A good point, well made

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A good point, well made

Post by SecretSam »

From a session guitarist writing a column called 'Lean & Mean' in a well-known guitar mag:

"I think there’s satisfaction in looking down and seeing a bunch of expensive pedals through a true bypass looper, but in reality there’s no way your audience will hear any difference during a live gig, and your money is probably better spent on guitar lessons if your aim is to ultimately make better music."

Shame about the split infinitive, but you can't have everything.
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by awjoe »

I came to the same conclusion a few years ago via plugins rather than guitar pedals. Shifted the emphasis almost completely to writing and performing to see if it would get better. It has done, slowly. Well worth the effort.

The heart of the craft is musical skill, whatever form that takes.
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by SecretSam »

Agreed. There is a local busker who sings a groovy Cape Carnival-style 'My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,' using a plastic bottle containing fine gravel as percussion. It's quite convincing. Annoying if you have heard it every few weeks for twenty years, but the tourists seem to keep paying him.

In many respects, lots of gear is actually a hindrance. Your head is in analysis mode while you think about how it works and what to tweak, instead of using it instinctively like, well, a musical instrument.
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by blinddrew »

If guitarists* spent as much time practising as they did worrying/talking/tweaking about their tone... no-one would be worrying about their tone. ;)

* Also applies to some other instruments, but guitarists are the worst. ;)
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by ManFromGlass »

But then how good would their tone be? Hmm? :tongue:
And some of us aren’t meant to be good guitarists, we’re meant for listeners to say - Lousy player but really cool sound!
On a serious note - The few times I drive now I listen to jazz again. There is a fantastic station near me. Sometimes the DJ focuses on guitar players. Some brilliant players but the tone of the players is mostly the same. It get’s boring really quickly to my ear no matter how fantastic the player. Then some cat will solo with FX and that brings the magic!
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by adrian_k »

Hmm…. I’m actually a bit intentionally awkward about this and have taken pleasure in gigging with the cheapest kit I can lay my hands on. It just needs to be good enough, and you have to play to its strengths. Sometimes it hasn’t worked out but years ago I was gigging with a £50 Chinese Strat copy and an old solid state Fender amp I was given for free and regularly had other guitarists asking about the gear and how I got that ‘tone’.
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by The Elf »

The best guitar tone I ever heard in a soundcheck was a Line 6 Helix straight into the PA. I can still see the looks of amazement on the faces of the other guitarists in that hall! :lol:
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by SecretSam »

blinddrew wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:31 pm If guitarists* spent as much time practising as they did worrying/talking/tweaking about their tone... no-one would be worrying about their tone. ;)

Nice one. I shall use that at the first opportunity.
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by Music Wolf »

The Elf wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:48 pm The best guitar tone I ever heard in a soundcheck was a Line 6 Helix straight into the PA. I can still see the looks of amazement on the faces of the other guitarists in that hall! :lol:

Very much my approach. A Helix (or Kemper etc) isn’t quite the same as having a ‘real’ amp a few feet away from you but, out front (where it matters), they certainly do the business.
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by Dave.P »

There are plenty of stories of big name players with signature sounds swapping kit and still sounding like themselves.
Does not stop people - including myself trying out everything they can.
I suspect the truth is you just need to feel comfortable with what you have to sound good and accept that practice is the real magic ingredient....
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by Music Wolf »

A guitarist's 'sound' is made up of their technique / style and their tone which comes from the gear they use and how they use it.

It's like me signing my name. The tone is the type of pen. I can use a fountain pen, a ballpoint or a pencil but it will always be recognisable as my signature.
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Re: A good point, well made

Post by Arpangel »

blinddrew wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:31 pm * Also applies to some other instruments, but guitarists are the worst. ;)

OMG, keyboard players make guitarists look positively monogamous when it comes to gear.
I know a couple of guitarists, and they haven’t bought anything new for years, one still has the same guitar he was using in the early 80’s, the other only got a new guitar recently because his wife bought it for him as a birthday present, unbeknown to him.
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