Does tone matter more on a recording or during a live show?

CivoLee

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I'd say it matters more on a recording, because the music is isolated, while live you/the audience are too wrapped up in the show for it to matter as much...if anything, I'd say all the average live music fan cares about is if your tone is excessively shrill

What do you guys think?
 

ARandall

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I can't think of a single serious muso who would not care about their tone at all times.
You'd have to be the worst of amateurs not to want to put on the best show you could visually and aurally....every time. Whether that be in a studio or onstage.

And if you're talking relative importance - the stage is one area where you cannot simply post process your tracks for them to fit better together.
 

wildhawk1

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Recording is not a one and done along with you have complete control in a perfect environment so by default it better be right.

Live is important but there's so many variables that often you have to accept good enough instead of great.

Speaking of tone I hear the tow truck coming to drag this thread into the right forum.
 

Shelkonnery

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Unless you're in a huge band that brings its own PA system for the whole tour, live sound fluctuates from show to show. If it's outdoors, the weather and surroundings will have an impact as well. And tube amps will respond slightly different according to the current of each venue.

In the studio, everything is controlled, calculated and there's more time to experiment and tweak.

I wouldn't say one matters more than the other, but definitely different scenarios.
 

bjorn218

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It's more important on a recording. To others. In a live context, the knlybobes who honestly care about their tone are the guys on stage. No one else cares as they are usually too drunk to care. The sound guy sure doesn't care unless you are paying him yourself. Otherwise his job is to make everyone sound like dog crap through the venues $10000 25000 watt stereo tri amped 48 channel PA system. This way he can jet as soon as you begin to play to chase tail or sell blow.
 

PageSide84

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Tone doesn't matter. All that matters is that you have good samples and beats.
 

74JMP

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I feel it always matters in my book. But there are bounds and limits of sanity and just the plain physical. Sell my house and move to an apartment to buy a burst, carry my Leslie to a gig: not happening. If I have a tone, I love I find it inspiring thus I play better or feel I do. A good tone is not for the listener, they will benefit, but my own self-satisfaction.
 

Jonathan_alvarez

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And to add more wood to the fire...
What tone in what song ?
There are songs who mix better with a thin , clear tone ( single coil) and other songs from a fat humbucker tone.
It's not all heavy rock solos out there.

From there, yes tone is important to the song as well, either live or recording.
Definitely there will be more effort in having the perfect sound in the recording, and there will be takes over takes until you get it right.
While playing live (for all the reasons mentioned in previous responses) good enough is the best you can get.

NOTE: as we all know , the most influencing component in your tone is in your fingers , so please don't leave your recording fingers at home while playing live
 

GrandJunction

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Although I am always a stickler for the best tone possible, it is not a stretch to say that the average listener at a live show couldn't distinguish good tone from bad - they primarily hear the music, not the tone.
 

Thunder Dump

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Tone in a live setting is just as important as in a recording session--but those that haven't played out much (or at all) don't recognize that the tone you want is significantly different in both scenarios. In a live setting, you need a tone that sits in the mix when it needs to and cuts through the mix when it needs to. I see so many players who have their perfect 'plexi' tone in their bedroom and you bring that rig and those settings out to the stage and it sounds like fuzzy a$$. Conversely, an overly harsh lead tone on a recording cuts beautifully on stage when run through a PA competing against full volume drums and cymbals.

You really need to spend time in both environments dialing in your sound that is appropriate for the environment. One size does not fit all. And remember, it's not just about volume. It's about playing in a mix, competing against amplified vocals and drums, and amplifying your tone significantly through a PA. Less is more.

If I can give the n00bs one piece of advice for playing on stage through a large PA--whatever crunch sound you have perfected in a room by yourself, back the gain/drive off about 20% for the stage. Otherwise you will lose all definition when it is amplified through the PA.
 

Platte City Paul

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I'd say it matters more on a recording, because the music is isolated, while live you/the audience are too wrapped up in the show for it to matter as much...if anything, I'd say all the average live music fan cares about is if your tone is excessively shrill

What do you guys think?
I'd say it matters more on a recording than live. A live performance is the sum total of tone, energy, crowd response, vibe (whatever that is), weather and stage presence. Unless captured, it's fleeting. And, no, that is not a reason to be blasé' about tone.

A recorded performance is the sum total of the recording, and is, ostensibly, forever.

My take only...
 

Platte City Paul

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Tone in a live setting is just as important as in a recording session--but those that haven't played out much (or at all) don't recognize that the tone you want is significantly different in both scenarios. In a live setting, you need a tone that sits in the mix when it needs to and cuts through the mix when it needs to. I see so many players who have their perfect 'plexi' tone in their bedroom and you bring that rig and those settings out to the stage and it sounds like fuzzy a$$. Conversely, an overly harsh lead tone on a recording cuts beautifully on stage when run through a PA competing against full volume drums and cymbals.

You really need to spend time in both environments dialing in your sound that is appropriate for the environment. One size does not fit all. And remember, it's not just about volume. It's about playing in a mix, competing against amplified vocals and drums, and amplifying your tone significantly through a PA. Less is more.

If I can give the n00bs one piece of advice for playing on stage through a large PA--whatever crunch sound you have perfected in a room by yourself, back the gain/drive off about 20% for the stage. Otherwise you will lose all definition when it is amplified through the PA.
Yes! The more experienced I get in playing live, the less I use my distortion pedals. The more I also realize that venues are all different, so "one setting doesn't fit all" was another learning hurdle to overcome.
 

bjorn218

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The only thing that matters is that your pickguard is on, sheesh!
I make sure my cod piece it adjusted properly. That's more important than a pick guard. Ever been playing and really having a good night and just when you're about to rip into your best solo at the front of the stage some painted up tart grabs your Willie and give it a quick tugs with a deathgrip squeeze just to let you know she's there? It'll ruin a night man. I mean yeah I see ya. Who couldn't? You're dress leave no imagination you don't need to be trying to rip off my manhood to get my attention. A pickguard at that point means nothing bro. Nothing.
 

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