Bad tone days... psychological?

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

  1. thebeesknees22

    thebeesknees22 SS.org Regular

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    Humidity does affect sound. I swear it's a thing. google it. lol

    My old band teacher used to say it all the time.
     
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  2. BMFan30

    BMFan30 SS.org Regular

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    How interesting to read so many people saying it's psychological which has to do with fatigue, caffeine, stress & tinnitus. Some things are making clearer sense to me now.
     
  3. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, of course. Unless you have actually damaged your ears, hearing is completely "in your head". How you, or someone else, perceives something is not a predictable science.

    Your brain does an INCREDIBLE job at normalising things in almost every aspect of life. Like, when you crank your monitors it seems super loud, but quickly it feels normal. When you step outside and it's super bright, and then you get used to it, or vice-versa. Or when you walk into a house and it stinks of dog, but after a few minutes you stop noticing it. Same for most emotions too. So no surprise that how your guitar tone sounds is going to depend heavily on context. As others said, when you've been chugging in drop B, and move to standard, it sounds terribly bright and weedy, but when you go back to B, it's all muffled and saggy.

    Basically yeah, we all have "bad tone days" where everything sounds wrong. Honestly man, just take a break and use your brain - know that a tone/preset you liked yesterday didn't suddenly get bad. That means it's your judgment which is probably impaired and you shouldn't make any mixing decisions right now.
     
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  4. Lopp

    Lopp SS.org Regular

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    Good thread, as this just happened two days ago. Both my AX8 presets and my Mark IV sounded off. The day before they sounded great and the day after they sounded great. To top it off, I'm pretty sure I got enough sleep each night and was in a decent enough mood.

    Like @budda mentioned, often changing strings is a huge help, especially if you go for days thinking your tone is dead. I've had enough instances where I though I needed a new amp and fortunately happened to change strings before buying one, because that fixed everything. Then again, sometimes your tone sounds fine the next day without changing anything.

    It is probably multiple factors: physiological, psychological, and environmental. I tend to agree with @thebeesknees22 that humidity and other environmental factors, like barometric pressure, are often major culprits of bad tone days. For example, barometric pressure will affect the environment your instrument and sound waves are operating in and also affect your physiology, such as by compressing and expanding body tissues, which will affect your perception of your tone.
     
  5. Marked Man

    Marked Man SS.org Regular

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    It's more than a little important to keep your ears relatively free of excess WAX also. That will absolutely affect your perception of the top end frequencies. I always do a warmup on the clean channel and work my way over the hi-gain after the tubes are thoroughly warmed up. The Lead channel sounds puny when the tubes aren't yet up to optimum temp.
     
  6. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    I have long since just given up on days like this. I’ve had enough time with these guitars/amps to know it’s not gonna be fixable for me.

    Just write it off as a bad day and let it go, go do something else. It’s not worth the frustration to me.
     
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  7. Iron1

    Iron1 Old School Blacksmith

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    The condition of your sinuses affects how things sound as well. Ask any singer about it. Anything from mild allergies, slight congestion, minor swelling all the way to full blown respiratory infection alters what things sound like to us. Add to that humidity (as mentioned above) and the variance in tube amps and yeah, love it one day, hate it the next.
     
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  8. possumkiller

    possumkiller Square Dance Caller

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    This happens to me sometimes. One day my tone is epic and the next day it's fail. I find that if I go over every part of my rig I can usually find the culprit. By the time I've replaced the strings, nut, pickups, amp, pedals, and use a different pick, my tone is usually epic again.
     
  9. ShiroNekoMusic

    ShiroNekoMusic SS.org Regular

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    I always play unplugged or switch to my acoustic guitar when I have bad tone days, they happen when I'm usually playing too much, not playing for a couple days helps a lot too.
     
  10. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    I can also see it as a matter of mood. If you have to schedule your free time to do certain things- which I find myself having to do more often now- this means playing when not particularly inspired which I think more often than not the lack of enthusiasm influences the experience.

    Also, there are the times where you realize that you don't like certain sounds anymore. For instance, it recently seemed all so sudden that I went from loving to hating my MXR Carbon Copy.
     
  11. McKay

    McKay ʎɐʞɔW

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  12. Amer Alameddine

    Amer Alameddine SS.org Regular

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    Most days when I sound bad, it's because I'm playing bad; not fretting correctly, not muting properly, picking lightly...etc. In my case it's never the gear, since I use plugins so they're always going to be the same. And it starts to grow, when you play bad, you're a bit discouraged, and that makes you play worse, and you get more discouraged, and so forth. And when you factor in stress, how much rest you've had, and your mood before grabbing the guitar, all that comes into play. Usually on those days the first 30 minutes or hour (sometimes more) are pretty bad, but once I warmed up I start to sound better because I have more control. You just have to stick to it in that little time and get over that hump in those days. I don't know if your experience is similar, but I hope this sort of helps at least.
     
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  13. Hired Goon

    Hired Goon SS.org Regular

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    Great post.

    I certainly experience this from time to time. Sometimes I feel it's just a fatigue thing. If I'm just going half-assed and playing lazy/sloppy I think it goes hand in hand with bad tone. As some have said, maybe once you've warmed up a bit or switched amps (or presets) it comes back. It's a funny thing but it is real.

    Same in the gym (prior to Covid). Some days I can bang off some reps on the bench and it feels easy. Other days the same weight feels ridiculously heavier.
     
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  14. wakjob

    wakjob SS.org Regular

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    From a technical standpoint...

    Grab a digital multi-meter and measure your wall voltage on different days and at different times.
    You'll be "shocked" at the changes and what they will do to a tube amps tone & feel.

    Another one is temperature and humidity with both amps and especially speakers.
     
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  15. wakjob

    wakjob SS.org Regular

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    During allergy season, cut back or cut out sugar, starches, and most importantly DAIRY products!
    They all contribute to excess mucus and histamine agitation.
     
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  16. thebeesknees22

    thebeesknees22 SS.org Regular

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    Ok so...ya'll may laugh at me, but I swear this works.

    If you have allergies: put a little bit of vaseline in your nose. Not tons, just a little bit. I swear it works. It keeps all that junk from going up your nostrils and it'll keep the inside of your nose from drying out.

    I have really bad bad allergies, and I got tired of it. So after months of googling I ran across that and tried it and .....i swear it works.

    I haven't had issues or been sick ever since I started doing that.
     
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  17. Werecow

    Werecow SS.org Regular

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    Seems there can be quite a few reasons for this. I have low moods sometimes which seems to be a major factor, but i do have occasional sinus problems as well, though luckily not hayfever.

    I picked up my stuff a couple days later and everything sounded great again.
    I'll have these days every couple of months or so. Just that this one was so focussed on such a small part of the sound it confused me.
     
  18. Se7enHeaven

    Se7enHeaven SS.org Regular

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    Not sure your age... but I'm 56 and I get that more as I age. Frequencies are different as we age, particularly the upper range. In my father's later years, he couldn't hear birds chirping. They still annoy me (3 am), and so, I guess I'm still youngish.
     
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