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Your Tone

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by GreatDaneRock, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    Hi all,

    So for a while, I've been pondering the following. I know the quest for tone, the constant search for something either unique or trying to get close to something you've heard and like, is the engine to the business of all gear in amplified string instruments.

    I arrived at "my tone" a year ago, pedalboard just rocks for me on all angles, checks all boxes, mixed with my amps is just glorious to me and my bandmates.

    I don't want to really share my setup, and I'm not really interested in your gear per see, which will inevitably take this thread in a totally different direction about praising our own gear or pointlessly arguing about petty differences in taste.

    I'm more interested in knowing if your search has ended or not, how long ago, how did it make you feel? Is it a unique tone to you or were you finally able to nail that hero of your's tone?

    Every time I play my guitar, pedalboard, and amp I grin from ear to ear and I'm happy the core quest is over. I do lust for new novel pedals, boutique stuff, etc, but I can't justify spending more than $200 on a pedal with the amazing selection of gear currently out there.

    Thank you for entertaining the topic.

    GDR
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
  2. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nah, I've been chasing tone for 35 years; still going strong. Just bought two new pedals a couple of days ago to add a touch of this and a touch of that. I do like my tone, but I can still imagine it being better.
     
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  3. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    You bring a valid point, tone can and does evolve. My tone now is different than 25 yrs ago when I was a metal head with little to no knowledge about gear in a country with limited options like Chile. Now I possess vast more knowledge in tweaking gear as I became pro rec engineer, so now my tone is much different (and way better). I'm sure my taste will change in the next 15 years but I think I know how to find what I'm looking for rather quickly.
     
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  4. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    You know, I realized today that tone is in the fingers. You know why? It's when you hold the note and work the string back and forth a little bit as you hold your notes. It is easier to do this slowly, but can be done quickly. It can be barely noticeable.

    It's almost a subtle dampening/sustaining of the sound of the note. For instance, if you hit a note aggressively, or roughly, the sound is harsh, which is also a usable sound, but if you want tone, you need to FEEL that note, and PLAY that note, with your fingers.

    It's what separates SRV from every other blues slinger.

    That being said, I have been thinking of upgrading my amp (within the Fender realm), and yes I am addicted to a pinch of delay and reverb. Mostly clean "fendery" tube sounds.

    But at what point is tone chasing madness? Because we are only emulating acoustic guitars you know. An acoustic guitar has a tone built into it's design. Our amplifier only seeks to emulate that tonal character and present it to the listener as an electric guitar sound!

    So just like an acoustic guitar, your guitar and amp will have a certain character to it, that can be unique, most likely shared with others, as there is only so much gear and pedals to add... But as long as it is LISTENABLE and CONSTANT, just like an acoustic tone is... It's a done deal!

    I like a gritty clean sound, a little twang, and character, salt and spice, but nothing crazy. I like that juicy rich tone that I get when playing the D string soulfully on the neck pickup position.

    I like the harp like picking that can be made with the middle and bridge pickups.

    I like the feel of the strings beneath my fingers, transforming and channeling my feel into a usable sound.

    Tone is amazing, and each one is unique! Find the one that, when you look at your watch and 2 hours have gone by playing dreamily away, and loving every minute, you hadn't even noticed! Isn't that what we are striving for! A sound so pleasant that it envelops you, and channels your emotions and soulful yearnings!
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
  5. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Meister

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    I think like many others, I feel like I'm constantly finding and losing my tone. Sometimes it sounds unexpectedly bad when I'm using gear that got me a good tone before and vice versa. You win some, you lose some.

    Overall, however, I feel like my tone has gotten closer to what I think is "my" sound in the past 3-4 years. I've generally been happier with it compared to before. Maybe it has to do with switching to Tele's (by way of a G&L) and a PRRI? ;) I still feel like there's a ways to go but the fun for me is in the journey, exploration, and discoveries.
     
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  6. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    Very well put, and I agree with your statement, hope this doesn't turn into "toanz in the fingars" sort of thing, that's not the point. It can be in the fingers for some, 100%, but just the same it doesn't have to for others.

    If you can get lost in the music with your gear, you are in the right place.
     
  7. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    Interesting to hear that tone can be "elusive" for you and maybe others, as in finding it only to lose it the next time.

    My quest always got me closer with the years, sometimes taking a setback by way of investing in a bad piece of kit that you get stuck with for a while until you really take control of the situation and move that gear along for something that gets you close to what's in your head and heart.

    But the quest for tone is also tied to tone knowledge, gear knowledge, experience, music theory maybe too, all things mixed together to create a more wholesome understanding of what tone means to us.
     
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  8. Nahtabot

    Nahtabot Tele-Meister

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    I never chased tone. Once I ditched the pick, things just fell into place.
     
  9. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    My tone comes from a cranked tweed amp and some reverb.
    When volumes got lower at clubs, i had to get some boxes.
    I only got a couple...a basic OD, but I never liked it...but I used it anyway because I needed some grit.
    One day I stumbled on a pedal...got it with a milk crate full of gear I bought from a guy leaving town.
    I didn't even know what it was, so I stuck it on the floor next to the OD.
    It was OK...then I mis-stepped and the OD didn't go off, and I clicked the other thing on with it...
    Now it's my go-to cranked tone.
    It's beautiful.
    Discovered it a few years ago and it's made an appearance at, I guess, 90% of my gigs, and I still love it.
    It's the sound I always had in my head.
     
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  10. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    It doesn't seem to end, that quest... But everyone is different.

    I'm very happy with my setup right now. Very happy. And relieved to not have to think about, buy, and experiment with gear.

    Despite that, I just bought a pedal on reverb yesterday! Why? Idk, it's a disease lol. But there is so much interesting gear. I'm a family man and busy with work. I've narrowed down my hobbies. So buying a cool pedal is an easy vice perhaps. If it works out, then I gotta deal with swapping stuff around, ugh.

    One thing I've learned that works for me... If I like a piece of gear, I keep it. Nice to have it handy in a couple months, even if it's not in the starting lineup at the moment.

    Play music.
     
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  11. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I find a tone I like, grow tired of it after a while, then pursue a new tone. This has been going on since 1988.
     
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  12. Fenderdad1950

    Fenderdad1950 Tele-Afflicted

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    I see you flitching, you really are interested in what our guitars & amps have up their sleeves :twisted:
     
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  13. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    yes, like said before, to some tone is the fingers, any fingers, all the fingers.. maybe the toes too? (jesting).

    For others is a particular type of pick made out of esoteric materials.... or pickups wound by old ladies... It doesn't matter, in the end, is how it make us feel and connect with the music and the instrument, which is the end goal, right?
     
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  14. Rocky058

    Rocky058 Tele-Afflicted

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    We are creatures who get bored easily.

    Perhaps messing around with different guitar tones is the only variety we get.
     
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  15. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    Love it, stacking OD was a revelation to me about 10 yrs ago, it blew my mind. I searched for a very amp-like pedal and found it, very touch-sensitive and harmonically correct, and then boost it with another before it for glorious cranked tones. Funny how you stumbled into it.
     
  16. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    YES, the "reward" aspect of buying gear, GAS, call it whatever you like is very much a real thing. Our brains need to be artistically fed, and whatever promotes you to create and play feeds the brain the proper away, it gets its fix. Buying pedals as a hobby is a very real thing and it does promote new experimentation, playing in a different way, thinking outside the box for a bit. I don't do this as I have many other hobbies too, but in your position is more than relatable and understandable.
     
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  17. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Mine's a boost, too...but it goes after the OD...just by chance.
    I eventually tried it before, but put it back where it belongs ;)
     
  18. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    I boost the amp-like pedal just like you would boost a real amp with my booster of choice. But I also have a post-ODs boost for soloing, to push my sound to the front and cut through.

    I'll tell you what, I've seen people put Choruses and Phasers in such odd places (to me) in the chain but they are happy as they can be. Love the fact we are all so unique and individual in what we like and seek.
     
  19. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    The search for tone never ends. I keep getting closer. I’m close to where I want to be with all of my electrics. It’s been an arduous search. My tone usually comes from blended bridge and neck pickups, although with my Stratocasters I get it more from the middle pickup. The search took me through more string types than I can remember. Coated nickel work best for me. An equalizer is part of my tone. I use it to improve clarity and tame ice pick frequencies. My search had lead me to the 5W setting on my Boogie. I’m happy for now. I’m happy with my gear. Still and all, the biggest part of my tone comes from my fingers. Playing finger style, I’ve learned to modulate tone, timbre, and attack with my fingers. That’s where tone really comes from.
     
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  20. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    Music is mostly about feel and timing. Gear only gets you so far. I picked up a 1952 Tele at a boutique store, strummed it acoustically and I didn't sound much different than how I sound on my guitars. It was cool to hold a holy grail piece of history but when I strummed it I wasn't thinking "wow, the 60 years of aging on this pre-CBS body is so amazing it sounds more rich than a new Martin D-28 acoustically with incredible tonal nuances" lol. If I plugged it in that would've been a different story, wish I could have heard those $5000 hand wired original pups in action.
     
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