Most Recognizable Guitar Sound

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by drmilktruck, Oct 9, 2020.

  1. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Rick Beato posted a video recently asking, "Who has the MOST Recognizable Guitar Sound?"

    Who would you suggest be on a list of the most recognizable guitar sounds?

    (Don't comment on the Beato's choices, but answer the question for yourself.)

    Maybe to frame the discussion: Imagine a song you've never heard before, which players would you immediately recognize and say, "That's player X for sure, no one else" ?
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  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    IMO Brian May is very recognisable but with all examples above it's mainly due to playing style(choice of notes, vibrato etc) not necessarily the sound. Van Halen 1 is a hallmark (brown) guitar sound chased by countless rock players, but when you listen to the isolated guitar tracks it's horribly thin.
  3. Limuz

    Limuz Gretschie

    Sep 8, 2012
    Willie Nelson. You'd recognise Trigger miles away!
  4. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    That's tricky because we often recognize the song, and it gives away the player. Maybe BB King?
  5. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    Sep 1, 2020
    Freddie King. Mike Bloomfield. Paul Kossoff’s vibrato is a dead giveaway. Peter Green. Mick Taylor playing in the Stones. Not single coil Clapton. This is an almost impossible question to answer.
  6. Gregor

    Gregor Synchromatic

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Chet Atkins. I'd recognize him if he was playing a washboard.
  7. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    I would recognize BB King without a doubt, and maybe Les Paul
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  8. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    Billy Gibbons has a very recognizeable guitar-voice.
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  9. TubeLife

    TubeLife Gretschie

    Jan 23, 2020
    Without a doubt
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  10. moltenmagna

    moltenmagna Electromatic

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hong Kong
  11. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    I'd say the Rev, Setzer, and Angus have the most recognizable guitar sounds.
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  12. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Duane---just the first two notes of "Rebel Rouser" is enough.
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  13. Mr Swisher

    Mr Swisher Synchromatic

    Jun 12, 2012
  14. Tadhg

    Tadhg Gretschie

    Aug 8, 2019
    Qld - Australia
    It's a very interesting discussion...
    Santana. His tone is completely unique, and consistent across guitars.

    It's interesting how Rick's talking about tone, no variation in gear (i.e. one amp, no analysis paralysis), but massive variation in hands and dials. But I think most of the people with the most recognisable tone - as they all but said - have only a very small range in tones. Other people they mention, it's as much about their chord voicings, licks and tendencies. But they're not part of a person's tone. BB King's a perfect example - the old joke being that all you have to do is slide up to playing a single high note twice. It's instant BB. On a 355 with the varitone set right, it's obvious, but even with a Strat you can make it sound close enough to trigger that memory.

    Personally, I don't have 'a' tone. My playing bends to the tone I have. That's not because I'm a great player, it's because I'm malleable. My voicings bend to the tone I have. I'll change the tone, and change my voicings. It's a symbiotic relationship, but those who are easily recognisable, usually have very few different tones, and therefore stick with a distinctive style based off their hands, voicings, licks, etc.

    It's interesting that Rick opens with talking about 'Tone Chasers'. It's an interesting concept, the Tone Chaser. Because the more of a Tone Chaser you are, the less likely you are to be able to be picked by a tone. But perhaps the more flexible you'll be? Which is why we all want our Gretsches, and probably something with single coils, or a few of those, and maybe something with PAF's, and.......
    Rick started with 'Tone Chasers' by mentioning Jimmy Page - I think that's fair. I think it's fair for a number of the early guys, especially the British Invasion guys who were always trying to find better than the rubbish they started with due to the massive import taxes. John and George, Keith, Pete, Eric... Keith's on record saying, "Whatever the guitar is, give me five minutes and it'll sound like me," yet his tone variation through the 60's to the 80's was broad.
    Given he discovered Marhsalls in the UK, I'd also include Hendrix in that 'Tone Chaser' list. I think EVH was a Tone Chaser, but he only really used a narrow range of tones in his best known works. The guitars under his branding are way more versatile than you'd expect. He just didn't necessarily demonstrate that.
    But I believe the king of the Tone Chasers - which makes him less recognisable as a guitarist by tone - is The Edge. You might say, "Dotted Eighth Delay!" But I disagree. Dave Gilmour pioneered it, and The Edge doesn't use it everywhere. His guitar tone going from The Joshua Tree to Achtung Baby... I can't think of a more dramatic variation. Then go to some of the 00's tones, which are more classic rock. He uses 5 amps per gig, not all at once. The Edge is a Tone Chaser, a chameleon, not someone with a (singular) recognisable guitar sound. Put it this way - my phone ringtone is this clip, from 26 seconds to 38 seconds. No one's ever picked the song, or the guitarist (it's also very distinctive - I never mistake it for anything else that I'm likely to hear). Whereas Brian May, Santana, EVH... If they're guesting with a band somewhere, it's pretty easy to pick them out.

    Given the way I play, I love my Helix LT. Because it means I can massively change tone and style - to something I know is consistently right for what I'm going to play - in an instant. I'm not trying to match a delay to a tempo, or reset an EQ pedal just right. Especially under time pressure on stage. But it also is a great learning tool for tone, because there's thousands and thousands of people's uploaded patches that can be analysed. "Oh, they stuck that pedal there, in that configuration. I never would've thought of that. Maybe if I try this..." I know not everyone goes that way - many just go with what they have, and that's not wrong (because not everyone has a great ear - tone is learned, and downloading patches is a learning shortcut - like watching someone playing that lick or solo you just can't quite work out). But if you've time, it's a great way to learn.
  15. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    This, and it is definitely in his hands. Underrated vibrato.
  16. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Synchromatic

    Feb 17, 2020
    In the early '70s Joe Walsh contributed a couple of solos to the new BB King album LA Midnight.
    Not "The Most Recognizable" but you can tell it is Joe from the very first notes.

    You can pick out his work with the Eagles too.
  17. Mr Swisher

    Mr Swisher Synchromatic

    Jun 12, 2012
    Point well made regarding The Edge @Tadhg .

    So Should the question be, "which guitarist has evolved the least through their career"?
  18. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
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  19. afire

    afire Country Gent

    I never would have come up with him, but that is the answer. Nobody sounds like him.
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