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Tone IS NOT in your hands......

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by mshivy, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. sertshark

    sertshark Strat-Talk Member

    May 11, 2014
    Oakdale, CA
    When I first read the title of this post I figured someone was just fishing. I pretty much figured people would probably get their panties in a wad. Then, I realized the original poster is absolutely right. Tone is not in your hands. Just like it is not in your strings, or your amp, or your effects, or your pick, or your whatever. Tone is pretty much all in your head. Ka-BLAM! That just blew your mind, I know.
    gjohnson441496 likes this.

  2. Bladesg

    Bladesg Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 31, 2013
    Without reading the 12 pages.... most importantly for me is that all my guitars are different enough that it makes me do things differently. It's obviously still 'me' playing and sounds like 'me' but I do do things differently depending on which I'm playing.
    abnormaltoy and Bluestrat83 like this.

  3. wildhawk

    wildhawk Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2014
    There's one tone and then there's.....:sneaky:


  4. Ultra91

    Ultra91 Strat-Talk Member

    May 2, 2017
    Tecumseh, OK
    When one says tone is in the hands (or fingers.....whatever) I don't think they mean EXCLUSIVELY. We're talking about an incredibly complex process in producing music. It involves every action-physical, mental, and emotional- that a human is capable of. Your hands are THE link to the instrument. To discount their effect on the music is kinda dumb. The manipulation of all the intricate aspects of the electric guitar is essential to good tone and having the know-how to acquire gear that is up to the task is part of the intelligence, talent, and just common sense of becoming a real musician. Isolating elements of playing guitar into fingers, strings, amps, pickups, etc. is important as long as we remember that they are all COMPONENTS of good tone and not solely responsible for it. You can't buy good tone anymore than you can buy talent. I know many great shreddy players who have NO ear for tone. Other guys (like me) are not speed players but know timbre and appropriate tone. The greats combine both. Nice thread..some really funny stuff.

  5. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    I cannot but fall back on small sample size anecdotal accounts. Since I worked in music stores for several years back when spandex rule the earth, I got to hear loads of players and I came away thinking that some can make anything sound good and some can make anything sound bad.

    I also had the fun of getting to hear some of our regulars that could make anything in the shop that had strings on it, sound metal/shreddy/heavy.

    stevierayfan91 likes this.

  6. Bluestrat83

    Bluestrat83 Strat-O-Master

    Jan 17, 2016

  7. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 2, 2010
    Peardale CA
    I always enjoy a treatise from the devils advocate
    mshivy likes this.

  8. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 2, 2010
    Peardale CA
    Thrup'ny Bit likes this.

  9. Will Lefeurve

    Will Lefeurve Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 1, 2016
    England & France
    Tone is most definitely (from) the hands, heart, and head. A guitar, amp, or any other musical instrument, is nothing more than an inanimate object. A tool to be used by the craftsman.. Peace.. :D

    stevierayfan91 and fezz parka like this.

  10. banjaxed

    banjaxed Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Mar 14, 2014
    Liverpool UK
    I asked my wife's opinion on this topic, then I remembered she is tone deaf :D
    ZlurkCorzDog and Thrup'ny Bit like this.

  11. Stratstrangler

    Stratstrangler Strat-Talker

    Mar 27, 2017
    Upstate NY
    Tone being in the fingers (to me) is sort of a somewhat lazy way of stating what we hear when listening to a particular player. It's a bit more complicated, isn't it? We all know what tone a basic Strat, Les Paul, or Martin D-28 can produce even before we pick it up or plug it in (just guitar, cord,and amp). To my way of thinking about it, each of those three I mentioned will have any number of variances in their tone signature. A capable player seems to have the ability to sort the through those variances very quickly; those ones he/she discovers in that instrument they have in their hands at the moment.

    I encountered this when buying a Les Paul almost 20 years ago. A professional on duty in sales asked me how I liked my new Lester. I replied that I had not had the chance to get acquainted with it as yet. I handed him the new guitar, he sat down with no amp and proceed to run a few notes and chords. I was instantly impressed at his ability to draw sustain out of the chords and single notes; something I had yet to discover in it. I knew that he was listening to things and quickly analyzing and finding what he was after on the fingerboard. Isn't that we all try to do? He just was drawing on his knowledge of Les Paul tone characteristics and quirks, finding what he liked and making it sing, unplugged.

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    stevierayfan91 likes this.

  12. guitarman1984

    guitarman1984 Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 24, 2013
    Nuances are in your hands, that's a big part of the resulting tone.
    colaiza1965 and Will Lefeurve like this.

  13. RedFenderBender

    RedFenderBender Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    I concur, tone is Not being produced by ones hands...i think there are many things that factor in to what Is producing ones overall tonal quality. Im going to say the wood the instruments constructed of & the pick-ups selected will be the largest contributors, but there are many ingredients...including the thickness of the guitar cable used to plug in.
    Will Lefeurve and mshivy like this.

  14. colaiza1965

    colaiza1965 Strat-O-Master

    Sep 6, 2012
    Lake Forest CA
    I would say some tone is in your hands. Where you place your hands, the angle of the pick, how you pluck your strings, wideness of you vibrato, and a little more. As an adult I learn that things in life are less and less about black and white and more about grays.
    Stratstrangler likes this.

  15. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    The problem is actually the premise of the question, that some one thing = tone.

    That kind of "myopia" has permeated the forums for almost 2 decades that I'm aware of... and is as wrong today as it was in '98 .

    Everything must come together to produce an artist's tone... Chet Atkins didn't buy that sound, neither did Jimi, Stevie, Eric, Jeff ... they developed their style, which produces their tone... then they fine tune it with gear choices, etc., not the other way around.

    As I've said before if "you" think you're gonna "buy tone" and are closed minded to the reality of what talent brings to the tone equation, you're pretty much hopeless.. You're stuck at being a "technician" only, memorizing "stuff" to play, living in constant fear the band's leader, will look at ya in the middle of a set and say the most frightening words a technical player can hear, . . . "Take it". :eek:


  16. banjaxed

    banjaxed Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Mar 14, 2014
    Liverpool UK
    IMHO I think the word TONE should be replaced by INDIVIDUAL STYLE when discussing this subject.
    mshivy, Stratstrangler and Groovey like this.

  17. kris ford

    kris ford Strat-Talker

    Apr 30, 2017
    Groovey likes this.

  18. Noahclem

    Noahclem Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 26, 2015
    Dude, you're the "tone guru". If you don't have the answer who does?

  19. Noahclem

    Noahclem Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 26, 2015
    This thread is very timely for me. I have been jonesing for a particular $2000 guitar for the last few years and somehow the local store still hasn't sold it (even though they sell many both more expensive and less).

    I have to remember that no matter where I go, there I am. But it is a very beautiful guitar that fits in my hands so well, light weight, great sound. Nice fat neck.
    mshivy likes this.

  20. mshivy

    mshivy Most Honored Senior Member

    I have a little scheme to get a decent, small tube amp for my 50th birthday ( 2 years away.)
    Like a dope I showed my wife this thread, and she said
    " why do you need a different amp? Your sound is in your hands"

    Thanks guys -:whistling: