Are You The Master Of Your Own (Tone) Domain?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by LSchefman, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    OK, I'm going to be blunt: I like my tone. In fact, I prefer it to anyone else's. I even prefer it to the tone of rock gods and blues gods and whomever else.

    I've chased the tone in my head for 47 years, and I've found several versions of it that I'm more than happy with. I'm not saying it's better or worse than your tone or anyone else's tone, I'm saying I like it better for me, for what I do, for what I want to create.

    I'm the Master of my Tone Domain. :top:

    And I bow to no one!

    I don't want to sound like Clapton, or Hendrix, or Duane, or anyone else. I like sounding like me. Of course, I'd like to PLAY as well as one of those rock gods, that's for sure. But chase their tone? No.

    Like everyone else, a lot of my tone comes from my brain and hands and ears, and a lot of my tone comes from my equipment. Of course, that's why I choose to play PRS guitars and amps. I sound like I want myself to sound with this stuff.

    I've tried, and discarded, other gear. And I do think that for the last few years, PRS has been making guitars that are doing exactly what I want them to. I see no need for mods like pickups or other stuff (YMMV, and of course, there's nothing wrong with mods). My McCarty SC and 30th Ann. CU24 are off the chart, in fact, taking me to places I'm enjoying more than ever.

    In fact, it's too bad I'm so damned old, because I'm really getting in the groove with my tone these days. Hey, it only took nearly half a century! Then again, I was always a late bloomer...

    So kudos to PRS for making stuff that lets me be me.

    What about you? Chasing other folks' tone, or hanging your own junk out for whatever it is, or a little of both?
     
    #1 LSchefman, Jul 15, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
  2. bnzboy

    bnzboy New Member

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    I have always been chasing and sometimes I chase it with no direction. The fun of it is to get lost, forget about it and pickup from wherever you left and start all over again if it is desired. I think it is going to be an endless pursuit as long as knobs on my guitars and gears are not substituted by simple on/off switches (thank goodness).
     
  3. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    No. But I keep giving it my best shot.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Rah rah ah ah ah!

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    You're damn right I am. I'm even a master of other peoples tones (in my own mind which is all that matters to me).

    I guess I will say "All your tone are belong to us".
     
  5. IRG

    IRG New Member

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    I don't mind trying to find other people's tone, but most of the time I don't, or can't. I like having my own tone too. And it's an evolution for me. Actually, it might be more like a revolution lately. I've been stuck, maybe influenced (?) by having this desire to have the "must have" classic guitars, you know, Telecaster, Strat, LP, 335 - essentially either Gibson or Fender. I still like these, but less so lately, in terms of playing them or the tones I get. And also because the music I really like, while broadly based, from blues to classic rock to hard rock to metal, what I'm most passionate about even in my old age, is pretty heavy, aggressive rock. With some fusion of other styles thrown in. So these classic guitars really aren't best for what I like to do. Enter PRS. It's all I seem to play now, or want to play.

    Once I sort out a couple more guitars, I might be nothing but PRS and Taylor. Next up will be amps. But that's another story. I get a lot of tone from different pedals, an it's a side job I have with the Tone Report, an online magazine. I demo a lot of pedals, which is a lot of fun. Great tone can come from a great amp, but good pedals can give you great tone too, all depends on what you're trying to achieve, that 'tone in your head' kind of thing. A fun, never ending journey, hopefully.
     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    What kind of got me into this thread was that I was listening to one of my favorite players last night, David Gilmour's "On An Island." And I was thinking, "I actually think I prefer my tone."

    Not my playing of course...just the tone!!

    Wait...I preferred my own tone to David Gilmour's? Whaaaat??? Sacrilege, right? Crazy talk! But also, it's true. Then listened to some vintage Clapton, one of my guitar guiding lights. I couldn't touch the tone on Layla - so inspired! - but pretty much everything else, I kept thinking I liked mine better, for my work that is. I kept flipping through my favorite songs, and basically, I think I've reached my destination. I can get off at this stop and be very happy for the rest of my days.

    I realize it's no accomplishment at all, and it's not a big deal, and I may change my mind tomorrow (a girl can do that, right?) but at the moment this is it for me.
     
  7. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Rah rah ah ah ah!

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    Yeah buddy!!!!

    What're you talking about? That's a very big accomplishment, and a big deal! Too many people lack what I'd call "tone-esteem", it's like self-esteem for your guitar tone.

    Maybe it's because I'm delusional or more likely because I've been recording other peoples guitars tones for so long that, it really isn't that hard for me to get a tone I enjoy out of any equipment.... And a PRS guitar of course. Gotta be a PRS.
     
  8. JMintzer

    JMintzer Bobble Head Moderator
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    I won a bet...
     
  9. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenf├╝hrer

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    Well you say that, but you'd be perfectly happy sounding like David Gilmour, wouldn't you?
    Oh, um...nevermind then.

    No, seriously, I definitely pursue my own non-existent muse, tone-wise, but I've heard enough of other peoples' tones that it's just like music -- there's a piece here from this guy, and a piece there from that guy...and I'm still new enough that I'm still working things out in terms of where I'm going with all of this, but it's definitely not any one place.

    Although if I end up sounding like one of my idols, tone-wise -- Gilmour (especially during the Pink Floyd days, with whose material I'm more familiar), Alan Parson's production, Jeff Lynne's production ("Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" stands out as a favourite tone), shoegazer, Flood/Alan Moulder/Dean Garcia (especially during the Curve days, when Dean's demos ended up sounding exactly like what was on the record), Nine Inch Nails (Broken is a gold-mine of favourite tones), et al -- I could probably die happy.
     
  10. django49

    django49 New Member

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    "I'm the Master of my Tone Domain".

    Alright now.....The time has come for your own signature model. I suggest the M.T.D. on the truss rod cover.

    I suppose "Les' Paul" might raise some issues.......
     
  11. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    Michael Tobias might not be pleased..
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    What was the bet? That I'm crazy or what?

    How about "Les' Paul Reed Smith?"

    I'm dreaming, right? Never gonna happen...

    (harp glissando sfx)

    "Hello, Les?"

    "Yes?"

    "This is Paul Reed Smith. Les, we're finally going to come out with a signature model for you."

    "Really? Wow!! I'm so happy. What will it be like?"

    "Well, Les, we've decided to start making polishing cloths with your signature on them."

    "N-n-n-not a guitar?"

    "No, sorry Les, But we aren't very impressed with your playing, is the only way I can put it. However, you polish up your guitars really, really well, and we kind of like that..."

    (harp glissando SFX)

    Hmmm...you've just given me an idea for a self-help video...

    (harp glissando SFX)

    "Hi. I'm Lesteban. And I'm here to tell you about our great new Tone Self Esteem video.

    After watching our video, there will be no need the feel sad about your guitar tone. No need to slink off into the shadows and hide behind your amplifier during a show. No need to be ashamed to make a clip.

    Our video will show you how to discover for yourself what's good about your tone, and how you can feel better about it.

    No, we can't help you with your playing. There are other videos for that. But we can help you love your tone...

    (cut to scene of guitar player in front of mirror)

    "I sound good enough, I have good tone, and gosh darn it, people like to hear me play guitar!"

    (harp glissando SFX)
     
    #12 LSchefman, Jul 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  13. django49

    django49 New Member

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    Don't overlook the weight relieved Gibson model.......The Less Paul. But I guess that could work as a nickname for the SG as well.
     
  14. justmund

    justmund Plank Spanker

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    I don't listen to much guitar music so I don't really know if or what I'm chasing. Having said that I REALLY like Joe B's tone on the live Rock Candy Funk Party album. I can't even tell why it's so good, maybe because I don't know what I'm hearing. I know it's smooth, buttery and great all over the fretboard, but as to what it is or how to go about getting it? No idea. Thoughts?

    [video]https://youtu.be/S8DIaJ7Kb4A[/video]

    Hmm not trying to turn this into a "how do I get this tons thread", just this one example has me interested :)

    Edit - go to about 6:12 for his (great) solo
     
  15. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenf├╝hrer

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    :spitcoffee:
     
  16. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd New Member

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    Well... OK... ...but I'm going to raise my hand to ask a couple of questions for clarification.

    Happy with your own tone in what context: sitting in your studio playing? Listening back to your finished recordings? Live onstage with a band in a small/med/large room? Any or all of these?

    It reads to me like Happy with the gear you're currently using, and, knowing what I know about you, I'm guessing it's mostly a matter of thinking the guitar sound you're achieving on recordings is satisfying you. That's great!

    For me, of course, all of these are relevant questions and the solutions, as well as the answers, can vary quite a bit.

    With respect to "chasing my tone" vs. "chasing someone else's tone" I'm definitely far enough down the road that I'm primarily interested in the former, although there are certainly times when I learn a lot from another player. Not a bad thing when one counts among one's personal friends Steve Kimock, David Torn, and Eric Johnson. But the stuff I learn from them (and others) isn't so much about particular gear as it is ideas about how to get what I want out of the gear I happen to have, and if it's not working, where to look for solutions.

    In some ways the hardest thing for me is to consistently get a good, quality sound night after night on gigs with a band in a smallish room with an OK-but-pretty-basic PA rig. It entails getting the guitars right (setup is SOOOO important), understanding your amp(s) and speaker(s) at a really deep level, AND knowing how to work within a particular band mix. The most awesome guitar sound in the world is worthless if it's not the right sound for the band mix.

    I've worked really hard on that in the last year or two, mainly because I've been gigging more regularly than I have in about forever. But I'm still a million miles short (or maybe 10,000 gigs short) of where someone like Kimock is. That said, I think I sound good, and I certainly get feedback that confirms my thinking.

    The funny thing is, the more I get into it, the more I realize that, for me, the particular guitar/amp doesn't matter nearly as much as whether it operates within a certain range of "what I like." I mean, certain guitars do certain things that might be particularly desirable for some specific thing I'm doing, but for the most part, thinking in particular of this funk/R&B I'm playing with now, I could play any of a half-dozen guitars and/or amps I own and I'd get a sound that is as good or better than the sound anyone else that band could hire is going to get.

    A lot of that is because the stuff I've worked on (and I've worked hard on that stuff) isn't very gear-specific. It's more about learning to dial in a guitar's setup for my particular fingers, and learning to make a high-quality sound with just my fingers, a guitar, and a simple amplifier. When you get that stuff dialed in, the gear end of it becomes easier because you have a much better idea of what you're shooting for with any particular piece of gear.

    Anyway, nice topic for discussion, Les.
     
  17. CantankerousCarl

    CantankerousCarl Occasionally Onery Member

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    I am tone's b**ch - and she is a cruel mistress.

    I am an average player at best. I have always chased things in my head. When I write songs, I hear the entire arrangement, down to the specific sounds and qualities, in my head. I rarely get what I am after. I really haven't played out much at all since I re-picked-up the guitar in 2011 after my 10+ year hiatus. There has always been such a difference for my between recordings and live sound, and I usually focused more on recording.

    I don't know if you can really separate a guitarist's tone from his/her playing. Gear and signal chain will get you somewhere, of course - maybe in the general "sound ballpark."

    I am brutally obsessed with Andy Timmons' sound - especially his neck pickup work. And I cannot listen to "Resolution" enough. And I can get in the "sound ballpark" with my AT100. But I cannot play ball. Nor, to be fair, should I.
     
  18. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Happy with what I'm able to hear in the room in my studio and on recordings, since I haven't played out in quite some time. Though folks do come over to hang and play on occasion.

    But WTF do those guys know about tone, anyway, right? ;)

    Meantime do you count me amongst your friends to get advice on how to make a guitar nice and shiny? No. I'm not on that list.

    This is why I am happy with the polishing cloth deal...finally some recognition for what I'm good at!! :top:

    I'll bet that when you walk into the studio, that choice will be made after a lot of thought, and a lot of trying stuff out. And it will be very particular. And the particular guitar/amp will matter.

    What say you?
     
  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    In my case, a good name for a Sig guitar would be a Much Less Les Paul Reed Smith...

    But of course, in my case even the polishing cloth thing is a complete fantasy fabrication. :laugh:
     
  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    When I play bass I always say "All your basses are belong to us."

    Sort of a variation on your theme. :)
     

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