Tone meaning(s)

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Larry F, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Holic

    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
    My shorthand is "sound," "vibe," and "shape".

    When I think about what guitar+pedals+amp I'm using, I call that the "sound." EG, I'm going for a "surf sound" so I use a Strat with lots of reverb. If I switch from one reverb to another reverb, I am tweaking the "guitar sound."

    So I'd say, "I'm going for a fuzz guitar sound, but the bass sound should be nice and clean. You should break out the bundles for a more alt-country drum sound."

    When you tweak the EQ I call that changing the "shape." "I need to tweak the guitar shape on this song somehow because the two guitars are sounding muddy." There's overlap between "shape" and "sound", but shape is tweakier and sound is broader.

    If I'm talking about what style to play, that's the "vibe." "I'm going to do a solo with a laid back melodic vibe. The bass should be root-five all the way through for that 'head-nod-along" vibe. Let's do a floor-tom, Lust for Life vibe."

    To me, "tone is in the fingertips" is execution. "My execution is off tonight, I'm throwing out clams all over the place and I can't get the finesse I need to sell this solo."

    I never parsed it that much but I always assumed "tone is in the underpants" meant "tone is how well whatever you are doing is connecting with attractive members of the audience." I might call that "mojo" if I could actually bring myself to say that word since musical instrument marketers got a hold of it.

    I rarely say "tone." You know how some people can't stand the words "moist" or "puberty" or whatever? That's pretty much where I am with "tone" these days.
  2. MrClint

    MrClint Tele-Meister

    Jun 11, 2018
    Lake Balboa CA
    Tone is clearly defined as: a musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength.

    That said, what a tone knob does will most likely vary, but the definition above is what I want from a tone knob. Stop turning the knob up or down when the three reference points are the most pleasing. I'm fine with, "I'll know it when I hear it" guidelines.
  3. MagicTwanger

    MagicTwanger Tele-Meister

    Jun 20, 2007
    Larry, What changes when you modify the sound you are making while playing music is the pleasing effect upon the listener. "Tone is one of the variables musicians use to describe sound modification". When I was 14 years old I had the pleasure of being a stage hand for Duke Ellington on his Sacred Concert tour. After the first perfomance I asked him what genre of music he liked the best. The Duke chuckled and said, "There's good music and bad music. If it is pleasing to my ears, it is good music".
    trouserpress likes this.
  4. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 8, 2010
    Up North
    Quantifying the Subjective.
    Isn't that what they call Philosophy?
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