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Posts Tagged ‘insights’

perplexed Visit any online forum and you’ll see countless topics in the form of, “How can I get this sound?” or “Tell me what I need to sound just like ______________.” These are quite popular threads as people will chime in with their knowledge; however complete or incomplete, with the gear that a particular guitarist used. The discussions sometimes get quite lively as some personalities collide in an ego-fed frenzy. Okay, I’m exaggerating… 🙂 But they do get quite lively. I read through those threads both for pure amusement, but also to get educated about others’ approaches to achieving a particular kind of tone. It’s amazing the gear that I’ve discovered just because of these kinds of threads.

One of the most amusing topics I’ve run across in the recent past is people asking how they can sound like The Edge from U2. Let’s face it: The Edge’s rig has got to be one of the most complex arrangements of gear around. No one really knows what his complete signal chain is except his techs who set all his gear up, yet so many people chime in (albeit in an effort to assist, and that’s a great thing) with their suggestions. Unfortunately, all they can really produce is a fraction of the picture, and considering The Edge’s rig, probably a minute fraction at best. For instance, I once read he runs something like a 40 foot cable between some devices so there is a built-in lag. Damn!

Mind you, I’m not trying to put anyone down, but to me, discussions about how to faithfully, flawlessly reproduce a particular tone is almost futile; and as much I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, and as much as someone would like to produce a tone exactly as they’ve heard, they may get close – real close – but they’ll never get there 100%. Why? Because there are lots of factors that contribute to tone; not the least of which is the guitarist who originally created the tone in the first place! On top of that, you’d have to have the same guitar, with the same strings, with the same amp, with the same pedals (if applicable), the same pick; not to mention the exact same cables that were used. Then you’d have to try to produce live what was a recorded sound, and you can bet that guitar signal went through quite a bit of audio processing to produce the recorded tone. Get the picture?

Like I said, I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, and perhaps these questions asked on the boards are purely out of curiosity, but I’m of the mind that if you truly aspire to be a great musician, let alone a great guitarist, you need to find the tone that pleases you. You may end up sounding similar to someone, but I think the best guitarists out there – no matter what their technical level is – are the ones that sound like themselves.

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