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Thread: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    Have you ever listened intensely to a song, paying careful attention to each instrument?

    Then you might notice how bad some guitars with dirt sound--and yet, mixed properly, they don't sound shitty mixed in with everything else. Alone? Ugh, sometimes. I hear it all the time.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    Every time I pick up a guitar and plug it in. Or not plug it in...
    Striving to be ordinary

    Proud to be a TFF Dumbass!

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    Forum Member Sugarcane's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    I love the tone of The Rolling Stones in the early 70s but the guitars themselves were definitely annoying. Screechy as hell, but the band as a whole sounded killer.

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    Forum Member Michael Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    Often a guitar will be EQ'd when mixing so it doesn't clash with other instruments/vocals in the mix. So, soloing the guitar it may not sound very good, but works in the context of the mix. The more guitars there are in a song playing at the same time, the harder it is to get a good mix. A good mix engineer can make it work (I'm stil learning, lol).
    "The Mornin' Sun is Rising...It's Kissin' the Day" Journey

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Smith View Post
    Often a guitar will be EQ'd when mixing so it doesn't clash with other instruments/vocals in the mix. So, soloing the guitar it may not sound very good, but works in the context of the mix. The more guitars there are in a song playing at the same time, the harder it is to get a good mix. A good mix engineer can make it work (I'm stil learning, lol).

    You might not be surprised, but others might be when i say that many rock, R&B, blues, and pop records--the bass is louder than the guitars. That makes sense when you think about the importance of the rhythm section. However, a lot of people never "hear" the bass.

    It's all about the EQ, the place an instrument sits in the mix. Jimmy Page plays some horrible tones on the Zep albums, and they work beautifully in those great songs.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member Michael Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    Quote Originally Posted by ch willie View Post
    You might not be surprised, but others might be when i say that many rock, R&B, blues, and pop records--the bass is louder than the guitars. That makes sense when you think about the importance of the rhythm section. However, a lot of people never "hear" the bass.

    It's all about the EQ, the place an instrument sits in the mix. Jimmy Page plays some horrible tones on the Zep albums, and they work beautifully in those great songs.
    I was thinking about Jimmy Page's tone when I made my comment. Sometimes distorted guitars are doubled with a clean guitar to provide more clarity/definition.
    "The Mornin' Sun is Rising...It's Kissin' the Day" Journey

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Smith View Post
    I was thinking about Jimmy Page's tone when I made my comment. Sometimes distorted guitars are doubled with a clean guitar to provide more clarity/definition.
    That's the way I listen to music. I enjoy the songs, of course, but I'm always listening for what i can deduce about recording, mixing, writing, and arranging. For me, that's the fun and part of the craft.

    The flip side of that is that you hear a lot of well-known songs that are more studio wizardry than crafted songs. Not going to dog any performers, but there are plenty of them and plenty of them who know better and are lazy songwriters.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member Michael Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    I started out recording to a 4 track reel to reel, then an 8 track, then a Roland VS1680 16 track, and then Pro Tools (my older version "only" has 48 tracks). I have a book called "The Mixing Engineer's Handbook" which is pretty good. We did have a professional engineer edit/mix 6 or 8 of our tracks, and he let me sit in on the sessions to learn from him.

    I'm like you, I listen to songs carefully on a decent set of studio monitors or headphones and try to listen for effects, panning, doubling, etc.
    "The Mornin' Sun is Rising...It's Kissin' the Day" Journey

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    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    This is so true. You can dial in a great tone at home, but get together with other instruments and YUK!
    You tweak the tone so it sounds good with the band, then play it alone, YUK!
    Mark

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    Forum Member Sugarcane's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    Quote Originally Posted by blackonblack View Post
    This is so true. You can dial in a great tone at home, but get together with other instruments and YUK!
    You tweak the tone so it sounds good with the band, then play it alone, YUK!
    Building a good tone is an art. That's why studio recording and playing live often require completely different settings...

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    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugarcane View Post
    Building a good tone is an art. That's why studio recording and playing live often require completely different settings...
    And/or rigs
    Mark

  12. #12
    Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Re: Great but Awful Guitar Sounds

    HOnestly, a lot of tones that sound great in a band setting would sound pretty bad solo, and vice versa, a lot of great sounds solo get lost in a band mix - which is partly why I don't subscribe too much to the "get MY tone" theory of playing, especially in a group.
    But possibly the dictionary picture of this would be Keef's sound in Sympathy for the Devil.
    buzzy, fizzy, overloaded, but it works perfectly for him in that mix.
    ********************************
    "Do you call sleeping with a guitar in your hands practicing?"
    "It is if you don't drop it."
    - Trent Lane, Daria, Episode 1-2.

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