Not including amps and pedals, what's one piece of gear that I can buy to have a better guitar tone at home?

Dr. Caligari

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Remember that the recordings you hear are close miced with a dynamic microphone. Just that alone means that it's a fundamentally different tone than what is heard in the room. This is because the mic is in front of the speaker rather than out in the room and it picks up/emphasizes frequencies that your ears do not. They are also tracked two or four times (typically) which also alters the tone dramatically. It's not realistic to expect room tones to sound like recorded tones.

That said, if you just want to change/improve your tone eq wise I would go to cab/speakers first.
 

Edika

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Yeah, guitar speakers do play a big role in your tone.

One way to emulate a somewhat recorded guitar tone would be to use amp sims and IR's through an interface and a DAW. This takes out the room acoustics that can really impact the sound you hear.
 

Nicki

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Someone already mentioned the speaker, but really, a quality cabinet is going to make the biggest difference.

However, without knowing what your current setup is, it's hard to make any recommendations.

Ultimately though, it comes down to the amp as a whole. I'm guessing you asked this question in this way because you're not 100% happy with your tone but can't afford a new amp.
 

bostjan

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I have tried a few amps and various pedals and have decided to not buy anymore gear unless it improves my guitar tone like one you'd hear on the radio/record. I've never bought any mixers or racks, but as someone who does not own a kemper or an axe-effects, is there something aside from amps and pedals that can improve the quality of any guitars tone to make it sound more like it does on a professionally mixed album or even a live recording? If you've read this, then yes... you are right.. I really don't know much about gear.
I believe that the most important thing, by a country mile, is learning how to dial in the gear that you use. I think too many players, not necessarily you, but a lot of them, tend to grab whatever guitar and plug it into whatever amp and flick on the ON switch and then hate their tone and just turn it off instead of trying to fiddle with any of the knobs and switches and things.

I ran into this just a couple days ago. I know it's coming off as an old man yelling at a cloud, but I've seen this a lot with younger players. But this guy, guitarist in a touring band, obviously knew how to play, was really complaining about his amp's tone. I took a peek and he had every fucking knob dimed. I was like, "hey man, maybe your knobs got rotated when you were setting up, but I think that's your problem." The guy might have just been nervous, but he led me to believe that he had no idea that the knobs were supposed to be adjusted to taste, and then was just like "well, I don't have time to fuck with this, so we'll just go on with the show with this shitty guitar tone." I was thinking that philosophy was just crazy, but I guess what do I know?

And a lot of touring bands will be perfectly fine borrowing each other's amps and even guitars these days. I've bitched about this before, but I've played at festivals where other bands showed up with absolutely nothing other than their persons, expecting to be supplied with amps, cords, guitars, picks, capos, ...everything. I'm sorry, but there's no way I would be able to operate like that. I've even played shows where the promoter told us to only bring guitars and cymbals. I like playing through my own shit, not because I think my shit is superior to whatever shit the venue has on the back line, but because I know how to operate my own shit. If the amp they plug me into sounds like a barrel full of farts or a dremel cutting through a beehive, then I have to spend extra time fucking with it to get it to sound halfway acceptable, and if I never played with whatever gear it is, then I have to spend even more time learning how to adjust it. The gear I own, on the other hand, is stuff I've already spent dozens or hundreds of hours dialing in, so I know how it responds to different adjustments, and I know how to adjust it in reaction to something that doesn't sound great.

So, if you don't know much about gear, who cares? If you don't know much about your own gear that you already have, I'd strongly recommend learning about it before you do anything else. No matter what your gear is, I'm sure there is great tone in it somewhere, but it takes time to develop the skill to know how to access that great tone.
 

Kosthrash

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"to have better guitar tone" is subjective and undefined... What gear do you have and which guitar tone is your favorite to approach (from which album/guitarist)?
Also coming from classical guitar to 7-string electric is huge difference to the frequencies, I assume you are using a guitar pick, even the type of the pick has effect in your (electric) tone...
 

JimF

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I can't find a way to agree with the above post more. Totally sums up my experience of playing shows. Promoters saying "Just bring your guitars, amps & cymbals" and then us turning up to find just one cabinet. Having to drive home to fetch a 4x12 in a VW Golf hatchback.
I never had a great setup, but I knew what worked. I remember trying other rental amps at practice spaces and not being able to get a decent tone. Imagine that was a gig. One guitarist sounding like Kerry King and the other sounding like Angus Young.

Sidetracked...

OP - What guitar & pickups do you have? The low quality may be down to rubbish standard OEM pickups. They may be EMGs and you just don't like their tone. They may be Bare Knuckles but your amp is faulty etc etc.
If you advise what amp and guitar you have we can advise where the limitations may be coming from.
You mentioned a lo-fi sound (IIRC), could this be down to thin sounding pickups and too much gain?
 

wheresthefbomb

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I've even played shows where the promoter told us to only bring guitars and cymbals. I like playing through my own shit, not because I think my shit is superior to whatever shit the venue has on the back line, but because I know how to operate my own shit. If the amp they plug me into sounds like a barrel full of farts or a dremel cutting through a beehive, then I have to spend extra time fucking with it to get it to sound halfway acceptable, and if I never played with whatever gear it is, then I have to spend even more time learning how to adjust it. The gear I own, on the other hand, is stuff I've already spent dozens or hundreds of hours dialing in, so I know how it responds to different adjustments, and I know how to adjust it in reaction to something that doesn't sound great.

Yeah. I'll happily lend my amps out to people I trust, but I bring my own every time. At least then if it sounds like shit I know who to blame.

Also, I don't like fiddling with settings on another person's gear. I know where my knobs go and I always tell people they can adjust as needed, but I don't have that same confidence in everybody else, nor do I want to spend a bunch of time trying to learn how a brand new tone stack works when I'm supposed to be performing in 5 minutes.

Also also, A+ tone similes, will definitely be using "barrel full of farts" and "dremel cutting through a beehive" as tone descriptors in the future.
 

Deadpool_25

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First you need to understand that a LOT goes into recorded album tones. Without writing a dissertation, I'll just say you might get closest with a modeler or through a DAW and some plugins.

But some important questions to me would be:

1. What tones are good examples of what you're aiming for?
2. What gear do you have now?
 

owlexifry

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First you need to understand that a LOT goes into recorded album tones. Without writing a dissertation, I'll just say you might get closest with a modeler or through a DAW and some plugins.

But some important questions to me would be:

1. What tones are good examples of what you're aiming for?
2. What gear do you have now?
+1 agree

but it seems like this bloke's already decided what he needs based on advice given where still nobody knows what his actual setup currently is.


so far we know it's an 'amp' of some sort. could be a combo!
I appreciate all the input in this thread. I'll be looking into a good EQ pedal or a better speaker for my amp.

could it be a peavey bandit?

or is it a mighty DSL20?

all this can be yours if the price is it right.
 


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