The importance of gear

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by gs_waldemar, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. gs_waldemar

    gs_waldemar SS.org Regular

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    I have always been fascinated by the amount of detail that people can (?) hear when it comes to differences between tonewoods, pickups, string brands, cables, clear coats :) and all that stuff!

    I am an acceptable and experienced guitar player myself and I own some pricy gear, UV777, Marshall JVM410 Head etc. yet whenever I open one of those "pickup-comparison" threads I sometimes wonder of it is a spoof - if people just put in the same soundfile 3 times and laugh at all those other people that can hear the difference.

    I can only speak about the guitar players that I have met so far (as a real person) that could allegedly hear the difference between a LP with humbucker X and a flying V with THE SAME humbucker installed: These people usually cared less about fret buzz than string brands. They kept telling me to change the pickups in my 2500€ guitar :scratch: because others would probably sound even better. I on the other hand think that there is no scientific explanation why custom pickups would sound "better" than Dimarzios, because I think that the difference between inferior material that you obviously have in a 200€ guitar, but not in a 2000€ guitar does not apply to e.g. Bare Knuckle Pickups and Dimarzios.

    I understand that music is a hobby that can consume 20-20.000€ and a lot of people are willing to pay thousands of $$$ to own 5, 10 or 15 different guitars and still look for 1000 more reasons to change Pickups, discuss tonewoods and optimize the combination of the two.

    Here is my personal rank list with numbers expressing the importance of each aspect :cool:

    technique: 1000
    recording gear and experience:800
    amp settings: 600
    amp: 400
    pickups: 150
    strings: 100
    cables: 50
    tone wood: 10
    Ibanez logo: 2
    coating and colors: 0.5:lol:

    What I would accept as another great factor is "psychological impact", meaning that you will play better on a cool looking guitar for sure. This would count as technique I guess - or as magic whatever you like. It would probably increase the importance of coarting and colors!

    I always wondered what other people think or if there are other people here at all that feel the same and sometimes think that some of the things on my list are overrated
     
  2. goherpsNderp

    goherpsNderp no refutin' rasputen

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    i think the fret work done by whoever made the guitar is an underrated aspect of the guitar, as it affects the feel and sound more than many may realize.

    for example, i have a guitar with buzz on 2 frets on 2 adjacent strings that can't be fixed via the truss rod or changing the action. the frets were just done sloppily. to make things worse they were also done a little short so it isn't as simple as attempting to recrown them or something. you'd have to replace the frets completely which would ruin the finish on the sides of the neck, and cost a lot of money. EDIT: it's also worth noting that the fret buzz on these 4 spots is SO BAD that you CAN hear it through an amp- even with distortion. it's way worse than your standard everyday buzz.

    another thing is that i've never noticed the difference stainless steel frets make until i played on polished nickel and then polished steel immediately afterward. i couldn't hear the string rubbing against the fret, and the note seemed to sustain a little longer.

    but alas, im straying away from the original question. i guess what i meant by all this is that as far as the guitar ITSELF is concerned, frets are a bigger deal than a lot of people think. i'd rate it higher than wood type and neck type. maybe on par with pickups.

    technique and gear experience trumps all though.
     
  3. DarkWolfXV

    DarkWolfXV Excised n anatomised

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    To me its like this in tone:
    50% Amp
    20% Pickups
    10% Technique (Yes, technique doesnt give you shit ton more treble, bass, or whatever in your sound, only pick attack)
    10% Tonewood
    5% Strings
    3% Color and finish (Unless you spray 5 cans of polyurethane, not much is going to change)
    1% Cables
    1% Capacitors and all that bullshit (I laugh at people who say "Man, this guitar sounds 100 times better when i changed caps in it to BKP")
     
  4. Riffer

    Riffer PRS

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    99% fingers
    1% everything else

    Ask Billy Gibbons :bowdown:
     
  5. VBCheeseGrater

    VBCheeseGrater not quite a shredder

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    I think your assessment is pretty good. I'm a big believer in technique over gear, and will always maintain you can play a killer show through cheap gear (knowing how to use the cheap gear).

    Take recording out of the equation - for live performance i'd break it down like this..
    technique: 1500
    experience:500
    amp settings: 250
    amp: 200
    pickups: 50 - just need something that wont feedback for live playing studio is different
    strings: 25 - a newer set is fine
    cables: 5 - just need something that wont short out
    tone wood: 200 - big part of guitar tone les paul vs strat..etc
    Ibanez logo: 0
    coating and colors: 0.

    ^^ i think this sums it up nicely. Experienced guitarist can get a workable tone by setting up a lesser amp correctly
     
  6. goherpsNderp

    goherpsNderp no refutin' rasputen

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    not only that, but if you're good at guitar setup you can turn what most would assume is a turd into a decent guitar worth hanging onto. im embarassingly bad with setup and usually have someone do it for me. i don't have much money and im afraid to break a guitar beyond simple repair.

    my jaw hit the floor when i had someone set up a cheap used guitar i got off ebay once. night and day difference!
     
  7. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade John Bohlinger's Dank Stash

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    I'm guessing you never listened to Jeff Beck.... :nuts:
     
  8. chickenxnuggetz91

    chickenxnuggetz91 What kind of sauce?

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    Cool thread. In a lot of ways I agree. Tom Morello always just used whatever he had and tried to make it sound good. Did you know that bombtrack was recorded with a 20 watt solid state? He also plays gear some of us would probably cringe to try and play.
    This video has some cool statements about tone and gear.



    Edit: Also, I would have to put my importance in this order
    1. Body shape and wood.
    2. Pickups
    3. Amp and settings
    4. Fingers
    5. Attitude/mood (as cheesy as that sounds)
     
  9. zakatak9389

    zakatak9389 SS.org Regular

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    Pickups and guitar wood types actually make a more noticeable difference then I would have thought. For example I have a schecter (mahogany) and an ibanez (basswood) both with bkp's and they sound very different with certain tones I use. The pickups are quite similar (cold sweat/vhii vs aftermaths) but the tone difference is easily distinguishable (to my ears at least). But then again nothing contributes more to tone then good solid technique :D
     
  10. DarkWolfXV

    DarkWolfXV Excised n anatomised

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    Through exact rig, my guitar teacher sounds almost identical to me, i sound almost identical to my guitar teacher, and my friend sounds almost identical to me, of course assuming we are playing the same thing.
    Well that is my opinion, im believe more in gear and studio magic than fingers. Like Slipperman said:

     
  11. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    You forgot his rackmounted parametric EQ's for each of his guitars to tone match one of his Les Pauls :lol:

    As for the discussion at hand, I'm happily not saying a word! :yesway:
     
  12. Jakke

    Jakke Pretty wisdomous

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    I've got some problems here, and yet I pomised myself to not join in...
    -Technique will get you better attack and possibly a more confident playing, you are however not going to get more bass, treble or saturation from your playing style. The expression that tone is all in your fingers really grinds my gears, as there are obvious factors that contribute to tone that cannot be achieved by technique. How do you pick to get increased presence in your tone? How do I scoop my tone?
    -Recording experience is pretty moot when it comes to situations outside of a studio.
    -Cables will give you no improvement to your tone. What you are paying for when you buy premium is shielding, you get less hum from a well-shielded cable.
    -Wood's influence on tone is highly debated, and it is possible that people not hearing a difference just lack ears sensitive enough.
    -I've got a sticker on one of my guitars, and it helps it sound 1000x better.

    Speakers can also colour your tone pretty heavily.
     
  13. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade John Bohlinger's Dank Stash

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    If you and your friends and your teacher all sound the same, you are doing something horribly wrong. Music is about having a voice, not mimicry.
     
  14. goldsteinat0r

    goldsteinat0r Zib Zob Zabbity

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    This is kind of my position. I'm in a heavy band with guy who uses a solid state Fender Chorus 112 as his main rig. He gets a good sound out of it but that amp does NOT do what he wants it to do in this band naturally or even willingly.

    To get a decent distort tone his EQ settings are all over the place; he does things like fully cut the treble knob and boost the mids to around 7...and then he's juicing the clean channel with a pedal since the onboard gain leaves quite a bit to be desired. I've played his rig and he's got it so that it sounds/feels good for what it is, but its a pain in his ass to get it there....and this dude is a college educated educated Audio Engineer.

    By comparison, I have a much easier time getting a heavy tone out of my 5150 combo (which cost me about as much as his amp did). I rarely use pedals for any kind of gain. And no matter what the volume levels, he usually has a harder time cutting through.
     
  15. dbrozz

    dbrozz SS.org Regular

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    OP's ratings are pretty valid IMO.
    Personally, I've been trying to exile the mindset that says better gear and more of it will benefit my playing/whatever.
    I'm turning my focus hard toward making music and not acquiring the tools in which to make the music.. :nuts::fawk:
     
  16. canuck brian

    canuck brian Bowes Guitars Contributor

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    I can definitely hear the differences in pickups.

    It's your guitar's microphone. Different pickups will make your guitar's voice sound different.
     
  17. DarkWolfXV

    DarkWolfXV Excised n anatomised

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    Not the same, similiar, my teacher has better pick attack, i pick a bit lighter, and my other friend picks even lighter. Overall, my teacher sounds a little more "thrash metal" than we do. Also, we all agreed to play one section same way (eg. all downpicking etc) so there is almost no difference. And having a voice in music is mostly the way how you write songs, preference on how would you pick certain section, and would you apply legato instead of slides etc. However, the difference between different people playing same rig with same settings and same way (Eg. all downpicking) is going to be minimal. I dont think that flesh of my teacher or mine sounds better than anyone else. My teacher has better pick attack because he plays for a long time and found out what works for him, yet i still have to find out what works for me.
     
  18. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade John Bohlinger's Dank Stash

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    You just proved what I said... you are all playing through the same gear, but the pick attack is what makes you sound different. No matter how you slice it, that difference is technique.

    Now turn off the high gain so that you can actually hear the player. A good player can make a thousand different tones with pick attack, finger attack, volume and tone adjustments. Its also something that comes with playing for a long time. Listen to Rory Gallagher.
     
  19. DarkWolfXV

    DarkWolfXV Excised n anatomised

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    You are so funny, pick attack is not a equalizer, it does not make your tone break windows, you cant get for example Dying Fetus tone (or get close to it) without VH140c which is high gain amp, pick attack wont give you tone. "Tone is in fingers" is almost irrevelant to metal. Only major difference you can hear is between fingerstyle and pickstyle. And also, you can get good tone out of shitty amp and guitar, depending how you eq it, not depending on who plays it. And im done with it, i wont convince you to my right, and you wont convince me to your right. Yeah whatever im deaf and ignorant blasphemer who doesnt notice differences between flesh of different players.
     
  20. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade John Bohlinger's Dank Stash

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    I never called you either of those things... but you can call yourself whatever you like.

    Hands are the most important part to a players sound. Its a rookie mistake to think otherwise.



    Pig Nose Guitar
    Peavey Backstage 30
    Digitech RP-200
    Recorded on a Phone
     

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