Bad tone days... psychological?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by Werecow, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. Werecow

    Werecow SS.org Regular

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    I get these days every so often where i just don't like my guitar tone. Sometimes it's immediately cured by changing amp (i have a handful), or boost pedal. Most of the time i wait till the next day and everything is fine again. Tonight i had a really extreme one where everything i heard sounded nasal to me. I changed through all my amps, my two cabs, all my boost pedals, spent ages dialing in all sorts of of tones, and i just couldn't stop hearing a small hint of a nasal sound and hating it (even though most guitar tones have it to some degree).
    What was weird about this evening is that my normal bad tone day isn't usually focussed on something so specific as a nasal aspect to it.

    Anyone else have times like that? And have you come up with a good reason for it other than being in a weird mood or state of mind? I was actually really physically tired, so maybe that had something to do with it.
     
  2. Paul McAleer

    Paul McAleer newborn baby

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    sorry to hear you’re going through a rough patch. Often I have days like this, my only way of getting through them is taking a break from playing for a bit and resting your ears.

    Maybe switching over to acoustic/unplugged could be another option
     
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  3. Quiet Coil

    Quiet Coil Only obsesses over guitars when not playing them.

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    So a lot of factors can play into the severity of tinnitus (stress, sodium, caffeine, fatigue) - don’t see why these might not impact otherwise undamaged hearing. And yeah, I’ve ABSOLUTELY had “bad tone days”. I usually just have to sleep it off.
     
  4. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    It has happened to me too. Some days my amps sound awesome, next day they sound different. Some days they sound harsh and other days muddy and undefined. After a few minutes of playing my ears usually settle but some days they just sound wrong. Strange thing is that if I start sometimes with a lower tuned guitar, play for a while and change to a standard tuned guitar, then it sounds thin and screechy. If I don't change anything and the next day I plug in the standard tuned it will sound great but then if I switch to the lower tuned guitar, then it sound muffled and muddy! While the previous day it was just a chug monster.

    I also noticed when I'm tired I get more annoyed with the sound. When I'm in a meh mood it can go either way, if it goes the right way I get excited and it improves my mood but if it goes the other way it really messes my mood more. A few days of not playing usually helps of I am consistently hearing "bad" tones.
     
  5. Dayn

    Dayn SS.org Regular

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    I used to. Then I went digital and I've never experienced it since. No idea why.
     
  6. nightlight

    nightlight SS.org Regular

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    Our ears don't always perceive things in the same way, and a sound that may have been barely noticeable on one day might seem jarring the next.

    It's basically psychosomatic: your mood can colour your perception. Think of being in love, where you go around with a smile on your face even though everything is falling to pieces. Or think of a messy breakup you're going through, where even the sweetest victories are laced with bitter thoughts.

    I may be wrong about this, but you could try adding a reverb to your tone to make it a bit more lush. That might distract you from the irritating frequencies that are bothering you. Then maybe switch it off after a while and reevaluate.
     
  7. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Bad dirty tone days are solved by playing with clean tones...
     
  8. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    don't forget to replace your dead strings :yesway:
     
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  9. Werecow

    Werecow SS.org Regular

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    I was using standard tuning for the first time after being in drop C for a couple months. I thought it was the EMGs in my standard guitar at first, but i tried passives and it still annoyed me. Eh the mind is a weird thing.
     
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  10. spicevam

    spicevam SS.org Regular

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    I do get that. Usually when working on a new sound. In fact I can never really judge a tone right away. I take a one-day or a two-day break and then come back to it with a set of fresh ears. Then, after I make some final adjustments, the tone is typically good to go. I'd say this whole shtick is indeed psychological. I dealt with it a bunch too. Don't let tone nitpicking get in the way of enjoying your instrument too much.
     
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  11. 70Seven

    70Seven Ibanez Foerever!!!

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    Yup it happens. You mentioned that you were in standard tuning for the first time in a couple a months. I find that I have to tweek my amp when playing Drop C and standard, so much that I don't have any guitars in Drop C anymore. Id set my amp/pedals for the thicker strings and lower notes of drop C and it didn't sound how I'd like when switching to a standard tuned guitar, had to tweek the amp again..

    If you're in a weird mood or tired, you might hear only the "bad parts" of your tone, if you're in a bad mood you focus on the negatives easier... Could be a mind thing, I often play late at night and will have a day here or there when I'm too tired that I find my tone is not right. I just leave all as is and the next morning my tone is fine..
     
  12. Vegetta

    Vegetta Pixel Farmer

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    I never used to have issues with this. Of course then i basically had a guitar in my hand all the damn time. fast forward to now and after several years of hardly playing and getting back into things I have some days when just nothing sounds right.

    Most of the time I can play through it and it ends up being fine but sometimes i just put the guitar away for the day.

    Going digital helps a lot as it seems the tone is a lot more consistent and somedays my tube head just seems like it was replaced with a cardboard box full of shit and other days it is the most amazing sounding thing ever.
     
  13. VibTDog

    VibTDog who farted?

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    After recording/playing for a few hours I have to either take a break or continue the next day because of noise pollution. You just have to reset your brain.
     
  14. nightflameauto

    nightflameauto SS.org Regular

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    Yup, been there.

    I've found there's multiple causes. I have a car with a super bass focused stereo in it (which I need to rectify). But if I go from the car right to my rig and play something everything sounds super high focused and shitty for a bit. My truck on the other hand, is mostly high focused, so if I go straight from that to my rig everything sounds muddy.

    I do think there's several layers to the psychosomatic possibilities as well.

    The one that kills me? Allergy season. Sometimes I forget in the spring or fall when nothing sounds right to me, but allergies get me all gummed up and my ears just can't hear anything the right way. I have to remember to do the neti pot a couple times a day or I'm unable to appreciate guitar for about a month and a half or more at those times of year.
     
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  15. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    This sounds like a really shitty situation man...
     
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  16. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    Happens to me at least once a week. I spend all my free-time in my studio, either recording/mixing/writing presets on my AxeFX. Some days I get in there and listen to what I did the day before and all I hear is annoying high end. Some days it’s too muffled.

    Last week I went 3 straight days where everything seemed thin and way too bright. Changed a bunch of my AxeFX presets and completely re-mixed a song. Went back a day later and hated everything I did.

    Usually it’s not THAT bad, but last week was on a different level. Usually I just hear high end a lot more other days than I do others.
     
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  17. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    Probably just fatigue.
    Gotta step back for awhile, play on low volume then go crank it again after a bit.
     
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  18. Phlegethon

    Phlegethon SS.org Regular

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    I've had my fair share of these days. Made worse by the fact that I only have one amp at the moment. Usually one of my fixes for this was to switch up the amp I was using. Other fixes that other posters mentioned are also valid, I've had to use the 'sleep it off' one a few times. Would avoid doing anything permanent to my rig unless something persisted over time.
     
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  19. nightlight

    nightlight SS.org Regular

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    This is an even bigger problem while mixing for me. I'll spend hours mixing something and think it sounds great, then I'll come back the next day and everything sounds like a mess.
     
  20. Humbuck

    Humbuck Can't stop, won't stop

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    Weed makes it go away...for me at least.
     

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