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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Have you found "the" Tone? (just for fun)

Next 20 Messages   Newest 20 Messages
Contributing Member

Washington DC

Jun 2nd, 2017 03:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

Are you able to produce the absolute most satisfying guitar tone (or array of tones produced by one or two pickups) that you can imagine, whether it's the "tone in your head," the tone of your guitar idol when you were growing up, or what you have analyzed to be the ideal Holy Grail guitar tone for your taste or kind of music.

If you have found that tone, can you concisely describe the guitar, pickups, and amp that produce it.

In addition, a certain time period later has it seemed not quite right anymore, requiring you to resume the search?

I'm curious, as I adore and have tried to replicate genuine LP "burst" tones on my Les Paul Studio--but never quite being satisfied by the comparison with recorded samples, despite coaxing quite excellent tones out of my instrument.

I wonder if Joe Bonamassa, who has owned many Bursts, feels the same, as he keeps buying them. Is the search for tone a subset of the human search for happiness--i.e. never fully achievable south of heaven?

Contributing Member

Oceanside, CA

Jun 2nd, 2017 03:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

I do not understand players trying to replicate someone's tone. I use the gear I use because they sound good for me and create the tone that works for me. If someone doesn't like how I sound, that's fine.

Contributing Member

I've got my own

double-cross to bear
Jun 2nd, 2017 03:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

One of the tricks to that great guitar tone you describe is achievable by running a tube amp at near max volume, mic'ing the speaker in the right place, and recording the signal very hot with no added distortion.

Replicating that at home is problematic :o)



Plausible Deniability Is all I need
Jun 2nd, 2017 03:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yes - I love my guitar tone.
Never tried to "copy" some mystical ideal sound. Just found my own, took a few years and a bunch of amps and guitars.

Contributing Member

Washington DC

Jun 2nd, 2017 04:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

champster & firebird: grasshoppers on the path of wisdom, they are. Be yourself. Don't chase after others.

Peegoo, yes, I've been trying something like that, using a Peavey Classic 30 and controlling vol from the guitar. Good results, but the guitar came with a Seymour Duncan JB pup in the bridge position, which I think is more an '80s style overwound job and probably walls out that "telecaster on steroids" underwound Burst bridge tone (Greg Koch description).

(This message was last edited by tiller2 at 06:08 PM, Jun 2nd, 2017)

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Jun 2nd, 2017 04:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

"I do not understand players trying to replicate someone's tone. I use the gear I use because they sound good for me and create the tone that works for me. If someone doesn't like how I sound, that's fine."


Seems like a long time ago I realized that if you want to sound like Duane playing a sweet LP through a Marshall stack...you'd probably better BE Duane. That's all any of us ever get--you are who you are. No matter what I play, it always sounds like me. I can get **similar** tones to some of the masters, but never achieve it, 'cause I don't play like they do (either skill level or taste or gear). You go with what the creator gave you and perhaps tweak things here and there to make it pleasing to you, the player.

That's the best you can do and you'd be well advised to be happy with that. Otherwise you'll be chasing forever...and still not get there.

Even a great student of tone and technique like Greg Koch, who can mimic many of the greats, still sounds like "Greg Koch playing Stevie Ray (or Jimi, or Eric, or Joe Walsh, or...or...or)." My guess is that Greg would tell you the same thing. He has fun dipping into emulation-land, but in the end, he plays like Greg. And that's great.

(This message was last edited by stratcowboy at 06:19 PM, Jun 2nd, 2017)



Jun 2nd, 2017 04:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

I play a newer maple board Fender Mustang, with Lindy Fralin Blues Special Mustang replacement pickups, through a newer Magnatone Varsity combo amp. Straight. *My* tone.



Plausible Deniability Is all I need
Jun 2nd, 2017 04:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

Formula for me is simple.

Start with a really good guitar, Gibson, Fender, Whatever (I have a bunch)....Sometimes stock often add my favorite Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio P/Us.

Some reverb or Delay, occasional overdrive, Wah, Talk box run into a Bogner 20th Anniversary Ecstasy 1/2 stack running 6l6 tubes and I have no idea what kind of speakers (celestians is my guess) in the cabinet.

Its big, its heavy, it works!!!

Contributing Member

Santee CA

Poser extraordinaire
Jun 2nd, 2017 04:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, I have found the Tone. It's called a Gibson Advanced Jumbo. It's close to exactly what my ears and brain think a steel string acoustic should sound like.

As for electrics I have to go with the sage advice already offered. It sure helps to have a quality amp properly powered for your purpose(s).

Contributing Member

South Florida

Jun 2nd, 2017 04:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

What Viera said+1

I have a regular workingman's Gibson J45 and all it needs is a decent board, PA and monitor and I'm done. I have recently added the Fishman Tonedeq with the boost function to have it sparkle.

For electric I did an outdoor gig awhile ago with a standard Tele that allowed me to push the TRRI volume between 5 and 6. The pedalboard only had the Fulltone Mofset and Boss DD7 and that was it. I could not think of anything that could improve that tone.

FDP Data Goon

We all want

our time in hell
Jun 2nd, 2017 05:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

Never had a problem not sounding like me.

I learned very, very early that I wanted an amp with as much headroom as humanly possible (adding gain with pedals), and the Space Echo (preferably a RE-150/301 era preamp, but beggars can't be choosers, the 201 works too!) preamp, even if the delay is off.

Contributing Member

Washington DC

Jun 2nd, 2017 05:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

I "think" my mostly USA-Fender Partscaster strat with Fralin Blues Special pickups and a bronze tremelo block puts out a ballsy version of a near-ideal Strat tone, everything except that really thin spank, which has its uses.

My similarly derived Partscaster Tele with Rumple White Ropes pups is also excellent and true to underwound classic goodness.

It would be helpful to hang out with guitarists and compare gear on a regular basis, as Youtube audio can only get so close to reality.


Buckeye Country, USA

Motorcycles, Guitars, and Golf
Jun 2nd, 2017 06:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

I found that I can get the ideal sound on a given night and then, on the next night without touching any settings, it sounds completely different. :o/

Contributing Member

Washington DC

Jun 2nd, 2017 07:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, LeftyMeister, that happens to me, too. Rig or ear? I do think the ear gets tired, wants variety. Kinda like taste buds.

Viera, thanks for moving the conversation into the acoustic realm... For me, the context matters. My Larrivee seems to have it all in a living room setting, but in a coffee house it seems to shrink to the sound of a ukulele (slight exagg). Then my Gibson J-50 has more umph, or usable tone.

I don't think I have reached acoustic nirvana by any means, having memories of a $3K acoustic (I don't remember the maker) that shook my chest when I played it.

revrob, quite possible that no one else sounds like you, having heard a cool, grinding track you recorded, so you are definitely not an imitator.



Jun 2nd, 2017 08:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

^^ I agree with tiller2 - the ear does get tired. And so the target moves.

Furthermore, as time goes by. I try to lessen the gain and accompanying fizz but still retain sustain and crunch. And so the target moves some more.

Contributing Member


Jun 2nd, 2017 09:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, yes...I have found the tone. It's around here somewhere...*shuffle-shuffle* Oh, here it is...no wait, that's just a Twinkie wrapper.

Modal Magic
Contributing Member

MBJ, Highway Hound.

You Can't Bend It Aussie!
Jun 2nd, 2017 11:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a whole bunch of guitars, pedals and amps. I don't chase any particular tone at all. I get an urge to play whatever bits of gear I have, tweak around for a bit and quite often hit something the brain really likes and I sit on it for ages. Sometimes it may sound close to other well known tones but generally not. Regardless, I still sound like me.

For me, the reward is hitting on satisfying, unique sounds.


michigan usa

Jun 2nd, 2017 11:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

When I play electric I just plug in and play, adjusting only the volume knob as necessary. Most of the time it's fine. If it doesn't sound any good after minor tweaking then things might get ugly.

Trying to nail someone else's tone is a wild goose chase. Being relaxed and comfortable with your situation is more important than the gear really. When you feel good you'll sound good, to both you and any listeners. This is sometimes elusive...

Coral Head

Sunshine State

Groupies needed
Jun 3rd, 2017 04:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

Remember that the sound you are trying to emulate on a record has been through a studio full of EQs, compressors, reverbs and delays, and lord knows what else.

Contributing Member

Washington DC

Jun 3rd, 2017 06:09 AM   Edit   Profile  

Lots of mature, interesting responses here. Okay, except for littleuch's. (That was MY Twinkie, by the way.) My TM friend would say most of you are "self-actualized." Content with your tone-lives. I read "old and given up"--kidding! Experienced and realistic.

I am that way 75 percent of the time, but then wonder what I don't know, and the GAS, or TAS, starts to creep in. Fortunately, perhaps, I have little extra money for tone investments, so I mostly work with equipment I already own.

Thanks for playing.

Next 20 Messages   Newest 20 Messages

FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Have you found "the" Tone? (just for fun)

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