Do you notice better tone when you plug straight in with no pedals? Any fix?

Discussion in 'The Effect effect' started by BlacknBlue, May 30, 2021.

  1. pookie613

    pookie613 Strat-O-Master

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    Back in the day, effects weren't as common as they are nowadays, but I don't believe that popular recording artists shied away from them. They didn't have as many choices and opportunities to be as OCD as we do nowadays. They used what was available and embraced new sounds and new technologies. Like us, they listened, learned, and used what sounded best to them.

    Mark Farner's fuzz in GFR's early albums sounds er... "funky", Maybe he really liked it but it's a tone that few would want to emulate nowadays!

    Quicksilver's "Happy Trails" had some amazing tracks although they were largely stitched together in the studio from the best parts of their live recordings (some of their live performances really stank, LOL!). No one does whammy bar like John Cippolina did.

    Hard to say about James Gang, but Joe Walsh seemed to like to use effects in the studio like Echoplex, Leslie speakers, multitrack, and backwards guitar.

    For better or worse, none of 'em had a Line 6 Helix back then.
     
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  2. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    To show again here the difference between a 10 foot cable with low capacitance, a 150 foot cable into a couple pedals with no dedicated buffer and then the 150 foot cable with dedicated buffer.

    Most guitars but not all have a passive high impedance signal. Basically pedals circuits themselves, long cables, the cables actual capacitance aside from its length contributes to a roll off of the passive high impedance signal wich can cause tone-suck, degradation, loss of bass, mids, treble definition and volume loss.

    Notice how clear the 10 foot sounds going straight into amp, low capacitance and short lengths helps preserve that passive tone. Thats the tone you want to preserve, the straight into amp tone. Always use this as a reference when adding a new pedal or longer cable or different brand to the chain as @StratUp wisely says regarding pedals.


    Longer cable adds capacitance and so do the circuits of pedals themselves sometimes.


    It makes a quality difference using different types of buffers but they seek to achieve the same thing by getting back that lost tone.


    Different types of buffers like ODs/DS or dedicated buffers that can be used as a routing fx loop in a sense can be used to help you get back that tone lost that is replicated and simulated by that 150 foot cable. Obviously again the 150 foot cable is an exaggeration but its meant to illustrate the effects of high capacitance, long cable chains and the circuits of pedals themselves and how they contribute to higher capacitance sometimes and loss of passive tone.

    If you have one at both front and end that works great but also placement makes a difference as well or sometimes you may add pedals in between that can contribute to more tone suck/degradation then you may want to place one or two more buffers in "trouble areas" where pedals are having a hard time getting along like in between a wah and fuzz sometimes and the impedance issues they produce.



    Pete Thorn here does a better job of explaining to be honest and also check out this video where he explains it.

     
    Last edited: May 31, 2021
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  3. BuddhaFingas

    BuddhaFingas Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    No such thing as a zero-loss signal path, unless you're using superconductors. Every connection, every length of wire, robs a tiny bit of your signal.

    You can regenerate signal strength and you can design your path to minimize loss by careful matching, controlling impedance, buffering, etc, but you can't regenerate lost frequencies once they are gone.

    Simplest setup which gets your intended result is always the best. Complexity increases flexibility at the cost of fidelity.

    TL;DR version; Entropy.
     
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  4. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Most Honored Senior Member

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    Gotcha!:thumb:
     
  5. TepidPilot

    TepidPilot Strat-O-Master

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    Yeah. Plug straight in with no pedals.

    TP
     
  6. Voxman

    Voxman Strat-Talker

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    Does everyone anti-pedal have the practice of stringing a dozen pedals together and leaving them all off? Then decided, "this sucks my tone"

    Well, duh
     
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  7. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

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    I found the tones I want straight in to my Marshalls

    When I stopped relying on pedals, my guitar playing (and therefore my tone) really took off.
     
  8. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    I find that plugging straight into the amp gives me a different tone, better is subjective.
     
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  9. rockon1

    rockon1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Each to their own. My playing took off when I found the sounds in my head and they werent "dry" and clean. I like distortion, reverb and Eq... Some amps I own actually have all those effects built in too. Some dont and need outboard help.
     
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  10. pookie613

    pookie613 Strat-O-Master

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    My guitar is totally out of tune, but its tone is so much better since I got rid of my electronic tuner and plug straight into my amp! o_O
     
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  11. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    If you're going to run a string of pedals, then a buffer/booster post fuzz is a must - quality patch cables too.
     
  12. SalvorHardin

    SalvorHardin Strat-O-Master

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    I listened to a Wampler video, where he shows that too many pedals with buffers also tend to suck out tone. Adds a bit more confusion to the topic for me. Is it possible that there's something in general, one could do the input of an amp, to ease this problem? Maybe change the impedance.
     
  13. rockon1

    rockon1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    A good EQ pedal at the end of your chain might help.
     
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  14. Dudeman7

    Dudeman7 Strat-Talker

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    I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately. Been on a bit of a pedal spree, both buying and building and I have a total of four separate pedal boards now.

    A couple of them are small, one for my acoustic rig and another for a "grab and go" electric board. Each of those have 5 or 6 pedals on them. I can't tell any difference between playing clean through the board or plugged straight into the amp.

    The other two boards are pretty big. My bass board has 10 pedals on it. I play mostly active basses and don't notice any tone sucking whether through the board or straight in.

    Now, my big guitar board has 15 pedals on it and the bypassed tone is definitely different than the straight in tone. Most of the pedals have true bypass but I have a JHS Little Black Buffer and an ISP Deci-Mate that are under the board and always on.

    What I realized when playing through the big board though is that I seldom have all of the pedals bypassed. The whole purpose of that thing is to inspire me to create new sounds and ultimately, new songs.

    There is room for all schools of thought here and no wrong answers, as long as the end result is favorable.
     
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  15. hogrider16

    hogrider16 Strat-Talker

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    +1

    The driver in choosing a guitar, amp and effects is to get the tone you want. If you can get that tone with no effects, more power to you. If you need a pedal board the size of an aircraft carrier flight deck, have at it! This isn't the SATs, there's no cheating in guitar playing.
     
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  16. BigDan

    BigDan Strat-Talker

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    I wonder who the better guitarist is. The guy that has turned a yard trailer into a pedalboard with twenty different effects complete with whale sounds and bird calls and has ten guitars on racks for all to see on stage,ect..... or the guy that is plugged in to an amp with a tube screamer and a wah pedal at the most and only brought two guitars. Can you guess which two?
     
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  17. BlurgyWurgyWibble

    BlurgyWurgyWibble Strat-O-Master

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    I think most of the time you aren't noticing the "tone suck" but actually noticing the buffer doing its job and mitigating the effect of the "reactance" in your guitar signal chain (wiring, pots, cable etc.)
    That said, very many pedals have variable impedence and very many (popular) pedal buffers do absolutely blow so its always worth spending some time figuring out specifcally which one you want at the start/end of your (preferably) true bypass signal chain.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
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  18. El Gwango

    El Gwango Strat-Talk Member

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    Yup my neighbour's beg me to take up golf ,Huh what do they know
     
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  19. Slartybartfast

    Slartybartfast Strat-Talker

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    No, but I have in the past. Anymore I always use both high quality cords and pedals. Doesn't hurt that I usually have one or more pedals with buffers in them. You can always try a stand alone buffer pedal if you need to. So yes, that can happen but it's easily rectified.
     
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  20. metrokosmiko

    metrokosmiko Strat-Talker

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    There is a noticeable difference in tone and feel, but musically it makes no difference.

    I can hear what the buffer in my delay does to my tone, but it's fine, it's not ruining my song.