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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Changing tastes

Nawlins Dawg
Contributing Member


There's no place like tone
Aug 2nd, 2019 12:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

Like many of us here, I got hooked forever on the sound of electric guitar in the late 60’s - Jimi, Beck, Leslie West, The Super Sessions, The Who at Leeds and so on. And the more raunchy and distorted it sounded, the better I liked it. In the eighties when Robert Cray hit the scene, I thought he was absolutely great, but his clean tone did not resonate with me at all. I have, however, noticed over the last several years that my taste in this particular area has evolved. A great fundamental tone is what I listen for now, and the tasteful addition of some hair around the edges is what really rings the bell for me. I’d like to think that my ear has become more refined, more discerning - but it’s probably more the result of having gotten older (old?)
Is it just me, or am I experiencing the normal course of things?

Contributing Member


Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Aug 2nd, 2019 02:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think I've pretty much stuck with a fairly consistent group of guitar tones. I find it interesting what some people consider "clean" that to me sound "crunchy". When I think clean I think Hank Marvin. No distortion, maybe some compression to raise the hair a bit.

I have expanded my usage of different guitar tones as I've A) familiarized myself with more guitarists (like the Hellecasters) and B) migrated to home recording with POD's, modelers, Eleven Rack, etc. But for the most part I'm fairly grounded to the clean side. When I noodle around at home with an amp, I rarely ever drag out the pedal board and play clean with a fair amount of reverb.


usa Thumb area Mi

Aug 2nd, 2019 06:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Nawlins Dawg

I've kind of done the same thing and attribute it to the maturity in my playing style (certainly it's an age thing cause the older I get the more I act like a kid)

I've come to appreciate guys like Jeff Beck and Jim Campilongo who play with maturity.

I still play with passion, (i.e. shred "I hate that term and prefer "Prestissimo" but I use a full pallet of tones with the fair amount being on the clean side

Contributing Member

Forgive your enemies

but never forget their names
Aug 2nd, 2019 07:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

Because I’m not a guitar player my slant on things may be a bit different.
When I became interested in guitar as a lead instrument it was listening to Duane Eddy and his recordings of things like Rebel Rouser and 40 Miles of Bad Road. The next evolution was enjoying the stuff like Wham and Chicken Pickin’ by Lonnie Mack. Next came the great blues players like Freddie, Albert and BB and Stevie Rae. Along the way I had listened to Les Paul and a lot of the Jazz players so my changing tastes were probably a bit eclectic.

Contributing Member

St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Aug 3rd, 2019 03:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

I started playing acoustic at an early age so wasn't indoctrinated into guitar tones the way some were.
After I got away from country sounds a bit( my folks were strictly country listeners) and started really listening to some rock and roll I heard the difference and wanted those sounds. That said the only players I knew were older guys who played country and really didn't "get" those sounds.

I knew nothing of amp breakup and how to get the sounds I heard on the radio and was out in the woods where those sounds weren't used much if at all. Distortion or overdrive meant you were getting ready to buy a new amp.
After I started playing out a bit I got to see how these sounds were being made.
To this day I'm still not a distortion driven guy. I use a bit of gain or a pedal to add grit to my sound but am still fairly sparing with that.

It just seems to me so many really great players drive their sound into mush with pedals etc. Not much definition in that direction. A little of it goes a long way for me. I like an edgy tone but not so pumped it wrecks my definition. Then again it all depends on your overall sound you want.

Maybe I'll grow into it some day but I doubt it.

Contributing Member

If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Aug 4th, 2019 11:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

Absolutely it's okay for your musical tastes to change.

Unless you're an artist or band that evolves to create a new sound on your new record.

Many of your fans who were "there when nobody heard of you yet" will turn on you like Old Yeller with tha hydrophibia.

Nawlins Dawg
Contributing Member


There's no place like tone
Aug 4th, 2019 02:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

Although what I stated above that "the more raunchy and distorted it sounded, the better I liked it" was a truthful statement, I've been surprised with some of the tones which I recall as being distorted, are in reality not all that busted up when I listen to them now. I'll use Angus Young with AC/DC as an example - in the context of their overall sound, you perceive his tone as distorted, but when you focus in on just his guitar, it's actually more on the clean side - just dialed up to a really loud and full-bodied tone. Same with Townshend's on the Live at Leeds performance. He kicked on a pedal here and there, but those P90's through a stack of Hiwatts made a statement that was so massively large, my ear heard it as distorted back then. So I guess there's been some expanded capacity for discernment regarding tone that's taken place over time for me

Contributing Member

olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Aug 5th, 2019 06:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

I wouldn't say my tastes have changed as much as refined. Back in the day my guitar heroes were Beck, Page, Cream-era Clapton. But I wasn't listening to tone as much as notes. Even as SRV hit the scene I wasn't listening to tone as much as the overall package. And when I played, it was whatever came out of my Tele through my Bandmaster, or Twin.

It wasn't until I started listening to Eric Johnson that I really heard tone and tried to imitate it. It was at the end of the era of overly-processed music when artists were getting back to more raw sounds. At that point I started listening and experimenting with different types of guitars, pickups, amps.

Now I can appreciate and dial in many different tones, from Townsend's raw power chords, to primitive, hollowbody edge of distortion blues tones, to bell-clear Chet Atkins (not that I can play as good as any of them).
Being in a cover band for the first time in 30 years has helped me to listen through the music to just what that guitar sounds like, and appreciate all sorts of tones, although I'll admit my favorites are the least processed and primitive tones. A guitar and amp at the edge of distortion.

Contributing Member

Shreveport, LA

There I was one night...
Aug 5th, 2019 07:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

Though my guitar tastes are pretty much locked in - think opening riffs of Can't you hear me knockin" the way I'm improvising now is more like the tail end of CYHMK. My wife says I'm playing jazz music. Wow!

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Aug 5th, 2019 07:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

"It wasn't until I started listening to Eric Johnson that I really heard tone and tried to imitate it."

"...my favorites are the least processed and primitive tones."

I may be connecting two of your separate thoughts incorrectly. And if so, I apologize. However, with Eric Johnson, as informative as his playing can be, I personally find his tone heavily processed. It isn't usually a heavily distorted tone, but he does layer on quite a bit of EFX to my ears.

Contributing Member

olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Aug 5th, 2019 01:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

"I may be connecting two of your separate thoughts incorrectly."
They do seem to be related, but they're basically unrelated rambling thoughts. I think Eric opened my ears a bit to tone, with the various stuff he used, but when I really started listening to stuff in general, it was the more raw unprocessed stones that I started trying to emulate.
One of my favs right now anyway is the opening riff of the theme song on the old BBC series Murder in Paradise. It's an instrumental version of a Jamaican song from the 1960s, "You're Wondering Now" and there's a lovely raw tone that I imagine comes from a set of P90's thru a tweed amp of some sort, although I could be all wrong.

first riffs

(This message was last edited by swampyankee at 03:30 PM, Aug 5th, 2019)

Contributing Member

Motor City, USA

Better get hit in yo' soul
Aug 6th, 2019 08:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

I always hear that riff (on TV) as a Strat neck pickup, although it sounds a little different on my computer. Hmmm...

FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Changing tastes

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