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If tone is in the fingers....?

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(@joehempel)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

I keep hearing that tone is in the fingers, so if that is pretty much true, then why pay more than a few hundred dollars for a guitar, say like $300.

Just curious on your opinions, obviously some woods resonate better than others, but is that the ONLY reason to buy a more expensive guitar? I'm not just talking Acoustic, I'm talking Electric as well.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Yes, tone is in the fingers. But an artist's ability is in their hands too. So... if a great artist can make great art with a box of Crayolas, why would a great artist bother with oil paints?

Because better tools make creating art easier. And more fun.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@scrybe)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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I completely disagree with Tom here. He's got it totally wrong. Tone isn't inthe fingers at all, it's in the tone knobs. that's why they say "tone" on them.

J/p

tone is in the fingers, but tone isn't he only reason for buying a guitar. Playability, comfort and aesthetics also play a role in purchasing. Different woods, pups, etc, will all affect tone, but the simple fact is that no matter how great or interesting the guitar and it's parts, if you clunk clunk clunk like someone who has never played before in their life, you'll clunk clunk clunk regardless of the quality of the instrument.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@trguitar)
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Tone is in the fingers but transmitted through the guitar. This doesn't mean more expensive is better though. A cheap instrument may be the perfect match for an individuals fingers. :?

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@chris-c)
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tone is in the fingers, but tone isn't he only reason for buying a guitar. Playability, comfort and aesthetics also play a role in purchasing.

+1

I'd agree that the way you feel about any instrument can be as important as the price or alleged quality. You have to spent a lot of hours working through being completely crap, then slightly less abysmal, through mediocre to some semblance of control, and so on. It's essential that you fall in love with the instrument in some way, because you're going to need every bit of motivation you can get to keep you on track. So if you want to keep picking it up because you think it looks really cool, it feels good in your hands, or whatever, then that's all good.

I've always tried to avoid the real bottom end junk, but there's a wide choice of good quality mid-price instruments that would sound excellent in the hands of a skilled player. B.B. KIng apparently claimed that you could give him ANY guitar and he could make it sound like B.B. KIng and I'm sure he had a point.

So why buy the really pricey one at all? Well, I'd certainly agree with NoteBoat that better quality gear can be a little easier to use and more fun, and of course it can also have certain qualities that just do sound better to an experienced ear. But I've alway bought mid range gear in the belief that it wasn't worth spending the really big dollars until:

a) I could hear and feel the difference and knew what better sounds I might be able to produce, and how I might do that, and

b) Knew where I was going. I didn't see the point in blowing years worth of music money on one style of fancy instrument if there was a chance that halfway down the track I'd want to switch to another style.

I'll buy an expensive instrument if I think that my playing deserves it and also if I feel that I've hit some kind of ceiling on the ones I already have. Neither looks likely in the near future. :) But if the day comes then look out wallet....

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@dogbite)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

tone=finger...most definitely.
I believe all instruments whatever their build has some type of character.
a funky beater can be cool sounding and playing.
a 2000dollar acoustic is very wonderful to play.
each has a quality that the fingers will express.

I want to say my expensive acoustic is more fun to play than my camping beater guitar.
it is sometimes. it is the end all for me tho. there is something to making a beater sound great.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@joehempel)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

These are some great opinions guys! I consider myself in the low mediocre range of guitar playing when compared to most players, but am finally seeing that I don't need to have something expensive to make a good sound, if I'm playing poor it will be poor on a $100 just as much as on a $1000 guitar. I do have to agree that playing on a slightly more expensive guitar just "feels" better, be it moving across the fingerboard, or the way I can hold it.

Great opinions again!

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
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My post got lost somewhere, but buying guitars is like any other big ticket purcahse people will buy a guitar for various reasons.

It's like why buy a Porsche when some used $500 car will get you to the same place?

For some it's as simple as "Because they can"

I personally would buy only top of the line gear, cuz that's how I roll, if I could afford them but the reality is I can't.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@almann1979)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1281
 

I read something (and im sure it was from this website - cant remember who posted it though).

Apparently somebody saw Chet Atkins playing and afterwards said "your guitar sounds great", Chet then put it down and said "Well, How does it sound now"?? 8)

Very cool response and it says it all really.

My brother in Law can make my cheap guitar sound like his expensive one - whereas i can make his expensive guitar sound like my cheapo :lol:

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


   
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(@scrybe)
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Buddy Whittington said similar about Mick Taylor after jamming at john Mayall's 60th Birthday Bash - basically, the guy can play on anything and still sound like Mick.

My two most expensive guitars are my 'vintage' Ovation and my Am Strat. The Am Strat saved for over a period of months, and had to be disciplined to pay for it (I worked in the music store I bought it form, so got discount, but basically my wages came to me and then went straight back to them until that guitar was paid off). It's a sign of commitment. I'm also really attached to that guitar because it was my first serious guitar, and I have taken it everywhere with me, so it represents good times and good memories. The Ovation was given to me by my father, who bought it new in the late 70s. The high price on it is simply because it has been around a long time, and is much higher than he paid for it. Again, part of my fondness for that guitar are the memories of being too small and trying to play it (with it sliding off me, lol) and the fact that he gave me that guitar because I was serious about music and had stuck with it out of personal interest for some time. Also because I looked after it well.

My fave guitar tho, is a beat up classical. A Jose Perez or something. It has masking tape holding some of the binding in, high jump style action, and poor intonation on some of the higher frets. But it's the one that was resident in my Pops' flat until he passed away. We spent hours playing that thing and trading it back and forth between us. And he could make it sound real nice. A guitar like that is so crappy you really have to work to make it sound nice, but it feels good when I do. Also has a mellower tone than most classicals, which I like. I prefer the tone of that to many more expensive classicals, and the price isn't the issue.

Were money no object, I'd have a mix of expensive and cheap guitars. But they'd all be guitars that appealed to me on some level.

Some people refuse to buy expensive guitars, even if money were no issue for them. Others refuse to play cheapos. I'll play anything I can make sound good.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Probably there is a lower limit for a 'good' musical instrument and perhaps that limit is lowering now as well (you can get very good instruments for a few euros/dollar/pound or equivalent and every day there are better instruments). That limit defines things like the playability, comfort, features, etc. The tone is different but the tone is also different in two Fender Stratocaster.

Each player sounds as himself/herself. I remember an interview to a member/technician of Dire Straits. Clapton was playing with them some time but he was using the Knopfler's guitars. He said that Clapton sounded as Clapton.

Some months ago I post a link to a Peter Green video, I think they were promoting a dvd or something like that. The video is no longer available (perhaps some of you remember it). Green was playing an Epiphone Les Paul and a Squier Stratocaster, I don't remember the exact models. Definitely he sounded like Peter Green.


   
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(@katreich)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 686
 

I keep hearing that tone is in the fingers, so if that is pretty much true, then why pay more than a few hundred dollars for a guitar, say like $300.

Because you can.

Falling in love is like learning to play the guitar; first you learn to follow the rules, then you learn to play with your heart.

www.soundclick.com/kathyreichert


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

I keep hearing that tone is in the fingers, so if that is pretty much true, then why pay more than a few hundred dollars for a guitar, say like $300.

Because you can.

the guitar I use the most isn't worth even $300. maybe my fingers aren't worth it.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@citizennoir)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1247
 

Well, I think for the most part that old saying of - If you had to ask, you can't afford it
pretty much applies in a twisted form.

If you can play a Squier Strat followed by say.... a real 62 Strat, and you can't tell the difference,
then fine, the Squire is the guitar for you.
If you can.... maybe you might just have to have the vintage one.

If you can play a Tele and tell the difference between an alder body and a ash body, you might have to go with ash = $
Then maybe you can tell the difference between Ash, and Swamp Ash and have to go with Swamp = $$
Then maybe the dif between two piece Swamp Ash and one piece Premium Swamp Ash and have to go with the one = $$$$

Maybe you can feel the difference between the beautiful piece of silky smooth Brazilian Rosewood (and yes, hear the difference) from the rougher feeling piece of Indian Rosewood on a fretboard.
You might just have to go with Braz.

Maybe you can tell the difference between a nice sounding one dimensional $500.00 acoustic and the layered, multi-dimensional sound of a $2000.00 acoustic.

And sure, everybody has their own style.... I could sound like me on anything, and people who know what I play like will recognize that regardless; Just as people can tell my photographs no matter what camera I use.
I can tell which were taken with the better equipment, and I'm even certain that people can tell which are from my Nikon and which are from my cell phone camera.... still, my own style is present in all.

It's like amps - Can you tell the difference between a SS modeling amp set to it's 'Tweed' setting and a REAL 59 Fender narrow panel tweed Deluxe 12 watt tube amp with RCA Blackplate tubes in them????
And even then.... There were TV tweeds, Wide Panel Tweeds, Narrow Panel Tweeds, and about a dozen different circuits to choose from.... I'm sure aficionados can tell them all apart.

Can you tell Tweed tone-from Brown tone-from Blackface tone?

Scrybe has a Marshall JTM 45 amp.... The same kind that Clapton used on the Beano album....
Bet the tubes aren't the same.... and if she hunted down the same kind of tubes that EC used, it would sound even closer to that tone.... is that important or isn't it?
Depends on what you can hear.

On the other hand - I have a wonderful early 60's Harmony guitar that was as budget as you could get back then....
it's one of the coolest guitars I've ever heard, and feels great.

What are you looking to sound like?

To me, knowing what the materials are matter because then I can know what to expect from it.
Some exceed.... some fall flat.

It's important to be exposed to top of the line gear though, or you'll never know what they sound/feel/play like, and have nothing to compare other guitars too.

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


   
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(@scrybe)
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Scrybe has a Marshall JTM 45 amp.... The same kind that Clapton used on the Beano album....
Bet the tubes aren't the same.... and if she hunted down the same kind of tubes that EC used, it would sound even closer to that tone.... is that important or isn't it?
Depends on what you can hear.

Yup, and mine is an RI, so there's a lot that could be done to it to make it sound more 'vintage'. But even then, things like the fact that a genuine vintage cab is constructed from wood that's dried out over 40-odd years will have an effect on tone no mod to my RI will replicate. Now, I love my RI JTM 45, and have no plans or finances for a genuine vintage, but you can't deny there will be some difference in tone, just as two amps/guitars from the same year and model can differ.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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