Translation: great guitar sound was replaced by shopping for trendy gear.
     
  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hahahahahahahahahaha clearly subjective!

    To my ear 1978 was the deep bottom of amps and even guitars on the market in terms of great guitar sound.
    Marshall had replaced the four input non master with the crude cascading channels fizz.
    Fender was making the UL MV pull boost amps.
    Fender pickups were shrill and Tele pots were 1 meg.
    Gibson used what, dirty fingers HBs? Or the 490?
    Celestion was trying to figure out how to make a good sounding speaker that didn't blow every few weeks, with kapton VCs.

    Players still had great vintage guitars and amps so Rock sounded fine, and then we got metal, hairspray and spandex!
    Four input non MV Marshalls ruled through the '70s, but were no longer made.
    Fender was gasping for air as players preferred their old production.

    EVH in 1978?
    Used a 1967 Marshall.
    AC/DC in '78?
    Used a 1966 Marshall.
    What was Clapton up to? Lay Down Sally?

    ...subjective!...
     
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  5. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    of course not just listen to fillmore east and a bunch of others
     
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  6. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    I suspect that the most of the tones most of us are either chasing or already getting could be obtained through a Valco, Fender, Gibson, Ampeg, Vox, or Marshall amp made no later than 1970, maybe with the use of some pedal (Fuzz, Univibe, WahWah?) or studio recording trick (compression, equalization, flanging?) that also existed in the 60s. ( I welcome suggestions for sounds that require more recent equipment.)

    I've only been to one concert in the last several years where I was so impressed by the guitarists' tone I had to figure out what kind of amps they were playing through. One was using a Fender Super Sonic; the other a Fender ToneMaster, a custom shop amp based on the 57 Bassman.

    So has tone gotten better? Probably not. At least not much. Maybe the ToneMaster is a little better than a stock Tweed Bassman. Maybe not. Maybe those booteek amps Derek Trucks uses really do sound ever so slightly better than an old Fender Super Reverb. Maybe not.

    But it's certainly easy to get a variety of tones out of one amp if that's what you want to do. Multi Channel amps, multi effects pedals, and huge pedal boards make getting a wide range of sounds out of the same amp and guitar possible in a way that most people could not have pulled off live 50 years ago.
     
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  7. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    no
    classic recordings of the 1960's and 1970's were recorded on a few tracks, bounced, mixed and mastered on ancient gear for playback on turntables
    today's digital recording tends to favor the "louder sounds better" mantra, and all nuance is lost

    yes
    tone of live performances has improved, thanks to technology
     
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  8. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Not better, not worse. Aesthetic preferences change, both for individuals and for entire cultures.
     
  9. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I don't know man, Let There Be Rock is pretty much the epitome of great rock tone, and that was master volume Marshalls.

    Go Down!
     
  10. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

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    If you listen to Mike Campbell’s guitar (Broadcaster) or Keefs (lapsteel pu the Broadcaster was based on (at least I think so) I’d say no. I’m not saying that there aren’t great guitars today I’m just saying solid body electrics started off with phenomenal pickups.
     
  11. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree with all of this.

    I was using 1978 to refer to player’s tastes rather than what gear was being offered at the time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  12. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    compared to what ? and who are you asking Jazz box guys, psycho-billy hellcats, AOR rockers, machine-head death-metal Swedes?
    my tones are getting better and stranger, would you like them, mmmm maybe-probably not. I love the sound of broken am radio guitar.
     
  13. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Mine has gotten better.
     
  14. Crawldaddy

    Crawldaddy Tele-Holic

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    Well, I daresay that tones are getting better, because of the glut of music that has been put out over the last 60 years as a point of reference, versus "back in the day" with the limited output of music as well as the availability of gear.

    It must also be said, it is a lot easier to get good tones these days. Attenuators are able to better capture that tube roar at lower volumes, bands are generally a lot more controlled with their overall delivery such that you can hear everyone in the band.

    And yeah, pedals. a crap tonne of them out there. Guitars are being built a lot more consistently at much more affordable price points. The internet has a wealth of know-how on how to mod and tweak your axe to your heart's desire.

    What's your excuse for not being able to have a good tone from a gear perspective?

    Maybe the development of one's ears and discernability when it comes to tone. But that takes time, and we need to allow for that when it comes to individuals.
     
  15. Viejo

    Viejo Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I think we are overthinking it. I have noticed that when my favorite players get together with guitar and amp companies and get gear built to their dream sound it never sounds as good to me as when they were using old of the shelf gear.
     
  16. LAPlayer

    LAPlayer Tele-Meister

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    I Vote no. Guitars have had phenomenal town since the beginning of guitar days 200 years ago. Guitar manufacturing has become more consistent but good guitar tone has always been good guitar tone.
     
  17. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

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    Define “tone.”
     
  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Like I said: Subjective!
    Buzzing bees are pop in some circles!

    I had one of the early MV Marshalls from the late '70s and I thought the extra fizzy thing on the notes was awful.
    Plenty of us like the fizz though, and happily for y'all it's easier to get 800 fizz or SS pedal fizz than the older big power amp into low wattage speakers almost clean dirt.

    In fairness to the 800 series I think they improved the preamp over the Master Model MKII, allowing for some more varied range of breakup.

    Let There Be Rock is so fizzy though it's almost funny, and IMO it was more the energy of the band and the music than the particular guitar sound that made it anything special.

    Most of us plugging into a $500 amp at GC and hearing nothing but that fizzy clipping would more right on to the next amp IMO!

    We often presume that a great records amp sounds must be great amp sounds, when really it was a great record and would have been great with a range of amp sounds.

    We might want our own amp to sound like the records we heard at 15.
    Or not!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  19. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    @telemnemonics

    No no, Mesa has the angry bee thing going, not the 2203/2204. Mesa pretty much ruined rock tone, almost singlehandedly.

    And you like low wind A5 pickups, and I'm a higher wind A3 guy.
     
  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hahahahaha I had a MKIV Boogie too, cane grill hardwood cab nasty sounding five hundred bucks wasted!

    WRT Angus using the MV MKII Marshall on that record, I didn't know that and prefer his other sounds he got with a '66 Plex 100 he seems to have used for years both touring and in the studio.
    That cut does explain why many assume AC/DC guitar is that sound I call buzzy and fizzy.

    I guess the Marshalls called Master Model MKII are often referred to as 2203/ 2204, but are they really identical circuits?
    I don't really like the 800s either but it seems like the 800 had smoother dirt on tap the former.
    OTOH with both pre and MV on ten the buzz gets creamier as the power section falls apart.

    I gotta say though my preferred dirty sounds are hard to get, and preamp dirt with a good MV is really convenient.
    More betterer these days too.
     
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