All The Little Things Add Up

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Jason Taylor, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    In my tinkering I have noticed subtle differences in things that all made my guitars sound better and feel more responsive.

    1) quality pots... for some reason I noticed cheap pots like Gibson or Allparts CTS pots didn't sound as good or quite as clear as better quality CTS or RS branded CTS pots. I don't know if it's te material in the strip that made a difference but regardless I heard differences and switched pots accordingly.

    2) I noticed that the caps I prefer for Strats are the large ceramic discs used like in the 1963 Fender Strats... very musical and made me smile while playing them. In Gibson I like Orange Drop and Paper in oil caps for some reason... Orange Drops a little more (715P) for their clarity and lack of coloring the tone. Well I think they had a slight mid-centric quality but other than that I like em a ton.

    3) I can hear a difference in caps even when the control is on 10. Because even on a tone control on 10, the cap is still bleeding off some highs and coloring the tone. That's why I make no-load tone pots myself so I can disconnect the cap totally from the circuit to hear just the pickups.

    4) I like to run the inner most part of a George L's cable directly from toggle switch to output jack. To my ears it sounds wonderfully clear and the tone is better than using a regular cloth tin'd wire.

    5) if I could run George L's cable in all connections (except ground wires) I would. I believe in non-tin'd great quality copper wiring.

    6) I believe totally in aluminum tailpieces and the tone they impart.

    7) I believe in superior strings for tone... I have tried every string made from here to Europe and I like Gibson strings and second place D'Addario NYXLs for Gibsons; I like Fender strings for Strats. They really match and sound great to my ears over all other brands.

    8) Setting proper pickup height is beyond crucial for excellent tone. Just a hair too low or high can ruin tone.

    9) I think carbon zinc batteries sound superior to alkaline batteries in all things stomp box related. Eric Johnson was totally correct on this!

    10) I despise circuit boards on guitars and think the removal of them and plates are crucial for proper tone from a guitar.

    11) Too low string height kills sustain and spank in a guitar and keeps strings from ringing the way they should. This is beyond crucial for good tone.

    12) I hate solder, and think before soldering all wires should be wrapped around post lugs securely prior to soldering... not just sticking a wire in a light and soldering it to everything.

    13) I'm a firm believer in how picks change tone and attack on strings. I like the thin green Mel Bay type pics, followed by the 60mm Dunlop Ultex!

    14) I haven't plate around with brass (a copper and zinc alloy) saddles or titanium saddles yet... I may need to jump on that to see what it does to my SG Classic! I don't care about the bridge material being Zamek... the original 50s Les Paul's were Zamek bridges so they're fine by me. I just wanna find out about saddle materials next.

    15) Haven't played around with a bone but yet.... mine is just Corian and seems fine to me but I never used a bone nut. Differences from those that tried them?

    Just food for thought... comments on anyone that believes in these things as well?

    JT
     
  2. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    You should try a Faber tone lock bridge, posts, tailpiece and bushings. They impart one of the biggest changes to your guitar. It is like removing a blanket off your guitar. Everything is clearer and more sustain. If you don't like them, you can return them for a full refund (except shipping) within 30 days.
    http://www.faberusa.com
     
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  3. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    I agree generally, apart from #10. If you had a circuit board which had CTS 550K pots and the cap of your choice, it would sound no different to the same thing wired up without the circuit board.
    Of course there probably isn't that configuration made, hence why there is a tonal difference to what you want to hear.
     
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  4. Axeman16

    Axeman16 V.I.P. Member

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    if you dont like circuit boards and you ht solder how do you wire your guitar?

    every quality electical joint is soldered properly.
     
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  5. Bill Hicklin

    Bill Hicklin Senior Member

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    Right . It all adds up: all guitar components contain varying quantities of Tone, and the better components contain more Tone. If you maximize the aggregate Tone total you have a great guitar.

    Be sure to use superior connector wires inside the guitar, because the electrons move faster than in cheaper wire, making the instrument more responsive. And electrons absolutely hate having to move through copper PCB traces, they'll practically go on strike.

    Next up: how carbon-zinc 1.5 volt potential is more musical than alkaline 1.5 volt potential.
     
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  6. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    I've got the tailpiece thing done already with a Gotoh aluminum, but yeah I may have to check out one of the Faber bridges for sure!

    I like the way you describe it too... like lifting a blanket off your guitar. Thats what I heard with a rewire and new caps and pots and wiring and the aluminum tailpiece and studs.

    What material did you use for the SADDLES for your Faber? Comments on how it affected your tone?
     
  7. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    Hey good question... I mean I like to physically wrap the wire around a post, then solder from there. I see a lot of folks just hold the wire in [lace through a pot lug outlet, for example, and then solder it into place without securing it with a physical contact to the lug to begin with.

    Wow I cant believe how anal that sounds LOL!
     
  8. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    LOL!

    But hey in fact I DO use nice copper wire as part of my wiring actually! I rip apart a George L's cable and use the inner part of that from toggle switch to output jack! I know crazy right? :)

    Hey have you ever tried an od or distortion pedal with a carbon zinc and an alkaline battery to see if you can hear a difference? Like Eric Johnson says he can tell? I wouldn't have believed it unless I tried it myself!

    I found it interesting that Mesa also says the same thing with their stomp box pedals... they say clearly to use carbon zinc!

    Try it!
     
  9. David Collins

    David Collins Senior Member

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    Your initial post encompasses a broad swath of topics, some of reasonable query, others I would say off-the-charts quackery and tonal mysticism.

    I think that before anything else, it must be answered, are you genuinely interested in ascertaining what factors affect direct, demonstrable, repeatable changes, or are you seeking affirmation of beliefs which are held as immune to objective inquiry?

    I must say that this forum is, in general, populated with far more of the latter than I typically see elsewhere. That's quite fine, and if hearing confirmation that the auras and celestial resonance of your guitar affects others similar as to you, I get it, and you are certainly free to run with that discussion.

    Before answering in earnest however, I really would like to know if you are seeking honest answers to honest questions, or if you approach your quest for tone more in the metaphysical than the earthly realm.
     
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  10. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

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    Read my sig.
    (Not the part about the mayor....;))
     
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  11. Nick-O

    Nick-O Senior Member

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    I do as much of the basics as is deemed reasonable, but honestly, whenever I get a chance to play out, it can be a battle just to be heard, let alone worry about the finer details of tone. I do my best, use the best gear is can afford and the rest of it, get it dialed in sounding as good as I can, then leave it to FOH to get me in the mix some place...
    The result, I have a blast and that is what counts.
     
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  12. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    I went from the Gotoh aluminum tailpiece to the Faber Tone Lock Tail piece kit with the Faber bushings. It locks the tailpiece to the body and uses steel bushings. I used nickel plated saddles on the bridge. The Faber bushings & studs are just as important as the tailpiece and bridge. It is the complete system that works together to give you that sustain and tone. Both the bridge and the tailpiece locks down solid with the top without any play. It is a lot of money, but well worth it.
     
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  13. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    Ha exactly!!! I just said that the other day its always true!
     
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  14. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    Amen!
     
  15. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    !!! So you used the Faber bridge with the Zamek saddles? Sounds good eh? I noticed long ago that Nashville bridges like on my current guitar def have some play to them and when I restring I kinda move it around to get it settled and stable so it wont move around. I goota try one of them thar Fabers!
     
  16. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    Faber locks the bridge and tailpiece to the guitar so well that they don't come loose when you are changing strings. The standard saddles are nickel plated brass. You have a choice of nickel plated brass, brass, or titanium saddles.
     
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  17. WholeLottaTone

    WholeLottaTone Junior Member

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    This reminds me of a TED Talk Paul Reed Smith did about his guitar building philosophy. His main point was that guitar parts are subtractive, not additive. He doesn't see an aluminum tailpiece as adding to the tone so much as taking away less. Same goes for other parts. A plastic nut won't vibrate like bone, so it robs more tone. He just goes for the parts that are least subtractive.
     
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  18. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    Hey David thanks! What made you decide on the brass instead of the titanium sir? And second question what difference have you noticed from Gibson stock Zamek saddles vs the brass ones?

    Wait... the Gibson stock saddles *are* made of Zamak, right? Are they plated brass too, or the zinc/aluminum alloy from the factory?
     
  19. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    You know that makes the most sense of anything I've heard actually! Thank you for posting this!!!
     
  20. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    "Hey FOH! You jerks are messing up my Bumblebee caps vibe!!!"
     

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