The Fender Forum
NEW! LPF Facebook Page
NEW! LPF Instagram Page
Merchandise & Donations
NEW! Burst Serial Log Home Page
LPF Homesite
Page 1 of 8 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 40 of 281

Thread: Tone myths

  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Tone myths

    A recent thread here (and some others on my amp boards) got me thinking. (I know, I know, there's a first time for everything ).

    I have a hard time believing that anyone can tell the difference in sound between a lightweight and standard tailpiece in a blind listening test. Same for a weight-relieved vs. solid body or even between NOS vs. new tubes (as long as both are of good quality and in good working order).

    Speakers? Absolutely a tonal difference between them. Strings? Eh, I'm not so sure (although the gauge makes an audible difference). Capacitor brands? No freaking way. Cap values? Yes.

    I would really like to do some a/b tests on these "tone myths" to see if they are myths at all. Has anyone done anything even approaching the scientific method on this stuff?

  2. #2

    Re: Tone myths

    Great question. It's so hard to be objective when you just burned off a few hundred$$$ on several up grades all at once. How many of us get a new tail piece and change the strings as well? Often times I feel like there is an audible difference between several packs of the "same" strings.
    Orange AD30H/Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier/Marshall JCM 2000 DSL/1960BV/1960B/1960BX/Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Custom/Gibson Les Paul Classic/Gibson Les Paul Special Humbucker SL/Fender American Deluxe Tele/Fender Tom Delonge Strat/Fender P Bass/Ol'Yeller Distortion/TR-2/TU-2/Big Muff/Tube Screamer/Guitar and Bass PODxt

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member Sean French's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,166

    Re: Tone myths

    I have a '99 R7 that I played stock for 6 years.I played the guitar often acoustically at home.So.I am very aware of the tonal characteristics of it.I've since at different times,swapped pickups and the tail piece.When I replaced the TP I immediately noticed and heard a very obvious tonal change.I had a new set of strings on the Zinc TP and put a new set of the same strings on the Aluminum TP.Acoustically there was more ring in the highs and the mids became softer but,more pronounced at the same time.The lows were tighter and overall the guitar had more clarity.Since I know this guitar so well,I heard a big difference.On a guitar I don't know well I may or may not notice.The tubes are kinda the same.However,there are not so great sounding NOS tubes and there a great sounding new tubes.So,I'll agree with you on that.However,if one would have a set of NOS Mullards(power and pre's)in a Marshall for example.If one listed and or played with the NOS first then the new tubes I am very confident there are going to be very noticable differences.
    As for your other examples,I tend to agree with you.
    A controlled A/B test would be very interesting.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member LesterP's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    1,249

    Re: Tone myths

    I swapped out a heavy tailpiece for a light one. The difference in tone was obvious.
    By the way, in this particular guitar, I thought the heavier tailpiece sounded better.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    While I don't doubt that you guys thought you heard a difference in the TP, scientifically, your "test" was bogus, for a couple reasons:

    1. You were financially and emotionally invested in having the upgraded gear be "better" to justify the purchase, thus coloring your perception of the sound

    2. You knew which TP you had on the guitar, which made #1 inescapable.

    I'm interested, for example, in an experiment that at least minimizes the above bias.

    I'd like to have the owner and at least 2 other listeners listen to someone behind a screen playing the guitar with the new and old TP. The listeners would not know which TP was being used, and would have to guess at least 20 times. Another person would do the TP switching, so that the player would also not know which TP was being used (and to create a scientific double-blind testing condition).

    There may indeed be an audible difference, but without a scientific test like the one I just described, it's just an opinion.

  6. #6

    Re: Tone myths

    The heavier the block (a heavy LP tailpiece or a strats' trem block, etc), the more resonance it will suck away from the guitar.

    Normally, you would want to keep as much resonance tied-up in the wood, instead of the tailpiece.

    Resonance is a contributor to the overall tone of the guitar.

    I say lightweight TPs are the only way to go.

  7. #7
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    You can tell the difference when swapping tailpieces.

    When a string is plucked, it sends sympathetic vibrations throughout the entire guitar - everything "resonates" with these vibrations - EVERYTHING. It is a known fact that different materials will of course react differently to these vibrations, with some harmonics being absorbed and others reflected.

    Obviously the body and neck woods are a huge factor, but so is the bridge, the TP, studs, etc. Now these may be to a lesser degree than the body and neck, but nonetheless, they ARE vibrating with the string.

    So to sum it up, yep, I have no problem believing that an aluminum TP versus a slag iron one will make a difference in tone. Many people swear that older Grover tuners sound different than newer ones, and that may be true to some extent - their mass is certainly enough to cause a tonal difference on the end of a vibrating neck.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Elfin/Jeff,

    Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not trying to be argumentative or slag you guys in any way.....

    But both of your arguments are only opinions (well, theories) until they can be scientifically proven in a double-blind test like I described.

    I don't own a lightweight TP to try it myself. Would either of you be interested in doing the experiment and scientifically documenting the results?

    Again, I'm not saying that the lightweight TP doesn't have an audible effect on the tone, just that until you can prove something via a repeatable scientific test, it's only an opinion.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member jon9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Medford Lakes, NJ
    Posts
    243

    Re: Tone myths

    There is a difference. You don't need science. I know my guitars and their sound. When I changed from the stock heavy tailpiece in my historic to the Pigtail lightweight it was pretty obvious. Some may not like the different tone but it is no myth in my case. I believe a lot of tone difference in the tweaks that some do is the response/feel/sensitivity of the guitar that may not be all that audible. Also I don't think you can tell one capacitor from another or tailpiece or hole in a guitar by listening always but there are differences in the playability of the instrument. No offense but maybe your ears suck or your approaching in in the wrong way. I've been in studios with "golden ear" types that could hear beads of sweat on recordings and be accurate.

  10. #10
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    Elfin/Jeff,

    Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not trying to be argumentative or slag you guys in any way.....

    But both of your arguments are only opinions (well, theories) until they can be scientifically proven in a double-blind test like I described.

    I don't own a lightweight TP to try it myself. Would either of you be interested in doing the experiment and scientifically documenting the results?

    Again, I'm not saying that the lightweight TP doesn't have an audible effect on the tone, just that until you can prove something via a repeatable scientific test, it's only an opinion.
    I understand your opinion. I can tell you this - more than likely, if you were to try an aluminum TP yourself on a guitar that doesn't have one, you would notice the difference yourself. Preference is a different issue.

    As to science, this is already a known proven fact that (though I don't have the inclination right now to locate sources) different materials react to a vibrating string differently.

    How do you think an all aluminum guitar versus a wood guitar would sound? Different. How about a guitar made of stone? Different, I'm sure.

    Bottom line - don't worry about the science. This stuff is supposed to be fun and way too many people are on this search for the elusive holy grail of tone. You can do your own science experiment!

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by jon9 View Post
    There is a difference. You don't need science.
    Yes, you do. If you want to state that this is your opinion that there is a difference, then you're right, you don't need science. If you want to say that it's a fact, you'll need to prove that by a blind experiment.

    As far as my ears "sucking," well, that's why you conduct the experiment with more than one person.

    Enjoy your guitar however you like. But if you're so sure of yourself, what do you have to lose by conducting the experiment?

  12. #12
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    BTW, this same argument has been beaten to death regarding Strats and their tremolo blocks, where people insist there is a tonal difference between a solid steel block (aftermarket, or older original) and the modern cast block, which is thinner.

    In the overwhelming vast majority of cases, the people who claim it makes no difference never actually tried both to compare. I can tell you that this too did indeed make a difference, and for similar reasons - this is a large mass of metal that is in direct contact with a string that is vibrating and sending those vibrations through different materials and densities.

    Try picking with a quarter or other piece of metal. Does it sound different?

  13. #13
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    Yes, you do. If you want to state that this is your opinion that there is a difference, then you're right, you don't need science. If you want to say that it's a fact, you'll need to prove that by a blind experiment.

    As far as my ears "sucking," well, that's why you conduct the experiment with more than one person.

    Enjoy your guitar however you like. But if you're so sure of yourself, what do you have to lose by conducting the experiment?
    Your the one wondering and we're telling you the easiest answer we can - try it. If you think it makes a difference, you can't tell anyone though, since you didn't use scientific means. :biglaugh:

    Seriously though, unless someone has access to scientific equipment and wants to go through a test plan that would probably have to be approved by the target audience, than just playing around yourself is a better way.

    If you want to experiment with an aluminum TP, you can pick them up pretty cheap and sell it if you don't like the difference (which you will hear).

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Hey, you're getting me wrong here.

    I'm not saying that there is no difference.

    I'm saying that I'd like to see someone test it out to prove whether or not there is.

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member Axel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Umeċ, Sweden
    Posts
    3,510

    Re: Tone myths

    I'm with JoeV here. There's science and there is "feeling"... and JoeV actually asked for scientific proof so arguing about "try it and you'll see" just doesn't do it. For example, writing a professors report based on personal taste and assumptions would never be taken seriously.

    "Bottom line - don't worry about the science." Heh, gives me the religious creeps.
    I play a Trini Lopez Reissue through a Fender Blues Jr. Sunburst.

    Quote Originally Posted by camohoyt View Post
    I'm sure only Axel knows if they have wax potting. He knows stuff that Gibson don't even know about there own guitars. Like an angel from Les Paul Heaven!

  16. #16
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    Well, since there is not likely to be any experiment that anyone here will ever agree on, all you have to go on is your own experimentation and/or the word of people that have already done it. Otherwise, you'll never know.

    And what if there was scientific evidence that different materials effect sound (which there already is), how would you ever know how it would effect your guitar without trying them?

    Science only takes you so far. Actual experience speaks volumes.

    Then you probably also don't want to believe that:

    - Raising or lowering the TP makes a difference
    - Topwrapping makes a difference
    - Putting Grover Rotomatics on in place of Klusons makes a difference
    - Nashville/ABR-1 makes a difference

    All these I have experience with trying on my guitars, and they all make a tonal difference. I have also been told that TonePros hardware makes a difference, and I have no reason do disbelieve it, even though nobody has shown be a radiospectrograph.

    Sorry, but unless you have actual experience with trying these changes, you don't have much to work with. 'nuff said.
    Last edited by Jeff; 10-02-06 at 01:10 PM.

  17. #17
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,759

    Re: Tone myths

    There is a difference noted by players. I doubt anyone could "hear" it. A "scientific" test using imperical methods would be difficult and likely not produce results that are conclusive. There are too many variables in the actual aparatus of the test that would need to be accounted for.

    The problem with most of the discussions here at the forum are only semantic. SPecially in this case. Most of know there's a difference in how a guitar feels after changing the tailpiece (or other mods). What has been postulated here is a doubt
    "that anyone can tell the difference in sound between a lightweight and standard tailpiece in a blind listening test."

    Well, even that statement is hard to swallow as imperical method is quick to point out that are no absolutes. A more accurate hypothesis would be "I doubt that most people could tell the difference". There are likely foks out there who could hear it. Likely most couldn't.

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member jon9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Medford Lakes, NJ
    Posts
    243

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by Axel View Post
    I'm with JoeV here. There's science and there is "feeling"... and JoeV actually asked for scientific proof so arguing about "try it and you'll see" just doesn't do it. For example, writing a professors report based on personal taste and assumptions would never be taken seriously.

    "Bottom line - don't worry about the science." Heh, gives me the religious creeps.
    Yeah, but, You don't walk into a music store w/a group of scientists in lab coats and a bunch of meters and college degrees do ya? You grab a guitar plug it in, say, Yo I'm gonna crank this ok? and hit a few chords. Right? sounds good? sounds like shit? grab another guitar, different amp, yada yada, say thanks and leave right?

    Let the geeks to the geek work. The marketers sell the crap to me. Then I'll try it out for myself to see if I like it.

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    Science only takes you so far. Actual experience speaks volumes.
    Agreed. But so far everyone seems to be afraid of actually testing what's being preached as fact.

    Then you probably also don't want to believe that:

    - Raising or lowering the TP makes a difference
    - Topwrapping makes a difference
    - Putting Grover Rotomatics on in place of Klusons makes a difference
    - Nashville/ABR-1 makes a difference
    It's not that I don't want to believe it. It's that it makes no logical sense to believe it without some sort of proof.

    All these I have experience with trying on my guitars, and they all make a tonal difference.
    That's fine. But be aware that you believing it doesn't make it so, due to the inherent biases you bring to the experience. These biases are what a double-blind test attempts to mitigate.

    Sorry, but unless you have actual experience with trying these changes, you don't have much to work with. 'nuff said.
    EXACTLY. Which is why controlled testing is important. Otherwise, you're just spouting off opinion, which is fine, if you don't label it as fact.

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by jon9 View Post
    Let the geeks do the geek work. The marketers sell the crap to me. Then I'll try it out for myself to see if I like it.
    Wouldn't you rather have the results of unbiased testing before spending your hard-earned cash on something that makes no tonal difference just because you were the victim of a slick marketing campaign?

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member dlmorley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    1,552

    Re: Tone myths

    My take on this?
    I have a stock 75 Norlin P90 LP and a 81 LP blue standard which is rather special in some ways as it has a lot of the heritage series features, ebony board, nice carve, shaws etc.
    I haven't even bothered changing anything, even on the norlin because I love them as they are. I would consider buying a beat up studio and experimenting though.
    If I was building a guitar from scratch I would probably go the whole hog and have lightweight tailpiece, best pups, ultimate woods etc, but when I buy a guitar, if I like it and it does what I want it to do, I keep it. Otherwise, I sell it. I have replaced pots and wiring due to age (with RS kits, which are great) but that's it.
    None of my favorite musicians had lightweight tailpieces afaik, which doesn't mean they aren't better, but it does mean I have other things to worry about rather than that (like where to put my fingers )

    A blind test? I think I'd need to play the guitar rather than just hear it. And then it would probably be better at some things, worse at others....

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    There is a difference noted by players.
    Is it? How do we know? It's easily tested. Blindfold the player and hand him a guitar and see if he can tell which bridge is being used. If the difference is that dramatic, he or she should be able to pick out the new TP every time. Simple enough.

    Maybe it's all in the players' head, due to the fact that he or she perceives the guitar to be better? That is a valid reason for getting a new TP also, btw. But I'd just like to know for the sake of knowing if you can actually see/feel/hear a difference in a blind test.

  23. #23
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    Agreed. But so far everyone seems to be afraid of actually testing what's being preached as fact.



    It's not that I don't want to believe it. It's that it makes no logical sense to believe it without some sort of proof.



    That's fine. But be aware that you believing it doesn't make it so, due to the inherent biases you bring to the experience. These biases are what a double-blind test attempts to mitigate.



    EXACTLY. Which is why controlled testing is important. Otherwise, you're just spouting off opinion, which is fine, if you don't label it as fact.
    What you are trying to do is get other people to do the work for you. Why not just try it yourself? That IS the easiest and ONLY way for YOU to know for sure, isn't it?

    I mean look, how would YOU setup a test? What equipment would you use? What metrics would you use to test the results and how would you convey them to a reader? Would you even accept the outcome as something you could use to make a decision - doesn't even THAT take faith? Do you actually need a white-paper to figure out what anyone with $50 and some time can do?

    Buy a pack of strings for $5 and string over the tailpice and try it yourself. Buy an aluminum TP and try it. Then come back and tell us what YOU think and what your experience is, as opposed to telling us all what we already KNOW. Then you are contributing because now you have a basis for your arguments.

    Anything else is just futile arguing...

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member Sean French's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,166

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    While I don't doubt that you guys thought you heard a difference in the TP, scientifically, your "test" was bogus, for a couple reasons:

    1. You were financially and emotionally invested in having the upgraded gear be "better" to justify the purchase, thus coloring your perception of the sound

    2. You knew which TP you had on the guitar, which made #1 inescapable.

    I'm interested, for example, in an experiment that at least minimizes the above bias.

    I'd like to have the owner and at least 2 other listeners listen to someone behind a screen playing the guitar with the new and old TP. The listeners would not know which TP was being used, and would have to guess at least 20 times. Another person would do the TP switching, so that the player would also not know which TP was being used (and to create a scientific double-blind testing condition).

    There may indeed be an audible difference, but without a scientific test like the one I just described, it's just an opinion.
    Well,for me I did not care about the investment.$40 was the cost of the RS TP.I did not think I heard a difference.I did.
    The test idea you have is cool.Could be very interesting.

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Wow, Jeff, no need to get hostile and yell (all caps) in your posts.

    I'm actually trying out a test on 12ax7s as we speak. Don't have the TP, so I'm not doing that one in the near future, hence, wanted to see if anyone else was game.

  26. #26
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    Wow, Jeff, no need to get hostile and yell (all caps) in your posts.

    I'm actually trying out a test on 12ax7s as we speak. Don't have the TP, so I'm not doing that one in the near future, hence, wanted to see if anyone else was game.
    Joe, wer'e cool; sometimes I just use caps as accent instead of using bold, italics, etc..

    You see though, even a blindfold test would be difficult to do, in this case. I would very much like a blindfold test myself, but to point out other things... I'll get to that in a minute.

    The problem with a blind test where someone would play a guitar live in front of people, then change something and repeat, is that there is time between the tests and it is a proven fact (not making this up, it's around here somewhere) that people's tonal memory is very flakey to begin with. Just about everyone has had the same guitar, amp, speakers, place, settings on day 1 sound great, only to think they sound like crap on day 2.

    So testing a guitar, swapping a TP and testing again may not gain you much in front of a live audience, but will be much more likely noticable to you as an individual that is actually playing, hearing and feeling the guitar react.

    Now I would like to do a blind test with a group of guitarists where there are a number of different Les Pauls, ranging from vintage originals to modern VOS/Historics and production Standards, where not even the player knows which guitar they are handed/playing, but where the list of guitars is not even known to the participants.

    I would love to get the audience impression on which guitar was which, whether they thought they were new, old, reissues, Standards, etc.. And of course which sounded the overall *best*. Now that is a test I would find entertaining, but even with this test, could you *really* draw any conclusions?

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member jon9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Medford Lakes, NJ
    Posts
    243

    Re: Tone myths

    I notice you place, "Get a good tube amp and throw away those stompboxes already!" as your signature line in your posts.

    How dare you!
    Did you do your double-secret-blind-taste-test and is it scientific fact or your opinion that someone should throw away their "stompboxes"?

    How would I ever know what a "good" tube amp is. Anyone?

    Oh, I know I'll try one out and, get this.....listen with my.....ears. Maybe I would ask for a few "opinions".

    I would not call a SCIENTIST to conduct a freekin' test.

    Are ya gettin it yet?

    As far as scientific tests go, think of all the fellas here as scientists and they're all testing different products, FOR YOU! Because that's just what is going on here. When all the freeks here(me too) sign off agreeing that something is good, it kinda gets the lpf seal of approval, and your good to go.

  28. #28

    Re: Tone myths

    could you not record the guitar both ways and let people hear for themselves? Same mic(s), same position, same amp, same player, same riff, same strings (maybe get 10 packs of strings and weigh each string until you get two of each that match).

    I've got some recording equipment, send me your R9's (with both tail pieces) and I'll record them.
    Orange AD30H/Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier/Marshall JCM 2000 DSL/1960BV/1960B/1960BX/Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Custom/Gibson Les Paul Classic/Gibson Les Paul Special Humbucker SL/Fender American Deluxe Tele/Fender Tom Delonge Strat/Fender P Bass/Ol'Yeller Distortion/TR-2/TU-2/Big Muff/Tube Screamer/Guitar and Bass PODxt

  29. #29
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by OOtim View Post
    could you not record the guitar both ways and let people hear for themselves? Same mic(s), same position, same amp, same player, same riff, same strings (maybe get 10 packs of strings and weigh each string until you get two of each that match).

    I've got some recording equipment, send me your R9's (with both tail pieces) and I'll record them.
    Same player, same pick attack, same pick angle, same emphasis, same phrasing...

    It's really hard to even do this, and then it now depends on playing back through some sound system, etc..

    All I'm really getting at is that is ultimately up to the user to experiment. I mean this place and many others are full of reviews and even some *scientific* numbers, especially regarding pickups specs (resistance, inductance, gauss,...) and what does it really tell you? Not much. You gotta try and play the game *if* you are really curious.

    You really want some fun stuff to debate? There are people that swear that there is a tonal difference which end of the instrument cable is plugged into your amp/guitar, and by flipping you can hear a difference. I'm not even going to go there with my opinion on this, but fortunately many things, like this, can be tried on the cheap.

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by jon9 View Post
    I notice you place, "Get a good tube amp and throw away those stompboxes already!" as your signature line in your posts.

    How dare you!
    Did you do your double-secret-blind-taste-test and is it scientific fact or your opinion that someone should throw away their "stompboxes"?

    How would I ever know what a "good" tube amp is. Anyone?

    Oh, I know I'll try one out and, get this.....listen with my.....ears. Maybe I would ask for a few "opinions".

    I would not call a SCIENTIST to conduct a freekin' test.

    Are ya gettin it yet?

    As far as scientific tests go, think of all the fellas here as scientists and they're all testing different products, FOR YOU! Because that's just what is going on here. When all the freeks here(me too) sign off agreeing that something is good, it kinda gets the lpf seal of approval, and your good to go.
    Obviously, my signature is not meant as a scientific proof.

    Your method is fine for what it is, opinion, belief, myth, what have you. What it is not is a fact.

    If you did my proposed double-blind test under specific conditions, you could then generate facts.

    For example: you could present results that 3 people listening to a random test between a lightweight tailpiece and a standard tailpiece during normal playing (not a recording or a .

    Person A picked the LWTP correctly 9 out of 10 times (90%)
    Person B picked the LWTP correctly 7 out of 10 times (70%)
    Person C picked the LWTP correctly 8 out of 10 times (80%)

    Hence, averaging the results, you get a success rate of 80%. If you got those results, I'd say you had a basis to say that yes, you can hear a tonal difference in the tailpiece during normal playing.

    Obviously, you'd have to do a much larger pool to get the margin of error down for a really definitive study, but at least you'd have some kind of scientific leg to stand on when saying that "yes, it makes a difference."

    And yes, your stompbox sucks. That's my opinion.

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member dwagar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    4,281

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    Capacitor brands? No freaking way.
    Sure they do. Different brands, different construction. PIO, Mylar, etc. DO have different sonic qualities.

    TP height differences can bring out different overtones, so I assume heavy vs light TP may do the same type of thing. However, I've only had light ones, so I can't really comment on a change.
    - Don

    Originally Posted by reswot
    A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

  32. #32

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    Hey, you're getting me wrong here.

    I'm not saying that there is no difference.

    I'm saying that I'd like to see someone test it out to prove whether or not there is.
    I'm not taking this the wrong way. I had a girlfriend that kinda thought like you once...She became a lawyer, so I dumped her.

    At any rate, I know that you're only looking to hear from someone who is or has done or been a part of a double-blind test.

    The fact (empirical scientific evidence) that denser (or larger mass) material resonates at a lower frequency leads to the scientific fact that it does not resonate at a higher frequency. And because of this scientific fact, it is KNOWN that the resonant frequency of ANYTHING has the tendancy to CHOKE OUT any other frequency that it does not resonate at.

    With this scientific fact, it should be CLEAR that there will be (some sort of) a difference in the way the denser, heavier TP transmits string vibration and body resonance, versus a lighter weight TP, which has a different resonant quality. I prefer lighter weight, because I want as much vibration to reach the topwood as is possible. You should too.

    It does not need to be tested.

    I know, you're still wanting someone to prove (or disprove) that they can hear a difference. The only person who can prove it to you is you. I have two absolutely identically-built guitars, both have lightweight tailpieces, you're welcome to send me a factory slug TP, and I will put it on one, then have a friend tell me if there is a difference.

    And yes, they are identical...more identical than you would think possible.

  33. #33
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    Capacitor brands? No freaking way. Cap values? Yes.
    Yes, they do make a difference! Fortunately, this one's easy and fairly cheap to play with. Get a rotory switch and solder in some of your favorite caps, all the same value with different brands or construction (poly, mylar, foil) and switch positions on the switch. You will hear a difference. I've done it and yes, cou can tell.

    Many people think you only hear a difference with tone pots rolled back, but that's not true. That tone circuit is always in there and some signal is always bled to ground through that cap and the tone pot.

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    FWIW, I didn't mean types of caps. I meant brands. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

    Elfin, the facts you quoted may indeed be factual. But can the human ear perceive the difference in tone (which is really all that matters in this debate, right? If a tree falls in the forest, and all that....)? You're on the right track with the testing though.

  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member CharlieS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    2,618

    Re: Tone myths

    It seems that every few months, there is someone who comes along here with the notion that his lack of experience trumps others' first-hand experiences. Historics vs. Bursts, PAFs vs. new pickups, etc.

    Most of us have blown thousands of dollars in gear, so a tailpiece purchase is next to nothing. Many of us have bought parts, installed them, and found that they suck. Then they go to Ebay or the parts bin.

    Most people play and buy based on emotion, not science. It's like sex. You know when it feels right. You don't need some scientific double blind study to state the obvious.


  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieS View Post
    It seems that every few months, there is someone who comes along here with the notion that his lack of experience trumps others' first-hand experiences.
    Thanks for the insult. FWIW, I've been playing guitar for more than 20 years, all of them on a Les Paul. I'm hardly a guitar newbie.

    Most people play and buy based on emotion, not science. It's like sex. You know when it feels right. You don't need some scientific double blind study to state the obvious.
    No, but you do need one to sort blind faith and "gut feelings" from facts. If you're satisfied with your gear and what the group tells you about it, facts be damned, then so be it. I'm more interested in finding out what's real and what's a waste of money.

    This discussion is interesting in that it's become almost like an agnostic vs. churchgoers type thing. People really seem to get bothered when anyone dares challenge their assumptions. And again, for the record. I'm not saying that these things don't have a tonal effect. I'm saying that I'll have to reserve judgement until I see some kind of evidence that they do or don't work.

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member CharlieS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    2,618

    Re: Tone myths

    Playing experience is not the issue. If you haven't tried these things yourself, then you don't have the experience of others here who have tried them. They have said, and I say, that there is a clearly audible difference. You have decided that this isn't good enough, and that a scientifically sound study should be undertaken.

    You haven't tried it, but your doubts mean more to you than others' actual experiences.

    My comment was not meant as an insult, but your dismissal of others' experiences comes off as mildly insulting IMO.

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    598

    Re: Tone myths

    My dismissal of your experiences is not meant as an insult. I am coming simply from a scientific point of view. You cannot have an unbiased test when you know all the variables in the test. It's impossible. The only way to mitigate that inate bias is to perform a double-blind test. Scientifically, I can't "take your word for it."

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member jon9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Medford Lakes, NJ
    Posts
    243

    Re: Tone myths

    Scientifically, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Clapton suck. But I don't want to listen to The Rockin' Rocket Scientists for my musical enjoyment.

  40. #40

    Re: Tone myths

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
    A recent thread here (and some others on my amp boards) got me thinking. (I know, I know, there's a first time for everything ).

    I have a hard time believing that anyone can tell the difference in sound between a lightweight and standard tailpiece in a blind listening test. Same for a weight-relieved vs. solid body or even between NOS vs. new tubes (as long as both are of good quality and in good working order).

    Speakers? Absolutely a tonal difference between them. Strings? Eh, I'm not so sure (although the gauge makes an audible difference). Capacitor brands? No freaking way. Cap values? Yes.

    I would really like to do some a/b tests on these "tone myths" to see if they are myths at all. Has anyone done anything even approaching the scientific method on this stuff?
    +1!

    In regards to strings, I find that the biggest difference is in composition, if we're talking round wounds. For instance, steel-wrapped strings sound a lot different than nickel-wrapped. They also wreck your frets unless you play a Parker Fly ;)

    @ CharlieS

    I've been playing guitar since I was 7. I've played everything under the sun. I am also totally on-board with JoeV on this. There's a lot of cork-sniffing and hurt feelings when somebody can't actually see the Emperor's new clothes, whether it be tenon length, bumblebee caps, or little pictures of Jesus concealed under the pickup cavities. I think it would be nice to separate the BS from the fact, and actually compile a list of things that WILL alter your guitar's tone, rather than your perception of your guitar's tone.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Scroll Down And Click On All Of Our Sponsors' Logos For Their Websites!




i