The seminar on time travel will be held two weeks ago.
Lowering those pickups a bit and raising the string action a few milimeters will give you a fatter tone, a clearer sound and more sustain.
I think string action is more important that string gauge, in fact.
Ibanez SZ320 / A2 Pro neck, Screamin' Demon bridge.
AllParts Strat / Toneriders Pure Vintage set
Partscaster #2 / JB-8 bridge.
Egnater Tweaker 15 + DIY 1x12 cab + Eminence Wizard / Roland Cube 60
Zvex Super Duper, EHX Memory Toy, Keeley BD2, Boss GE-7, CE-2, DD-5, Marshall Jackhammer, EHX Metal Muff TB.
In the immortal words of Cub Koda....." Never give a roadie anything of value, I have a box of toothpicks at home that use to be a Les Paul."
1: Square wave FACT
These edges of sound waves are tedious on our ears, whether we know it or not.
The 'warmth' of tubes refers to the roundness of their output wave.
That is to say, you get a solidstate amp setup to sound JUST like an adjacent tube amp;
on a psychological level, your brain/ears will sooner get tired of listening to the SS amp..
...and you wouldn't otherwise know why..
2: STYLE. We all have our own, embellish it well.
If we play the same easy riff on the same gear, are we going to sound the same?
Is one of us going to sound 'better?'
Take your vibratos. Do you just shake the s*** out of every note??
Or do you make those notes BLOOM!!
Here's some even the most accomplished players can probably learn from!
Boxing: Don't limit yourself to patterns and 'box yourself in'. Learn modes for the entirity of the fretboard so you can move higher or lower. Learn the actual notes rather than the patterns. Can apply to great riffs and phrases as well as just leads.
Key changing: Learn to be able to switch keys during solos. This will allow you to create much catchier leads if you can move within a chord progression. Another limiting factor that even the best players may be caught in without realizing is only ever playing within the mode for one key.
Music Theory: If you can learn to read sheet music even just a little bit without necessarily being able to sight-read on the fly, it will do alot for your songwriting. Guitar tab is only written for guitar and is only numbers. Whereas notation is universal.
If you suffer from any of these, it doesn't mean you're a bad player. But if you can fix these it will make the difference from 'great' to 'amazing'.
hey there is some great advice on here allready so I will just put a couple of easy things I have been researching latley
1) if you are buying a Fender Twin amp or a clean amp in general with that similar clean type tone check out the Weber 12a150 speakers-they are a warm alnico speaker that just seems to go very well with this amp for some reason, for you ceramic speaker guys the weber 12f150 is good as well.
2) for tweed amps with a thicker tone if you want to fatten it up even more try a celestian vintage 30. I know-I know its a distortion speaker but it also sounds nice and fat, clean-in a tweed type circut and when the tweed amp starts to break up it sounds great as well.
just a couple of ideas for you guys
@philtis: i think everyone swears on different speakers in a twin.
some other fantastic choices:
- evm12 for superclean
- eminence gb12 imo a perfect mix for multiple needs (i'd say from country to bluesrock)
- jensen neo12 (green)
many other fit cool as well.. swamp thang (less sterile than evm12), texas heat (less dB)
~+~ tube afflicted, strat addicted ~+~
I agree 100%. As I also agree that tone is in your fingers, I also think it is your gear as well. When we finally hear whats in our heads coming out of our amps.... well how inspiring is that!?
There are no rules - a guitar can be played in any way you can get sound out of it. Explore alternative tunings, tapping, harmonics - you might find things you like and incorporate those little sounds into your tonal pallette. Learn how to play songs by ear rather than using tabs all the time. I'm a huge fan of low tunings on Acoustic that I could never pull off on electric and playing it distorted and as hard as you can. I love what I can do on acoustic guitar, that I could quite frankly not pull off on electric with such aggressive playing and low tunings.
My biggest tone tip is to really mess with your pickup adjustments. They can make all the difference in the world, and save you a lot of unnecessary expenditure on aftermarket parts. The rules of thumb based on my own tweaking:
1) Pickup height controls tone most of all, and as a secondary effect, it controls output. Higher pickups = more output, more low end, and a smoother (or muddier, depending) sound.
2) Pole pieces control output most of all, while leaving tone relatively stable, changing it only a little as a secondary effect.
Therefore, you have a ton of tonal and volume control with the simplest of adjustments. People swap pickups too readily, when a lot of the time all they need is to do is to take advantage of pickup tweaks.
For example, you think your LP neck humbucker doesn't have enough high end and clarity of note. It is an unusable mud ball even at full treble on the tone pot. The highs are all being buried by the prevalent low end.
Accoring to 1), you can lower the pickup until the tone suits you. The more you lower it, the more the volume of the low end goes down.
So you get the pickup to where the tonal balance sounds just like you want. However, now it sounds quiet and "far away." Kind of "plinky," and staticy, as if it is coming through an old AM radio.
You can raise the screw pole pieces to get your volume and presence back...and you balance the strings while you are at it. The wound strings will usually end up higher than the plain strings IME.
In addition to the height and pole piece changes that affect any type of pickup, you have done something else as well if doing this to a humbucker. If you think about how a humbucking pickup is constructed, you can see that because you have lowered both coils, but only raised the polepieces on one of them, you have turned any humbucker into a de-facto Burstbucker-type. That means that each coil has a different tone and a different output. You are mixing the two, ending up with one coil that is quieter and less bassy, and another that is more powerful and more bassy. This makes for a more full and "complete" or "balanced" sounding pickup. It doesn't bury the highs in a ball of mud, yet it doesn't lose it's all-important mid range, or it's low-end "whoomp." You end up with a very tonally balanced pickup that has both smoothness and clarity.
Because I adjust my pickups religiously (and often quite extremely – see my SG pics below), I have seldom felt that I have needed to replace stock Gibson pickups with aftermarket ones. As long as you have a somewhat solid base to work with (and most PAF-clone Gibsons are good enough to use as a starting point IME), you can get a cubic ****-ton of variety out of a pickup...especially a humbucker.
It won't necessarily mean that you might not like an aftermarket pickup better, but the way I see it, it is always a good idea to try everything you can without swapping pickups.
I am a stickler for getting rid of mud in my pickups, and that is my biggest problem with stock pickups of any type, especially in the neck slot. However, I've only felt the need to replace three sets of humbuckers in my life. One was the stock pickups in my '83 LP Custom. They were **** no matter what I did to them. Then in went '57's. Better, but still way too muddy. Then Burstbucker Pros from my LP Standard, just out of curiosity. Better, but still too muddy, even at the most extreme of settings. I said forget it; this is just a ****ty sounding hunk of wood, and I put in P90's, which IME would sound good bolted to a piece of cardboard. It sounded great in the end, but they still needed extreme settings (very low pickups with very high pole pieces). Then, just because they were sitting there, I put the '57's in my '61 reissue Epiphone MIJ SG. That is the extent of my pickup swapping on my adjustable-polepiece guitars. Everything else I have been able to dial in with the factory pickups. Now Strats are another story...
The '57's in my Epi SG; low in the ring, but with high pole piece screws. My LP Standard's neck pickup rides well below the pickup ring, on the last few threads of the height screws. Looks weird, but sounds great.
Here's some vital points to consider when recording distorted guitars.
You should be so practiced that you can play your parts backwards in your sleep so you can bash them out with confidence, precision and flare when needed. You should make sure you aren't making creaks and string noise.
Try and have as direct a signal as possible. Spend the money on good cables, especially on the cable from the head to the cabinet. The speakers have possible the strongest role in the coloration of your sound so in preproduction you should experiment with different speakers until you find "your" speaker.
If you use pedals, don't use noisy AC adapters, put in fresh batteries. That guitar had better be intonated and the strings should be fairly new and freshly worn in (not too jangly). Get "your sound" happening in the room, right there. Don't think you'll get it "later down the line". It's gotta happen where it's at.
Find the excursion point of the speakers. The sweet spot you want is just as the speakers start to move and a little before they start to break up undesirably make the cabinet rumble. You may need to take off your grill cloth to see the speakers and observe the movement. If possible, try and determine which speaker has the best tone.
You also want to make sure you aren't causing too much movement in your microphone's diaphragm and that there's plenty of headroom on the mic preamp.
Keep a note of your excursion point and put the volume down, strap on your headphones, put your mic of choice on a stand. Stick it on the cone, pull it back a few inches and then turn it about 30 degrees facing the edge of the cone. Then rotate the boom until you get the sweet spot where it isn't ice-picky and thin, but it's muffled and dark. Then lock it all down and DON'T TOUCH IT. Turn back up to your excursion point and now we can start using the control room.
If you really know what you're doing, stick a condenser or two in the corner of the room to supplement the sound later on.
Spend the money on a good unit for gating and compression. VSTs aren't really going to cut it and they will chew up RAM. Spend lots of time shaping the sound with the attack and release. My compressor has a tube saturation section and I use the coveted echoplex tube section as well.
Your amp should be in a different room so you can hear it unimpeded through your monitors. It may also be a good idea to keep your cab mic'd in your iso room and adjust the head in the control room.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. This is just the beggining of getting a really great distorted guitar sound the old fashioned way with real amps and microphones.
Don't forget about your guitar volume and tone controls - they may significantly affect your tone, especially with valve amps. Try to get true-bypass effects.
Last edited by ancient_owl; 09-18-2012 at 11:19 PM.
It may have been said before but anyway, learn how to solder especially if you own multiple guitars. It is easy to do. There is many how to videos on YouTube and the tools you will need are inexpensive. It will save you
plenty on tech fees and is also pretty rewarding to fix your guitars yourself. You will also have much better tone with a properly wired guitar and you will be able to do upgrades yourself.
Last edited by dkal24; 10-20-2012 at 08:25 PM.
-Originally Posted by IanBallard"Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone."
“The hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.” - Edward Van Halen