My first post!

Hi guys, this is my first post… I own a little effect manufacturing company called ToadWorks, and to be perfectly honest, I joined this forum to get a bead on current trends, likes, dislikes, etc. in the marketplace (regardless of what some of it’s members think, Harmony Central isn’t the beginning & end of the world :).

I won’t spam, and I might contribute only occasionally (running a business takes time!), so please don’t flame me when I post… my posts will either be on-topic, or they will tell you how to get free stuff (and let’s face it, we all love free stuff.)

So, in a word, hi!



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"No offence intended", "No offence taken" often reminds me of "With the greatest possible respect" or "The Right Honourable gentleman" - cavalry vs schiltron. So, in comes Bass on the three-legged nag, "Plato".

Tricky business, this "%" lark. But I do have a terribly anal head for maths. Wasp, you surely can't mean that, given a 'red special' and a top-boost AC30, 9 out of ten guitarists will sound like Brian May :shock: :?: I think you're doing yourself a disservice. The fact that you make effects work for you does not (IMHO) mean that the pedalbox has done all the work and you just play as per normal. You must have the licks naturally to cover an artist. I think Lee means "Chang!!!" doesn't suddenly sound like Jimi, EVH, Zapp etc just because you've pulled on a modeller's knob.

Equally, a Stagg Tele through a Behringer combo will make Angus sound a bit "different" to the usual. Knowing Joe Audience, though, I bet my bottom that they recognize Angus on the Stagg quicker than an average player with factory-correct-settings SG going through a blahblahblah.

This is why I got slightly impatient with someone here who did a "what wireless does Angus use?" post. Totally irrelevant and pointless. There are pedals and settings on the modeller that cut down on the workload for those about to cover, but it's no substitute for technique.

Thinking about it, it's very unusual for a big cheese to have religiously stuck to the same chain throughout their career. And yet, it still sounds like them. Taking Gilmour as an example (excellent player, somewhat underrated), it's a dead cert that his rack for a "Division Bell" tour is nothing like that for "Animals", even though he might have to play "sheep" on the later tour. He makes it work because it's 1% FX, 5% technique and 666% subtly different, fresher, and not stuck in a time-warp.

Like I say, I'm a maths wizz :lol:

98.2% of statistics are made up on the spot - Vic Reeves

I acknowledge your confusion; many people are unable to separate technique from tone.

You highlight the May example and I quote you, ‘… you surely can't mean that, given a 'red special' and a top-boost AC30, 9 out of ten guitarists will sound like Brian May?’
Well to answer this (although you have already done that), you say SOUND like Brian May and not PLAY like Brian May.
As anthropomorphic creatures, we manipulate the strings with our four fingers and a thumb, there being only a finite number of ways of playing guitar – and all of these techniques are learnable. The way many ‘famous/recorded’ guitarists play is instantly recognisable by their style/technique (the way in which they manipulate the strings), in other words they lengthen and shorten, bend and attack the string/s as the see fit (wah wah and corresponding picking hand movements not withstanding). The string/s can only be held/released in a certain position and struck no matter who the player. The resulting output of that sound is then shaped solely by the guitar’s wood, pickups, string gauge, pick thickness, any effects in-situ, amp etc etc etc.
Lee_uk mentioned the fact that people continually pose questions about how particular players rigs are set up to get ‘that particular sound/tone’? Well, where are the answers that detail that player’s TECHNIQUE which achieve it – i.e. ‘Kirk Hammett uses XYZ technique when playing to get his specific tone’. If it was that easy, then all tone related questions would be easily be answered via these pages, but they aren’t because tone is NOT produced by our hands, instead by what we hold in them and what it is plugged into.

To take this one stage further, look at the dictionary definition (for this example I have used dictionary.com, a straight copy and paste)

Music

a. The quality or character of sound.
b. The characteristic quality or timbre of a particular instrument or voice.

As you can see, this bears no reference to technique whatsoever.

Shortly after I bought my GR20 synth, I came up with an idea that we used for about a week onstage for just one number. We finished with an old Genesis number Firth Of Fifth and the curtain came down, it opened quickly with me sat on a stool with a telecaster, our rhythm guitarist entered stage left wearing glasses, a jacket and a jumbo acoustic. We then went into Duelling Banjos (from the movie Deliverance) – the point being I was playing the banjo part using the relevant patch on the GR20 – the tone at that moment WAS 100% that of a banjo – it had nothing to do with my style of playing, although obviously I had to first learn the piece and alter my technique slightly to accommodate the additional nuances imposed by the tracking of the synth.

I am unsure where you go with your, ‘I think you're doing yourself a disservice. The fact that you make effects work for you does not (IMHO) mean that the pedalbox has done all the work and you just play as per normal.’?
This has not been stated nor implied (in my opinion). My ‘pedalbox’ allows me to create the sounds the piece demands and that is why I use it, just like attempting a Rammstein cover with a ukulele simply wouldn’t work. I still obviously have to hit acceptable notes and chords in a suitable key and at the appropriate moment – I am essentially still a guitarist if I am using an electric 12-string or a Variax emulating one. Swapping to another instrument is really no different to stomping a pedal on a board – both actions change the tone produced, purists may cringe at the latter, but there is no real-time comparison on the part of the audience, they are only aware of what the amplification is throwing their way and if it works, it works.

Put Brian May’s rig into anyone’s hands and get them to hit a string = that is May’s TONE – NOT his technique. So yes, I most emphatically do mean SOUND like - NOT play like.

If you can list the elements of actually playing that make up tone (apart from the ones I have already that make up the 10%), then I will agree. Angus hits a G5, the equipment produces the tone, not him.

Having been rushed this morning when I responded (see above), I would hate for you to be even more confused than you already appear to be.
The dictionary definition refers to the word TONE, the definition being divided up into different areas and that is how it relates to the music association and the definition does not relate to the word ‘music’.

A couple of final points;

There is a new pedal out developed in conjunction with Eric Clapton called ‘Crossroads’. Plug into this and you sound just like Eric – NOT play like Eric, SOUND like Eric, i.e. the same tone. It isn’t marketed on sound 1/10th like him.

Finally, lee_uk summed it up beautifully in a thread further down entitled Gear Brag and to directly quote him

‘…..which one came out on top?? by far?? yep the THD, the tone was unbeliveable, there was a portrait of Baden Powell above the stage…..’

Well, if the amp produces unbelievable tone and is just 1/10th of the overall, then surely the 9/10th’s made up for by the guitarist completely nullifies a good amp? If that is true then all a good guitarist has to do is evoke the mystical 9/10ths and ANY amp will sound unbelievable - right?

All you have to do know is list exactly how that is achieved and to use Lee’s example once more – what do Metallica do to produce tone with technique?

Enough sabre rattling, posturing, credential flourishing – stop waffling, be specific – detail exactly what you mean??

Coolio, Wasp. I had no idea that my MOR post would have you skipping your toast and searching "dictionary.com", so apols for that. Apols also to Ryan, whose thread is in danger of becoming hijacked into a handbaggy bore.

I have no confusion with tone and technique even though, in my case, both can be criticized. Nobody has the monopoly on confusion, Wasp - you seem to be stating that opposable thumbs are all it takes. Reminds me of that argument Given an infinite number of monkeys, one of them will type the full script to "Hamlet", but you push the envelope by saying "Use a modeller, and you only need one monkey"

As said, I'm middle o' road, and also have the handicap of just being a bass player. Still, to use an example that even guitarists have heard of, let's say I have to do a couple of Weather Report numbers in the set.

Do I buy a Jazz, pull all the frets out, lash epoxy all over the board and dislocate my thumbs or does a good pedal come in? Of course it does. And I accept that I'm making a compromise (worthwhile). Let's suppose I'm a plec player, and never bothered to learn finger-style or a bit of thumb. Should I improve my technique, or step on patch #75?

I would answer that Q, but my pet Lemur has just come up with a TV idea for twelve celebs to be placed on an island and see if anyone cops off. Thank goodness for XP and Microsoft Word. :)

So let me get this right, having asked me a question (Wasp, you surely can't mean that, given a 'red special' and a top-boost AC30, 9 out of ten guitarists will sound like Brian May ?) – which I answered in detail, I then asked you then to specify exactly what you mean? Instead of simply answering, the forum is again treated to more meaningless waffling diatribe and not the glimmer of a coherent response aimed at supporting your stance.

This is all so very common, someone makes a claim and when challenged to back it up, it’s all smoke and mirrors and this is just another shining example.

However, having reread your reply (to try and make sense of it) – you did answer in the first sentence, I quote ‘Coolio, Wasp. I had no idea’, which sums up your position perfectly, it was a difficult question though.

Conversing with a primate will undoubtedly be the only time you get to win a debate, give your Lemur a pat from me big guy.

I played a Gibson Lucille in a Fender Valve amp at a guitar show last year, i played all 4 of the notes that BB king plays, and guess what? i sounded nothing like him. I have a Gibson Les Paul, and a Marshall valve amp and i sound nothing like Peter Green, neither can i sound like Jimmy Page, and as for the THD amp, to my ears it had the best tone and that tone suited my style of playing, Gary the bass player played on it after me and it sounded awful, he didnt know how to control the overdrive from the amp and played a lot of mushy notes, i stick by my earlier quote 90% in the fingers 10% in the amp.
Have a good sleep on that one, then come back tommorow with your dictionary and quotes and try to rip it to pieces, im sure you will do quite well, sounds like you have had plenty of practice.
(still no offence intended in all this)

lee_UK wrote:
I played a Gibson Lucille in a Fender Valve amp at a guitar show last year, i played all 4 of the notes that BB king plays, and guess what? i sounded nothing like him. I have a Gibson Les Paul, and a Marshall valve amp and i sound nothing like Peter Green, neither can i sound like Jimmy Page, and as for the THD amp, to my ears it had the best tone and that tone suited my style of playing, Gary the bass player played on it after me and it sounded awful, he didnt know how to control the overdrive from the amp and played a lot of mushy notes, i stick by my earlier quote 90% in the fingers 10% in the amp.
Have a good sleep on that one, then come back tommorow with your dictionary and quotes and try to rip it to pieces, im sure you will do quite well, sounds like you have had plenty of practice.
(still no offence intended in all this)

For those who cannot be bothered to read the entire thread to catch up, here is the précised version;

We were discussing effects processors/pedals and their benefits/downsides. Lee then originally said (I quote) ‘…when i think you will agree, that 90% of their sound comes from their technique, and not a little red box with a 9v battery.)
I then countered as I believe the opposite - tone is 10% technique and 90% a combination of all the elements that make up their rig (pick thickness, pickups, guitar, amp, etc etc). I even used the example taken from another thread were Lee said that the amp he was testing produced unbelievable tone.

I then quantified exactly what I meant with numerous detailed examples and I ultimately concluded with the question –

All you have to do know is list exactly how that is achieved and to use Lee’s example once more – what do Metallica do to produce tone with technique? Enough sabre rattling, posturing, credential flourishing – stop waffle, be specific – detail exactly what you mean?? In other words, specifically what do players do with their hands to influence 9/10ths of the final TONE?

1bassleft, being unable to answer the question I posed, threw in his usual flannel, this time about handbags and typewriting monkeys. Okay, that was him flailing in the corner attempting to appear intelligent, but in actuality, it would have benefited him more simply to have kept quiet as it underlined his ineptitude.

I realise you (Lee) have attempted a comeback with ‘something’, but the question has not even been touched – you have ignored it totally. Where is the detail about what players do to evoke 9/10ths of tone with their fingers? You simply respond with examples of your playing experiences, summing up with (another quote) – ‘i stick by my earlier quote 90% in the fingers 10% in the amp.’

I agree that players can influence the final tonal qualities with angle and severity of pick/finger attack, but this a very small part of the overall. I even used the new Crossroads pedal to highlight that Clapton’s tone/s can be had by simply plugging into one – obviously this is not EXACTLY the same, but very close and certainly not just 10%.

Since the inception of chatrooms where people can exchange their ideas and beliefs, it a common theme for those unable to answer a question, to respond with all kind of semantic chicanery that is designed to appear to seem to tackle the subject matter, but actually talks around it and never actually gives an answer.

I have posed a specific question and you have not even had a go at answering it.

List the ACTUAL ELEMENTS of playing that make up TONE (apart from the ones I have already that make up the 10%). Detail exactly what you mean??

To be honest your post/response looks long, i cant even be bothered to read it, im slowly losing the will to live, too many quotes " " too many dictionary phrases, and 98.76% (made up the the spur of the moment) of the members of this forum feel the same.
Any chance of tucking this one up and saying goodnight to it?
Still no offence intended.

I acknowledge your compromised position and the fact you struggle to compile any convincing reply. It is an extremely difficult question to answer and most people in here would be unwilling to tackle it. YOU are the one that came back and asked me to respond, I did, now you duck out, but I understand why. You quoted the figures and ‘facts’, they were challenged and you are unable to back them up. My own personal belief is that you read my response and have no clue how to reply.

Not comfortable losing face, but put this one down to experience.

One final point that I need to clarify. Using effects has made me tighten my technique and definitely broadened my range and ability. Why, how? There is no set we play that doesn’t demand a change of instruments mid-song. We do a 70’s prog rock set with 4 changes from electric to acoustic (during the ELP/Genesis/Yes section), a step on the pedal and I switch from electric to acoustic patch – I simply wouldn’t have time to physically change instruments. If I play any wrong notes, these are instantly highlighted – it is just me, nothing is masked or smothered. This is why I use effects, ease of use, not to hide behind. Jimmy Page used a double-neck specifically to play Stairway for this very reason, both necks were in reach without changing instruments - the same is true for me only I do it another way.

As for being offended, I live on mainland UK not Tracey Island. I control my own internal state not other people and certainly not via the pages of a chatroom.

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