Which of the following will most improve tone?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by AgaveBlueCaster, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. AgaveBlueCaster

    AgaveBlueCaster TDPRI Member

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    I'm a beginner using a 2006 Fender MIM Standard Tele, extra light GHS boomer strings (09's), a Dunlop 0.6 MM nylon pick, and recording into my computer with a Line 6 toneport. For clean sounds I usually use the "Fender 1958 B-man" patch. The tone is ok, but I feel it should be better. Of the following things I could do which do you think would help the most (taking into consideration that some options are much more expensive than others)?

    1. Use heavier gauge strings and/or different brand of strings and/or pick
    2. Get the guitar re-set up and intonated (last adjustment was a year ago)
    3. Sell the MIM standard and get a better guitar
    4. Get different pickups for the MIM standard
    5. Use a different recording/modeling interface than the toneport
    6. Work harder at figuring out how to optimize the toneport settings
    7. Get a small amp (I'm in a condo) and record with a microphone (I have a studio projects B1 and VTB1 preamp that I use for vocals)
    8. Take lessons to improve my playing
     
  2. graphs

    graphs Tele-Afflicted

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    All of them?

    except #3...if you get that guitar set up nice there's no reason it shouldn't sound great.
     
  3. ScatMan

    ScatMan Friend of Leo's

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    Start with #2, then #8 and/or practice, practice, practice. After that, decide if you really need or want the other 6 options.
     
  4. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    +1
     
  5. Iris

    Iris TDPRI Member

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    I believe your MIM tele is okay and it's only a computer deal. Get yourself a Good audio card first - this is very important when transferring live guitar sound into 1's and 0's. When recording we use Amplitube2 soft which can emulate almost everything amplifying that has been made so far.
    And practice, practice, practice(C)
     
  6. ajgus

    ajgus Friend of Leo's

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    #8 will have the biggest impact. Body woods, necks, pickups, wiring, saddles, tuners, strings, set-up...sure, these will all have an influence. But...put the crappiest guitar in the hands of the greatest guitarist...it will still sound great. Mods are fun. They will truly make your Tele "custom". But the most important thing is the passion & effort you put into your playing. Try all of the points you mentioned. If your still not happy...look toward the common denominator...
     
  7. ChinaTwanger

    ChinaTwanger TDPRI Member

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    I agree with ajgus.
    I believe that a large percentage of tone comes from fingers but with all that digital processing who knows? The guitar is not the most likely suspect.
     
  8. ole AZ

    ole AZ Banned

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    This is immensely true and it applies to ALL players, not just beginners. The way you understand the instrument and develop a personal style of connecting with it will make the biggest effect.

    I'm an Eric Clapton freak so here's an example as to why #8 is HUGE and #3 is dismissable...the white Strat Eric is playing is an MIM Standard that his wife and daughters gave hime for Christmas according to his autobiography. Not bad tone in my opinion...

     
  9. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    When I started playing about four years ago I had a 30 year old Hohner Les Paul that just didn't sound very good so I took it in for a set up. When I brought it home it sounded only marginally better and for $75 I didn't think they did a very good job. So I took it back and politely asked the guy to verify. He plugged it in and proceeded to play very beautiful music. So I kinda sheepishly took it back and went straight to #8 on your list.
     
  10. B Valley

    B Valley Tele-Afflicted

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    All the equipment in the world isn't going to give you the tone you're looking for if you don't have the skill to play what it is you're trying to play. Thousands of great recordings have been made with some pretty basic gear under less than perfect conditions.
    Chuck Berry probably didn't have a whole lot of choices for amps, and certainly no effects, and produced perhaps the world's most imitated guitar sound.
    Don't overthink it. A buddy of mine calls it 'Techno Head', spending more time worrying about gear and tone than actually playing.
     
  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    You forgot the number one most important... Practice, lots of it.... after that, everything else is optional.

    You NEVER see/hear a great guitarist and start dissing his gear... never.

    Ron Kirn
     
  12. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

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    What he said , oh an' #6 & #8 on your list....
     
  13. lewis

    lewis Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a '62 AVRI for years that I never bonded with. It was always too heavy, neck was too thin, frets were too small etc.
    "This is a good guitar. Why can't I get a good sound out of it?"
    Then I started taking lessons and now it's a great guitar.
     
  14. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree with the other posters on learning to play, very important.

    However, I would recommend an amp of some sort. I have a Toneport and it's a lot of fun, sounds good on playback, but I find it very weird feeling and sounding just to play through.
     
  15. Tim73

    Tim73 Friend of Leo's

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    Practice and lessons are good & should be first choice. A MIM can be stunning with a few simple upgrades - a decent pickup, upgraded bridge and a new nut for starters can really transform the guitar.
     
  16. aunchaki

    aunchaki Friend of Leo's

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    Practice, of course. I'd also suggest #1 on your list: heavier strings. I went from .009s to .010s to .011s. Each step brought more tone to my 1995 MIM Standard and my Affinty. Also, it's a low-cost, reversible test.

    To track down potential trouble spots in your recording set-up, listen to the Toneport sound through headphones (played live). Is it the same as your computer-recorded tone? If so, there's probably nothing wrong with the recording rig.

    Keep fiddling with different settings, you may find something incredible. I like miking small amps, but have lived in an apartment and know that can be problematic.

    Let us know what you try and what you discover. Good luck!
     
  17. mrothacker

    mrothacker Tele-Meister

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    I would start with the least expensive first ( because I am poor, I have a guitar addiction) .

    First try a new patch ( the old one didnt work for me either , I still smoke)

    Go to heavier gauge strings (09s are too plinky for me,10s will noticeably help,11s are even better but many people cant handle the tension)

    As far as pickups go , figure out the tone you are going after.Is there a band or guitarist getting the sound that you want,if so find out the equipment they used to get that sound and try to duplicate if possible with your setup .

    As far as amps go ideally you would want to mic' a tube amp but in the real world (or a condo) this impractical . I have owned 3 different Line 6 products and although they are very good they are not a real tube amp , BUT for recording purposes they do a very good job , and make recording guitar very easy . A lot of recordings these days have the guitar through a POD only( check out Porcupine Trees' In Absentia orDeadwing)
     
  18. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    1,2,7 & 8.
     
  19. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

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    #8 is the most important. All the MIM stuff is silly. If you know what you are doing any MIM Strat or Tele can sound good.

    Equipment may be the least of the reasons - go to You Tube and see all the videos done by marginal players with brand new $2500 Les Pauls and the latest boutique or amp on the month. Somehow most of them still make them sound like crap.
     
  20. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well said hola, my sentiments exactly. Some guys think that sinking lots of money into gear guarantees great sound. It doesn't.
     
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