Componants of Tone and what shapes your sound

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by megabutter, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. megabutter

    megabutter Country Gent

    Mar 22, 2010
    I think this will be fun and interesting. Inspired by the countless discussions on tone and its componants, I made a list (in no order) of the most talked about.

    So, fellow geeks, list them from top to bottom in order of importance to the over all sound and quality of your sound and let us know why. (Effects are not listed, this is about straight guitar tone).

    Guitar wood and wood combo
    Amp Type (tube vs. SS)
    guitar body construction (type-solid/semi/hollow)
    tubes (if used)
    other electronic parts
    speakers (type and number)
    cabinet (open vs. closed)
    tone caps
    finish laquer
    cut of wood
    guitar hardware

    If there's any I forgot, throw them in there!
  2. dafreeze

    dafreeze Friend of Fred

    the amp (assuming the individual can play)
  3. Viper

    Viper Electromatic

    Feb 1, 2009
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I'll play.

    Guitar body construction
    Guitar wood
    Cut of wood
  4. Michiel

    Michiel Friend of Fred

    Jul 29, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Picking technique
  5. GreatGretsch

    GreatGretsch Country Gent

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pittsburgh suburbs
    Oh my, I agree 100%:eek::D
  6. Jukebox

    Jukebox Gretschified

    Jun 2, 2008
    Don't forget the body constructions include, thickness and the types of bracing for hollow' and semihollow's
  7. With Michiel on this: For me, playing technique - picks or fingers - I think is #1. I'm not sure I could rate what is more important after that because good technique can adapt to whatever is available and make great tone come from the most unlikely of sources.
  8. Thunderball

    Thunderball Synchromatic

    Oct 2, 2009
    New York
    Acoustic Guitar or Electric Guitar
    That's it.

    Sorry, but tubes, pickups, capacitors, woods...all that is nonsense. The only difference in tone is acoustic guitar vs. electric guitar. I can get my Epiphone to sound like my Gretsch which I can get to sound like my Strat which I can get to sound like my SG and on and on... I can not get my electrics to sound like my acoustics. Acoustic guitar or electric guitar are the only two things that define tone.
  9. dafreeze

    dafreeze Friend of Fred

    wish I could do that...thank-you for clearing up all the I can sell a half dozen of these and buy a Harley
  10. Thunderball

    Thunderball Synchromatic

    Oct 2, 2009
    New York
    You can do it. Quit buying into the advertising, PR bullcrap that tells you "You must have this product because it does things this other product can't." It is a lie.

    A Gretsch can sound like a Strat which can sound like a Rickenbacker which can sound like an Epiphone, etc... There are knobs and switches all over our guitars and amps - use them!
  11. johnreardon

    johnreardon Gretschie

    May 23, 2009
    Northants, UK
    Most important bit is me, rest is relatively small
  12. Drewgrass

    Drewgrass Country Gent

    Dec 20, 2009
    Teesside ENGLAND
    Most important, my ears!
  13. megabutter

    megabutter Country Gent

    Mar 22, 2010
    hmmmm. Interesting so far. Relatively small amount so far who really want to hash into it.

    +1 to DaFreeze comment. "wish I could do that...thank-you for clearing up all the I can sell a half dozen of these and buy a Harley"

    Sorry TB, but can't. hmmmmm, unless, or maybe if you use enough overdrive that nothing else will matter.

    Also, when I asked to add anything I missed, I meant in your list from absolutely tone shaping to has no bearing on your sound. Viper is digging in on it, would love to hear more of why.
  14. vulture

    vulture Banned

    Jun 26, 2010
    Tucson, AZ
    Remembering reading an old Guitar Player interview with Roy Buchanan he was asked how often he changed strings. His answer, "When they break".

    GP, "Don't they go dead before that?"

    RB, "Probably."

    So I follow that advice...but still can't get his tone...I guess my strings are just not old enough..yet.

    Seriously though, Amp. I like a small tube amp that starts to overdrive at about 3 or 4. My LP has coil tap Humdingers that is very useful, but I can get a good tone from my rig with any guitar. A little slap back is nice, some compression at times but not really necessary if the amp's right.
  15. Manic

    Manic Country Gent

    Dec 5, 2009
    The amount of alcohol my friends have consumed by the time I step up at a jam session.

  16. shredtrash

    shredtrash Electromatic

    Aug 16, 2009
    Rio Rancho, NM
    My recipe is easy:

    Small tube amp (Princeton-types are ideal)
    ZVex Super Duper
    Gretsch w/TV Classics

    If I have those items, I can play any gig I care to do.
  17. Hot Rod Michelle

    Hot Rod Michelle Country Gent

    May 9, 2009
    I would have to admit that I am not knowledgable enough about my picking style nor my equipment in order to give you a definative answer. However, I will say this: recently I walked into my local Guitar Center and spyed a Gold Top Les Paul. Well, for kicks I decided to pull it off its high resting perch and plug it in. The tone that came out of that thing was like nothing any of my Gretsches could replicate. In fact, it was like nothing I have been able to play (sound like), neither before nor since. Needless to say, it has me GASing for a Gold Top LP. It seems to have revolutionized my sound. And this coming from a professed solid hater.:eek:

    Long story longer, I think that tone is in a combination of things. But, mostly the axe and the player. Change the axe and the tone is changed right along with it.;)
  18. CYP450

    CYP450 Electromatic

    Mar 24, 2010
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    I finally figured it out (for me) about 5 years ago while going through a bluegrass phase. Using the same, really high-quality, pick all the time gives me consistent tone. That and a good set of strings. I dont know why it took 30 years to figure that out. I use Tortis (synthetic tortoise shell) picks, but there are lots of other high-quality picks out there. And I play with heavy guage strings (11's or sometimes 12's). Whether Im playing my Les Paul or my new Gretsch, this seems to fit my playing style and make me sound like me.
  19. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    Hey Thunder, I want my SG H.B to sound like a Strat in neck/middle position... please give me what you find on your user manual to do this miracle?

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