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danelectro

How important is good tone?I've gotten

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I've gotten to the point where good tone is very important to me. Not only in my own playing but when listening to music. The only time I can appreciate bad tone is when it's supposed to be bad or grating, like when used as an effect or noisy passage of a song, or like some hard Velvet Underground stuff :D . But when I hear a musician I admire with bad tone it usually has me reaching for the skip button. This primarily is happening with live stuff, some guys with great tone in the studio have a tough time live.

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good tone is hard to define, refering to guitar sound I prefer to say a comfortable tone because I realize, that when I like the sound I can play better, I feel more comfortable...

I think its the same with Cds and Dvds and bootlegs etc., the sound must make you feel comfortable (which can also mean a very distorted sound B) )

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I saw Robert Randolph play live last year, and while he was phenomenal, the opening band nearly ruined the night with the guitar player's shitty tone. For some reason, his tone was particularly shrill (odd coming from a Les Paul), and they were so ridiculously loud it was ear-splitting. I had a severe headache when they were done, and almost left for Robert Randolph. Luckily, Robert came on and the volume was fine and there was no shrillness whatsoever. But it was this shrill, turn it up as loud as possible (in a tiny club, too) tone that has completely turned me off anything like that. Ever since, I made sure that at least with my tone, it was comfortable on the ears despite the volume I turned it up to. There is a tone that you can turn up really loud and it isn't that shrill. Ever since, I've been a very big fan of good tone.

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Are we talking amp and guitar settings, here? If so, I agree with Deezer that there are tones available that don't hurt, no matter how loud you play. A favourite of mine is what Clapton used to refer to as "woman-tone"; turning the guitar full up, but rolling the tone control(s) back to zero, whichever pickup(s) you use.

Other than general tone controls on equipment, tone is the one thing you can't buy; it all comes from the player's hands. This subject has been covered in some depth elsewhere on theses forums, so I'll not regurgitate what's gone before, but I will put an emphasis on finger vibrato. This, to my mind, is the key to generating tone. Get this technique sorted out and you will become a more listenable player.

RB

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Good tone is important, both as a musician & as a listener, but context is important too.

Sometimes the "right" tone for a part is a tone that in another contect would be "bad". For instance, there is an electric guitar overdub on Gallows Pole that has a very thin, buzzy tone. If that was Page's main guitar tone I'd hate it, but as a part of the orchestration on that song it works great.

It's a common thing with musicians to get hung up on "perfecting" their tone in isolation, then find that it doesn't work with a band, or on a particular recording, so the important thing to remember is that it's all relative.

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the tone I was thinking of was-pre-tone knob. Ive played some guitar and I find that if my acoustic can handle 13s for a coulple days, and I concentrate on my pinky action, then I switch over to bass playing for a few days, that when I switch back to my electric,,,, I have better tone because I have more than enouph power and can play in a more relaxed style that helps with the self assured bending....... that needs to happen to get better tone for me. when I was first learning my acoustic had crazy high action, that seemed to come in handy. I'm kind of a guitar tone nerd in that now I plug straight into the computer, without a direct box, to see what tone i can get with just my fingers and practice like that a little so that I'm not masking my bad tone, I mask the bad tone in the mix if i have to but I try to get the good tone rather direct these days. is my humble opinion on tone.

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