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Is your guitar tone a lie, or does it exist? prove it!

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by c0rnfed, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have two guitars with identical pickup sets in them (Duncan JB/Jazz), and they have distinctive tones despite the fact that the pickups are identical. One is a chambered cedar body with a maple cap and a bolt-on maple neck, the other is a sold mahogany body, maple cap, set mahogany neck, and floating trem.
     
  2. c0rnfed

    c0rnfed TDPRI Member

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    RE 1: so what else do they pick up and how is it picked up? I always thought pickups were generally designed not to be microphonic..

    RE 2: yes but the string are still oscillating at a specific frequency to produce a certain note, that the pickup detcts. Same frequencies, different tones i dont understand..
    The vibrations throughout the guitar is how the energy is disappated, how does this affect tone?

    If i had the $$ to own more guitars i would, but i don't so Im tapping in to the vast knowledge of those who are more fortunate and have more experience.

    I don't know if a difference in tone exist, even if i can 'hear' it, it could just all be in my head. I'm just asking why would a difference in tone exist, and what physical laws it would be based on.

    why does food taste sweeter on square plates? someone inject me with some premium octane knowledge
     
  3. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Years ago a buddy of mine had a guitar with pickups so microphonic that you could talk into it and the sound of your voice would come through the amp (not crystal clear, but very recognizable). Loose coil windings will do this.

    As for RE 2, that gets into fundamental tones and harmonic overtones. The overtones are where all of the weird nuances come into play.
     
  4. Lunchie

    Lunchie Poster Extraordinaire

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    blah blah blah blah... Practice is more important then physics or materials when it comes to guitars. BB King would sound better then me playing a $90 Walmart First Act Special then if I was playing Lucille.
     
  5. c0rnfed

    c0rnfed TDPRI Member

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    Ok now this is some good info..
    2 different guitars same pickups, yet distinct tones.

    You would think that the tone would be the same (i.e. same pickup) yet there is a difference. where do you think this difference comes from, how does it effect the pickups?

    Throw me some theories and ill try to prove/disprove with science. i wanna know what you guys think, so that maybe i can manipulate and maximize these "tonal characteristics"
     
  6. c0rnfed

    c0rnfed TDPRI Member

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    But even with potted/non-microphonic pickups, there is a difference in tone

    I was aware of the harmonic overtones, but how can you effect this to equate to a desired tone.
     
  7. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    Frequencies are one thing. "Tone" has more to do with what is known as
    tim·bre (tmbr, tm-)
    n.
    The combination of qualities of a sound that distinguishes it from other sounds of the same pitch and volume.

    <<<so what else do they pick up and how is it picked up?>>>>>
    The classic Tele system of mounting the pickup to a metal plate results in something a little different than if mounted to the body. Just one example. To carry your argument to the extreme, an acoustic guitar with a soundhole mounted pickup would sound exactly the same as the same pickup attached to a solid piece of plywood. While I'll give you they may sound similar, they aint gonna be the same.
    <<<<<I always thought pickups were generally designed not to be microphonic>>>>
    Its a matter of degree. Some pickups are more "microphonic" that others, depending on the design.

    Go play a Les Paul Jr and an ES125. Same scale length, same P90 pickup. One is a wrap around stud tailpiece on a solid slab of wood. One is an hollow laminated archtop with a trapieze tailpiece. They will have a lot in common.
    But they will be different. They will make a lot of the same sounds, and some sounds one will make and the other won't.
     
  8. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire

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    One basic difference in tone (and feel) between guitars is different scale lengths that cause the strings to be at different tensions at the same pitch. A Tele or Strat at 25 1/4" scale length has greater string tension leading to "snappier," "tighter" or "twangier" tone, whereas a LP at 24 3/4" is "looser," more "buttery, and "insert your favorite adjective here."

    There, that's all I've got. :lol:
     
  9. c0rnfed

    c0rnfed TDPRI Member

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    so microphonics would technically be a good thing, since it would pickup other tonal characteristics and nuances of you actual guitar?

    So would i be correct to say that overall the tone will be the same on the pickup but there is a small window where the microphonics of the pickup comes in to play, and the culmination of this leads to a distinct tone?

    I wonder if i can rig up some kind of piezo electric device that can measure a series of characteristics on a numerical scale that effect different areas "tone"
     
  10. c0rnfed

    c0rnfed TDPRI Member

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    ..also that would mean that the vibrations and how it dissipates, should theoretically allow you to control the tone.
     
  11. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    <<<<I was aware of the harmonic overtones, but how can you effect this to equate to a desired tone.>>>>

    Trial and error. Experience. General consensus of people who have been there and done that.
    Sure, there is much snake oil out there. Sometimes it can be as silly as the kind of screws holding the pickguard. But some common knowledge really is common knowledge, based on folks real world experience playing and building guitars.

    You want a guitar that sounds a certain way, then build it similar to other guitars that sound that way and you'll most likely be in the ballpark.

    "Tone" is an overused very subjective term. People use it all the time to describe things that have nothing to do with what it is.

    What "Tone" are you seeking? How picky are you? If you have no idea, then why are you asking?
    There are some really knowledgeable people on here that can steer you in the direction you wanna go if you give them an idea of what you want to achieve.
     
  12. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    <<<I wonder if i can rig up some kind of piezo electric device that can measure a series of characteristics on a numerical scale that effect different areas "tone">>>>>

    You were born with a set of em sticking out each side of your head.
     
  13. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    All the scientific reasoning in the world can't change the fact that two guitars built on the same assembly line having the same parts can and often do sound different. You forgot to include the MOJO factor in your reasoning. If you don't know about MOJO you probably won't know any different anyway, so just hammer it together and be confident you have the best guitar in the world. You might get lucky and the MOJO fairy might just come along a sprinkle a little MOJO dust on it. ****

    ****
    You can actually scientifically test a guitar for MOJO with an ohm meter, but I'm not about to tell just anybody how to do it. BTW, what you think that knob is next to the volume? It's the Tone knob. Fezz can explain it a lot better, but it'll take a while. BTW are you a cussin' man? (might come in handy)
     
  14. c0rnfed

    c0rnfed TDPRI Member

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    Yea but the problem is that they are highly biased.
    numbers aren't biased.

    Anyways i just wanted to hear people's insight

    Alright i have my build and tone in mind, i have to be budget conscience which is why I'm even concerned in the first place. just wanna get my money's worth, and not buy in to the snake oil.

    I'm still in the planning phase, once i get things started ill show you guys all the pics as well as a video supporting or rejecting existence of mojo.

    Anyone know any decent humbuckers that are more on the microphonic side?
     
  15. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    <<<Anyone know any decent humbuckers that are more on the microphonic side?>>>>
    That would be the unpotted ones. Copies of the old PAFs.
    Dont automatically assume thats a good thing. Its just a thing. It could be good or bad for YOU. They started sealing them in wax for a reason. Not saying don't do it, just be aware of why you would want to do that, vs the drawbacks.
     
  16. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    And yet, the difference could still come from any number of non-wood related reasons. Are the resistance values exactly the same? The gauss readings? The length of the wires? The type of wire? The amount of solder involved? The strings? The age of the strings? Identical pots? Identical caps? Identical leads?

    I say all that with the tongue planted firmly in cheek, because it's just not possible to A/B on the strength of "identical pickup sets". They simply can't be.

    At the end of the day, you can waste endless hours trying to quantify the unquantifiable, or you can try a bunch of guitars and see what you like.
     
  17. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Friend of Leo's

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    Sure, but this discussion happens to be how different materials affect how a guitar sounds. B.B. King would sound different playing a $90 First Act then he does playimg Lucille. He'd still totally sound like B.B. King, but different.
     
  18. ' burn 08

    ' burn 08 Tele-Afflicted

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    Look up inductors. You have the basic idea. The vibration of the string causes a disruption in the magnetic field produced by the magnet in the pickup. This induces a current in the pickup coil.

    There is basically two ways this works. 1. passing a wire though a magnetic field to produce a current, and 2. moving a magnetic field along a wire.

    And the way that the wood affects this is through the string vibration. The variations between wood types are incredibly subtle. Some folks attest to being able to hear the difference. Most folks can not.
     
  19. ' burn 08

    ' burn 08 Tele-Afflicted

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    Same pickups, but vastly different guitars. You have chambered vs. solid body. That can lead to a difference in sound, but the degree of which is debatable. The bolt on neck vs. set neck def creates a difference. Also, the inclusion of a tremolo on the set neck is going to create a difference. Think of it in terms of how the guitar connects the strings at both ends.

    If you would like to observe how these things affect the signal, I suggest getting an oscilloscope.
     
  20. OtherTom

    OtherTom Tele-Afflicted

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    Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field controls my destiny.
     
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