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Tone myths

SixStringSamurai

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Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
109
I'd like to take this discussion in a less controversial direction...is there a god? If there is, would he/she favor a light tail-piece?
 

KyKaH

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Nov 23, 2006
Messages
202
I've heard a story about a very famous dude (I think it was Eric Johnson). He was in a custom shop ordering a new strat. He asked the luthier to make a little deeper pool where springs are in the back of the body like in his older guitar. Luthier doubted that it'll make any difference in the tone. That famous dude took a stompbox and two batteries (let's say Energizer and Duracell). It happend that he could tell the difference in tone between the two brands of batteries blindfolded.
Another story about Holdsworth at Ibanez factory who demostrated that he can hear the difference between different wire types going from pickup in his signature guitar.

I don't know if those are absolute truths, but I've met people who can hear the differences between smallest details in gear.
 

guitarvoodoo

Formerly fishnose, Les Paul Forum Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Messages
2,000
Logic dictates that laws of physics (nature, whatever you want to call it) must be obeyed. Those laws say that there are differences in the two tailpieces. JoeV wasn't addressing that directly, only that he didn't think there was anybody who could hear it.

The laws of physics say that something can't change what it is. An alloy tailpiece is an alloy tailpiece. A cast iron tailpiece is a cast iron tailpiece. There are laws physics that dictate how those objects will behave, and the different physical traits of those two separate items will be measurable.

There are factors that can alter the way those two different items will behave such as temperature and/or other factors that may enfluence each item at different rates.

Ah... exactly. Well said
All the rabid "go buy a TP and try it" people in here are such a bloody joke. JoeV asked a simple and perfectly reasonable question - whether the claims that the difference in sound/tone between say different TPs is subjective or objective - or maybe a bit of both.
Perfectly reasonable question. Same kind of question should be asked about just about everything in life.

All beliefs should be questioned. Belief without some kind of backing is pretty much the same thing as prejudice. 'It's true because it's true'.

So much angry denial and sarcasm just proves that people here don't DARE even think of trying to measure something so holy as their holiest cow - the magical tonal differences. Because they are probably fully aware that it won't be measurable and therefore is questionable.

Of course I don't for a moment suggest that the differences don't exist - they may very well be there - even for something as hilarious as switching the tuners and swearing the guitar sounds "woodier"! :rofl Although that's pretty far off the track.
But as with anything else in our society - can you actually measure it? Or is it all in your head - like the proof that your particular god exists?
Maybe that's what the tonal differences are - something religious. And therefore of course not measurable, by definition. Belief and faith - not fact.

Anybody who can't understand my Devil's Advocate position and can't understand that I'm not actually taking up a position for or against tonal differences needn't waste my time (or their own) even replying to this. Read properly, try to understand what you read, THEN reply. Whatever you are reading, my text or anyone else's. Don't assume, don't condemn unless you really get the point.
If you open your mouth and spew disdain without understanding, (the way Joe has been treated here) the only one with egg on their face is you.

Anyone is most welcome to debate anything I say - but first understand my POV and JoeV's in his first post. Most of everything else here has been rubbish. You think I'm being elitist? Awwww....

And hey!! Remember the guy who thought these solid body guitars up in the first place? Les Paul? He was (is) very scientifically minded indeed. Never did the magic thing.
In fact he would likely hate this talk about the body resonating - the whole idea of a solid body guitar was (in his own words) to get the guitar to stop vibrating and have ONLY the strings vibrate, thereby creating a perfect situation where the exact vibrations of the strings are converted to a voltage and not messed up by the bloody guitar doing it's sympathetic vibration thing.
Fascinating isn't it? He had no idea what he was unleashing on the world.

So - have I now proven that I am not a worthy member of this forum? Not enough of an unquestioning believer? :rolleyes:

:] Fish
 

KyKaH

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Joined
Nov 23, 2006
Messages
202
Physically speaking the tailpiece is an end point of string oscillation system. So changing material, weight and fixing method will definetely change the sound believe it or not. Willl you hear this change? - it is another story. Somebody will somebody will not I guess. I can tell you that when I changed the tailpiece system to Faber (with locking studs) and played it accousticaly my wife told me that guitar plays louder, but she did not know that I changed the studs and tp and I did not ask her. But what does she know about guitars? )) nothing
 
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Zhangliqun

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Jul 16, 2001
Messages
5,204
Who brought this thing back from the dead? I just read through it again and I was pretty passionate. Think I've mellowed out some in just 17 months. But to review an important point -- fishnose, it wasn't the "perfectly reasonable question" that was the problem, it was the dismissive attitude that even a good-sized group of some of the most experienced guitar players on the planet is "just guessing", as if we're every bit as in the dark about these things as a complete novice.

That doesn't mean folks like us who have been playing, often pro or semi-pro, for 30 years or more can't be fooled. We can, and we can be victims of our own expectations, like the guy in the music store fake-turning knobs on amps for customers, or the "Soar" button in the Adventures of Mixerman. (Depending on the gear we're talking about, many of us even openly admit that we have to have a guitar or pedal or whatever just a certain way, even though we know it makes no significant difference in the sound or playability, and we even poke fun at ourselves about it.) But from there it doesn't automatically follow that we're all "just guessing" all or even most of the time. Such a body of experience as there is in here has to count for something.

And KyKah and others have it exactly right -- if you change the material of a tailpiece or other part to a different material, by scientific definition it HAS to react differently to sound waves/vibrations. The only question is whether it's enough of a difference that the average player can hear it. Whether this difference "better" or not is about as subjective as it gets, but it will cause the air to vibrate differently.
 

Hamish5178

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Joined
May 29, 2007
Messages
360
I'd like to take this discussion in a less controversial direction...is there a god? If there is, would he/she favor a light tail-piece?

Surely no matter what god favored every human would twist it differently towards their own ends.

I for one believe god wants everybody on this forum to send me money for a '64 FB I.

Otherwise they'll go to hell. . .

:2zone
 

Fixxxer

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Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
247
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 :rofl ).

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).

Yes I can. A chambered body lester vs a solid body is night and day. The solid has more low end goodness.:dude: :dude:
 

plonky17

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Joined
Jun 5, 2007
Messages
165
I've heard a story about a very famous dude (I think it was Eric Johnson). He was in a custom shop ordering a new strat. He asked the luthier to make a little deeper pool where springs are in the back of the body like in his older guitar. Luthier doubted that it'll make any difference in the tone. That famous dude took a stompbox and two batteries (let's say Energizer and Duracell). It happend that he could tell the difference in tone between the two brands of batteries blindfolded.
Another story about Holdsworth at Ibanez factory who demostrated that he can hear the difference between different wire types going from pickup in his signature guitar.

I don't know if those are absolute truths, but I've met people who can hear the differences between smallest details in gear.

In relation to the 'perfect pitch' story, there is a scientific basis to the assertion that a very small minority can recognise individual sound frequencies without external refeerence.

A study of 1000 people with absolute pitch was conducted at the University of California by a geneticist, Jane Gitschier. The participants could instantly and effortlessly label a series of randomly presented musical tones.

There is a combination of heritability and early musical training that allows these people to have absolute pitch. Where they found error was in the notes surrounding A. Some of the participants were more likely to label G Sharp as A more than any other error. They also perceived A Sharp more frequently as A. This has been hypothesised that because A is a universal tuning frequency for most bands and orchestras, there is a disproportionate exposure to the key and may act as a perceptual magnet for fooling the mind into a musical category.

Essentially the research shows that a very small percentage of people CAN tell the difference in a slight frequency change. For the rest of us, it is most likely a 'demand characteristic' (which is a term whereby a participant unknowingly reflects the desire of the experimenter to achieve a certain outcome - or in laymans terms - hearing what you want to hear.)

I don't have the full journal article results but an overview can be found on Carpenter, S. (2008) Perfect yet imperfect. Scientific American Mind, p. 11.

Grant
 
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Billy Porter

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Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
1,128
We can, and we can be victims of our own expectations, like the guy in the music store fake-turning knobs on amps for customers

You have to get your fun whenever you can :wah
 

guitarvoodoo

Formerly fishnose, Les Paul Forum Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Messages
2,000
Surely no matter what god favored every human would twist it differently towards their own ends.

I for one believe god wants everybody on this forum to send me money for a '64 FB I.

Otherwise they'll go to hell. . .

:2zone

Hah! That's YOUR god. My god wants you to send all the money to ME....

:] Fish
 

Gros Tigre

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Joined
Dec 3, 2007
Messages
101
I've only made it to page 3 of this thread, but man!! both sides have real convincing arguments. I'd would LLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOVVVE to see someone try what was suggested in this quote. Thats all I have to say.

i posted a "pepsi challenge" up on the gibson forum, asking someone to record a short clip using their gibson LP through a Marshall AVT 100 (amp would have to be the same as mine to be fair). I asked them to pick a song and record a bit and email me the amp settings so i could reproduce that sound. Then i would record the same clip with my fully modded epi with the same amp on the same setting and post BOTH clips up (renamed so he couldnt tell). Then i was going to post a poll to see if people could guess which was which. I predicted that it would end up being close 50% right, 50% wrong (basically it would just be a guessing game)... man o man, did i get gunned down!!!! everyone just said how stupid i was and that of course they'd be able to tell... yet funnily enough NO ONE took me up on the challenge!
 

DrumBob

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Dec 14, 2003
Messages
160
I think there's entirely too much emphasis put on getting tone today. It's turned most of us into pilgrims on a never-ending quest for some kind of sonic nirvana. Plug the guitar in, adjust your settings so you have a nice sound, and PLAY the sumbitch. :2zone
 

ssdeluxe

Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
40
I think there's entirely too much emphasis put on getting tone today. It's turned most of us into pilgrims on a never-ending quest for some kind of sonic nirvana. Plug the guitar in, adjust your settings so you have a nice sound, and PLAY the sumbitch. :2zone


+1000000000
finally some clarity..(revisited clarity...this was a long dead thread) !!!! lol

this is one of those that you don't need science for (I agree with a previous poster there): different: yes, better: maybe, eyeofthebeholder territory.

my experience has been, changing the tp might have changed the freq. curve a bit....not appreciable and certainly didn't make me a better player or really improve my sound, I think that's in your touch..but that's a whole other dead horse beating thread.

also, I have on 2 occaisions bought fancy pots and caps and I have concluded its overkill, but if you dig it...go for it. I only need good quality pots with audio taper and decent caps (o drops are fine)..sometimes spinnin' the wheels won't translate to being a better player..

major ymmv to this one.

but I'm with, play them guitars and don't worry too much....that energy can be used to create gr8t music !!!!
 

Litcrit

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May 9, 2002
Messages
5,990
I only skimmed this thread, my ADD got in the way.

Lots of factors affect tone. The biggest one? HOW I FEEL THAT PARTICULAR DAY! Some days I'm "on" and it's right there, other days, I'm not, and it's not.

Tone is primarily in the fingers (amps help too..) That's ALL the vast majority of folks ever notice. Jimi would be Jimi playing an Indonesian plywood strat, just as Duane would be Duane playing a Hondo. There's a noticeable difference most of the time between single coil and humbucker guitars, BUT the inconvenient truth is that the guitar is the LEAST of it, well behind the player, the amp, and the processing. We care about our axes because we're players, but as the owner of 80+ guitars, I can tell you the main difference is how I'm feeling, and my amp choice.
 
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Gros Tigre

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Dec 3, 2007
Messages
101
Well said. Some days I'd way rather watch hockey than play guitar. Some days I feel uninspired and some days I wonder why I didn't plug in and play earlier.
 

wicked1

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Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
842
I just love this thread.

I suspect there are more guys like myself. I need to know what part of the song must have the correct pickup, just the right amount of reverb, only the correct amount of chorus, etc. Then I listen back to a recording of a gig and I couldn't hear any significant change in sound, or what fx were on or missing, sometimes what guitar I'm using. I conclude these little things matter only to me. If it helps put me in the zone, then it has served its cause. :salude

btw, the light tailpiece certainly changes the tone. For the better is subjective.
 
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