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The old nobody's hear the difference at a gig thing.

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Larry F, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    I know everybody says "the audience can't tell" but how can anyone really be sure of that?

    Maybe they will walk out and say..."that was great".....or "that was OK".

    A few years ago I went with a friend to see a Tribute band I knew the guitarist in. My friend had seen them once before, my friend turned to me after a few songs and said "His guitar doesn't sound as good as last show". I laughed, I knew the guitarist had switched from a full rack separate effects system to a multi-effects box.

    From where we were standing we couldn't see the gear. So yes my friend could tell.
     
  2. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    So a really bad song with a bad performance with really good tone is acceptable to an audience ? My take is we are giving the average audience way too much credit...now an audience that comes specifically to hear an artist they are familiar with, that's a different story...
     
  3. roycaster

    roycaster Tele-Holic

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    Now I remember in the bad old days, back when drums were mic’ed to play a pizza parlor. The guys in the audience would not give you a chance unless they saw a Marshall stack. They might listen to the first song if you had an Orange or HiWatt, which were rarer then hen’s teeth. But these guys didn’t know or care if the Marshall was point to point or pcb. Or if the cabinets were loaded with G12-H30s or JBL 120s.
     
  4. fauxsuper

    fauxsuper Tele-Afflicted

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    I was watching some friends of mine on stage one night and noticed the lead guitar players sound seemed sort of odd. I moved to a place where I could see over the sound dude's shoulder. Every time the lead player stepped on amything on his pedalboard, sound dude was apt to touch a pot on the board. I even noticed him going for an eq knob when they guy switched pickups. And he was actually making adjustments to keep the tone and volume constant.

    It didn't sound bad, but it wasn't what the guitarist intended. I'm sure the club owner might have had some input, as the sound dude also had an spl meter he was watching. I'm sure he'd also learned a few lessons concerning loud guitarists.

    The best sound guy I ever worked with came up and talked to me before the show, asked me questions about my rig, and had me step on my dirt pedals during sound check, asked me several questions about the monitor mix. I was amazed at the quality of the sound coming out of the monitor, it was so close to my actual tone. He used an AKG mic of some sort. He also provided us with clean isolated power sources for our amps!

    After the show, several of my friends asked me if I'd changed something, as they thought I "sounded better". I had to find the sound guy and thank him. Turns out he was a guitar player himself and he had adopted the policy of being proactive, as he'd had too many guitar player wash out his mix by playing too loud. His company had provided the venue (a College) with the PA. This was an outdoor gig. He said the key for him was making sure the guitar player could hear himself, and he even had brought a couple of guitar amp stands for that very purpose. (I'd brought my own) He told me there were still guys that didn't want their guitar in the monitors and insisted on having their amp right on the floor behind them.
     
  5. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    No a good song and an average performance with OK tone is acceptable to the audience.

    A good song and an average performance with great tone is good for the audience.
     
  6. keithb7

    keithb7 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a radial head bone on the way. This allows me to switch between tube amp heads to one cab. I have a 64 Bandmaster and a Certiatone 18W TMB. I just love the cleans and tremolo I get from my Bandmaster. When we play Born On The Bayou the BM certainly inspires me to play my best. I get that ***** eating grin when the amp really comes through and the audience is really into it to. I like to think we're doing things right when at the end a song in the middle of a set, the audience stops, all turn toward the stage and clap and cheer at us. I turn up the gain on my 18W Ceriatone and we break into "Shoot To Thrill". That cranked Marshall sound with some feedback on the opening chords sends the audience into a frenzy for the dance floor. Fist pumping, dancers on a packed floor almost every time we rip out that song. The Bandmaster can't get seem to get there with my pedals and guitars. I think the two amps are miles apart.

    Can the average 50 year housewife tell the difference between my amps? I highly doubt it. Can she rock out and thoroughly enjoy the show and all the different songs we cover? You bet! If you asked her, did the guitars sound very different? I'm pretty sure she'd say yes! Will I be inspired to play my best because I have done my research to try and reproduce great tones, to really please my audience? You bet! Toilet paper is toilet paper right? It's all wood pulp and serves the same purpose. I guarantee your wife will be able to tell the difference. Bring home the cheapest crunchy stuff you can find, you'll see.
     
  7. highwayman

    highwayman Former Member

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    I gig on a regular basis.I can tell you that no one besides other guitarists can give a crap if youre playing a Tone King Imperial or a Line 6 2x12. I always asked my friends how were sounding and always get the same answer weather im playng my AC15 , DSL50 ,Deluxe VM , or Mustang lll.No one can tell the difference.....The audience is there to have a good time and dance.I think if you have a good band, you have a good band.Get your mix right with a good soundman and youre good to go....
     
  8. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know we have all heard this. Bands with many, many thousands of dollars worth of gear, maybe even a pro headline act with trailor trucks, roadies, several high paid sound guys that sounded awful.

    and... some little podunk band with the cheapest of gear that sounded great.

    It is just a trick that is hard to master.
     
  9. Alex Strekal

    Alex Strekal Tele-Meister

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    I'm honestly a bit baffled by the idea that there is no difference between gear in a live situation. I can blatantly tell the difference between a Marshall JMP and a Fender Twin Reverb, even in a live mix. Completely different animals. Hell, I've even noticed differences in tone with different guitar players through the same rig. Singe coil vs. humbucker by itself can make a notable difference, and people will find themselves adjusting amp settings for their guitars - and still sounding different.

    If I am in the audience myself and I see guitar players using cheap multi-fx units or absurdly huge and messy pedalboards, I almost always notice a degraded, unpleasant tone. If the amp is a line6 with the treble up, I will almost always hear a lifeless, overly trebly sound (I know its cliche to hate on line6, but to me it is a perfect example of certain gear just sounding bad).

    Of course it's a given that musicians will be more discerning and more likely to care about tone than non-musicians in a casual audience. But the idea that tone differences will simply be *inaudible* strikes me as obviously false. And the idea that I shouldn't care about having a pleasing stage mix because "the audience doesn't care" is shrug-worthy. I care about how I sound.

    Whether or not you need expensive gear to sound good is a completely separate question. Obviously, people who don't know how to use their gear and don't have an ear for tone will make a 3000 dollar amp sound like crap, and people with experience can make cheaper gear sound good. But different gear will produce different sounds, all things equal.
     
  10. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well, it could be he could tell the difference... or maybe the venue was different with worse acoustics... maybe your friend was 'off' that night... maybe he experimented with some other variable... etc.

    Non trying to be contrary, just saying there could have been a number of variables.
     
  11. willspear

    willspear Tele-Holic

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    The difference between similar items gets lost more easily

    If one insists that a dm2 is the best analog delay. I'd wager if they spent a second an aqua puss would sound on stage so close most discerning ears could never tell it apart in a full band mix.

    Despite collectors tendencies alot of teles will end up sounding the same in mix.

    Does a tele with vintage pickups sound remotely like a les Paul with PAFs? No but you could pull off an effective cover of most things with any guitar.


    A cranked 18 watt Marshallish amp will never sound like a clean fender blackface. . However one could get close enough to a Marshall sound with a stomp so that the avg cover band gets within spitting distance of the right sound. Enough to impress most people.
     
  12. Dave_O

    Dave_O Friend of Leo's

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    FIFY:D


    In Larry's thought experiment, if no-one could see you swap gear, they'd never notice.
    I've been gigging for a lot of years.
    And I reckon no-one that matters (ie, the punters and venue managers) gives a flying fornication about your precious "Tone".
    IME, IMHO, YMMV, yadayadayada.
     
  13. Lead II Fool

    Lead II Fool TDPRI Member

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    I think the average, non musician doesn't know what to listen for in terms of a Fender clean tone vs say a Vox clean tone. To them they see a person playing a guitar and hey, guess what, it sounds like a guitar. Though they will notice if it's peircing their ears or if the singer can't carry a tune.

    But as stated if the sound is good and the performance is good, all is well.

    So I think it comes down to sounding like we want as musicians. And hopefully we'll get complimented at the end of the night.
     
  14. fauxsuper

    fauxsuper Tele-Afflicted

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    Think of all the trouble the Beatles went to come up with interesting guitar sounds, and think of all the guitar riff hit rcordings there have been. Led Zeppelin wouldn't have become such a massive success without at least a few non-guitarists buying the records.

    Stylists from Duane Eddy to Carlos Santana have created signature tones that will evoke responses from the crowd if you come close to replicating the sound. I once had someone (a non-guitarist, I asked) tell me that I reminded him of Dickey Betts, (which I attributed more as a compliment to the Goldtop I was using than my playing) which tells me he was paying close attention as I actually did play a couple of Dickey's licks that I thought were signatures we had to touch on as I think we were playing "Blue Sky".

    I do think the more you connect with the audience, the less the minutiae matter, as you have to get them to look at you as more than a jukebox if you're playing covers. If you play at a particular venue often and become familiar to people, then you can usually do more of your own thing as well as play more originals you might have.

    Playing somewhere like a casino, you might have to pay a little more attention to recreating a recoreded sound. In either case, the implication is that people ARE listening.
     
  15. StarliteDeVille

    StarliteDeVille Tele-Meister

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    The majority of the crowd hears bass and drums: what they dance to. You don't normally see a lot of dancing at the acoustic singer/songwriter nights or at guitar recitals. They do notice an insanely loud guitar amp in a small empty room. They also notice not being able to hear the vocals or if an instrument totally disappears from the mix. They notice loud unintentional, uncontrolled, ear-splitting feedback and buzzing noises between songs. They also visually notice, not sound-wise though, the guy fooling with his amp knobs or pedalboard the entire show.

    For those that have a non-musician, significant others in their lives, think of their response when, even after a lengthy explanation, you demonstrate the tonal nuance of your latest piece of gear. Now, subtract the lengthy explanation and divide by the number of other musicians in the band and somehow factor distance in the room into this equation, and you will have an idea of how much the average audience member can tell about the equipment you are using.
     
  16. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Most of the typical bar-goers that I have conversed with over the years don't even realize that there isn't a difference between a "lead" guitar and a "rhythm" guitar, let alone be sensitive to subtle tonal differences. As was posted earlier, all most of them know is "good" and "bad" tones, and even that has a pretty wide range. If the band is tight and energetic, and plays the right songs, that's enough for most non-musicians.
     
  17. umasstele

    umasstele Tele-Afflicted

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    :lol::lol:
    Sounds like the places I play!
     
  18. Lead II Fool

    Lead II Fool TDPRI Member

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    "They also visually notice, not sound-wise though, the guy fooling with his amp knobs or pedalboard the entire show. "



    One woman noticed that I reached for my beer a lot!!
     
  19. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sounds like some of the people that I used to play WITH!!!!
     
  20. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    Brian Ray is one of the guitarist in Paul McCartney band. Brian said in an interview that he works really hard to get the right sound for all of the Beatles songs. He said those tones are iconic and Paul expects them to be played right.
     
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