Tone help please.

Discussion in 'Guitar Gear Talk Forum' started by ultrabot90, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    Situation - (I play touchstyle guitar, so naturally ->) The attack is very weak and the treble strings are nowhere near as audible as the bass strings. I'd just like a good spunky attack and rich (not thin and anemic) sound at the trebles.

    Stuff I've tried so far includes
    -Adjusting the individual pole pieces...noticeable, but not as big a difference as I'd like.
    -Increasing treble (guitar's tone knob and amp EQ) - Fine to a degree, but if I want a somewhat warmer sound, it comes with the volume of the trebles going down...
    -Using the neck pickup (decent difference, stuff sounds much richer and there's more attack of sorts, but still falls a little short.)
    -Shifting stuff around so I play the melody on the middle strings instead of the higher ones. C'MON, this solution is horrible (though it gets the job done...for now), and I'd not want to keep doing this >.>

    I use 9s right now, so I'm going to try changing string gauge to 10 or 11. I don't know what difference this'll make in the sound department, though I know for sure it'll make playing a lot more stable - 9 gauge just keeps bending accidentally when I tap (main reason behind changing).

    Can someone advise me on what (else) can be done?

  2. flood

    flood New Member

    heavier strings guage.
    USE A COMPRESSOR. can't stress this enough.
    a new amp perhaps.
    attack on treble strings will ALWAYS be less noticeable on bass strings.
    work on your finger strength.

    the great fallacy here is trying to emulate a touchstyle instrument on your ibanez. there is a world of a difference between the two - construction, pickups, how you hold it, etc. perhaps forget about that dream rig and just pick up a megatar or a used stick?
  3. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    Nice. I'm glad those will help - amp is coming up in two months, should definitely make a difference; and strings are a very easy change.

    1. *Has seen enough of this, time to see wtf it's all about - again*
    Ahaha! Though, if it makes dynamics fall off, I might wanna be wary of it - volume in touchstyle is hard to controllably vary as it is (compared to normal playing).

    More like 'light handedness (specially with RH)'. I'm always working on this...rather this than a compressor, I guess.

    I should mention here that my list of upcoming upgrades looks like this -
    Battery powered amp (practice, impromptu performance) -> around or under 20 watt tube amp (maybe) -> 50 watt tube amp.

    The reason I note that is because (and here's the crux as far as a new guitar goes) I'm thinking of getting a good ERG (8-10 strings, Schecter/Agile/Roter/Oakland Axe Factory/Oni/Blackmachine) before or after the 50 watt tube amp. But no dedicated tapping instruments for me - somehow they just don't have the 'classic' guitar sounds. Megatar, Chapman Stick, and Warr guitar, they all are 2 region instruments; I prefer to be a 1 region player (Touchguitar U8 is eligible, but I really prefer something based around 9-10 strings and standard tuning - C#F#B-EADGBE-A or EAB-EADGBE-A). If said ERG doesn't cut it (slim chance), I'm sure a pickup swap will solve it.

    Aside - I meant to say TWANG in my first post, like in this video (the neck pickup, again).

    Thanks for your help! ^^
  4. thehundredthone

    thehundredthone New Member

    If you don't totally squash your signal with the compressor it will help a lot. Look at the link in my Signal Chain thread.
  5. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    I'll try that, thehundredthone (you seriously need a short nickname or something), but let me buy an amp and a compressor first B) Thanks for t3h help!
  6. flood

    flood New Member

    i think you're taking an attitude towards compression that isn't necessary or warranted.

    a very good analogy would be the attitude of some digital photographers defiant to using and learning photoshop, who insist that the source is of the essence.

    i'll leave you to ponder on that. :D
  7. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    I don't know about it and people say it takes away the dynamics of playing - that does induce some (possible misplaced and ill timed) apprehension. But still, I don't think I'm in a position to judge till I try it and learn to use it. o_O

    As I said, I'll try a CS-3 after getting an amp. It does sound tempting - melody and chords sounding the same volume? Heavensent for a chord melody player, I guess (can't really be sure till I try and get an idea). The added sustain sounds fun too. But if it reduces dynamics...suggest a good volume pedal pliz :p
  8. thehundredthone

    thehundredthone New Member

    You talk about reduced dynamics like it's going to turn your natural harmonics into string breaking staccato.
  9. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    Yeah, that's why I say I gotta try and spend time with it first.

    LolWtf!? Is this true? o_O
  10. ambush

    ambush _RASTA_man_

    Compressed signals maintain a higher program level for longer periods, so if you play it loud there is a higher chance of overloading your power amps. A compressed guitar through a guitar amp, i don't think would be a problem. As it is, Pre-amps/processors put out reasonably compressed signals.
  11. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    Update. I started tuning in all fourths (BEADGCF) and the sound AND feel at the trebles (at least the 1st and 2nd string) is much better already!
  12. flood

    flood New Member

    a bit late, but let me explain my analogy a bit better.

    digital photographers (which practically 95%+ of photographers these days are) sometimes have a syndrome that causes them to declare, quite senselessly, that one should not edit the picture in photoshop and "touching up" the picture would be falsification of sorts. the picture should be set up perfectly on the camera with regards to aperture, exposure, ISO, shutter, WB and that should be the end of it.

    what they don't quite realise is that your camera can't "see" shit - it registers ones and zeros, and there is a lot of information stuck in that RAW format, which needs to be extracted out of there. the process of taking a digital picture and converting it into an image for the eye to see is a tedious one, and it becomes necessary to edit and work on the picture till the simulacrum can be presented in a certain way. adobe photoshop is essentially replacing your colour lab, which used to do the film processing for you.

    the electric guitar is not dissimilar - the magnetic pickup is a bit limited in a way in that it is inherently uneven in the frequency domain as an inductive source. so while you might have the information that you want stuck in your signal, you need to analyse your signal chain and accept that you have technological limitations that prevent you from getting a desired result and find ways to overcome the same.

    which is why EQ is all-important, and compressing is usually helpful. yes, you will kill your dynamics - if you go for brickwall style compression. it's all about how you setup that compressor.
  13. guitardoctor

    guitardoctor Will Rx for food

    Thanks for the nice explanation. That was a very useful post...
  14. alpha1

    alpha1 I BLUES!

    What about audiophiles who intend on using a turntable and analog t00b amp?
    Instead of CDs and SS amps?
  15. flood

    flood New Member

    solid state is analog too...

    ...and turntables need preamplifiers with the correct impedance and RIAA compensation - in essence, impedance-matching, gain and EQ. so yes, you are STILL "drawing" the desired information out. this is still before the actual power amplification itself. how your phono preamp is designed will ultimately affect what you hear.

  16. shailm

    shailm New Member

    "What about audiophiles who intend on using a turntable "
    I am one of these. I really dont know the technicals, but I hear the difference between the two. Records just sound warmer, more like if you were listening to the artist play live, as opposed to sterile sounding digital/cd.
  17. alpha1

    alpha1 I BLUES!

    ^ Actually analog turntables and tube amps degrade the signal much more than CD player + SS or digital amp.

    But most ppl seem to "like" that degradation.
    Warmer = that degradation.

    The reason why CD's might be sounding sterile is because of loudness war during mastering.

    So in a way the phones, even though reducing the fidelity, increase the "listenability".

    PS: can you make out difference between a 1.5sq mm cable (2m length) compared to a 2.5sq mm cable (again 2 m length)?

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