• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

Tone myths

JoeV

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
598
So I guess it's better to just be blind?

Look, I agree that trying the newest whiz-bang fad of the moment for the LPF is fun. We're here to swap ideas, get tips, share experiences. That's all cool, and if that's what you are about, have at it!

As for me, I have a curiosity as to whether these things work as advertised to the unbiased observer. It's not a matter of life or death, nor a reason to personally insult me or stalk me on the forums. I'd just like to know.

Does chicken soup cure colds?
Does getting wet make you sick?
Is the world flat?

These are all bullshit theories that people fervently believed until SCIENCE proved that they were bullshit. Guitar parts don't rank right up there in the larger scheme of things, granted, but ignoring science doesn't make your point true.

And who knows, maybe an experiment would prove that yes, lightweight TPs sound totally different? We'll never know for sure until we test it.

And if you still reject that any testing is ever necessary, then I have some guitar cords to sell you that are made out of magic super trilithium that is 100% GUARANTEED to make your tone JUST LIKE CLAPTON!!!! :rolleyes: :rofl
 

CharlieS

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2002
Messages
2,618
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 guess it isn't personal to imply that we are so invested in a tailpiece that we can't objectively evaluate the improvement/lack of improvement. Our word isn't good enough for you.

Nominations will be taken to head up the peer review committee, which will review and approve all studies for publication. Once the studies are peer reviewed and approved, a list of 'approved' vendors can be posted.

tailpiece.jpg
 

JoeV

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
598
Of course it wasn't personal. You were biased because you knew what you were testing. Therefore, your test was inherently flawed. It's the scientific method, plain and simple.

Look, if you think it's all peaches and cream, be my guest, man. But, no, without any shred of proof other than "I said so," it's opinion.
 

CharlieS

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2002
Messages
2,618
Scientific method and guitar playing don't seem to be the recipe for generating much excitement.

You already have a hypothesis. Why don't you start collecting data so that you can advance a theory?

If you want to present your findings, I'm sure there will be some around here who might be interested.

Experience is the best teacher.
 

JoeV

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
598
What's funny here is that this thread didn't even start out as the TP subject. I just wondered if anyone had actually tested any of this stuff.

I guess the general consensus is that "we don't know and we don't want to know" on that question.

Honestly, I don't really care about the tailpiece enough to drop a 50 spot on it to do the A/B. I am conducting another test on amp tubes (another area where folks blindly believe the hype a lot of the time), but that's again not the point.

Ignorance is bliss for most of the folks here, I guess. I am a little surprised and disappointed that this devolved so quickly into my personal vilification, though.
 

AndyC

Active member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
1,928
This thread is hilarious. I don't recall seeing anyone get beaten up quite so badly for having the bad manners to suggest conducting what could be an interesting and valid experiment. I don't see him attacking anyone, or insulting anyone, he just suggested that it might be interesting to see if, on average, listeners perceived a difference in tone between a standard and a lightweight tailpiece - all else equal.

I work at a University, where I'm also a PhD student. We run tests all the time, and there's usually very little anger involved. We also have fun and experiment - and sometimes even play music!

Some people here have argued that testing isn't necessary. How much of everything we do or discuss here on the LPF is "necessary"? :lol The idea has merit and the result would be at least as interesting as everyone's personal opinions on the matter. What's the harm?

P.S. Once again Phil takes the prize for best post in an otherwise dreadful thread..:lol
 

PixelBurst

Active member
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Messages
4,089
I think it comes down to the fact that no one here gives two shits about proving anything scientifically. You try something out and either you hear a difference or you don't. Setting up a scientific experiment on tailpieces seems like a waste of time.
 

jon9

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2005
Messages
243
This thread is hilarious. I don't recall seeing anyone get beaten up quite so badly for having the bad manners to suggest conducting what could be an interesting and valid experiment. I don't see him attacking anyone, or insulting anyone, he just suggested that it might be interesting to see if, on average, listeners perceived a difference in tone between a standard and a lightweight tailpiece - all else equal.

I work at a University, where I'm also a PhD student. We run tests all the time, and there's usually very little anger involved. We also have fun and experiment - and sometimes even play music!

Some people here have argued that testing isn't necessary. How much of everything we do or discuss here on the LPF is "necessary"? :lol The idea has merit and the result would be at least as interesting as everyone's personal opinions on the matter. What's the harm?

P.S. Once again Phil takes the prize for best post in an otherwise dreadful thread..:lol

Not insulting anyone? I think taking all the experience of everyone here (not knowing what it may be mind you) professional and non and just throwing it out because there wasn't a full-fleged scientific study (which would cost far more than a freekin' tailpiece so he could hear for himself) is insulting to myself and others here.
But I'm not angry or anything. We debate we learn.
 

JoeV

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
598
Not insulting anyone? I think taking all the experience of everyone here (not knowing what it may be mind you) professional and non and just throwing it out because there wasn't a full-fleged scientific study (which would cost far more than a freekin' tailpiece so he could hear for himself) is insulting to myself and others here.
But I'm not angry or anything. We debate we learn.

:lol C'mon man, you found my posts insulting? Are you joking?
 

Wilko

All Access/Backstage Pass
Joined
Mar 11, 2002
Messages
20,129
Wow, this thread did get real weird this time.

Does the changing the tail piece produce a change noticable to a listener? Well, maybe.

I guarantee that I can make the same guitar sound different enough to be noticed by a casual observer just by picking differently.

I could make the test double blind too.
 

CharlieS

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2002
Messages
2,618
:lol C'mon man, you found my posts insulting? Are you joking?

You don't seem to get it. You are dismissive of our experiences, citing the need for scientific studies to discern whether we have been compromised by our desire to find improvement ("scientifically bogus" was the term, I believe). However, you don't want to do the tests yourself and you don't want to spend the money on the part. This comes off as being an armchair critic. If you came here announcing that you were conducting a double blind study and were seeking volunteers, or you announced your results, your reception would have been far different.

Many of us have boxes of pickups we have bought, hoping that they'd be the next great thing, only to find that they didn't measure up in a particular guitar. I have light and heavier tailpieces.. one might work well in one guitar, but not so well in another. What we look to hear is very subjective, and I think that the testing would be a waste of time.

If you seek to improve the tone of a particular guitar, there really aren't any shortcuts other than to buy and try....or borrow and try.
 

JoeV

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
598

If you are serious, I apologize. I did not mean to insult anyone, of course. That said, you can't expect anyone to just take everything you say on faith alone or you're going to have a lot of insulting moments down the road of life.

Good luck to you.
 

JoeV

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
598
You don't seem to get it. You are dismissive of our experiences, citing the need for scientific studies to discern whether we have been compromised by our desire to find improvement ("scientifically bogus" was the term, I believe).

Dudes, the scientific method is not out to get you. I don't make the rules of experimentation, I'm just telling you what they are. If that runs contrary to your feelings of how expert your opinions are, then what can I say? You'll have to deal with that, I guess.

I didn't dismiss anything. I merely posed a question. And yes, for the last time, your "test" was scientifically bogus. I'm not trying to insult your experience, okay? But your opinion does not carry the same weight as would an unbiased, double-blind study. Sorry if that rubs you the wrong way, but that's the way it works.
 

CharlieS

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2002
Messages
2,618
Why do you keep going on about the scientific method? Do you think we're that ignorant? Many of us went to good universities. The scientific method is no mystery, nor is it terribly difficult to follow. One of my younger sons (in middle school) was studying the scientific method this past week.

Simply put, you want to see testing which adheres to scientific standards before you will be satisfied. I and others have been trying to explain, apparently in vain, that the effort required for such testing would outweigh the potential benefits.

Why not do a double blind test of an Epiphone vs. Historic? You might save thousands of dollars by buying the cheaper guitar. Do you see where this can lead?
 

JoeV

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
598
Why do you keep going on about the scientific method?

I keep going on about it because you seem to think that my having stated that you had a bias is a personal insult. It isn't.

Simply put, you want to see testing which adheres to scientific standards before you will be satisfied. I and others have been trying to explain, apparently in vain, that the effort required for such testing would outweigh the potential benefits.

I have a feeling that there is no sonic difference between these components. But I do not know that. The only way to prove that scientifically is to test that theory. Asking someone's opinion on it might give you a starting point, but, and I cannot stress this enough, it does not prove anything. (I don't really care enough one way or the other to plunk down my money, as I've said before, and which is why I asked in the original post if anyone had done the tests already.)

If you don't need proof to satisfy you that the tone is good, then fine. You don't need it. But please don't act your opinion that you can hear a difference is proof. It isn't.

Why not do a double blind test of an Epiphone vs. Historic? You might save thousands of dollars by buying the cheaper guitar. Do you see where this can lead?

Absolutely, why not do one? I'd be interested in seeing those results as well. :biggrin:
 

drjimmy

New member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
65
As someone who teaches engineering, I would like to applaud the efforts of JoeV, Cheburashka and AndyC for their desire to learn more about tone using relatively unbiased methods.

IMHO there are two aspects to tone:

1. The magical, Spinal Tap type which gives us that rush and if we don't have to do it for a living, is really only relative and important to one's own ears.

2. Since the electric guitar is an amplified instrument, it lends itself to alot of tweaking, as can be attested to by all the changes people have described here. The waveforms produced can be transformed to mathematical terms and subjected to analysis which is very precise and not subjective to different people's 'ear.'

For example, PAF's are often decribed as having a "magical" tone, which may be true, but there is really nothing magical about it because it can be quantified and described rather accurately. Here is a link which goes into more detail:

http://www.gitarrenelektronik.de/elektronik/elektronik.html

With pretty much everyone having access to a computer and microhone, it can really be alot of fun to record some samples and perform some simple analysis to 'see' what their guitar sounds like or see how this changes when tailpieces, pickups, caps, etc. are changed.

All it takes is a little reading on something called Fourier and spectral analysis (not as scary as it sounds) and software which can be obtained free:

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

:2zone
 
Top