I Can NEVER Get Pro Tone!

Post Reply
TravH
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:25 pm
Real Name: Travis Henderson

I Can NEVER Get Pro Tone!

Post: # 3843Post TravH
Sat Apr 03, 2021 3:17 pm

Hi,

Been a while since a live show but was listening to Jake Workman's latest release "Landmark" and he has THAT tone. Sounds like David Grier...maybe DG was the first to really nail this modern tone. Kenny Smith, Bryan Sutton etc all have.....I don't.... :(

I've been playing a long time and have a nice Collings D1A. I've had other great guitars and can never get that full round and at once bright tone.....

I think most of them use rounded picks and I just sound like mud with those....

I just changed strings to some Elixer PBs (13's?) and use a BlueChip TP50 Pick... A couple thinner and rounder which are further yet from THAT tone.....

The players I've seen sound pretty much like that live too so I doubt too much studio trickery but maybe...

Any advice to help me in my tone adventures?

Thanks!

Trav

Frank Sanns
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:38 pm
Real Name: Frank Sanns
Location: Pittsburgh

Re: I Can NEVER Get Pro Tone!

Post: # 3845Post Frank Sanns
Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:39 pm

The "tone" that you are hearing is often authority on the pick but with less deflection of the strings.

Strings sound the best when they are. not pushed very hard. While "digging in" gives a "sound" it is not the round harmonic sound that many search for. Less deflection of the string gives a rounder more smooth sound PROVIDED the pick has the same authority on it. Authority is my choice of words, not sure it is used for this meaning but it is descriptive. It is moving to, through, and past the release point of the string with the pick. Oh yea, the pick is important too. The Blue Chip 50 pick is a bit thick if want that round sound and some sparkle.

With that said, every guitar and string setup will have a unique type and thickness that will give a particular tone. Interestingly, thicker or harder does not always give the same response on all guitars. There are trends but no guarantees.

Typically a pick has both a hardness AND stiffness. A genuine legal tortoise pick can sound clangy when it strikes the strings; bass and treble strings alike. Yet when you approach it with more authority and a little slower attack, the notes can be wonderfully, almost unmatched in beauty. I bring this up NOT because tortoise picks do something good but rather that in an inexperienced hand, they sound jangly and brittle. So what I am saying is to get a stiffer, not too thick pick, and pick through the strings with a very deliberate stroke.

Oh, and get those Elixr strings off of there and go to get some D'Addario or John Pearse phosphor bronze and go at it. I like Elixr strings for many things but not particularly for what you are going for.

TravH
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:25 pm
Real Name: Travis Henderson

Re: I Can NEVER Get Pro Tone!

Post: # 3848Post TravH
Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:17 am

Frank Sanns wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:39 pm The "tone" that you are hearing is often authority on the pick but with less deflection of the strings.

Strings sound the best when they are. not pushed very hard. While "digging in" gives a "sound" it is not the round harmonic sound that many search for. Less deflection of the string gives a rounder more smooth sound PROVIDED the pick has the same authority on it. Authority is my choice of words, not sure it is used for this meaning but it is descriptive. It is moving to, through, and past the release point of the string with the pick. Oh yea, the pick is important too. The Blue Chip 50 pick is a bit thick if want that round sound and some sparkle.

With that said, every guitar and string setup will have a unique type and thickness that will give a particular tone. Interestingly, thicker or harder does not always give the same response on all guitars. There are trends but no guarantees.

Typically a pick has both a hardness AND stiffness. A genuine legal tortoise pick can sound clangy when it strikes the strings; bass and treble strings alike. Yet when you approach it with more authority and a little slower attack, the notes can be wonderfully, almost unmatched in beauty. I bring this up NOT because tortoise picks do something good but rather that in an inexperienced hand, they sound jangly and brittle. So what I am saying is to get a stiffer, not too thick pick, and pick through the strings with a very deliberate stroke.

Oh, and get those Elixr strings off of there and go to get some D'Addario or John Pearse phosphor bronze and go at it. I like Elixr strings for many things but not particularly for what you are going for.
Thanks Frank!

Yea the strings are part of the problem and I have some D'Addarios to drop in.

I tried a thinner Blue Chip with a rounded corner I use for my Telecaster and practiced your idea of authority. I think I see what you're getting at...

Of course as a flatpicker volume is always a concern and I think I've been focussing on being loud. The Collings doesn't get bad by any means but seems to push past the sweet spot.

Trav

franco63
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:00 pm
Real Name: Frank Adams
Location: Asheville, NC
Contact:

Re: I Can NEVER Get Pro Tone!

Post: # 4815Post franco63
Sat Nov 13, 2021 4:00 pm

There are a lot of great tone/playing tips above, definitely take all of that into consideration. Having said that........I won't get into tone on the microscopic level.....more macro. Most of my favorite flatpicker/bluegrass influences tend to use heavier picks. Thinner picks are great for strumming - great snap and treble response. For single-note lines, I think it's about finding the correct balance - the thickness of the pick that suits you tonally and playing-wise. Lastly, after teaching for many years, the biggest part of tone is right in your hands. Yes, your hands. Some players just tend to have bright hands - gripping the neck too tightly and various technique issues. Typically, the better you become as a player, the better your tone is. I'm not suggesting this is your issue....just things to think about. Best of luck in your quest.

Hokiebob
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:22 pm
Location: Mint Hill, NC

Re: I Can NEVER Get Pro Tone!

Post: # 4850Post Hokiebob
Mon Nov 22, 2021 12:15 pm

Besides guitar I also love to play golf. I'm a decent amateur. I play well enough to win money in my league and I place well in the tournaments that I enter but I just can't hit it like the pros.. I use the same shoes as Freddie Couples. I have custom built clubs measured to fit me. I use a titleist golf ball that matches my swing speed. I've followed lessons from some excellent teaching pros. Somehow it has never translated into me playing like the pros.

As Dirty Harry said "A man's got to know his limitations."

I don't mean to be a wise guy but in every field the pros are the pros. We appreciate them because they can do something that we can't or at least do it better than us. Some call it God given talent. Certainly we can learn and practice to be better but remember to take time to enjoy and appreciate what you can do. Don't measure yourself by comparison to an artificially high standard.
Bob

ripsaw
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:59 pm
Real Name: jimmy

Re: I Can NEVER Get Pro Tone!

Post: # 4855Post ripsaw
Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:13 pm

Tone is all in the fretting hand. Having a 'vice grip' on the strings produces the best tone and longest sustain.

Players should always be moving up to heavier strings during their careers. Sure, it's harder to play in the beginning but you build up strength and all of a sudden it becomes easy again...

Post Reply