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 Guitar Tone Compendium 
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Post Guitar Tone Compendium
Alright, first off if this is another thread I couldn't find it.

I don't really want to know exactly how to sound like X band or Y guitarist, but I'm a complete noob when it comes to guitar sounds from the amplifier. Is there a general description of what bass/mid/treb/overdrive etc. will do to a tone?

Right now, I've found a distortion that I kinda like but I want to make it sound... fuller? Someone said it was a dry tone, so maybe how do I make it sound thicker and more "wet"? What's going to sound better for rhythm guitar type stuff as opposed to lead?

Just guidelines that may or may not turn into discussion, but I'm just kinda looking at everything going... there's a lot of options right now... *shrug*

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Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:41 am
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What's your setup currently? Might help us give a better description. As far as overdriven rhythm tone goes, I like a lot of bass, somewhat scooped mids (less mids but not all the way out), and enough treble to cut through a mix but not sound annoying.

Basically, just play around with the EQ on your amp until you get a sound you like. I'm sure you've already done that though, so you might also want to buy a cheap EQ pedal, like an MXR, and use that to get a better idea. Alternatively, record a short sound clip of your guitar, and add / subtract the different bands of EQ in a free audio program like Audacity or Reaper. Or you could even use a media player's EQ, like Winamp has. I think it's pretty self explanatory what adding bass and treble does, but mids can be confusing, because that's where a guitar's frequency really lives.

Changing the mids completely changes the character of a guitar, especially overdriven. Too little and it will sound thin and maybe even "dry" as you put it---think of Pantera. Too much and it will have more of a boomy "honk" sound to it. If you want thicker, I'd say add bass, and maybe some mids. IMO though, your pickups and your amp have a lot more to do with how your guitar sounds than the effects you use---both are basically fixed EQs, and while you can modify their characteristics, that's really more of a cover-up than a solution.

For example, take a great guitar, plug it into a shitty distortion pedal and then into a nice tube amp. It'll probably sound good. Then take a shitty guitar, an awesome distortion pedal, a good EQ pedal, and a small practice amp---the two sounds are not going to be comparable, not even close. That comparison was kind of pointless but oh well.


Last edited by Ranger on Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:38 pm
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that's hard to read.

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Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:44 pm
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A line6 150w combo amp and a Schecter C-1 Hellraiser is my setup. I'll toy around with lowering and messing with the mids. What about things like delay and chorus and stuff. When are times you would want to use them versus times you wouldn't? I got a digital camera on woot and it says it should be in today via the tracking info, but I'm not certain. If it comes in I'll show you teh pix

Like do you want to drop reverb on something to make it sound more full? (that may be a terrible example)

Thanks in advance :D.

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Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:49 pm
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I'm not exactly the most credible source, but I'd say if the EQ on the amp is flat, (all knobs set to 0, straight up), for Rhythm, I'd turn bass to the left so it points NW, Mids pointing NE, & Treble pointing E.

Then, throw some slight reverb on the bitch, and maybe a slight chorus.

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Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:56 pm
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Made that post a bit easier to read.

You're using the on-board distortion then, I take it? Is that amp tube powered or solid state? I'm guessing solid state seeing as how I don't think there are any 150W tube combos...tube amp wattage isn't the same as solid state wattage. In general I think Line 6 amps sound pretty good, but I'm not a fan of their distortion. Sounds very thin and, like you said, dry.

Modulation effects like delay, chorus, reverb, phaser, etc. almost always take something away from your guitar tone. Especially delay. Chorus can be cool, with the right one you can get really fat, wet sounding clean tones. Reverb doesn't take much away, it just adds character, so to speak. I like a little bit of reverb playing live; a lot if I'm playing surf or rockabilly type music.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:03 pm
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Yes I'm using the onboard and it's solid state for sure. :). I'll see what I can do with the info you gave and work back with it. I'll try some reverb on it and see what that does. I have been able to achieve a wet clean tone for sure.

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Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:14 pm
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Kiss it a bit.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:12 pm
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Honestly there are no absolute rules when it comes to guitar tones. A distorted metal guitar tone with the mids turned down is going to sound similar to Pantera, and if the mids are pretty high you'll sound like Opeth.

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Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:39 pm
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I like mids. Not overdone, just very present. Scooping cancels out so much good tone to me.

For a "wetter" tone, you could try some chorus and delay a-la Rush/Maiden.. as for a fuller tone, you'll just have to keep tweaking or get a better amp. Digital amps can be fizzy. If you get solid state, I recommend that it's analog/transistor. Look into the Tech 21 Trademark series, or maybe the Marshall Valvestate.


Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:47 pm
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I like it better with some mids in it with the treble kinda higher than everything else and the bass about a bit above middle.

*shrug*

I just spent the last 2 hours learning Colony of Birchmen. I'm so hard for that song. It was awesome to play it correctly for the first time after it all just kinda clicked.

*swoon*

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Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:54 pm
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I have a sucky guitar and some old lane amp, so i'm building a guitar, because i can' afford to buy a desent one.

anyways yer the overdrive on my amp sucks so i use a boss od - 20 it's pretty good.

but i don't get this

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Modulation effects like delay, chorus, reverb, phaser, etc. almost always take something away from your guitar tone. Especially delay.


when you think about it, delay isn't so much a tone modulator, but a timing modulator so i'm not sure what you mean by it taking something away from ur guitar. because I'm sure the effect itself isn't dealing with the tone (correct me if i'm wrong), but more with the timing of the sound.

isn't it the pedal quality it's self, that will something away from your guitar tone. Like if you use a cheap delay effect and it has poor a manipulation ofthe guitar sound, and poor by pass set up, i can see how that takes away from the tone.

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Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:23 am
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One theory that describes most amps is that for a certain level of overdrive, the more you attenuate the midrange, the more pronounced the "crackle" of the distortion will be and the less "full" the timbre will be. So if you're looking for fullness, make sure the midrange is loud enough. The same goes for the bass to some extent.

Amplifiers vary so much that it's hard to tell exactly what to do with a given amp. However, I always thought that timbre was one of the hardest aspects of getting started with the electric guitar and I wish someone would write a method book about it. Maybe I will when I've played for a few more years.

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Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:43 am
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whats timbre?

is it treble or something

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nah its overall tone, the reason that you can tell the difference between a saxaphone and a trumpet playing the exact same note.

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Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:45 pm
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oh righto

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Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:55 am
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Quote:
isn't it the pedal quality it's self, that will something away from your guitar tone.


Yes, the signal having to go through all those pedals is what typically hinders the tone.

In terms of quality ones you wont hear a significant difference. I suggest a multi-fx rack unit if you want something really sleak, and pedals for something a little more raw.


Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:59 am
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I don't know what it's normally called, but I turned the overdrive knob way down last night and got a much more crisp and crunchy distortion. I /loved/ it. It made playing sludgy stuff SOooooooooooooooo gratifying. It was almost grainy.

I like a lotta overdrive on some things, but I think I'll be playing with less overdrive from now on. I just can't talk enough about how awesome that tone was. s**t.

Also, the second day I had this I was toying with phase, chorus and reverb (i think) and got a really cool sound that I've never since been able to replicate. It's sad. It was like a really echo-y thing *shrug*. Need to write these down when I find them or figure out a way to save more than 4.

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Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:26 am
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I think I know what you mean. I like a crunch tone like that for some things, too.


Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:53 pm
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wait but i still get this :?....

Quote:
Modulation effects like delay, chorus, reverb, phaser, etc. almost always take something away from your guitar tone. Especially delay.


how does delay or reverb take something away something from your tone, get how chous and phasers do so.

dosen't delay just repeat the guitar sounds instead of altering tone, and isn't reverb like a echo effect or something, again not really altering the tone settings? :?

Unless like your talking about the presentation of guitar tone, cus i can see how delay and reverb alter the way the tone is presented.

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Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:19 am
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Maybe it's totally noobish, but I'm such a sucker for a setting I have on my amp with a bunch of delay and some reverb and a lil chorus. Is that something guitarists "grow out of"? I don't like it all the time, but it definitely brings a really neat solo guitar sound to the table and allows for some really neat harmonies to be brought out simply by playing a melody.

*shrug* I'm glad I've gotten into guitar a lot more than I have been before.

With the tone I was talking about the other day. Palm mutes sound like the hooves of the devil himself walking across the planes of hell.

I went back and recaptured and saved the tone so that I can record some stuff with it later. :)

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Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:33 am
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Angus Khan wrote:
wait but i still get this :?....

Quote:
Modulation effects like delay, chorus, reverb, phaser, etc. almost always take something away from your guitar tone. Especially delay.


how does delay or reverb take something away something from your tone, get how chous and phasers do so.

dosen't delay just repeat the guitar sounds instead of altering tone, and isn't reverb like a echo effect or something, again not really altering the tone settings? :?

Unless like your talking about the presentation of guitar tone, cus i can see how delay and reverb alter the way the tone is presented.

Yeah, I was wrong about that, delay / reverb aren't modulation pedals, but I've often heard them described as such. But no, I was talking about the actual tone itself. I'm no expert, but look at it from an electronics standpoint...in both reverb and delay, the signal from your guitar is being altered and pieced back together as something else, and that's going to "color" the signal, thus affecting what comes out of the amp. Particularly with digital pedals, because the analog signal from a guitar has to be converted into digital data, and then back to analog. Digital delays are like their own little computers...the signal comes in, is converted to binary data, stored in memory, and then a program built into the delay tells the memory what to do with it, based on user inputs (where the knobs are set at on the pedal).


Fri May 01, 2009 7:08 pm
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oh okay, i thought so :)

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Mon May 04, 2009 2:48 am
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Post Re: Guitar Tone Compendium
Hi guys!! Cool thread you got here!!!!!!!!!!!!

But seriously, I'd like some tone advice. I'm playing a nice Stratocaster through a nice Tech 21 Trademark 60 combo amp--no pedals in between. Everything is nice except when I want to scare people with a heavy distortion sound. The heaviest distortion I can get just isn't that scary. It worked decently when I played the rhythm part of The Extremist by Joe Satriani. But I would feel weird playing Sector 1 with that timbre.

What would you do with a stock Stratocaster to get a heavy distortion sound? Higher-output pickup? Boost pedal? Distortion pedal? I always thought my friend's Super Strat through a Boss Metal Zone pedal sounded choked, so I want to avoid that overblown, choked sound.

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Thu May 10, 2012 9:51 pm
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Post Re: Guitar Tone Compendium
get a cool overdrive pedal!! don't get anything that says metal on it those suck, even for metal.

i have a fulltone OCD pedal that runs the gamut from [classical composer] to [aggressive tech metal band] so i guess my only real advice is get one of those. but anything bluesy/overdrivey and not metaly/distorty. go stop by a guitar shop and try some out.

also im not really an expert on pickups but they more change the overall tone, they wont make your guitar sound scarier! i've got EMGs in my thing and its still Clean As Hell sounding without some external juice

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Post Re:
Omnideth wrote:

I just spent the last 2 hours learning Colony of Birchmen. I'm so hard for that song. It was awesome to play it correctly for the first time after it all just kinda clicked.

*swoon*


YESS

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Sat May 19, 2012 9:00 pm
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Post Re: Guitar Tone Compendium
I could also use a little bit of advice when it comes to finding guitar tone. Although, I'm looking for tips on how to get good clean tone for recording purposes. And when I say a clean tone, I mean a crisp, clear distortion tone. Right now, my plan is to use a direct input from my guitar amp straight into the computer. I do have an audio interface, but I can't get it to pick up the guitar signal, either through the amp or from the guitar itself. Anyways, I'm working with Logic Pro and my amplifier is a Line 6 Spider III. The main problem for me stems from the inserts provided in Logic, such as compressors and things of that nature. I'm not quite sure what half of them do entirely, and I'm not sure what I'm looking for when it comes to ways to edit the tone to get what I want. I'm brand new to this sort of thing, so any help would be greatly appreciated. THanks.


Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:42 pm
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