Jump to content


surfwhammy

Member Since 05 Jan 2008
Offline Last Active Mar 06 2016 01:40 PM
****-

#3459016 Fabulous Stratocaster Modification Project

Posted by surfwhammy on 11 September 2013 - 01:47 AM

It has been a while since I did anything on this project other than a lot of planning, but I might start doing the next set of modifications sometime in the not so distant future, where at present the plan is to add three more Seymour Duncan pickups and a Graph Tech Ghost acoustic and MIDI pickup system . . .

 

acoustiphonic.jpg?sfvrsn=0

 

 

hexpander.jpg?sfvrsn=0

 

Ghost System (Graph Tech)

 

THOUGHTS

 

Initially my thinking was that being able to blend various pickups into two monaural output signals made sense, but after pondering it for a while and discovering how to control virtual instruments with music notation I realized that it makes more sense to have a lot of monaural output signals and a separate MIDI system . . .

 

The end result is the better, and I think it will simplfy everything with respect to one of the primary goals, which is to have a complete palette of tones, textures, and effects without needing to divert significant attention to effects pedals or anything else unless it cannot be avoided . . .

 

For example, I have an elaborate set of high-end effects pedals, but each effects pedal is vastly complex, which overall makes it essentially impossible to do anything other than to find a specific single configuration that sounds good, which is the way I do it . . .

 

Consider the DigiTech HarmonyMan effects pedal for a moment . . .

 

DigiTech-Harmony-Man-Small.png

 

This is the way DigiTech explains what the now discontinued HarmonyMan effects pedal does at a high level:

 


 

HarmonyMan™ is the world's first guitar pedal that generates harmonies based on your chord progression. It features four different types of pitch shifting depending on which of the 42 different voices are selected. Combine up to two distinct voices in any combination to accompany the input signal: a 3rd or 5th above or below, an octave up, two octaves below, 24 semitones and 4 detune variations.

 

For all practical purposes the verbose explanation is that actually understanding how to use the HarmonyMan should be possible if one devotes several years to studying the various configurations, including doing a lot of experiments, which basically makes it vastly impractical to do everything that can be done with this effects pedal, hence my strategy is to find a configuration that I like and then to "park it" in that configuration, which generally is what I do with all the other effects pedals I have here in the sound isolation studio . . .

 

The exceptions are the two DigitTech Whammy pedals and at least one wah-wah pedal, which currently is the original version of the Budda Budwah pedal that I like because it is a bit more mellow than the classic Dunlop CryBaby wah-wah pedal . . .

 

DigiTech-Whammy-Pedal-Small.png     Budda-Budwah-Pedal-Small.png

 

The key to understanding the strategy is based on the combination of (a) common sense and (b) physical reality, where the practical aspect is that when one is standing and playing lead guitar it is possible to use only one motion pedal at a time, and having three motion pedals requires being able to "park" them quickly in happy configurations, which itself is a bit of work when one also needs to focus on playing notes and imagining new sets of notes and chords to play . . .

 

In other words, one aspect involves practicality, but the other aspect involves the overall palette of tones, textures, and effects, all of which makes sense only when one takes the time to think through everything toward the goal of creating and defining a set of sounds that works nicely for the way one wants to play electric guitar (rhythm and lead) . . .

 

Consequently, I decided that I like reverb, echo, tremolo, fuzz, overdrive, and a few other types of tones, textures, and effects but not always at the same time, which adds yet another variable to the equation that typically is solved by doing additional activities, primarily engaging and disengaging specific effects via ON-OFF buttons on the effects pedals, but the problem with this typical solution is that it requires diverting the one-at-a-time designated foot from (a) operating a motion pedal to (b) operating an ON-OFF button, which in turn requires © remembering the overall state of all the ON-OFF effects pedal buttons and so forth and so on, which again is too much stuff to do and to remember in real-time . . .

 

However, (a) it is not too much work to know which of a small set of tones, textures, and effects one desires at any given time and (b) it is not too much work to manage three motion pedals where the rule is that each of the three motion pedals can be "parked" or played as the need arises, all done with one foot while standing primarily with the other foot . . .

 

And this is where having six Seymour Duncan pickups, each of which is on a separate and independent circuit with its own monaural output signal becomes important, where the idea is that instead of using the blending strategy with fewer output signals, each of the six output signals will have an ON-OFF switch on the pickguard such that one can engage or disengage specific tones, textures, and effects via the pickguard located ON-OFF switches, which I think will be considerably simpler to manage . . .

 

Explained another way, by the time one runs the output signal of virtually any Seymour Duncan pickup through one of more effects units the only thing that matters is the strength of the output signal and in some respects the basic tonality of the pickup, because the effects units change everything, which tends strongly to make it a bit moot to devote much attention to raw tone or whatever one wants to call it, which is not to suggest that the particular selection of Seymour Duncan pickup is unimportant, but it does suggest that with six different pickups and effects units, each of which ultimately has stereo outputs, it probably is not so important other than ensuring the specific Seymour Duncan pickup is the correct tonal style for its particular set of effects units, where for example "Lipstick" pickups will be brighter while some of the more extreme humbuckers will be heavier and darker, which from my perspective is a matter of "texture" . . .

 

More to the point, the current plan is based on having six sets of effects, where each set of effects is driven by its own Seymour Duncan pickup, which in turn is engaged or disengaged on the guitar by an ON-OFF button located on the pickguard, where for example the reverb effects unit(s) are engaged or disengaged by one of the ON-OFF buttons, hence if you want reverb, then you toggle the corresponding ON-OFF switch to its ON position, which will be the same strategy for the other five types of tones, textures, and effects . . .

 

Logistically, there is not a lot of space on pickguard, so part of the planning includes determining (a) the type of ON-OFF switches and (b) the type of volume and tone controls, where for the latter I like the dual potentiometer style for at least five of the pickups, which reserves a different and perhaps more elaborate set of controls for one of the pickups, which most likely will be the bridge position pickup, since while the guitar will be used for playing rhythm guitar chords, its primary role is lead guitar, hence it makes sense to be able to do more intimate and variable tone and texture control for the bridge pickup, which of course will include the Really Big Knob™ . . .

 

As an example, consider the lead guitar for "Love Bandit" (The Surf Whammys)--which I remastered last week--where the practical aspect is being able to control all the various effects units and pedals while playing the notes, chords, singing, and generally acting like a dancing fool, which we know sells, hence is fabulous . . .

 

[NOTE: This was recorded and mixed when I was doing everything with real instruments and was following the general practice of composing and playing each part in real-time on the fly exactly one time on the first take because I thought it was useful to create the most stressful possible scenario, which if nothing else was an excellent experiment for several years, since it maps to productive changes in the way you think when composing and playing, although it is a bit disturbing at first.  Essentially, it is like being teleported onto a stage where everyone in the audience is a Simon Cowell clone and Elvis looks over at you and says, "Play some lead guitar!", indicating that you are supposed to compose and play a lead guitar solo in real-time on the fly for a song you never heard before, and then the spotlight moves from Elvis to you, and there you are, where you suddently have a total of two options:  (1) have a panic attack and wet your pants or (2) start playing a stellar lead guitar solo and hope that the young ladies in the audience scream louder than your Marshall stack . . .  :P  ]

 

"Love Bandit" (The Surf Whammys) -- Original Mix Remastered September 2013 -- YouTube music video

 

Fabulous! :guitar:




#3438319 Old SG (copy?) Guitar - Anyone Know What it is?

Posted by surfwhammy on 02 December 2012 - 09:08 PM

The guitar body color and finish are perfect, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :guitar:


#3437107 Teaching a child to play

Posted by surfwhammy on 08 November 2012 - 11:53 PM

With less than 24 hours advance notice, the strategy I prefer is to do the Jimi Hendrix "Woodstock" version, really . . .

"The Star Spangled Banner" (Jimi Hendrix) -- Woodstock 1969 -- YouTube music video

Really! :guitar:


#3434302 "Feel Me" (The Surf Whammys)

Posted by surfwhammy on 30 September 2012 - 11:32 AM

I made a few more adjustments to the TONE of the rhythm guitar, which included adding a bit of digital delay to create a stereo spread which makes it sound like two rhythm guitars, and I did a new mix to reveal more of the other instruments, which is fabulous . . .

"Feel Me" (The Surf Whammys) -- Basic Rhythm Section, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocal -- September 30, 2012 -- MP3 (8MB, 305-kbps [VBR], approximately 3 minutes and 17 seconds)

Fabulous! :D


#3425451 What to get?

Posted by surfwhammy on 15 June 2012 - 05:50 PM

I'm getting my second guitar and long story short.
Someone I know is giving me a discount on a few specific guitars because he won something and he said to celebrate he put three random guitars on sale.

Dean Cadillac 1980 Electric Guitar
Schecter Guitar Research Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar
Schecter Guitar Research Damien Elite FR Electric Guitar

It's a pretty big discount but after trying all of them, I can't decide so fellow guitarists, please help me decide.


All of these are available as new guitars and the prices at Musician's Friend are as follows:

[NOTE: It is highly unlikely that your friend actually is selling you a 32 year-old guitar . . . ]


Dean Cadillac 1980 Electric Guitar: $529 (IUS)


Schecter Guitar Research Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar: $749 (US)


Schecter Guitar Research Damien Elite FR Electric Guitar: $579 (US)


So, if the prices from your friend who won the lottery are lower, then it might make a bit of sense to select one of the three guitars, but you might want to consider other options, since for Blues, Rock, and Rhythm and Blues, these guitars look a bit out of place . . .

In this price range, the new Fender Blacktop Baritone Electric Guitar is intriguing, and it is $499.99 (US) at Musician's Friend, and will be nice for the genres you mentioned, although you should replace the knobs with chrome barrel Telecaster knobs (about $15 [US] for two) . . .

Posted Image

Lots of FUN! :)

P. S. Being a bit of a cynic, it is entirely possible that your purchasing one of your friend's "discounted" guitars is the real lottery your friend is planning to win, and one of the reasons I suggest this perspective is that selecting three Heavy Metal guitars does not pass all the mathematical tests that Prof. Donald Knuth recommends for determining whether something might be at least somewhat random, which is a bit like the manager for Melodic Death Metal group Arch Enemy asking me to select three random wishes, which of course are the following, for sure . . .

Posted Image
  • Angela Gossow's underpants
  • Angela Gossow's underpants
  • Angela Gossow's underpants
"(I Want) Angela Gossow's Underpants (Ya-Ya-Ya)" (The Surf Whammys) -- YouTube music video

For sure! :doh:


#3417688 I have to sell stuff

Posted by surfwhammy on 28 March 2012 - 10:25 AM

Excellent! :guitar:

I am guessing that you are a very happy camper, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :D


#3412716 "(Tastes LIke) Anarchy For Her" (The Surf Whammys)

Posted by surfwhammy on 24 February 2012 - 07:37 AM

I do a bit of posting in the Notion Music FORUM, since NOTION 3 is the foundation for my digital music production system here in the sound isolation studio, and I like to write about music notation, VSTi virtual instruments, and all that stuff, so as part of a reply to a post about composition tools in NOTION 3, I explained a few of the key principles of Joseph Schillinger's System of Musical Composition (SoMC), which included an example of the way one constructs a rhythm pattern using simple beats, and this soon led to having the idea of using the example rhythm pattern for a new Surf Whammys song, which appeared very quickly with a bit of help from the aliens from outer space and a vast quantity of Massimo Zanetti Master Chef® coffee made in the ratio of 1/2 cup of ground coffee to 12 ounces of water at the ideal brewing temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit . . .

Composition Tools for Notion (Notion Music FORUM)

And once the basic rhythm section for the 30-measure verses was working nicely, I had at fantastic coffee buzz going, which inevitably led to the idea of focusing the song on the exciting new AXE® Anarchy For Her bodywash, which Univever® is marketing to teenage girls and young women and fits nicely with the overall theme of the new Surf Whammys album "Electric Underpants", as well as being a bit of a parody and pun on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Nirvana), really . . .

Posted Image

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Nirvana) -- YouTube music video

Posted Image

Posted Image

[NOTE: The instruments are IK Multimedia VSTi virtual instruments and everything is done with music notation in NOTION 3 (Notion Music). I continue to do the lead guitar solos with The Fabulous Fifty Million Dollar Trinaural Stratocaster®, but I like the way the instruments sound when I do them with VSTi virtual instruments and music notation, which is fine with me, since the only reason I started playing drums and other stuff was to avoid having to deal with managing a musical group, which is FUN but also is a lot of work and sometimes is not so conducive to arranging and composing songs the way I want it done, which mostly is dependent on being able to find musicians who are comfortable being lead by someone who is vastly focused on minutiae but usually has no immediately conscious idea what is likely to happen at any given time, because it requires too much mentation to be aware of everything constantly in an immediately conscious way . . . ]

"(Tastes Like) Anarchy For Her" (The Surf Whammys) -- Basic Rhythm Section for Verses -- MP3 (7.4MB, 298-kbps [VBR], approximately 3 mintues and 24 seconds)

Really! :D

This version of the song only has the verse sections, where there are six of them, and each one is 30 measures long, which is done so that I can listen to it over and over, since this is the way I do arranging and instrumenting, as well as composing the melody . . .

Basically, I listen to the song over and over for a while, and sooner or later the aliens from outer space beam me instructions for a new instrument, melody line, or some lyrics, and then there it is . . .

And I really like the VSTi virtual Stratocaster doing hard slides, which is not so easy to do on a real Stratocaster, although I think that with a bit of practice I can do it, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :yes:

P. S. Part of the logic for focusing on AXE® personal hygiene products is the fact that Unilever probably spends millions of dollars each year on extensive research toward the goal of identifying strategies for marketing these products to the so-called "Youth of Today", hence in some respects they probably know more about the way younger folks think than I do, so instead of trying to make sense of everything myself, I like the idea of "borrowing" a bit of the research, which considering the virtual festival of AXE personal hygiene products provides a quite detailed vocabulary for use in lyrics . . .

And while it has been nearly half a century since I was a teenager, I recall focusing a lot of attention at the time on perfumes, deodorants, shampoos, soap, chewing gum flavors, and so forth and so on, which makes a bit of sense when you think about it for a while . . .

On the other hand, more recently I have embarked on a plan to bankrupt Procter & Gamble®, which mostly maps to taking a shower once a year and avoiding all personal hygiene and soap products, but so what . . .

So what! :doh:


#3410344 My new song - "Own The Night"

Posted by surfwhammy on 06 February 2012 - 08:51 PM

Hi, not been on for a while. Thought id put it out there if anyone fancies a listen.

heres the link:
http://soundcloud.co...1-own-the-night


Fank you imaginary friends in my head :-)


I like this song! :D

There are few things I would do differently in terms of arranging, producing, and mixing, but the song is complete, and it makes sense . . .

I also like your singing . . .

These are immediate things that come to mind regarding arranging, producing, and mixing:

(1) I like the "Own the night" line, but I think that it needs to be repeated in a few more places, and I am intrigued by the idea of having some background chanting of "Own the night" in a few places during the chorus and perhaps in one of the sections where only the drumkit is playing, which is an arranging thing . . .

[NOTE: My thinking on the chanting is that it should be in a military style, where a group of soldiers are chanting "Own the night, Own the night, Own the night", which is intriguing in the sense of being appropriate for the economic, political, and social times, since soldiers want to own the night, but if the military metaphor does not work for you, then it could be a group of Occupy Everything protesters or whatever else makes sense. The important thing is the vocal tone and so forth, not the way the chanters are visualized or imagined. And it could be done in canon style or in the round, but I would not overdo it too much, where an example is the chanting in "Youth Of The Nation" (P.O.D). And I might emphasize the rhythm guitar scratching by making it sound even more like an Apache attack chopper . . . ]

(2) I like the bridge or interlude, but I think that it needs to be done twice but at different times, which also is an arranging thing . . .

(3) I would add a bit of subtle custom designed echoes to the singing to do a bit of spatial spreading, but with emphasis on subtle, since I want to hear some singing bits in the background at far-left and far-right, and there are few places where I would add a simple but profound electric guitar line to sustain the momentum while guiding the transitions, in particular during the drumkit only section near the end of the song before the "Now . . . " part starts, but another way is to shorten the transition by perhaps four measures, although with some instrumental stuff it will work as a longer transition . . .

(4) Your singing is excellent, which makes it easier to do a bit of custom vocal processing in the sense of producing, but again the emphasis is on doing subtle things, since I like the vocal sound the way it is . . .

(5) I think it needs some Latin percussion stuff to make it sound bigger in a spatial sense, but again this is a subtle thing, which primariliy is done to capture the attention of listeners, where for example I like the hand-clapping that starts when the Leslie organ section begins, and this can be done simply by doing a bit of arranging and restructuring rather than by adding more stuff . . .

(6) I would emphasize some of the the vocal embellishments by repeating them but with a guitar line in the background, where for example I really like the trills in the tail of "light" . . .

(7) There are a few places where I think a few strums of a Heavy Metal rhythm guitar playing deeper tone accent chords will be helpful for purposes of emphasizing the chord pattern or structure, and I would enhance the electric bass and add a bit of punch to the kick drum for dynamic emphasis, which mostly is a producing, mixing, and effects thing . . .

(8) I think the intro needs to be shorter, where four measures is good, which gives radio disk jockeys enough time to say something before the singing starts . . .

All this stuff is arranging, producing, and mixing, and there are different ways to do it, but as best as I have been able to determine, all the hit songs these days tend to be vastly produced, which maps to having a virtual festival of quick and distinct sounds appearing all over the place and then disappearing just as rapidly, and some of them appear and disappear in illogical sequences, so that you cannot anticipate them intuitively, which I think is done to capture the attention or focus of listeners by maintaining a sense of surprise, and most of these types of "focus grabbers" are so subtle that a lot of people probably are not aware of them in any immediately conscious way, but they are there . . .

I did a screen and audio capture of the original song with Screenflow, and then I did a bit of arranging to demonstrate my suggestions, which included an interesting serendipitious transition that works nicely, so I left it alone rather than adjusting it, and I repeated the "Own the night" phrase one time later in the song . . .

[NOTE: The video portion is not a continuous video of the song as arranged. It is sections of the original video that match the sections of the song, and it will show you where I cut, copied, and pasted sections, but you can hear it. Some of the transitions could be smoother, but it is close enough for a prototype example of a bit of arranging . . . ]

Screenflow is not so precise as a DAW application, but the arrangement is sufficient to convey the idea regarding doing a bit of restructuring to maintain the momentum and to build to a big finish . . .

If I had the original tracks, I could do the arranging and a bit of producing with greater precision, but you know enough about it to do it yourself if you like the idea . . .

There are some places that need a bit of volume level smoothing, but overall I think the song is better in this arrangement, and the lyrics make more sense to me this way from the perspective of telling a story, which is fabulous . . .

[NOTE: It might be easier to get a sense of the arrangement if you just listen to it the first few times without watching the video stuff is not a continuous time line but instead jumps back and forth to match the splicing of the varioius sections . . . ]

"Own The Night" (boggle3) -- Surfwhammy arrangement -- Windows Media Video (4.7MB, approximately 3 minutes and 24 seconds)

Fabulous! :D

P. S. I will leave the link to the arranged version up for a while, but if you want me to remove it, let me know . . .


#3409701 blow

Posted by surfwhammy on 30 January 2012 - 12:04 PM

http://snd.sc/zAkDDr

pls tell me what you think :)


I like the lyrics, melody, and song structure, and it generally is something I would not be surprised to hear as a modern type of popular song . . .

However, it needs to be produced, which is the only problem I notice, and this primarily is a matter of understanding how to do mixing and mastering, since I like the arrangement . . .

(1) There are a few things that are very basic and easy to do, but they require advanced VST effects plug-ins, where one technique is to select a single vocal track and then to do a bit of pitch correction on it with the Melodyne Editor (Celemony), which is a new technique I devised several months ago after a lot of experimenting, which included doing multiple vocal tracks and so forth . . .

The reality is that it is considerably easier to work with a single vocal track as the foundation, since cloning it is easy, as is applying different types of effects . . .

When everything is based on a single vocal track, then it is easier to keep everything synchronized, which is very important when one is doing elaborate special effects and vocal processing . . .

(2) In terms of momentum and dynamics, I like the singing at the start of the song, but when what I suppose is the main verse starts I was expecting everything to get louder, especially the singing, but it did the opposite, so instead of the introduction being the prelude to a big expansion, the opposite happens, which is a matter of producing and is easily corrected . . .

Both of these things are aspects of producing, mixing, and mastering, and they really are separate from the song, itself . . .

Summarizing, I like the song, but it needs to be produced, which is to say that it needs the attention of George Martin or someone to polish the recorded tracks, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)


#3407781 US Marshals raid Gibson Guitar Corporation headquarters

Posted by surfwhammy on 15 January 2012 - 05:44 AM

It is a bit like the British deciding to put the screws to fish and chips, tea, biscuits, and treacle, really . . .

Really! :doh:


#3405934 Ok, I am still a guitar player by day, but now I have an alter ego by night.

Posted by surfwhammy on 28 December 2011 - 12:50 PM

Whammy, have you ever been accused of being verbose? :D

Just kidding mate, I like reading your posts. A lot of insight (when not in reference to cowbells :lol: ).


Calling me "verbose" tends to be an understatement, really . . .

Really!

P. S. Could you stop using the rapidly blinking graphic in your posts? As a bit of friendly advice, rapidly blinking images and lights can cause some people to have seizures, and it is vastly annoying . . .

Annoying people is fine, but the key is to do it in a more subtle way--for example by ending every paragraph with "which is fabulous" and having your invisible friend reply "Fabulous!", which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :D


#3309700 Video songwritten

Posted by surfwhammy on 29 September 2010 - 10:11 AM

Hi

I am new in this forum.

I'd like to exchange information, get opinions about my playing and learning things.


Welcome! :smile:

I like the way you play in your Youtube music video, and I like this particular style, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :guitar:


#3288325 Stellar Lead Guitar Solo!

Posted by surfwhammy on 09 July 2010 - 10:08 AM

I found this while doing a bit of YouTube surfing toward the goal of learning more about pop music in Russia at the dawn of the early-21st century, which certainly has strong influences from Beatles songs, and I have a new favorite lead guitar player, for sure . . .

"Останусь" (ГОРОД 312) -- YouTube music video

For sure! :wub:

And for reference, this particular style of lead guitar is what I call "intentional", which is based on each note being played in a definite way by design, which is considerably more difficult than other ways of playing notes, since it requires intensely constant focus on the way each note sounds, which is the best way I can describe it from a high-level perspective . . .

George Harrison played intentional lead guitar, and it is the way I play lead guitar whenever possible, where as a general rule for lead guitar solos this maps typically to slower but more meaningful melodic lines that usually are substantially different from the vocal melody but in a counterpoint type of way, which is one of the aspects of this style of lead guitar that makes it so difficult, since it is not simply a matter of playing a bunch of notes as an abstract texture, because while it is highly textural, it also is highly melodic . . .

Counterpoint (wikipedia)

And this is the band's website, where there are more music videos of their songs, really . . .

ГОРОД 312

Really!

This is another song by ГОРОД 312 that features guitar more prominently, and it is similar to my favorite song by A-Studio (a.k.a., "А-Студио"), which is fabulous . . .

[NOTE: I am reasonably certain that these two music videos and recordings were done by the same video and recording studio directors, producers, cinematographers, set designers, technicians, and so forth, although the bands are different, of course . . . ]

"Не переплыть" (ГОРОД 312) -- YouTube music video

"Так же как все"(А-Студио) -- YouTube music video

Fabulous! :smile:

P. S. I am guessing on the various names, since I do not understand Russian or whatever language it might be, and some or all of these music videos are mimed, but so what . . .

So what!

The sound quality is very good, and it is what matters, really . . .

Really!

P. S. S. Orianthi has a bit of competition, for sure . . .

For sure! :guitar:


#3279754 Multi effects

Posted by surfwhammy on 25 May 2010 - 11:01 AM

Regarding the general concept of "sucking TONE", which nearly everyone including me has mentioned at one time or another, it is important to understand a few relevant facts regarding effects pedals, digital emulation, and recording, as well as sound reinforcement in live performances, since with an occasionally rare exception everything "sucks TONE" in one way or another, even though a few things essentially "unsuck TONE" by transforming "sucked TONE" into something entirely new and different, really . . .

Really!

For example, consider so-called "distortion", "fuzz", "overdrive", and "sustain" effects, which basically transform the native or raw output signal of a guitar using a variety of techniques, including applying different types of compression, expansion, and limiting, as well as various types of active and passive electronic filters and amplifiers . . .

These are some of the type of waves to which native or raw guitar output signals are transformed, and they generally map to a combination of overdriving, fuzzing, and distorting, where the topmost graph is a simple sine wave, which maps to a pure note of a single frequency with no overtones or harmonics, for sure . . .

Posted Image

For sure!

The three lower waves (square, triangle, and sawtooth) map to various types of overdriving, fuzzing, and distorting, and in terms of "sucking TONE", what happens is that the pure information in the sine wave is altered dramatically to create the transformed wave, which involves significant "TONE sucking" . . .

For example, electronically what happens with most square wave types of effects units is that the original sine wave is amplified to make the "sides" of the waves essentially perpendicular to the x-axis, followed by "chopping off" the tops of the waves to make them square, and a lot of the native or raw information is lost in this process, although there are ways to control and to limit the amount of loss, which usually is accomplished by some combination of a "gain", "intensity", "filter", "level", and "volume" knobs, as well as by a selector switch for "shape", which is the way it is done on the Pigtronix Disnortion effects pedal (a personal favorite), which is fabulous . . .

Posted Image
Pigtronix "Disnortion" Effects Pedal

Fabulous!

Other types of distortion, fuzz, overdrive, and sustain pedals might have "bass", "mid", and "treble" controls, which also "suck TONE", although active circuits just as easily can "unsuck TONE" essentially by amplifying it in very specific ways . . .

[NOTE: "Sustain" is a somewhat different aspect, but it tends to travel with varying amounts of distortion, fuzz, and overdrive, as well as a bit of physical feedback when an amplifier and loudspeaker are used, but the simple reality is that for entirely electronically generated sustain whatever one hears for longer than a few seconds is quite artificial unless it very specifically is the direct result of something physically causing the strings of the guitar to vibrate. For example, if one cranks the volume on a Stratocaster and positions it directly in front of a Marshall stack set to high volume, then the various sounds that soon emanate are real and tangible, as well as being the direct consequence of the strings on the Stratocaster physically vibrating, but everything else is artificial, which most of the time is a lot more practical, really . . . ]

Simpler types of effect pedals and amplifiers focus on altering and filtering analog frequency response and signal strength, which generally is done by transforming the native or raw guitar output signal solely in the analog universe, but more advanced effects pedals and some amplifiers use a combination of analog and digital techniques, some of which include converting the analog native or raw guitar output signal into a digital signal and then working with the digital signal from that point forward until, in the case of physical effects, the highly processed digital signal is converted to analog and then input to an amplifier and loudspeaker . . .

Nevertheless, even with physical effects units, amplifiers, and loudspeaker systems, when one is doing digital recording the information from studio microphones and direct inputs is converted to digital by an audio interface like the MOTU 828mk3, where it then is handled by digital recording software, although a computer-based system running AmpliTube 3 (IK Multimedia) and controlled by a Stomp IO foot controller (IK Multimedia) ultimately creates analog output signals which are fed to one or more amplifier and loudspeaker units . . .

For the various effects units and computer-based systems that convert the analog native or raw guitar output signal to digital, the primary focus is on the sampling rate, bit-depth, and accuracy of the digitizing hardware and software (or firmware, depending on the way it is done), where the "sampling rate" refers to how many times per second the analog native or raw guitar output signal is examined and the "bit-depth" refers to how much of the information actually is captured and stored at any given instant in time when a sample is taken, where one of the key bits of information for purposes of putting everything into a practical perspective is that the sampling rate for a standard audio CD is 44.1-kHz (44,100 times per second) and the bit-depth is 16 (16-bits, if you prefer), although there are various software algorithms that increase the accuracy and fidelity of music on CD, where for practical purposes in the real world the fact of the matter is that most people listen to recorded music which is reproduced at an accuracy and fidelity level of approximately 44.1-kHz at a depth of 16-bits, really . . .

Really!

And while this is significantly greater in some respects than the virtually overwhelming absence of anything even remotely resembling "high fidelity" sound reproduction that occurred well into the 1960s for most folks other than the strange and small group of folks who call themselves "audiophiles", it continues to map to significant "TONE sucking", which is one of the reasons that it is so vitally important to embrace "TONE sucking" vigorously, because the fact of the matter is that whatever you do in the universe of recorded music ultimately will be heard by listeners in the most popular "TONE-sucked" ways possible, which tends to make "pre-sucking your TONE" a very smart strategy, since among other things it is the best way to ensure that what you play and hear will feature at least as much "sucked TONE" (if not more) than when it is heard by your fans . . .

In fact, all of it maps to varying degrees of "sucking TONE", although some of it certainly can amplify, augment, and enhance TONE . . .

If one is focused entirely on being as pure in the TONE universe as possible, then the best strategy is either to avoid having TONE controls on the guitar or to have TONE controls that are setup correctly for true bypass, since doing anything with passive TONE controls involves "sucking TONE" to some degree, which also happens with active circuits, since another reality is that current electronic technology is insufficient to build a "non-sucking TONE" amplification system that has any possibility of fitting inside a guitar (hollow body, semi-hollow body, or solid body with cavities) . . .

Consequently, I generally divide guitarists into two categories:

(1) purists -- the folks who get all their TONE from the analog native or raw guitar output signal and modify it only with the various controls of their typically analog vacuum-tube based amplifiers, which are specifically designed to have certain desired characteristics with respect to TONE, as well as having carefully selected types of loudspeakers and cabinets . . .

(2) effects lunatics -- the folks for whom the analog native or raw guitar output signal is the defining source of all the fantastic FUN that one can have with a virtual festival of analog and digital effects pedals and computer-based digital systems, as well as amplifiers, loudspeakers, cabinets, and microphones . . .

The first group of folks ("purists") tend to be focused on a universe that allows only a tiny bit of "sucking TONE", while the second group of folks ("effects lunatics") thrive and prosper on as much "TONE sucking" as possible, since the fact of the matter is that "sucked TONE" nearly always is improved by even more "TONE sucking", especially when it is cascaded and run through a virtually endless maze of chorus, wah-wah, reverberation, and echo units, as well as being digitally enhanced by artificially generated and synthesized harmonics and overtones, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :guitar:



Please consider donating to GuitarZone.com.
With more and more people using ad blocking add-ons for browsers, ad revenue has plummeted.
If you can spare even US$5 it would mean a lot to help pay for GZ's monthly server bill.
Thank you to all. Cheers! --Rob



Method #1: PayPal



Click 'Donate' above
to donate with any
major credit card or
existing PayPal funds.


E-mail on record with PayPal
[ ]



Method #2: Bitcoin


Option A )  Scan Bitcoin QR Code


Scan above box with mobile phone, or click...



Option B )  Copy and Paste Bitcoin Address

  13NA7exoZVPGBAxnKXcQAz35JQ5PvnhYDE  


Copy above address and paste into Bitcoin app...



Learn more about Bitcoin...