Tone Tips (Real Ones This Time)

I’ve been getting this sickeningly frightening feeling that were I to actually practice, and practice with a click track, and practice with a click track and a tuner, it just might make more of a difference to my tone than whether I play a Timmy or a Klon.

Oh, wait. I haven’t tried out all the different op-amp chips in the Timmy yet. Never mind! Sweet mercy! That was almost quite dangerous. And just in case it needs explanation (which it doesn’t), ‘quite dangerous’ in its literal translation means, ‘almost giving up on the idea that tone comes not from hard work, but from magic boutique-ness.’

And for those of you who may be new to this blog, and actually found this post while searching what would be the ‘hands down tone for days nails David Gilmour best op-amp for your Timmy’, and are thinking that I’m just making fun of people who don’t plug straight in to the amp……just take a quick look at the archives on the right, and the scores of pedals that have been my ‘I didn’t know tone until the month I didn’t eat to buy this pedal’ pedal, and you will quite sadly realize that zero of this post has been tongue-in-cheek. Yep. In some deep part of my brain, I truly believe that the Klon Centaur renders practice obsolete.

But I’m recovering. With a click track. And a tuner. And a Timmy overdrive pedal? Perhaps…just perhaps…and I realize that by saying this I am now alienating both camps, and creating my own camp, a camp called ‘Loneliness’……that perhaps these things can coexist. Maybe tone can be in the hands and in the delay pedals? I’m starting to think so. But only if it’s a Damage Control Timeline.


P.S. Oh, and ‘B’ is up in the free ambient pads section.

19 thoughts on “Tone Tips (Real Ones This Time)

  1. delay renders hard-work obsolete! hehe

    speaking of click-track, i bought a metronome beginning of the year and i’ve noticed some improvements after rehearsing with it. but i’ve stopped shortly right after … maybe, I should go back and use it again :)

  2. “a camp called Loneliness” makes me laugh for some reason. Not sure why I find that so funny.

    Anywho … Keep the metronome/click and tuner, lose the delay (GASP!) and go direct into the amp. Lots to be learned from guitar and amp only.

    The tone is there. Unless blogsology is correct and the Matchless isn’t cutting it anymore.

    That would be sad.


  3. Dan–oh yes. My mistake. ‘Or a Skreddy Echo.’ hehehe Man, these are popular right now. Congrats, my friend!

    Rhoy–lol That’s true, isn’t it? 😉 hehe

    Ya, we play with one live at my church. It helps me a ton, especially when I play at other churches without one. I find my rhythm has actually gone from ‘terrible’ to ‘ehh’ from playing and practicing with one. haha

    Blogsology–lol That was awesome. Actually, on the contrary, the Matchless sounds so good that I no longer have any excuses when I hear a bad sound. hehehe Well, it could always be that I’m still playing the Tim and not the KOT. 😉 But seriously, it’s very telling to hear two different recordings of yourself with nothing changed but your level of comfort, and to hear one sounding good and one sounding bad. No one’s fault but my own.

    And great to see you’re blogging again! I’ll add it to my blogroll right away, brother!

    TimH–‘go direct into the amp.’ I don’t understand the question. 😉

    But you’re right…straight in is a good way to practice. Actually though, rhythmic delay was the first thing that let me know I needed to work on my tempo. I’d play to it for hours, using it as a metronome. I still do, but I also plug straight in to see if I can attain to the notes BB King gets effectless. :) And I haven’t even come close. hehe

  4. Sorry, I heard Camp Loneliness is booked solid for at least the next two summers.
    Actually, that reminds me of a lonely summer internship spent away from my spouse. I had nothing but my first guitar and a book on blues scales with which to entertain myself when not working. Maybe if I had known what a metronome was then I’d be better at the guitar now.

  5. for the first five years that I played guitar I didn’t use any effects. It wasn’t that I didn’t think that I needed them, I was just broke. I also learned to play fingerstyle because I didn’t have any pics. Now, do I ever play without some kind of effect on? Nope, does a blind man who gets his sight back grope around in the dark? I have no regrets about having to learn to use my hands to get the sounds I wanted (from my solid state squire 15 map, sweet mercy) but I could never go back to just plain guitar-into-amp, even the most tasty boutique amp.
    Metronomes are sweet but for the love of all that is good, don’t play endless scales, actually practice running whole songs from start to finish instead and see if you can stick the whole thing!
    Maybe if we played the click through the PA the congregation could stay in time too! Ha!

  6. Gtr1ab–woodsheddin’ practice sessions, huh? That’s how I learned, too. Right on!

    Cam–we do at my home church, and with one other band I play with. At my home church, I run a Tama standalone click off of my board into the system. Then we just mute it in the house, and send it to our Aviom in-ears. We use it on about 85% of the songs. The drummer and I are always on it, and I try my hardest to get the rest of my band to listen to it…but sometimes they don’t. lol If they are starting a song that needs it though, I do force them to listen to it. 😉 The Tama is nice because it’s at my feet so I can start it and stop it at will. I also hooked up a momentary switch to it so that I can cycle through the different tempos that I pre-program each week for the songs we’re doing.

    Written down, it sounds like a lot more work than it is! hehe In reality, it only adds about 15 minutes of extra preparation during the week, and the freedom having perfect tempo brings to the music is amazing. You have so much relaxation playing right in the pocket it creates. :)

    Mark–hahaha My mistake. You must practice until you get ‘two’ Klonds. haha That was an awesome comment, brother!

    Mark Colvin–well said! :) Effects are almost completely necessary for the current music style. But you’re right, learning to play with your hands was probably invaluable. And great comment about practicing to the click. Yes! We need to see if we can play rhythm to a 7 minute song on the click, not just a few fast runs. hehe Great stuff!

  7. “What is this ‘click’ of whom you speak? I need no such device, because being a (insert instrument played)-ist, my rhythm is impeccable, above reproach, and without question the best in the band.”

    (p.s. It’s in quotes because I have never heard anyone actually say that, although I have seen plenty of people act like that is what they think. Really I just think some of us don’t like click in our ears because it exposes us for the rhythm-frauds that we are).

  8. haha Totally! I’ve been that person, too. It’s like, we’re not impugning upon your rhythmic ability; we’re saying there isn’t a person in this world who can play a 5 minute song in perfect time without a click. Okay, maybe John Williams.

    Oh, and of course you’re excused from using a click if you have enough dotted 8th delay on, right? Yes.


  9. Agreed. I actually have been known to tell my band to follow my delay. Wow, what arrogance. (Or is it laziness. I could just tap in the right time).

  10. haha No, that’s arrogance! They need to be able to keep good time. And if you tap in a new tempo that you feel is the ‘new good time’, then they need to be able to keep that one, too! hehehe 😉

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