"Tone is in the hands" part 2

Nokie

Strat-O-Master
Jul 31, 2018
656
91325
Fine, but what part of the sound? Are you referring to it as only what the tone knob does, or what?

Also, I really think you should look at a dictionary.
I'm not sure I can say what "part" of the sound is tone, other than to say it is the "tonal part" which is not a satisfying answer. I would also have trouble identifying what "part" of sound is reverb ,(other than to say it is the "reverberation part" of sound - which is, again, not satisfactory). I can say what part of sound tone affects - it affects the timbre (Google that one if ya need to) and I can say what parts of sound that tone is not - i.e. tone is not volume, tone is not wave length, tone is not distortion, tone is not even timbre (I only said it affects timbre). The tone of a sound can certainly be affected by a tone knob, if one is present, but tone is not reliant on the tone knob. And as I have said before in this thread, it is my opinion that skilled fingers have the best affect on the tone of a guitar.

In understanding the relationship of tone and sound, I think you need to go beyond a dictionary as dictionary definitions can vary widely. For example, some dictionaries say sound is noise, others say sound is energy or vibration that involves the movement of air. I would recommend a book or a class on the physics of sound. There are also good classes on color and sound that impact an understanding of tone (and other characteristics) by looking at how tone exists as a part of color (Q: "what part" of color involves tone? A: hue). I have taken both such types of courses and they were fun.
 
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dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
6,824
Murfreesboro, TN
I'm not sure I can say what "part" of the sound is tone, other than to say it is the "tonal part" which is not a satisfying answer. I would also have trouble identifying what "part" of sound is reverb ,(other than to say it is the "reverberation part" of sound - which is, again, not satisfactory). I can say what part of sound tone affects - it affects the timbre (Google that one if ya need to) and I can say what parts of sound that tone is not - i.e. tone is not volume, tone is not wave length, tone is not distortion, tone is not even timbre (I only said it affects timbre). The tone of a sound can certainly be affected by a tone knob, if one is present, but tone is not reliant on the tone knob. And as I have said before in this thread, it is my opinion that skilled fingers have the best affect on the tone of a guitar.

In understanding the relationship of tone and sound, I think you need to go beyond a dictionary as dictionary definitions can vary widely. For example, some dictionaries say sound is noise, others say sound is energy or vibration that involves the movement of air. I would recommend a book or a class on the physics of sound. There are also good classes on color and sound that impact an understanding of tone (and other characteristics) by looking at how tone exists as a part of color (Q: "what part" of color involves tone? A: hue). I have taken both such types of courses and they were fun.
All I get from this is: You disagree with anyone who uses the actual dictionary definition of the word. You say they're wrong, but you won't provide an alternative definition, other than that it is better with skill. That sum it up correctly?
 

meat cheese meat

Strat-Talker
Mar 6, 2020
157
L.A.
Your last post got lots of negative responses, too. It wasn't overwhelmingly supportive.

You're using tone and sound interchangeably. Many of us do. No one has established an internationally accepted definition of the two words (re: guitar playing). I see it this way:
Your sound is the overall result of your tone plus whatever gear you're using at the time. Your tone is your clean, dry sound - your pure sound. No outboard effects, no amp effects (including amp dirt), no guitar effects. Nothing to hide behind. Now you can hear what you got. The more revealing your basic rig (amp and cables) the more accurately you'll hear what you got. That's your tone.

At that point a big part of your tone is in your hands.
 

Derrick

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 23, 2020
89
MD/VA/DC metro
Some people just sound like themselves no matter what gear they play. That is where the term "tone is in the hands" comes from. It is true, but not for all styles. If you use high gain or go for metal tones, this becomes non existent because there is less unique character and feel coming through these rigs, and these styles don't traditionally rely on "feel". The more character and feel your amplifier is set to produce and your style of music will allow (like blues based rock), the more tone can be "in the hands" so to speak, regardless of rig. BB King is a great example of someone who's tone was in his hands. There's no mistaking BB no matter what he played. We've all heard the story of EVH or Hendrix sounding like themselves regardless of playing other people's rigs. I don't see what the denial is?
 

stevierayfan91

DEEPLY SHY.
Feb 20, 2011
12,236
Private.
Since my last post entitled "tone is in the hands - silliest buzzword of the decade" got so many positive reactions I thought I'd ressurect it. I saw this video by SMG the other day, supporting my claim:



Now, I know that SMG is a metal channel and this is a strat page and yadda yadda: most song productions regardless of genre involves many stages of compression, saturation, eq ++ (when tracking, mixing instruments, on the mixbus and mastering)

I hereby stand by my former claim: the tone is indeed not in the hands, but in the gear that produces it. Individual players "feel" (whatever that means), amount of pressure on the strings, chord voicings, syncopation choices is a seperate discussion and has little to do with "tone". Unless, of course, you want to argue that a sushi-chef's - and a pizza baker's individual cooking styles are what sets their results apart.

Disagree respectfully,

Chris Dourado



I think there’s so much buzzy distortion layers on the signal, it mostly sounds the same in that clip.
 

Nokie

Strat-O-Master
Jul 31, 2018
656
91325
All I get from this is: You disagree with anyone who uses the actual dictionary definition of the word. You say they're wrong, but you won't provide an alternative definition, other than that it is better with skill. That sum it up correctly?
I never said the dictionary definitions were wrong - I said they differ - and for that reason it is important to go beyond dictionary definitions. That said, I did provide a dictionary definition when I said that tone is a character of sound. That is a definition you will find in some dictionaries. This link provides one example wherein tone is defined as "character of sound" (the definition is long so search "character of sound" within the definition link). Here's another link with the same association (again, search "character of sound" within the definition). Do all dictionary definitions say the same thing? No, as I said, they will differ and for that reason it is important to go beyond dictionaries if you really want to understand a given subject.
 

pazman6

Senior Stratmaster
May 28, 2014
1,908
Prairieville, Louisiana
I can't believe this is being debated on a Stratocaster focused site. The only time your hands have anything to do with tone are when they are on the knob that says "Tone" and turning it.
1000_F_137690534_zoatHnBFjWkkvb12C6IL2vMGVRzARavG.jpg
 

rogb

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 22, 2013
34
London, UK
Jimi Hendrix, one of the most famous strat players, used huge amounts of distortion
But like other great players like Buchanan and Moore, he knew how to control the tone and dynamics with pick attack and manipulation of the knobs.
Most folks I play with have guitar vol on max and slam the strings 95% of the time. No dynamics and often fuzzy mush.
 

rogb

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 22, 2013
34
London, UK
My teacher has played my git a few times now
No change in settings
He has a way better tone than me
Gotta have something to do with the player.
Yes! My pal is a pro player. He has a beautiful new high end Taylor acoustic. He played and it literally dripped with harmonic overtones and mellow lines.

I played it and it sounded.... just ok and way more trebley. The sound of each pair of hands/brains was way different and I can play OK BTW 🤣
 

ashtone

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 15, 2014
80
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The nuances of a players tone is in their hands. Nobody mistakes Hendrix for Blackmore when they’re playing Stratocasters through Marshalls, but if you know what “that tone” is, you know it’s a Strat and a Marshall. The exact same rig played by different people will sound very similar, but the nuances created by the players technique (hands) will make a difference. This holds true for drummers (Mitch Mitchell does not sound like Buddy Miles) as well as any instrument you can think of. Maybe not a triangle…
 

dspellman

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 24, 2013
1,037
Los Angeles
Since my last post entitled "tone is in the hands - silliest buzzword of the decade" got so many positive reactions I thought I'd ressurect it. I saw this video by SMG the other day, supporting my claim:

I hereby stand by my former claim: the tone is indeed not in the hands, but in the gear that produces it.

I respectfully disagree. I had an opportunity to sit down with Jeff Beck (an old rocker who used to be a thing) a few months ago, and he hauled out a dinged and dented Strat and, I dunno, a Princeton Reverb.

I've never heard those sounds come out of that gear before. I will guarangoshdarntee you that you can't get those sounds out of that gear. Full stop. I'm not sure what, exactly, he's doing, but you can buy a whole ton of gear and never get there.
 


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