|Guitarsellers and guitarmakers
(and ignorant beginners who are willing to spend lots of money to make
you to think they "know it all" and that they have "golden ears") will
tell you a lot about the importance of every little detail of a guitar.
Let's look at some and try to filter out the bullshit. You can save
LOTS of money !!
-----> What comes out of the loudspeakers is the product of a chain
-----> Without the player, cables, amp and loudspeakers there IS
-----> EVERY component in the chain affects the sound
-----> The only important thing is WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR LOUDSPEAKERS.
The most important components
Yes !! different players
SOUND different (and sorry, but yes, YOU are a component in the chain,
It's FUN ! Try it
! Different materials and gauges of picks make the attack of the
strings sound different !!
Plain E, B and G strings
all sound pretty much the same, but different wound D, A and
E strings sound different.
It's easy: cheap strings
sound cheap. I've tried. While still new, they already sounded
like they had been on the guitar for 6 months or more.
I use different strings on
No matter how hard you try
to make a guitar sound like 50s or 60s.... it NEVER
will have that sound with roundwound strings.
Before 1967 only very few
players used roundwound strings.
||CABLES and PLUGS
You know.... many
use 4 or 5 effectpedals and connect them with cables with 2 Jack
plugs each. 5 pedals mean 12 (yes.... 12) PLUGS between
your guitar and your amp. So use HIGH quality plugs.
(and stay away from cheap cables)
10 ft of cable from your
guitar to the first pedal + 4 X 6 inches between the FX pedals + 10 ft
from the last pedal to your AMP... that's 22 ft of cable that
can ruin your sound.
There is no need to buy cables
that cost 25 $ per meter.... just use a double shielded type of good
Handle your cables like they
were made of glass. Do not step on them. You don't want any holes
in she shielding.
The shielding protects the
"hot" wire inside the cable from picking up noise.
Remember that the output
signal of an electric guitar only is a few millivolts. You want as much
as possible put into the inputjack of your amp !!!
Effects are a matter of
taste.... they can add A LOT to your sound, or they can ruin
We all have different tastes,
so I won't comment this here. This is when they are turned ON.
When an effect pedal is turned
OFF it's different. OFF should be OFF..... so the pedal
does not make ANY change to the sound.
And here we have a problem.
The OFF (or bypass) mode of most pedals are not real bypass at all.
I don't want to say they
RUIN your sound when in bypass mode, but they certainly CHANGE the sound.
TRICK: use a footswitch
just before your first pedal, that will send the signal either to the pedals
or directly to your amp. This enables you to bypass all pedals by
Basically there are 2 kinds
of guitaramps: Transistor ("solid state") Amps and Tube Amps.
Some prefer the sound
of transistor amps... most prefer tube amps.
There are NO tube amps that
the manufacturer tries to make sound like a transistor amp, but there
are a sh*tload of transistor amps that the manufacturer or the salesman
claim that they "sound like a tube amp". Well.... they
DON'T, so stay away from those.
If you like the sound of
tubes, then buy the real thing.
NO transistors and NO digital
stuff can replicate the sound of those hot, sizzling, boiling bottles...
And now we're talking about
sound of tubes: the same TYPES of tubes sound different when mady
by different BRANDS.
I tried 3 different pre-amp
tubes and 4 different sets of power-amp tubes before I found those I really
The tubes I use now, are
manufactured by Sovtec.
(Sovtec = a Russian Company
that makes electronic components for the Red Army)
Probably the most important
component when we're talking SOUND. After all..... it's the loudspeakers
that make the air move and vibrate. My best advice is: USE YOUR EARS
LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST:
|Few things in
this world have been said and written more bullshit about than there has
been about electric guitars.
And as a retired guitarsalesman
I admit I have contributed MY share. :-))
most important thing about a guitar is, that it feels "right" in YOUR hands.
You'll want to use the guitar
to make YOUR creativity, skills and expression come out of the loudspeakers.
If it feels uncomfortable
in your hands, then do NOT buy it.
If your friends like a guitar,
but you do NOT, then do NOT buy it.
Your guitar is the "userinterface"
between YOU and what comes out of the loudspeakers.
|WHAT "THEY" WANT US TO BELIEVE
||WHAT IT REALLY IS LIKE
wood of the body, neck and fretboard has influence on the sound of a guitar"
compare two of my guitars :-)
Both are "Strats" so the
shape of these two are the same
Both are fitted with d'Addario
0.010 strings and both have a plastic nut.
Any difference in sound
should be caused by the WOOD.
||Fender 50s Stratocaster
||Squier SE SPECIAL STRAT
(From a beginner set)
||Two point vibrato
||Cheap vibrato, broken, now
When I strum the open strings
(unamplified) there is NO difference.
Sound, volume, sustain...
all are the same.
With a capo in 3rd fret
the result is the same.
If you don't believe me,
just click this link and listen.
I will NOT tell you what
is which guitar.
First strum is "ONE" guitar,
second strum is "THE OTHER" :-))
To make sure that the mic
would pick up the sound of the WOOD and not of the STRINGS, the mic was
placed to pick up the sound of the backside of the guitar, right behind
the middle pick-up.
The mic was placed about
2 inches from the body.
All this talk about wood
One kind of wood may LOOK
different from the other, but the SOUND isn't that different.
Danelectro made / makes fine guitars with a masonite body.
Any wood, crafted without
messing up things, will do.
The slight difference there
is (if any) between different kinds of wood, will get totally lost in different
PUs, cables, FX, amp and most of all: in different loudspeakers.
|"To reduce the weight of
this guitar, we have drilled holes in the body, but this does NOT change
||One of the most popular
guitarmodels has weightproblems.
It's a guitar with a mahogany
body and a maple top.
On some models, the manufaturer
drills holes into the mahogany, before the maple top is glued on.
This is done to reduce the
weight of the guitar.
You can NOT see the holes.
And the manufacturer still calls it a solidbody guitar.
A "chambered" solidbody
same guys who tell you that different kinds of wood ALL sound different,
drill holes into the body and claim this does NOT affect the sound.
|"This guitar sound HOT !!"
||Usually this means that
the guitar has a lot of "own sound".
After a while you'll find
out, that no matter what you do, and no matter what effectpedals you use,
it still has this "own sound" that you got tired of.
(Here's a little secret ---->
this is why it's so easy to sell Yamaha and Ibanez guitars to beginners)
If you buy a "heavy" guitar,
you'll have to play "heavy" music.... try to use it for Country,
Jazz or Blues and it will sound like sh*t.
When you want to play different
kinds of music, you'll have to buy a guitar with a "basic" sound.
From there you use gain,
EQ and FXs to make the sound you want.
IMNVHO a Strat (with 3 single
coil PUs) is the most versalite guitar there is. You can play ALMOST any
kind of music on it.
Now there are two "main
types" of guitar pickups. Singlecoils and humbuckers.
(Yes I know there is a third
type, the P90, but this is a singlecoil type too).
The heavy, FAT, humbucker
sound is what a Strat cannot do. Nor can it produce a full, round,
So to cover ALL kinds of
sounds, you'll need TWO guitars, a Strat and a guitar with humbucker
The most basic sounding humbucker
pickups are made by Gibson, Seymour Duncan and by Di Marzio. These
humbuckers all have their own character, but all are very versalite (except
for the "high output" types)
Again it's a matter of taste.
I prefer Gibson humbuckers, but I like some types of SD's too. Di
Marzios are OK... they are just not "me".
|"Cheap tuners make your
guitar go out of tune all the time"
||Not true. Another piece
If the tuners make your
guitar go out of tune, they are broke. When not broke, just
make sure you string your guitar the right way. I never had any problems
with cheap tuners.
|The "unsaid bullshit":
Salespeople try NOT to talk about pots, switches, jack and wireing.
the cheapest Korean or Chinese electronic sh*t they can find.
Even the two "main US guitarmanufacturers" do this and they do not
only fit their "budget" guitars with them.
Pity, coz it IS important.
You do NOT want to switch to your bridge pickup, while having a great solo
in mind and then hear...... NOTHING.
My FENDER Strat came
with a volumepotmeter that made the sound disappear in the position between
3 and 7.
The toggleswitch on my SG
made lots of noise, and after less than a month the toggleswitch on my
Tele Custom seemed to have forgotten that there's a neck pickup too.
I've seen "noisey" guitars
with UNSHIELDED wires.
So.... the best you
can do when you buy a new guitar, is to replace pots, switches, jack and
wires with quality stuff.
Switchcraft makes great switches
for less than 20 dollars and there are many brands of potmeters that can
Use 500 k Ohm log.
for humbucker volumepotmeters and 500 k Ohm lin. for tonepotmeters.
Use 250 k Ohm potmeters
for singlecoil pickups.
for volume and lin. for tone.
You can use 500 k Ohm potmeters
with singlecoils, if you want to, but do NOT use 250 k Ohm pots with humbuckers.
And do NOT mix 250
k and 500 k on the same guitar.
A little trick: Cover
all HOT unisolated wires and solderpoints with glue from a hot-glue pistol.
Make sure there are NO bare
Then wrap everything in