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> Explain Differences Gear Makes On Tone, Need Honest, Informed Opinions
Southern Gent
post Feb 25 2013, 04:49 PM
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I realize this could be the subject of an entire forum or book, but maybe someone can help with at least laying out the important bits. Lots of people get into guitar and I feel like most of them, myself included, get obsessed or at least infatuated with certain gear or even the idea of certain gear without truly understanding what differences it really makes.

Granted, I know some of this is subjective opinion, but I was hoping some informed individuals could give some info on some of the common items players get hung up on, and give their opinion on where spending our hard-earned money truly matters.

Here are a few common items we desire and a couple broad topics. Some are a sound, some are pieces of gear (or even parts of a piece of gear), please help enlighten myself and/or others on one or more of these (or add your own) on what does/doesn't make a big difference in tone, sound, quality, etc., and maybe give an example of what would be a good purchase for each.

1. All the experts say tone is in the fingers, but what is the most important piece of gear for your personal tone? If you had $2000 right now to improve your sound, what purchase would make the most difference: an amp, a guitar, upgrading parts of each?

2. What is the most important aspect of a guitar that someone should be evaluating when looking to upgrade? (Obviously this is going to depend on what you are into to an extent, but..) For instance, is the type of wood the body/neck made of that important? Why is a set neck vs. bolt-on neck important, or does it even matter? Is it really worth buying a custom PRS over an SE line PRS for the average to above-average player? If I have only owned one or two guitars, I don't have a huge frame of reference, so what do I need to be wary of?

3. Can someone please explain P-90 pickups - the sound vs. traditional single-coil and humbuckers. What type of sound is it, that if I said to you, "I want my sound to be like this... or I want to model my tone after the guitar sound on this album..." that would make you say I should get P-90s over the other types of pups?

4. What piece of gear do you see many people get hung up on, that really is a waste of time, or at least not as important as people seem to think?

5. For your standard blues/rock and roll/hard rock/heavy metal guitar player, what would you suggest as the best basic guitar-amp set-up (i.e. a specific guitar and amp model)? Like, if someone isn't necessarily into some specific genre/sound like math-rock or black metal or whatever, but just wants to rock and play a variety of styles all within the basic rock/heavy metal platform.


Hopefully you get the basic idea of what I am getting at. Feel free to respond to any of these questions or add/answer your own that you hear often or that you find yourself thinking, "gee, if people would just realize _______ about guitar gear/playing, they could save so much time/money by focusing on the things that really matter for your sound (beyond practice, practice, and more practice of course.)

Thanks
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jstcrsn
post Feb 25 2013, 06:55 PM
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most important , tone is in the fingers, if you arent practiced it won't matter what gear you have
next I would say pick-ups. the p 90 is limited and is for a certain style I would go for more of a humbucker with coil tapping , these I think are the best all around http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/elec...t/sh4_jb_model/
and I have found that as Long as it has an upgraded pick up ,no matter which brand, I can usually dial in tone I am happy with as long as the amp in decent.Which brings us to the amp, something like this is a good start http://www.zzounds.com/item--PEVVKING112
guitar I would say this http://www.zzounds.com/item--IBAGRGA42TQA, with or without tremolo , and then put your upgrade pick ups in it, as with all guitars , trying them out for feeling is important there is about 1200 , a tube screamer in front of the amp to get it to the next level and you should be able to pull just about everything off with these

This post has been edited by jstcrsn: Feb 25 2013, 07:03 PM
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Todd Simpson
post Feb 26 2013, 04:46 PM
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Good reply cursin!! Also, SOUTHERNGENT: As you might imagine, there are some killer resources here @ GMC that cover these types of question as they come up quite frequently. Here is a link to our Guitar WIKI which is a killer resource with answers to a staggering amount of questions.

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

Sections on gear, technique etc. Also, the simple search function at the top of every page is another killer resource as the forums are packed with information and you'll find nearly the exact same questions asked by previous GMCers. Along with questions you are likely to ask in the near future. The path ahead is thankfully well paved.

JSTCRSN has given a really response hear covering the answer but there is always more info just waiting to be discovered. Dig in to the forums and wiki and you'll be immersed in answers to questions just forming in your mind.

Todd


QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Feb 25 2013, 12:55 PM) *
most important , tone is in the fingers, if you arent practiced it won't matter what gear you have
next I would say pick-ups. the p 90 is limited and is for a certain style I would go for more of a humbucker with coil tapping , these I think are the best all around http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/elec...t/sh4_jb_model/
and I have found that as Long as it has an upgraded pick up ,no matter which brand, I can usually dial in tone I am happy with as long as the amp in decent.Which brings us to the amp, something like this is a good start http://www.zzounds.com/item--PEVVKING112
guitar I would say this http://www.zzounds.com/item--IBAGRGA42TQA, with or without tremolo , and then put your upgrade pick ups in it, as with all guitars , trying them out for feeling is important there is about 1200 , a tube screamer in front of the amp to get it to the next level and you should be able to pull just about everything off with these


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klasaine
post Feb 26 2013, 06:12 PM
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I love P-90s. They are definitely their own animal. Single coil yes but they don't sound like strat pkups and they are generally higher output. You can get any thing from T-Bone Walker jump blues to Pete Townshend/Who tones with them. They can be pretty noisy in clubs with 'dirty' power (blender, cappuccino machine, neon sign, one outlet for the entire band, etc.).

The electrics on this track are a Strat with three (gibson) P-90s in it. ...
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songI...;songID=8434854

Another one with the 3-90 strat ...
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songI...;songID=8486330

If I had $2000 to spend on gear I'd start looking for an early 1970s Martin D-28.
Depending on the player maybe $2000 worth of private lessons would be the best thing for their 'sound'.

The most important thing in a guitar for me is the feel of it's neck/fingerboard and it's resonance un-plugged. In an amp - a big, bold clean tone.
If I love it and I can afford it(?) - I buy it.
*Caveat - I have a serious problem with gear laugh.gif


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VikingBlues
post Feb 26 2013, 10:04 PM
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True what is said about the tone being in the fingers ... though I'd be tempted to take that back a further stage and say the tone comes to the fingers from the brain. But the player anyway, ratherthan the gear.

As far as upgrading a part of the guitar I have found the biggest change to tone in changing hardware is with pickups. Most stock pickups even in pretty pricey guitars just don't cut the ice the way good aftermarket pickups do. The amp obviously has a massive impact on tone. A good amp and a good set of pickups will also share that ability to help you play better and more expressively. Though they will also likely be much better at showing up flaws in the technique much more clearly.

P90 pickups .... I have a set that I love to bits, had a guitar with a set that were rather good, and had two sets of P90s that I hated. There is a huge range of types of P90 out there so it's very difficult to categorise their sound - but if they;re good then for me they give a bit more body than single coils but less mud thean humbuckers. If you give a listen to the range of sounds from Pete Townshends P90s on his Gibson SG Special from the early 70s Live at Leeds (particularly the Tommy section) you'll see just how versatile the P90 can be.

But then I have a set of P90s on a Gibson Classic that are muddy as hell - the swine, and a set of Seymour Duncan/Seth Lover SH55 humbuckers on a Hagstrom Viking Deluxe that are beatifully unmuddy.

The best basic guitar-amp set-up question is impossible to answer (for me). Due to the fact that I have no idea what that is. Given the variety of gear used by highly acclaimed guitarists makes me think that the best set up is a very personal choice that will vary from player to player depending on their skills , playing ability and style, etc.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Feb 27 2013, 10:27 AM
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Hey man - here's my 2 cents on the questions smile.gif

1) Tone is in the hands and ears - I know a guy who is too poor to afford great gear, but that never ever stopped him to have a tremendous tone! he is considered to be among Romania's top players - he used to be my mentor years ago and I have learned A LOT from him.

Thing is, he carved his personality so deep in terms of musicality, that it's almost certain that any guitar that he picks up, will sound like him. It all lies in exploring yourself and finding your voice. The instrument is just wire and wood, that must feel comfortable in your hands and deliver the thing that you ALREADY have. For me it's a thing that must be tried on and on until it clicks. For me, it clicked with PRS. If I had 2000 bucks right now, I would get a good acoustic guitar and a good amp - just because my Crate Blue Voodoo is with one foot in the grave right now and instead of investing money into it, I'd rather get a Mesa Roadking.

2) It is a mater of response - if the pups don't deliver enough clarity, it's them, if the neck stifles your playing, it's the neck - observe your instrument and see what you like and what you don't like about it. Put everything on a little list and draw a conclusion - can it be upgraded or a new instrument is needed?

3) I don't really know what's what with the P90s so, I will let someone who knows do the talking smile.gif

4) This question has varied answers, as everyone is different - we tend to think that this or that is the problem, just because we don't take enough time to analyze the situation. For instance, I learned from our good mate here - Todd Simpson, that if you are tedious enough to do a little research, you will always find an array of solution fitting every pocket. Now, thing is - do you really need to spend money on something to solve the problem, or do you need to practice a certain thing to get things done? People like spending money on gear - that's a fact! biggrin.gif

5) I TOTALLY but TOTALLY recommend the PRS SE line - I own the Paul Allender and the Mike Mushok baritone and I am more than super happy about them. People ask me if they can borrow them to play live, even if they have Les Pauls and all that smile.gif

About the amp - I'd recommend the AMT SS20 - a Russian made, tube preamp which you can hear in all my video lessons here.

Hope this helped!

Cosmin


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