Joined: 10 Sep 2004 Posts: 2783 Location: Chino, CA
Posted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:19 am Post subject:
I think only Guthrie knows that because I've heard him duplicate that sound over and over again on dozens of shows I've seen - including when I was the band's tour manager during their first several tours. Even these days with a whole new rig of the Charvel GG Signature Model guitar and Victory amps and cabs, he has no problem duplicating the studio sounds over and over again night after night. In fact, I feel he sounds better now than he ever has.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: the gear has very little to do with a player's overall sound. Sure, you're not going to use a Tele or a Gretsch hollow-body through a Fender Twin Reverb combo to play modern metal but within the same range of gear for certain styles and genres, it's really the player - the hands, the ears, the mindset and the approach. Many great players (Steve Lukather, for example) have said that they played through Eddie Van Halen's rig back in the 80's and they couldn't sound like him at all.
I've played Guthrie's rig (down to the pick) quite a few times and there's no way I can sound even close to the sound he's getting. I have heard other accomplished players play through Guthrie's rig and none of them sounded close to Guthrie sound-wise - not even close. I'm not talking about playing as well as him - just the sound. It's not the gear. I remember going to some music stores in Europe while I was on a clinic tour with him and he'd pick up and play some guitars unplugged. The guitars sounded a certain way in his hands but sounded completely different in mine.
I've heard this being repeated over and over again when I was running the Tone Merchants business and all kinds of players would come and go playing through the same identical rigs with the same guitars. They all sounded different. It's when I was at Tone Merchants that I realized that it's about the player and not the gear. In my estimation, the player alone determines at least 90% of the sound. Of course, as mentioned before, the gear has to be within a certain category for what that player does (ex. - a vintage Marshall, an 80's-style hot-rodded Marshall, an overdriven Fender, a "modern" high-gain Mesa Dual Rectifier type of amp, etc.), but after that it's all about what the player decides he needs to get the sound he hears in his head and how he approaches it with the way he plays - the dynamics in his picking, the way the notes are shaped by the fretting hand, vibrato, etc. There are literally endless variables involved that really have nothing to do with gear.
So it's all about practice. You get to a certain range of gear and then it's all up to you to produce it. That's the thing I learned from Guthrie. He showed how he can coax more different sounds out of a guitar plugged direct into an amp with no effects whatsoever than most people can do with a huge refrigerator size rack full of effects processors and/or a gaggle of pedals strewn about on the floor. You can do so much more with your hands - adjusting the volume and tone pots on the guitar, changing pickups, varying your pick attack, where you pick on the guitar, how you squeeze the notes with your fretting hand and combining all of them or just bits and pieces in between. Ultimately, the gear should just amplify what your hands are doing... _________________ Ed Yoon
Certified Guthrie Fan-atic
BOING Music LLC - Managing Partner
.strandberg* Guitars USA
Ed Yoon Consulting & Management
Guitar Center Inc.
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