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"Crash" sound/distortion on attack

Smilzo

Power User
I fired up the Super and miced it, and long story somewhat less long, Cliff's right - the real amp does do it too.
...
Odd that none of my other (admittedly older, and cheaper) modelers do this, but I reckon - like the ghost notes that Line 6 used to model - that's part of the detail.
There is a tradeoff when you want the true sound of guitar comes trhu: more transparency means increased exposure of guitar defects.
 

mojik

Member
I found out this too many years ago.

Every famous players guitar I have tried have had pretty high action compared to what you`d expect!

Fractal - This is why pros use high action and thick strings.
Um, Jan Akkerman, Tony Iommi, Angus Young, Clapton, Malcolm Young (in the early days), Beck (in the old days), Page, Peter Green, Blackmore, etc etc etc etc anyone?........

Cheers,
Mo.
 

mojik

Member
A carte blache "all pro's use xxxx gauge strings" or "have this action" or do anything else exactly the same is a bit reckless and misleading, isn't it?

Cheers,
Mo.
 

Radley

Experienced
Sounds like "treble clipping". Are you boosting the highs a lot, combined with increased Drive settings?
Post the preset please.
Many amps exhibit this behavior with single coil pickups, especially if they have extended high frequency response and a bright switch (Blackface Fenders are a perfect example). I have referred to this sound as high frequency 'spitting', and I avoid it at all cost...
 

Radley

Experienced
holdsworth uses 8's on some of his guitars with a super-low action and he has such a terrible tone :)
Fwiw: I have been using 8's on all my electrics and have no problem getting a fat, clean tone. This includes the video posted here a while back of me playing live at the Baked Potato with Abe Laboriel & the Koinonia gang...
 

mojik

Member
Fwiw: I have been using 8's on all my electrics and have no problem getting a fat, clean tone. This includes the video posted here a while back of me playing live at the Baked Potato with Abe Laboriel & the Koinonia gang...
Those of us using smallish strings are obviously not "Pro's", hey Radley?.....
After most of my playing career using up to 12 - 68 in standard tuning I am now using 9's and loving it. Can't believe I wasted 30 years on those fencing wires.

Cheers,
Mo.
 

Radley

Experienced
I am using 8's because of a medical condition where my fingertips will go numb if I play whole shows using heavier strings (known as pressure neuropathy). In my younger years I was using a set starting with 15's - my tone is fatter now than it was then.
 

mojik

Member
I am using 8's because of a medical condition where my fingertips will go numb if I play whole shows using heavier strings (known as pressure neuropathy). In my younger years I was using a set starting with 15's - my tone is fatter now than it was then.
I had something similar, coupled with weird sensations in my wrists (I was also using 5mm Wegen picks). I didn't get it checked out by a doctor, I just freaked out and went to lighter strings.
The lighter strings were REALLY DIFFICULT to use at first, due to my previous pointless macho aggression when approaching the instrument. Solving this took a lot of taming, time, patience and diligence over a period of many months.
I did try 8's (most of my own heroes used them - all the British and Australian blokes) but found that I am just not able to use them yet. I may try them again later, though I have the 9's under control now.

I found the finger and wrists problems disappeared very quickly. The other really interesting thing is that after doing a lot of A/B listening tests with various gauges, I (and others) found no appreciable difference in tone and no gauge could be said to sound "better" than any other. "Different"? Maybe, but "better"? No.

I love your posts Radley. They are the few really balanced ones I read here.

Cheers,
Mo.
 

rodzimguitar68

Fractal Fanatic
After playing 9-42 for 25 years, I went to 10-46 because the music department at my church started providing strings for the guitarists who volunteer and drum sticks to the drummers. Then after 3 years of playing with 10's I decided to try 11-54's. I was comfortable immediately on my Les Paul scale guitar, but it was a struggle on my Strat scaled guitars at first.

Now I am comfortable, and I find that I play with better intonation and a better balance of tone across all the strings.

To me, string gauge absolutely changes the tone, if you leave your settings identical. Of course, you can change settings on your gear to compensate.
 

Radley

Experienced
I find the difference between heavy and light strings to be a tonal trade-off, but I actually believe the lighter gauges have a slight edge. While heavier strings sound naturally thick, they often lack sustain and finesse. The lighter gauges provide smoother/more accurate bending, and the high harmonics are more extended and effortless. The only problem I have with light gauge strings is the way a heavy pick causes them to deflect more, making articulation a bit more demanding...

All of this assumes the player has made all the necessary playing-touch and tonal adjustments to maximize the effect of the particular string gauge they have settled on...

Having said this, I believe a great player can make *any* gauge of string sound heavenly, and I have seen numerous demonstrations at either extreme, light or heavy... Pick your Poison! ;)
 
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mojik

Member
To me, string gauge absolutely changes the tone, if you leave your settings identical..
I did EXACTING experiments. Did you? The same guitar, the same pups, the same amp, the same miked speaker with the same mic's etc in the same studio, all recorded, over a period of days.

Also note that in my response I didn't say different gauges don't sound different, I said not necessarily "better". No-one I am aware of has been able to empirically demonstrate "better", only "different".

There is also an elephant in the room, which is "the point of diminishing returns", which those here familiar with physics (such as Cliff) will appreciate. A question might be, for example; at exactly what gauge (and at what tension) is this point, for every string?
Exactly what defines a "heavy" string gauge? These things seem relative and arbitrary terms to me.
I used 12 - 68 and it didn't sound "better" when I looked at it objectively, and not passionately.

I don't need this stuff answered, as I am happy (which is my only concern), but it's something to ponder, if evidence is your thing.

Cheers,
Mo.
 

mojik

Member
I find the difference between heavy and light strings to be a tonal trade-off, but I actually believe the lighter gauges have an edge. While heavier strings sound naturally thick, they often lack sustain and finesse. The lighter gauges provide smoother/more accurate bending, and the high harmonics are more extended and effortless. The only problem I have with light gauge strings is the way a heavy pick causes them to deflect more, making articulation a bit more demanding...

All of this assumes the player has made all the necessary playing-touch and tonal adjustments to maximize the effect of the particular string gauge they have settled on...
I'm totally with you, Radley. My experiments suggested that "lighter" string gauges have more harmonic content than "heavier" ones. The heavier ones displaying more of the fundamental tone by comparison.

See "point of diminishing returns", above.

Cheers,
Mo.
 

AdmiralB

Experienced
but it's something to ponder, if evidence is your thing.
Well, we have got off the topic somewhat...but you're headed down a pretty slippery slope.

A few months ago, I recorded clips of six different PAF-style pickups. I used the same guitar, the same strings (the same actual set - I didn't remove them), the same setup, and the same Axe preset.

Of the six pickups, most people who listened (myself included) were only able to pick two of them out as sounding any different from the rest. And this is isolated guitar, clips repeated over and over and in direct succession. You'd never be able to discern any difference in any kind of real-time or band setting.

I believe your claim that differences in gauge aren't audible. However, I think string gauge does affect how we play, and that in and of itself has some bearing on output.

More to Cliff's original point ref SRV..."pros" who play like a sledgehammer probably do all use big strings and high action. But guys like Iommi and Holdsworth have a touch like a butterfly. Use the tools that suit you, I think.
 
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mojik

Member
Cliff's original point ref SRV..."pros" who play like a sledgehammer probably do all use big strings and high action
"All the Pro's use heavy strings and high action" - sorry mate, but that's codswallop and a bloody reckless statement, especially coming from the head of this Forum. Just because the Axe is a great tool does not mean that we are delegated to letting stuff like that get by us un-challenged, walking on tippy toe.

There is only ONE rule when it comes to "Pro's" and tone, as you and Radley have mentioned, and maybe others are reluctant to mention, which is to use whatever suits you, just as the "Pro's" do. 8's or 13's, it makes little difference to the sound, but a BIG difference to how you and I feel about what we do.

And if we are not having fun, why bother?

BTW, AdmiralB, I love that you did the PAF experiment! More power to you.

Cheers,
Mo.
 
Um, Jan Akkerman, Tony Iommi, Angus Young, Clapton, Malcolm Young (in the early days), Beck (in the old days), Page, Peter Green, Blackmore, etc etc etc etc anyone?........

Cheers,
Mo.
Never tried any of those players guitars:)
I am just talking about my experiences, of course there are exceptions.
Have a friend who played Blackmores strat though, sat with him and Blackmore did not have his wig on haha
Not that low action I heard, but I dont know since I was not there.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
"All the Pro's use heavy strings and high action" - sorry mate, but that's codswallop and a bloody reckless statement, especially coming from the head of this Forum. Just because the Axe is a great tool does not mean that we are delegated to letting stuff like that get by us un-challenged, walking on tippy toe.

There is only ONE rule when it comes to "Pro's" and tone, as you and Radley have mentioned, and maybe others are reluctant to mention, which is to use whatever suits you, just as the "Pro's" do. 8's or 13's, it makes little difference to the sound, but a BIG difference to how you and I feel about what we do.

And if we are not having fun, why bother?

BTW, AdmiralB, I love that you did the PAF experiment! More power to you.

Cheers,
Mo.
I didn't say all. You need to ratchet your attitude down a few thousand notches.
 

clarky

Axe-Master
AdmiralB - are your pups pretty close to the strings???
have you tried [purely for the sake of experimentation] lowering them by a couple of mm??
just a little cause and effect trial..
 

notalemming

Fractal Fanatic
After playing 9-42 for 25 years, I went to 10-46 because the music department at my church started providing strings for the guitarists who volunteer and drum sticks to the drummers. Then after 3 years of playing with 10's I decided to try 11-54's. I was comfortable immediately on my Les Paul scale guitar, but it was a struggle on my Strat scaled guitars at first.

Now I am comfortable, and I find that I play with better intonation and a better balance of tone across all the strings.

To me, string gauge absolutely changes the tone, if you leave your settings identical. Of course, you can change settings on your gear to compensate.
String gauge really depends on the guitar & scale length. On my Les Paul, I had no problem using 11-56, on strats with a Floyd, 10.5-49 or 50 worked great but on a strat with a vintage trem, 10-46 works the best for me. I like the tone & the way the picking hand feels better on the heavier strings but they just don't feel right for the left hand on a lot of guitars. My main axe is bass so I am used to whacking the instrument pretty hard & I still do so on guitar but not as much as I used to. The heavier ones do respond better to that, even with low action which I have on all my guitars. It's all up to whatever works best for you. It doesn't matter to me what SRV or Jimi or whoever used, only what works for me.
 
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