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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Amp or guitar pickups for a change

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macguy

USA

Nov 22nd, 2017 11:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I read a comment by Clapton from many years ago where he said: "My tone is in my equipment, my technique is in my hands".
Personally I believe this to be true...but, regardless of what you may believe, to change the "sound" of what I hear from my rig, would I hear a greater change from a different amp or a different set of pickups in my guitar?

Thanks,
MG

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Nov 22nd, 2017 11:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That's a tricky question of which I'm sure you'll get varied responses, but to me, it depends on "what" about your sound you want to change.

As far as amps go, sometimes it just a matter of a speaker change. Tubes changes too, but I now am of the opinion that swapping tubes is more subtle than a speaker change. (both being a lot cheaper than a new amp)

Pickups, we're both blessed and cursed with the number of options available nowadays but *can* make a dramatic difference in sound, however not *always* the way we want :^)

As many have mentioned here before tone is so subjective, and more often than not, more than the sum of all the parts.

Also, depending on the "what" in my first paragraph, maybe "the" change can be accomplished by pedal. An EQ or OD pedal?

I look forward to what others have to say on this...


DrKev
Contributing Member
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Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Nov 23rd, 2017 12:04 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Speakers can make a huge change, particularly to overdriven/distorted sounds. (Differences are more subtle with clean tones). And ultimately we tend to EQ to the sound we sound we hear in our head so we minimise the difference somewhat and can rarely go abck and forth easily between speakers to appreciate the difference. Changing the amp itself obviously introduces more EQ and character changes though the above caveats apply too. Ultimately, I find that I always sound like me, no matter what amo or cab or speaker.

Pedals are an important consideration. We can cover so much sonic ground with different boost, OD, distortion and EQ pedals. I'm a one-good-clean-tone-and-pedsl kind of guy so that's my preferred answer to teh question.

Pickups next, but can be a bit of a crap shoot picking them because there is no copnsistent way of measuring or describing their tone or output between brands we use vague words and phrases that have little defined meaning (punch, creamy, depth).

I'm of the opinion that swapping tubes is the most subtle thing you do, especially preamp tubes which are all but identical except for the gain/volume differences.

Same guitar, amp, cab, different version of the same speakers. Wow!

(This message was last edited by DrKev at 03:48 AM, Nov 23rd, 2017)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Nov 23rd, 2017 12:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Great video DrKev!

DrKev
Contributing Member
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Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Nov 23rd, 2017 01:48 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Not even the one I wanted to post! I literally came back to correct it! HA! But now we have two. :-)

The one above is 5 versions of the SAME speaker. Check out this one, with 5 DIFFERENT speakers.

Here's the thing...

Have people listen without telling them what they are listening to and I'll bet nobody can't tell it's the same guitar and amp. However...

Have people listen to any ONE speaker and just tell them it's a vintage Gibson SG into a vintage Marshall (they're not vintage, BTW, it's a 2013 SG and 1987 head) and the response will be "classic tones, man!"

Same guitar, amp, cab, 5 different classic speakers

(This message was last edited by DrKev at 04:03 AM, Nov 23rd, 2017)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Nov 23rd, 2017 04:16 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Also a great video demonstrating the tonal differences of speakers.

As an aside, I think I liked the Celestion Vintage 30 best. At least for that particular style/sound.


And just how many Marshalls does that guy have???

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Enjoying

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Nov 23rd, 2017 04:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Tone is one small part of the equation. Response is at least half of the problem--inless you're a metal player and use a buzzsaw tone all the time.

It's been known for many years that a cheap guitar through a fine amp will always sound and respond better than a fine guitar through a cheap amp. However, most guitar players tend to focus on the guitar itself because that is the human interface of the two-part system.

Amp. That makes the biggest change if you're switching one thing. Listen to any player that switches guitars, and their style and technique will always carry their tone from one guitar to the other. I vote for amp.

Leftee
Contributing Member
**********
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VA

Life makes a man tired.
Nov 23rd, 2017 05:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It is a sum of the parts for sure. And great tone just happens. Sometimes.

It’s been a fun journey. And continues to be.

vomer
Contributing Member
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Broke Down

in the Brassicas
Nov 23rd, 2017 06:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Macguy, what's your current rig?

In general, if your amp is 'good enough' and the type you want (eg I want Fender cleans, I want Marshall crunch, etc) I'd go with pickups. Unless you're already using Custom Shop or boutique pickups, you should hear a difference. Or maybe you just need a different pickup type. And, boutique pickups = $300, boutique amp = $3,000!

walshb
Contributing Member
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Manchester, TN

12,423 Mustangs passed and counting
Nov 23rd, 2017 06:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I chased the "Marshall tone" for years, can't tell you how many amps I went through....until I finally bought a Marshall. Now I have the tone I've always wanted. It's only 20W so I wasn't after the 100W into a stack volume, just that tone.
The amp makes all my guitars sound good, but pairing it with a Les Paul is the ultimate tone. So, all things considered, IMO the amp and speaker may be the biggest factors.

(This message was last edited by walshb at 08:55 AM, Nov 23rd, 2017)

LeftyMeister

Buckeye Country, USA

Motorcycles, Guitars, and Golf
Nov 23rd, 2017 08:09 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It's difficult to distinguish technique from gear tone since they're interchangeable. Everything from pick attack to hammer-ons and pull-offs are what we consider to be a player's tone.

I read an article years ago about Brian Setzer doing a guitar clinic at a local guitar store. The writer said he grabbed a Strat and plugged into a small amp and still sounded like Brian Setzer.

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Life makes a man tired.
Nov 23rd, 2017 08:19 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"The amp makes all my guitars sound good, but pairing it with a Les Paul is the ultimate tone."

AMEN!!!

Foggy1
Contributing Member
**

Murrells Inlet, SC

So, so you think you can tell.
Nov 23rd, 2017 08:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Can you get that famous Marshall tone from the DSL CST 40/20? Anyone have one and really like it? Looking for a Marshall for home use.

I've only played through a couple of Fenders before and love them, but was thinking of trying out one, with a future Humbucker guitar. Hopefully.

DSL

(This message was last edited by Foggy1 at 10:52 AM, Nov 23rd, 2017)

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Life makes a man tired.
Nov 23rd, 2017 08:57 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That amp - especially with that speaker - should do you right!

Foggy1
Contributing Member
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Murrells Inlet, SC

So, so you think you can tell.
Nov 23rd, 2017 09:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks Leftee. I was hoping some of you would say that!

Congrats on your 2 year anniversary BTW.

LeftyMeister

Buckeye Country, USA

Motorcycles, Guitars, and Golf
Nov 23rd, 2017 09:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

To the amp versus pups debate, I also vote for amp...and the right speaker can make a huge difference in an amp.

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Nov 23rd, 2017 09:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

And to add to that. if you want to "sound like a Marshall", then buy a Marshall.


Or Fender, or whatever.



macguy

USA

Nov 23rd, 2017 09:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Great info one and all! After watching the videos from Dr. Kev I am now, more than ever of the opinion that "tone" is in equipment.
I have owned several different amps over the last 60 years but my go to amp is a 1966 Fender Super Reverb I bought new in '66. With pedals I can get a tone I like that gets close to a Marshall, or a Vox...but it's not a Marshall or Vox.
I think its time to spend some $$ and get a Marshall amp with a master volume or a Vox AC30 Hand wired rig.
The MusicMan Luke III BFR can wait...lol

Many thanks to everyone for your comments.

MG

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Pronounced "Klinkhammer"
Nov 23rd, 2017 09:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think it depends on what is being sought. I've found total (and enduring) satisfaction swapping pickups, even as simple as replacing Lindy Fralin Blues Specials with Lindy Fralin Real 54s. It depends how close you are to start with.

macguy

USA

Nov 23rd, 2017 10:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Littleuch...

Ironic you mention the Real 54's...that is what I have in my MIM Strat and they get kudos at every gig. For a "Surf Medley" they are perfect and handle Eagles, Beach Boys and some Beatles songs exceptionally well.

MG

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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Amp or guitar pickups for a change




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