In controlled conditions, finish being the only variable, an electric guitar will sound different

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by ScareDe2, Sep 27, 2021.

In controlled conditions, finish being the only variable, an electric guitar will sound different

  1. Yes

    24 vote(s)
    17.4%
  2. No

    114 vote(s)
    82.6%
  1. Buell

    Buell Tele-Meister

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    What would Johnny Ramone say?
     
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  2. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Poster Extraordinaire

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    "**** ***" ?
     
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  3. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    The only way to make it sound good is to scrape as much of the finish off as you can.
    3224DB52-1043-49FA-B8D9-9DA11A0847EF.jpeg
     
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  4. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Flawed poll, based on a premise that cannot occur. Even two bodies cut from the same piece of wood will not be identical.
    Much like the tonewood debate, I'm not sure why there's a need to beat the finish debate into the ground. Play what you like. And if something (wood, finish, whatever) sounds better to your ears, then go have fun with it.
     
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  5. Leonardocoate

    Leonardocoate Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Here is what I suggest that you do: Buy a guitar kit and assemble it, play it and record it (amp no FX and write down the settings) take guitar apart and finish it then put it back together same brand and size strings and record it at the same setting. Give us a full report
     
  6. corliss1

    corliss1 Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    They've done wood, plexiglass, concrete, lego, and they all sound like guitar.
     
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  7. Happy Enchilada

    Happy Enchilada Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    If I had the time, I'd go get a cowpie and dip it in epoxy and let it harden. Then I'd go get all the standard hardware (bridge, volume and tone pots, switch, jack, etc.) and attach it and then bolt on a neck and a couple decent pickups. String it up and plug it in and presto - Turdcaster! And I'll bet nobody would ask "Is that a nitro or poly finish?" Plus I could probably get a government grant ...
     
  8. schoolie

    schoolie Tele-Holic

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  9. El Serio

    El Serio Tele-Meister

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    Variables are pretty unmanageable in these scenarios, I once had the bright idea of recording before and after a pickup swap.

    I quickly realized that my recordings were useless for comparison. After the fact, I realized a number of things that I did wrong. There are probably several other things I did wrong that I didn't even realize.

    1 didn't measure the original pickup height before removal, for a fair comparison, I should have set them to exactly the same height.

    Pot & switch settings needed to be exactly the same, I had changed them.

    The high E string broke when I reinstalled it, so I had to replace it. The after recordings had one string that was different than the before.

    The amp must be set aside with no setting changes between recordings.

    Mic placement and guitar (Edit: And AMP!) position should be exactly the same.

    And the biggest variable of all: I had to hold the guitar and play exactly the exact same way both times. Good luck on that one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2021
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  10. tfarny

    tfarny Poster Extraordinaire

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    One"scientific" way to do this would be to take at least 50 thin finish and at least 50 thick finish guitars, with all specs as close to equal as you can, and have at least 50 listeners try to determine which ones are "thin" and which ones are "thick" by blind listening.
    That would be ONE way to actually conduct an experiment. You can quickly see that conducting real science takes a lot more resources than the question really demands, which is why nobody does it, and woo-level explanations for "tone" persist.

    A cheaper version would be to take a thin-finish guitar, put on new strings and measure all relevant things like pickup height and so on, and do dozens of short recordings with it. Then disassemble and add another added coat of finish, re-assemble, setup to identical specs, and have the same player under the same conditions (including room humidity) play the same dozens of licks. Randomly shuffle the licks and have listeners sort them into "thin" and "thick" finish tones.
     
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  11. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Afflicted

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    I can see why someone would be skeptical about the influence of the finish. But I can instantly hear it for my own guitar. Why? Because I have been a guitar player for over 40 years and I have estimated that I easily did more than *10000* hours of guitar playing in my life (an unimaginable amount to most non-musicians).

    One of my guitars I have had for years, I have listened to it, and interacted with it, for more than a 1000 hours. That is thousand hours listening to the same instrument under different circumstances. And yes, I can hear minute changes in the sound of that guitar as a result of changes that may appear insignificant to a random other person.

    The ability to detect small changes in the sound of their instrument is an ability that any serious musician who spend thousands of hours playing has.

    And another thing. To be able to decide whether I really like a particular guitar pickup for instance, usually takes me days of playing under different conditions. After that time I am starting to either develop a preference, or not so much.

    10 seconds of blind listening usually says nothing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2021
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  12. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Only your German Shepard will know.
     
  13. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think that whether an electric guitar is plugged in, turned on, and being played thoughtfully by a good musician; just might make a more meaningful difference in tone. But you may want to try that and see.
     
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  14. Sconnie

    Sconnie Friend of Leo's

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    This is the lamest guitar hill to die on. Who is this person?
     
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  15. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

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    The problem is that there is no such thing as the exact same guitar.
     
  16. Greg70

    Greg70 Tele-Holic

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    Adam Jones, the guitarist for Tool, has stated that part of what makes his signature guitar tone is the silverburst finish on his Les Paul.

    Personally, I'm in the "everything affects your tone" camp. However, electric guitar tone is such an incredibly complex equation and the finish of the guitar is WAYYYYY down the list of things that affect tone. With EQ and other heavy signal processing, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a humbucker and a single coil.
     
  17. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, and so is air humidity. But I immediately hear it when my guitar has been in a moist environment.
     
  18. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    Are you saying that you have changed the finish on this guitar you have played for "more than 1,000 hours"?
     
  19. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    Strats have a sustain block that's probably more important than the body, so make sure it's not painted. If not, then just remove all the scale with a wire brush.
     
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  20. stormsedge

    stormsedge Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I like turtle...wax.
     
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