The One Thing Every Influential Guitar Tone Has In Common

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  • I don't disagree but....ain't nothing like standing in front an amp turned up to (as Yngwie put it) "WHAT?!?"

    or as Ted Nugent put it "F-ing Gonzo Loud!"

    BTW, the mic'd amp sound isn't something beginners pick up on or understand until later, and some never do.

    Larry Mar @ Lonegun Studios. Neither one famous yet.

  • Thanks for this video. I struggled with this issue a lot in my life and not that I want to re-enter this debate but saying things like "room sound don't matter" is totally disingenuous. In small venues like your typical bar, part of the sound comes from the stage. In small rehearsal rooms, people will also feel right away if you go direct versus using an amp. There is this one time where I got a gig because the guy before me went direct at rehearsal and I used a shitty, tiny combo amp - the gut instinct of the band was to choose me over the other guy because I "sounded amazing" in comparison - little did they know, his modeller was a better rig than mine for 90% of other situations outside of this particular small room rehearsal. Similarly, I've brought the Kemper to a in-house rehearsal with an artist and we had to have a talk about "my flat sound". While it's tempting to make absolute statements like "room sound don't matter" because it would make life so much easier, the truth is that there are many types of sonic environments and you have to know for yourself when the positives of a modeller are going to outweigh those of a pedalboard + amp or vice-versa.

    These days, I use the pedalboard and backline amps more and more for live work, I feel I get better control over variables. My last few rehearsals with the Kemper or the Axe were especially frustrating and I wholeheartedly resent having to deep dive into endless menus while trying to make music at the same time.

  • hey hey hey...WAIT! wait..

    and what about the Massive Guitar Tone I have with an Unplugged Acoustic on a Sunny Sunday Drunk BBQ Time? Hum?? What about that?

    Ouch, Yes , well, I'm not and ''Influential'' Gutarist but...he's never been at a BBQ with me! HA!

    .just joking.

  • A thought-provoking video!

    The fundamental hypothesis of which, I believe to be challengeable.

    The author appears to be promoting the notion that every laudable recording featuring great guitar involved placing a microphone in front of an amplifier’s speaker.

    Whilst the majority of recordings may have been accomplished utilising this methodology, it is a fact that many tremendously good recordings have been made utilising alternative methodologies.

    For instance, although the guitarists, including the bassist didn’t particularly like it. The session players at Motown’s Detroit recording studio were all required to use D.I. boxes rather than mic their amps.

    The “snake pit” live room was relatively small considering the amount of musician’s it was required to accommodate. They regularly recorded the entire ensemble simultaneously, so controlling sonics that would usually be amplified was simply straightforward common sense.

    When Gordon Berry wanted to get his artists like Diana Ross in the movies opening a Motown recording studio in Los Angeles with all the new opportunities that afforded, they still used D.I. boxes as they had done in Detroit in the habitual manner they were well accustomed to.

    Although elsewhere, amongst the so-called wrecking crew guitarists, amps were regularly miced, and session players like Barney Kessel, Glen Cambell, Larry Carlton and Louie Shelton used small Fender amps to start with. Although she had a Fender amp too, bass players like Carol Kaye were most often recorded with a D.I. box

    When one considers the tremendous number of hit recordings just the funk brothers and the wrecking crew had credited to them, it seems uninformed at best and disingenuous at worst, to utterly disregard their notable accomplishments and contribution to the music loving fraternity.

    Furthermore, some ground breaking recordings have been tracked utilising not only the micing of an amp’s speaker/s, but buy including the room sound the engineers have created a whole new dimension in sound.

    Many years ago a friend of mine became a producer for Eddie Barclays company Barclay Records. Forsaking traditional close micing techniques and moving the mic a long way out from the cabinet was a feature of some of Jimi Hendrix’s (a guitarist) recordings. For sure a mic was involved, but both the mic choice and sometimes its placement, was somewhat revolutionary at the time.

    Close micing drums delivers a certain sound and depending on where they are placed can deliver another sound entirely.

    An old pal from way back bought a camera and took it to work. Whilst some producers favour a mic for every part of the kit, like this:

    In The Room With Reitzas #1 - YouTube

    Others find that with three or four mics and including the effect of the room a more realistic representation of how the instruments sound when one is stood in front of them can be obtained.

    Have a look at the movie below and ask yourself what the mic on the high boom in the middle of the room is there for?

    Waiting for the Artist Jam #2 - YouTube

    One of the companies I was involved with before I retired owned many anechoic chambers, and to be honest unless you had actually heard what a drum sounds like without any of a rooms sonic accompaniment you would probably never believe what you just heard.

    At one end of the scale, I have produced many recordings with lots of mics on the drums and at the other end of the scale, recordings utilising a lot less mics. If you just have one mic for the drums that’s also ok as long as one knows exactly where to put it and there are two main options as far as I am concerned.

    And old colleague, sadly no longer with us was the first recording engineer ever to make a recording using a mic on the bass drum. And another old friend was the first drummer ever to ask for headphones to use in a recording studio situation.

    There was a time when recordings were made, but no equalisation controls actually existed. Placement of the musicians in the room was how a balance was created.

    And the very few mics available that could be chosen from, actually were used as a form of equalisation.

    In the final analysis, my observation has been that quite regardless of what equipment a musician uses.

    The actual tone is created by the player themselves. It comes from inside the player, through their imagination and hands. Their touch and feel for the instrument.

    What I’m saying is that if you were to give a truly excellent musician used to playing the very best, top sounding equipment available, and give them a cheap instrument to play, they would still sound clearly identifiably, just like themselves.

    Because at the end of the day, the player is the instrument.

    Without the player, there would be nothing.

    True story.

    During the time of Paganini, Stradivarius violin family instruments had established a glowing reputation.

    The truth was although was now well known across Italy, in many parts of Europe, Paganini was actually much less well known than his violin.

    As he began to tour more widely, his agent and promotor had a problem. How to attract a paying audience to experience this wonderful violinist brilliant performance?

    But he had a brainwave! The Stradivarius Paganini performed with was more famous than the person playing it. That’s the way to promote the concerts. “Come and hear the wonderful sound of the Stradivarius Violin” The posters proclaimed. “Played by Paganini” it said in smaller letters at the bottom.

    As one might imagine, this rather got up Paganini’s nose.

    Here was one of the world’s greatest violinists trying to carve out an international career for himself, only to be upstaged by his own fiddle. If you like, playing second fiddle, to his fiddle.

    At first, he went along with this, because without an audience there is no concert at all. What especially irked Paganini though was the large sign on stage to his side that stated “Hear the glorious sound of the Stradivarius Violin.”

    Eventually he dreamed up a devious plan to counter this belittling situation. As soon as he arrived on stage, he would launch into blisteringly scintillating passages of music that literally stunned his audience, with their breath-taking audacity.

    Once they were on their feet in rapturous applause, he would explain that the violin on which he had just performed apparent miracles is sound was not his Stradivarius, but a normal common instrument of no great note at all.

    Then he would pull out his Stradivarius, and continue to woo his oooing and ahhing audience who were taken aback, floored by the ebulliently dazzling brilliance of his performance.

    You see, in the final analysis, its really all about the player.