Guitar Player with bad tone!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Doley50, Apr 26, 2014.


  1. Doley50

    Doley50

    Sep 4, 2005
    Hello,

    One, I am not claiming to be the master of great tone, I one of those guys that puts everything at 12 O Clock and fine tune from there.
    Our guitar player who is a great guy, uses a nice little combo amp, he is very mindful of his volume, but his tone sucks! And he is somewhat aware of it, we played a show once were the sound-guy came out from the board and changed his tone!
    There are some basic things that I would like to talk to him about, but I want to be sure I'm being tactful.
    The first thing, he recently purchased a new guitar, some off brand guitar and it sounds bad, it needs to be professional set up. He said he was going to do it but still has not!
    Second, I feel he needs a new amp, he is using an older line 6 combo, and the amp is just in bad shape, but what I would like to do is just turn all the tone knobs to 12:00 O'clock and see what we can get. I just hate to do this a half hour before a show.
    A little venting , some tactful ways to approve this problem would be helpful also.
     
  2. tmdazed

    tmdazed

    Sep 29, 2012
    I feel your pain , i have a guitar player that insists on using this bag o crap spyder that wouldn't make a fart sound good , he has nice guitars and when he plugs them through my marshall they sound great , the line 6 ALWAYS makes all the guitars sound like firey mud
     
  3. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    Record yourselves so he can hear the problems and offer to help him work on them.

    Those little Line 6's are certainly not tone machines, but there are at least "useful" sounds in there with enough twiddling and tweaking. It will take quite a while running through presets and Eq'ing to find them, but you should be able to find 3 or maybe 4 different tones to save he can just click between.

    It will never sound like a nice tube amp, but you should be able to get "useable" sounds. The hard part with those things is getting musical "in between" tones. Too clean or extremely distorted are easier to get.
     
    Luke19Boarder likes this.
  4. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    If you can setup your bass, you can help him setup his guitar. Same deal just smaller scale/measurements.

    Obviously this is all stuff you'd do on a saturday or sunday off. Take some time and work on it.
     
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Just one thought. If your guitarist thought your sound was crud, and wanted to come to you, how would you want him to do it, and how would you feel like he was butting his nose where it did not belong? Plenty of threads here about guitarists complaining about the bassist's tone (or something) and the bassist is upset about it.
     
    DannyBob, Jarobi and RustyAxe like this.
  6. azwhofan

    azwhofan Supporting Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    Arizona
    I have a very similar issue with my rhythm guitarist/lead vocalist, whose band it happens to be. He graduated from the school of "good enough". It took me 9 months to convince him my PA was miles ahead of his - now, all he needs is a better board and I can stop schlepping the my PA :). Ditto with using different mic's live. Now, I have got him to the point where he realizes he needs a direct box for his acoustic guitars.

    The point of all this being is it may take some time and patience to get his ears to realize the value of spending time - and maybe some $$$ - getting good tone in a live setting. Take it step by step and don't try to shove more schoolin' down his throat than he can accept in one coaching session.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I say tough. Part of being in a band is operating for the good of the band as a whole. It's called "teamwork." If you can't take a little constructive criticism from your bandmates, then you're too thin-skinned for bands.
     
  8. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    Well, you do it helpfully, ya know, like bandmates trying to improve their product.

    Not, "your tone sucks, I'm turning your knobs from now on". :)

    The recording yourselves, full band, will help a lot. Guitar tones, like bass tones, that sometimes sound cool all by themselves, aren't always the best thing for a live mix, especially back in the room.
     
  9. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Indeed. On the plus side, at least he's not a pedal stomping tone whore who brings a different PRS to rehearsal every week and spends the first half hour finding his "sound". There's at least potential for improvement. If its a long term situation, it would be worthwhile for the both of you to get his gear and knowledge of it in order.
     
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    My point is, he may be right, or it may be his opinion. How many threads here do we hear "my band is commenting on my tone, what gear I use, how I dress, whatever - and we support them?

    Just saying he should approach him how he would want to be approached.

    As I always say, I could be wrong ...
     
    Helaskold likes this.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Agreed. No need to be rude about it. And if the dude feels strongly about his tone as it is, I think he should explain why he feels that way. But bands don't operate as totally autonomous collectives, even if they claim to be. Sooner or later, there will be decisions to be made and some folks in the band won't like the outcome. The sooner musicians get that, the easier the whole band experience becomes for everyone.
     
    fhm555 likes this.
  12. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    It might be his Line 6 gear. I play with a guy who has a Line 6 guitar and amp, and he always sounds harsh and artificial. He has a fairly harsh attack anyway, but the sound of those things, with all the processing, just doesn't sound right by itself. In the context of a cover band, it's OK, but even he knows it is serviceable, not good.
     
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    One thing I always try to do - seek support. How do others in the band feel? If you all on the same side, it is better than two in support and two not. A group approach is often best.
     
  14. ImNotJoel

    ImNotJoel

    Jan 12, 2014
    Connecticut
    You said it man any amp with 50,000 effects is a guitarist trap. They buy it for effects but it always just sounds like garbage. The effects sound terrible then even if they try and go for a dry uneffected sound it still sounds wet and washy. Guitarist need to learn those amps are a rip off it's one thing if they want to have a little practice amp but not for gigs or even band practice.
     
  15. Doley50

    Doley50

    Sep 4, 2005
    Tonight we have a show, and I'm just going to look at his settings and if I see something really strange I may make a suggestion. Lucky he is the type of person that will try different ideas, so we'll see.

    The rest of the band feels the same way pretty much, I say that because the singer ( not knowing much about sound ) just wants him to turn up or turn down the problem is, it is not the volume, it is the tone, it has no definition, so you get that effect were even if it's louder you still can't really hear it. Do that make sense?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  16. Do you have a link so we can hear it?
     
  17. chuckNC

    chuckNC

    Aug 21, 2012
    I was invited to hear a contemporary Christian band a while back, and was told I would especially dig the lead guitarist. He played a Les Paul into a Marshall (1x12 IIRC) combo. Probably nothing wrong with his gear, but he and the sound guy were having a disagreement between songs. Guitarist wanted more in the house and soundman said no it's plenty loud. Well it was loud enough out in front. And shrill as a dentist's drill. Problem was the amp was on the floor right behind the guitarist, shooting sound through his knees. You know what he was hearing was way different than what was heard out front. The amount of treble he needed to dial in for it to sound right to him where he stood was way out of proportion to what was needed in the room. This is basic stuff, but sometimes the solution is something as simple as repositioning an amp.

    FWIW, I started gigging again on guitar about 12 years ago and my first amp was a Line 6 Flextone 1x12. I agree that they sound a bit sterile at gig volume. It took me a while before I was able to get a better amp. Sounds like your guitar player is a bit financially challenged? If so, all is not lost. Decent tone can be had at reasonable prices, if you know what you're looking for. Maybe a different amp is the answer. Maybe that's not necesssary at this point. Dialing in a sound that works takes some experimenting. The willingness to work on it has to be there.

    I agree that recording a gig (or a rehearsal) and listening to the results as a group is a good idea....for everybody's sake. I'd tread easy though when it comes to telling him his sound is broken and needs fixing. Hopefully he'll hear it for himself.
     
  18. Lobomov

    Lobomov

    Aug 2, 2013
    Hehe .. one moment we have a my dufus gui**** has no right to put down my tone and fiddle with my amp thread. - Hear hear goes the choir.

    Next moment we have the opposite .. my dufus gui**** have a lousy tone and I need to fiddle with his amp :D


    Tone is in the fingers btw :)
     
    thefruitfarmer and Helaskold like this.
  19. tmdazed

    tmdazed

    Sep 29, 2012
    tape your show tonight , and post it , I would be curious if you are having the same prob with the line 6 sound we are
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I work with a dude who will sometimes bring a Line 6 amp, and he sounds great. We both acknowledge the shortcomings of digital amps, but at the end of the day, he's got a sound.
     
    natw42 likes this.
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