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Tone vs. skill....

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Boreas, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. berzirk

    berzirk TDPRI Member

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    I've always been fascinated by all of the hype over equipment etc. Especially when it comes to vintage instruments. The assumption seems to be that every old fender must be the bees knees. Heck, these are "floating" parts guitars, and if you line up 1000 vintage strats or teles, not every one of them was a gem. Also, a lot of players swapped these (and especially the pups) for different axes etc as their careers progressed (Knofler, Clapton etc)
    I think there are a lot of solid pickup winders out there, and I think they can all produce a spec that will produce an awesome sound. To me...it's more a function of the amp and your talent that gets you where you want to be. I have the amp, saving up for the talent :)
     
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  2. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Much is said about better equipment getting you to sound better, but my opinion is better equipment helps you to be a better player. I think it’s a fallacy that cheap equipment is just as good for a student as better equipment. “Eric Clapton would make a First Act combo setup sound great.” Yes, but when a beginner is beset with getting to the next stage of development as a guitarist, they likely will be able to get there faster with decent equipment because a decent guitar plays better and more predictably than a poorly made one.

    As a matter of fact, I wager many new students give up playing altogether because the guitar they’ve started with is crap.
     
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  3. Spooky88

    Spooky88 TDPRI Member

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    Dude, I've been where you are now. Get out and play with peeps that have your back. Not everyone is Eddie Van Halen. Failing isn't the issue, having the courage to do it again is, if you let it. Keep trying, go to local jams (covid permitting), find an instructor to mentor you possibly. I've been doing this for 50 years now but it took me over ten years to get on a stage
     
  4. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Holic

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    Let's be honest, you can reach 'tone' in 10 minutes with an amplifier.

    There is plenty of time to focus exclusively on skill!
     
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  5. DekeDog

    DekeDog Tele-Afflicted

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    This was definitely true in my case. But, I began in the early '60s when almost all inexpensive brands were crap, and that's putting it mildly.

    We have become a somewhat self-indulgent, affluent culture that wants and can afford the best of everything. I see no harm in being indulgent in your hobbies, if you can afford it. From my perspective, I've always sought to be a better player, and as long as a guitar plays and feels right (which even many inexpensive guitars these days can do), and I have a decent sounding amp, I can always modify the sound to get what I want without spending a lot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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  6. mrloshaw

    mrloshaw TDPRI Member

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    If we put the time in to practice that we put in to switching pots and pups we'd all be way better. If I've learned anything from playing guitar it's that it really doesn't matter what you're playing, take a 99$ cheap guitar and plug it in to a good amp and a talented guitarist makes it sound better than any 3K custom guitar. I spent so much money upgrading my guitars when it was pointless. Blind shootouts online prove that the difference is so minor that it's only useful to a pro musician. I think the wood especially the weight of the wood makes no difference in sound with an electric, hell you can make a good guitar out of glass FFS! The sound is between the nut and the bridge, why would it matter what material or how heavy that material is.
     
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  7. country Keith

    country Keith TDPRI Member

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  8. country Keith

    country Keith TDPRI Member

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    Give Jeff Beck a 2 x 4 with strings nailed on and he will still sound better than me with a good Les Paul.
     
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  9. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Actually, that is only part of the equation. Younger brains are still developing neural pathways and those can be expanded almost exponentially before the age of 20. This also partially explains why kids can be so reckless. But the brain becomes increasingly "hard-wired" approaching the age of 20, or what many would consider adulthood. We become less reckless and begin to settle into our adult grooves we will have for much of our lives. For example, not too many people enlist after the age of 20! I had plenty of time off here in NYS at the beginning of the COVID crisis, but it did nothing to improve my aptitude or skills. But I bought 2 more guitars!!
     
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  10. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Tone Follows Skill
     
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  11. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Ok, your point is well taken, but I might just draw the line right there.
     
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  12. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Holic

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    Take someone like Van Morrison. Been active for what, 60 years. Easy songs, great lyrics and
    the sound is his alone. I guess your personality shines in all your trails and tribulations. Depends on
    what you're looking for.
     
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  13. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wrong.
    I’ve been playing for 31 years.
    Initially, I constantly added switches, effects, multiple amps, DI boxes, etc., to my guitars/pedalboards and and overall rigs.
    For the last fifteen to twenty years, I’ve been simplifying my guitars, my rigs and even my song arrangements.
    Many of the (more-recent) mods on my guitars simplify their operation and options.

    ^^^...and here’s evidence of why you’re wrong.
    You (arrogantly) assume that everyone has the same attitude, goals and methodology of making music and/or same ideas for modifying our instruments.

    I have done extensive mods to a few of my guitars—including cosmetic mods—but I didn’t search/obsess/agonize over anything for five years (or even five months). I would listen, look or play the instrument and decide what would make it look, perform or sound better. Sometimes it was an experiment (“I wonder what this would look/sound like”), and sometimes it was a specific modification to address a need or deficiency of the guitar (“The tuning keys are crappy/the pickups are anemic/the switch is broken”)...

    Full disclosure:
    I have done extensive/exhaustive searches for a specific good-sounding effect pedal (most famously, my search for a good-sounding Leslie/rotary effect), but the search took that much time because there weren’t a lot of good choices at the time, or I couldn’t afford the (better) effects on the market at the time—but this was for a while effect, not a knob.

    Similarly, your trollish statement that a sloppy performance with a Rickenbacker and a Vox sounds good but a Squier through a cheap amp sounds bad (I’m paraphrasing)...

    Again, you’re wrong because you’re just listening with your eyes—the attractive/desirable equipment colors/prejudices your opinion and your assessment of what might be/probably is a bad performance.

    Or maybe you’re (unsuccessfully) trying to be funny. Maybe you could add a disclaimer such as “Note Sarcasm Font” or “Just Kidding”...it’s not clear if you’re a poor comedian or if you’re delusional.
     
  14. Tark1

    Tark1 TDPRI Member

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    If I don't like the sound of a guitar I'm not going to play it.
     
  15. Auherre756

    Auherre756 TDPRI Member

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    I've been playing guitar for 55 years and still haven't scratched the surface. It's all about the journey, man.
     
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  16. fofomomo

    fofomomo TDPRI Member

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    Someone said something about cheap guitars vs. expensive guitars for beginners: That is true, beginners SHOULD have decent instruments or they won't learn as fast - but these days "decent" covers most guitars.

    Tone vs. practice or skill or whatever: Practicing (not just diddling around) seems less fun sometimes but it's going to make you 100x happier. If you have convinced yourself that you're having more fun just playing the same things over and over but altering your tone with different pedals, guitars, amps, you are doing yourself a disservice, and you're on a hamster wheel where you'll just get less and less satisfaction.

    Stretch yourself, practice new things and you will get way, way, way, way more serotonin flowing into your brain than otherwise. Seems daunting, but you WILL have more fun.
     
  17. oregomike

    oregomike Tele-Meister

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    Skill, always. But really, who's the tone for? For me, it's a personal satisfaction. I think this "elusive tone" is a myth IMO. The audience just wants good music.

    OregonMike
     
  18. doblander

    doblander TDPRI Member

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    You have described my routine perfectly! YouTube is my source of inspiration Cuz I don't jam with anyone. I keep an acoustic electric and a solid body electric parked beside my amplifier at ALL times. The a/e produces clean sounds so pleasing that no solid body can copy regardless of modelling amp settings. Switching between the 2 cancels out the mild disappointment that arises from getting stuck in that damn rut that comes from no outside influence. Playing alone. By the way, a modelling amp or pedal(s) eliminate the need for mods done in the name of "betterness". IMHO.
     
  19. TMGCUSTOM

    TMGCUSTOM TDPRI Member

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    Amen, LAPLAYER!
     
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  20. cosmiccowboy

    cosmiccowboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve ventured down that road many times :mad:. However, while I have found better gear (more pleasing tonally to my ear), practice and lessons geared to your needs are the only things that are going to help you become a better player and a more knowledgeable musician.
     
    Rocky058 likes this.
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