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How to tell your guitar player his tone is BAD??

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SkinnyP411, Dec 7, 2011.


  1. SkinnyP411

    SkinnyP411

    Nov 3, 2011
    Tennessee
    Hey guys, heres the deal. I've been playing in the same band at church for 6 years. The church has 3 different Youth services based on age(middle school, high school, etc.). The high school band is most technically proficient of the bands and thats the one that me and the guys are. Our lead guitarist plays mostly with middle school now due to lack of guitarists but when he plays anywhere he has some problems: He uses the same twangy/fuzzy/crackly distortion sound(his pedals are tuner, volume, and 4 distortion pedals that all do the same thing), he plays through the WHOLE song, EVERY song, His tone is terrible:/ We have a couple other guitarists that can only play with us sometimes so we schedule them to play with use consecutively. They are awesome, tone plus they know when to drop out and come in. Also, he tries to solo sometimes which is ok but when he does solo he tries to sound like a black keys cover band with long drawn out bends to start and end every solo.

    He's 23 and he's a friend but he's very immature and i think that no matter how i say it, he'll take it personally and say that I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't want to change everything about his playing, but that's kind of what needs to be done. His heart is in it, but his playing and tone are getting disruptive. How do i fix this??
     
  2. "if your brother sins, rebuke him. if he repents, forgive him."
     
  3. SkinnyP411

    SkinnyP411

    Nov 3, 2011
    Tennessee
    Well, if he were doing something morally wrong then I'd so use that :p. "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." That just came to my mind when I read your post, I think I have my answer. I just hope he responds without getting ridiculous mad, ya know?
     
  4. cableguy

    cableguy Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    Guitarist at that age really don't realize the difference between tone on CD's and live tone. They usually think the more distortion the better. (as it cover up mistakes) They don't want anyone telling him his tone sucks let alone a (gasp) bass player. Maybe find some isolated guitar tracks from some of his influences for him to listen to. Or have an older more experienced guitarist speak and work with him. Another possibility would be to record him in a band setting and play it back. Just be ready for him not to change immediatly. It's a growth thing and some players take longer if at all.
     
  5. true that, man. but you get the basic gist of what i'm sayin. in any case, NOT talking to him isn't going to solve anything. i wish you the best of luck!
     
  6. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    That's a very delicate situation. Some guys just can't hear different tones at all.

    I once had a guitarist INSIST that when playing lead on a Les Paul the pickup selector had to be on "Lead" and same with rhythm playing being set to "Rhythm" even though he wanted a less chunky tone for rhythm and a fatter lead tone. Idiot.
     
  7. Im sure if it was the other way around they wouldnt be afraid to tell you your tone sucked. Your the bass player we get crapped on all the time
     
  8. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I am in the same boat right now with one of my projects. Fortunately it's not high stress, an just for fun thing for me.

    My guitarist is late 30's though. He's not a great rhythm guy or a great lead/melody guy. He has some poor looking effects from the 80's (a mystery flanger with a half broken case that he runs on a battery) and plays more of a "textures" role.

    He's actually a kind of limited player too... every time he strums the few basic chords he knows it sounds broken (out of tune, fingers muting half the strings so nothing rings out, always the wrong dynamic e.g. too hard) and that's without the flanger. I let him use a pretty nice solid state guitar amp I own (an old Randall with a G12T-100 and very nice sounding reverb) and he mainly uses it to blame for everything.

    Anyway... my guy is really fun to play and collaborate with, especially when you are trying to write coolness and subtley into chill music. The worst part is, his heart is in the right place. He just don't know. But like really don't know.
     
  9. Nobody wants to hear that they have problems, but it's fixing them that makes us better. Guitarists are usually quick to tell us, although most can't take it.
     
  10. HeadyVan Halen

    HeadyVan Halen

    Jun 11, 2010
    4 Distortion pedals at church?
    Long bends to start solo's....at church?

    Love it.
     
  11. Telling your guitar player he has tone issues is just about as easy as telling him he has volume issues as well!! Good luck!!
     
  12. SkinnyP411

    SkinnyP411

    Nov 3, 2011
    Tennessee
    The thing that kills me is that one of the other guitarists that plays with us has sweet tone but if there's something wrong we suggest new stuff and he suggests new stuff about what we play and it's all good. I ask the original guy for a more clean tone and he just gives us crunch from his blues driver instead of full distort.
     
  13. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    This guy sounds like he's rocking out way harder than you guys. Maybe that's the problem.
     
  14. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    That's what makes it so tough... people take their tone very seriously and personally.

    I would venture 9 out of 10 guitarists would respond less negatively if told that they smell bad, than that they sound bad.
     
  15. mikegug

    mikegug

    Oct 31, 2011
    As a guitar player, I am pretty easy going, so I might take it better than most. I'm not anal about stuff like this.

    However, here's a great fix for you... and there is likely to be truth to it. Tell him, "Man, through your amp, your tone ROCKS! These pedals are awesome! I want some of these... blah, blah... BUT, dude, check it out, the PA is really coloring your tone!" Then, before he can say anything, run to FOH and say, "OK, play!" and tweek to your liking!

    When objections come up during the tweek, tell him, "No, it's not the same through PA... you know that! Turn off that first pedal." and keep tweeking...
     
  16. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    LOL! I have had first hand experience with this.
     
  17. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Story, please.
     
  18. I think ALL of us have dealt with this at some time or another. It got me kicked out of a band.
     
  19. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I worked with an older, never married guitarist who really looked and smelled like he didn't have a woman in his life for the last 2 decades. A gross dude in some respects, but he was a good player.

    - He had a microphone with about a decade of dried up spit on it. We had a hot female singer who was going to sit in with us, and he offered her the mic, and she literally repulsed on stage. I told him that was the nastiest thing out there, and it stunk up the stage. He said nothing.

    - I've told him that he smelled like a wet dog, a damp fireplace, and a pile of dirty laundry. I told him to use antiperspirant because the wet spots on his armpits were gross. At best I got a small reaction, some excuses, and once in a while agreement.

    - I've told him that he was too loud, or that his tone was not right for the song, and he'd tell me to go to Hell, make every excuse in the book, get mad, and storm off.
     
  20. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    THAT's what I was talkin' about!

    Thanks, Jive.

    That could launch a whole nother thread: Bandmates Who Grossed You Out But Were Really Good So You Put Up With It
     

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