Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 36 of 36
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hi everyone!

    This is actually my first thread I post on this forum so I wish you all are able to answer my question.

    We all know that chorus is a very debated effect. Either you hate it or you love it. One thing we don’t discuss that much though is WHY a chorus tone is considered bad or good. What defines a cheesy respectively a natural chorus? I’ll be happy if you also can post or recommend some examples of each type of chorus effect we’re talking about and tell me the differences.

    Observe that this is not a thread to debate the existence of chorus. Summarized, we shall instead discuss WHY a chorus tone is considered cheesy or natural.

    I look forward to hear your answers!

    Bbmaj7#5#9

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I never heard anyone say there was anything natural sounding about a chorus, so I don't quite understand the question.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    I don't get it either- all chorus sounds cheesy to me. I have a Boss chorus pedal I bought in the 80s and I use it for about a minute every five years or so, then put it back into the Storage Tub of Useless Pedals (which is pretty much all of them other than my reverb pedal). There isn't a "natural" chorus sound IMHO.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I don‘t understand the question either since chorus does not sound natural in the first place.

    I happen to like it though. I agree that it was overused in the 80s and I could not care less about the type of tone Mike Stern produces (in fact, I can‘t listen to that). However, I am a huge fan of the way that Gilmour used chorus in the 90s. It made for a super rich guitar sound. I also like chorus on slow, sparsely picked arpeggios but typically not so much for single line stuff.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Thank you everyone for your answers, so far!

    Me and my friends had a discussion about this topic for one week ago. They meant that, like all of you, chorus was overused during the 80’s. To exemplify we listened to a famous song by a band from that era, yes that was really cheesy. But on the other hand they meant that chorus effect in the concept of jazz guitar sounds much more natural than a 80’s hair metal band. Well, where goes the border between cheesy and natural chorus sound now? I find it also, like you, a bit confusing.

    I’ve never thought in this way before my friends brought up the topic and understand that you might see my question a little bit unclear.

    Hope my explanation helps you a little bit on the way.

    Off topic: All of my friends are guitarists. Generally all of them are playing blues and jazz/fusion, but I’m the only one who plays straight-ahead jazz.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    The only thing separating both concepts is personal opinion.

    Next question?
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy
    https://soundcloud.com/theodore-koja...hy-bro-project
    Hy-Bro Test Sound Files

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Personally I don’t find chorus quite so objectionable if the ‘rate/speed’ (whatever you call it ) is slow, and if the effect is not too ‘in your face’. I have some John Abercrombie stuff where it sounds ok e.g. ‘Open Land’. Also John Scofield on the Joe Henderson Miles Davis record ‘So Near So Far’.

    So I guess I prefer it to be subtle. But when I try using the chorus effect on my Roland cube I start to dislike it after a few minutes, I can’t make it work for me.

    As a listener I can accept it a bit more in fusion or ECM type contexts, not so much in straight-ahead stuff, I’m not sure why that is!

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    I once discussed Delay-effects with another player in the band. He's opinion was; -why use an effect if you can't hear it? My opinion is that if an effect is obvious, it's generally too much. I like subtle effects, that people hear only when it's switched off. If you increase the chorus rate to a point you no longer hear the swirl (possible on most studio chorus effects) you'll notice when you switch it off. This effect is sometimes referred to as "Fat glimmer" and sometimes It's useful.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I think the difference is between a kind of organic sound which Metheny and Scofield and Frisell get, and an overly processed, machine-like chorus, which we remember from 80’s hair bands. I’m not technical enough to know how it’s produced, other than the first seems to deal more with the tailing sounds, i.e., reverb, and doesn’t affect the main signal as much.

    My Fishman Artist has 2 kinds of chorus. The first is far and away the best. I sometimes add in a bit—slow cycling, effect at maybe 35-30%, tone rolled off a fair amount—mainly for ballads, say a fingerpicked version of Misty or Stella by Starlight. Our group plays standards ala Sinatra and Nat King Cole, so it doesn’t fit in every place, but on occasion it adds a bit of color to an otherwise mundane piece.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Completely subjective, personal taste. I never much liked chorus. With one exception, a Rocketride Asteroid pedal. Which is an EHX Small Stone, customized by Bjorn Jhul (BJFE), with Vibrato added. What sells that particular sound to me is the depth, the warmth of it. Hard to describe, but more spacious and lush than others I've heard.

    One test of these effects is how quickly they get turned off. If I forget I'm listening critically, and just play, that's a good sign.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    I think the difference is between a kind of organic sound which Metheny and Scofield and Frisell get, and an overly processed, machine-like chorus, which we remember from 80’s hair bands. I’m not technical enough to know how it’s produced, other than the first seems to deal more with the tailing sounds, i.e., reverb, and doesn’t affect the main signal as much.

    My Fishman Artist has 2 kinds of chorus. The first is far and away the best. I sometimes add in a bit—slow cycling, effect at maybe 35-30%, tone rolled off a fair amount—mainly for ballads, say a fingerpicked version of Misty or Stella by Starlight. Our group plays standards ala Sinatra and Nat King Cole, so it doesn’t fit in every place, but on occasion it adds a bit of color to an otherwise mundane piece.
    That sounds like a wise explanation of the topic! Probably it’s rooted how processed the main signal is afterwards. I know however that Pat Metheny creates his signature chorus tone by modulating two delay lines, the original physical idea of how to create a chorus effect. Maybe that’s why his chorus sounds much more natural to my ears than a hair metal band.

    But of course, gear is not everything on this planet. You must have the tone in your fingers too, like Metheny!

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Just my opinion but I think the only thing that defines chorus as "cheesy" is current fashion. Chorus became very popular in the 80's and was probably over exposed. Now we have swung the exact opposite direction and defined it as cheesy and cliched. Some of my favorite sounds are drenched in chorus (like Martin Taylor on Triple Libra). The tone is rich and clear and the playing is passionate. Ultimately I think the real trick with any tone is to not care about fashion. Trust your ears and your heart and let the chips fall where they may.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    Just my opinion but I think the only thing that defines chorus as "cheesy" is current fashion. Chorus became very popular in the 80's and was probably over exposed. Now we have swung the exact opposite direction and defined it as cheesy and cliched. Some of my favorite sounds are drenched in chorus (like Martin Taylor on Triple Libra). The tone is rich and clear and the playing is passionate. Ultimately I think the real trick with any tone is to not care about fashion. Trust your ears and your heart and let the chips fall where they may.
    Well said!

    Off topic: ”Triple Libra”, very nice album by the way.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    IMO, the best 'chorus', if you're recording, is to double the guitar part (i.e., play and record the exact same part twice).
    "Thanks, but you should have heard what I was trying to play!" - T. Monk
    http://network.online.berklee.edu/profile/1200078

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Another way to get a similar effect is to use a good pitch shifter. Set it to the same octave as the original note, but detuned just a few cents. Too little gives a phased, drony kind of sound, too much gives a badly-tuned honky-tonk piano sound. But the sweet spot can sound pretty good, if used sparingly.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Instead of natural sounding and cheesy, I look at chorus more as a texture that fits a certain tune or mood versus sometimes it doesn't. In the end, it's subjective and just about personal taste and signature tone.

    This chorus isn't bashful, but works for me in the given context.


  18. #17
    I use chorus in my setup. I know the traditional guys don't like it but I use it in stereo and it makes the sound extremely fat on stage and makes it really inspiring to play. It fills the sonic spectrum in the same way as a saxophone does and feels big and powerful and inspiring. My use of it is pretty subtle I think. Here's an example.


  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Instead of natural sounding and cheesy, I look at chorus more as a texture that fits a certain tune or mood versus sometimes it doesn't. In the end, it's subjective and just about personal taste and signature tone.

    This chorus isn't bashful, but works for me in the given context.

    Interesting!

    Yes, the context is crucial if we’re going to like the result or not. Like some other had said earlier, chorus will not work in some situations and opposite in some other situations. I think like you that texture is a good word to have in mind.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Instead of natural sounding and cheesy, I look at chorus more as a texture that fits a certain tune or mood versus sometimes it doesn't. In the end, it's subjective and just about personal taste and signature tone.

    This chorus isn't bashful, but works for me in the given context.


    I wanted to post The Police also. I especially like their early stuff where Andy Summers was rocking his Electric Mistress flanger.



    They where a trio and he used his flanger/chorus simply to fill up space

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    I use chorus in my setup. I know the traditional guys don't like it but I use it in stereo and it makes the sound extremely fat on stage and makes it really inspiring to play. It fills the sonic spectrum in the same way as a saxophone does and feels big and powerful and inspiring. My use of it is pretty subtle I think. Here's an example.

    Really good trio, sounds awesome!

    Yes, I agree that your chorus sounds subtle. I also use chorus, but I create it manual with just a MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal. I have set the delay time a little, little, little bit longer to create an ADT sound. When I notice an echo the delay time is too long, but this is of course subjective and up to personal taste. Like many other have said subtle chorus is the best. In this type of trio concept it seems working very well for you.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    For some styles and numbers use of chorus becomes almost compulsory for the ears of your audience. Think of "Bette Davis Eyes" or "Time after Time" - if you have a MOR audience you have to respond to their expectations if you want to keep paying the bills..... As other have said, context is the real guide to suitability, when using chorus - on occasions I've set speed, detuning and mix at a barely perceptible level and produced a sound fairly close to an electric 12 string, which can be interesting for arpeggio fills
    Last edited by Ray175; 06-17-2019 at 04:16 AM.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    This is cheesy? I like cheese then

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    I love me some cheese!

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Instead of natural sounding and cheesy, I look at chorus more as a texture that fits a certain tune or mood versus sometimes it doesn't. In the end, it's subjective and just about personal taste and signature tone.

    This chorus isn't bashful, but works for me in the given context.


    I'm pretty sure that's a flanger (plus delay), not a chorus. Regardless, Summers' overall approach was so different from everyone else's at the time that I really don't think of him as an "80s cliche" chorus sound.

    John

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    I use chorus in my setup. I know the traditional guys don't like it but I use it in stereo and it makes the sound extremely fat on stage and makes it really inspiring to play. It fills the sonic spectrum in the same way as a saxophone does and feels big and powerful and inspiring. My use of it is pretty subtle I think. Here's an example.

    I was going to say something similar. Chorus and stereo chorus strike me as two different things altogether. That sounds great there, and yes subtle; not really an effect, but more a way to create a sound environment.

    John

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    I'm pretty sure that's a flanger (plus delay), not a chorus. Regardless, Summers' overall approach was so different from everyone else's at the time that I really don't think of him as an "80s cliche" chorus sound.

    John
    I think you are right about the flanger effect. Actually I haven’t heard anything about if he ever used any true chorus pedal. The only true chorus unit I’ve heard he used was a Roland JC-120 amp, otherwise it was just a EHX Electric Mistress flanger pedal with a choralflangey setting that created his legendary sound. And delay of course!
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    This is cheesy? I like cheese then
    This is just my opinion, but as someone else said there are three jazz guitarists today who have a more ”organic/natural” chorus sound. They are Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny and John Scofield. And I agree with this statement. Scofield’s playing technique and sound doesn’t sound cheesy at all to my ears. He is musically progressive with deep roots in jazz tradition, directly opposite to being cheesy.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Reverb will be seen just as cheesy 50 years from now, like the way we see chorus in the 80's. People will wonder how on earth it became an automatic always on thing for most guitarist.
    I know people are gonna argue that reverb is "natural". But we are talking about the effect, which is an artificial sound processing.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Bbmaj7#5#9 View Post
    This is just my opinion, but as someone else said there are three jazz guitarists today who have a more ”organic/natural” chorus sound. They are Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny and John Scofield. And I agree with this statement. Scofield’s playing technique and sound doesn’t sound cheesy at all to my ears. He is musically progressive with deep roots in jazz tradition, directly opposite to being cheesy.
    Sco's sound over the last (10? 15? maybe more?) years is pretty different from what it was early on. I'm thinking of older stuff, like, Still Warm, Electric Outlet, Star People, or the first Bass Desires album -- these kind of do have the "cheesy" mono chorus sound. But his use of effects has become much more subtle and/or explicitly not subtle punctuations (e.g., looping or harmonizer). I'd say it's a similar evolution for Frisell.

    John

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Reverb will be seen just as cheesy 50 years from now, like the way we see chorus in the 80's. People will wonder how on earth it became an automatic always on thing for most guitarist.
    I know people are gonna argue that reverb is "natural". But we are talking about the effect, which is an artificial sound processing.
    I think that the victim is more likely to be The Edge-style delay. It's obvious to the ear and it's all over the place in a lot of popular music.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Sco's sound over the last (10? 15? maybe more?) years is pretty different from what it was early on. I'm thinking of older stuff, like, Still Warm, Electric Outlet, Star People, or the first Bass Desires album -- these kind of do have the "cheesy" mono chorus sound. But his use of effects has become much more subtle and/or explicitly not subtle punctuations (e.g., looping or harmonizer). I'd say it's a similar evolution for Frisell.

    John
    I know what you’re meaning. His early albums was much more processed than today, but I still enjoy to listening on them. Through the years he also, like you say, changes the gear setup from time to time. For example, in the beginning he used Sundown amps and also Mesa Boogies (?). Nowadays, Vox AC-30 and the Ibanez guitar (don’t remember the model name) are his main setup. He’s a guitarist with progressive musical concepts that affects his sound forward. With other words he have never stayed in a certain era, always thinking about the future in a musical context. This can also be applied on both Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny too.

    Haha, ”Just My Luck” on ”Electric Outlet” is so chorused/processed that it makes me laugh all the time I hear it! Though it’s still a very good album like all the other Scofield productions from the 80’s.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Bbmaj7#5#9 View Post
    I know what you’re meaning. His early albums was much more processed than today, but I still enjoy to listening on them. Through the years he also, like you say, changes the gear setup from time to time. For example, in the beginning he used Sundown amps and also Mesa Boogies (?). Nowadays, Vox AC-30 and the Ibanez guitar (don’t remember the model name) are his main setup. He’s a guitarist with progressive musical concepts that affects his sound forward. With other words he have never stayed in a certain era, always thinking about the future in a musical context. This can also be applied on both Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny too.

    Haha, ”Just My Luck” on ”Electric Outlet” is so chorused/processed that it makes me laugh all the time I hear it! Though it’s still a very good album like all the other Scofield productions from the 80’s.
    Sco has a pretty extensive gear listing on his website: Equipment - John Scofield

    John

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Bbmaj7#5#9 View Post
    Really good trio, sounds awesome!

    Yes, I agree that your chorus sounds subtle. I also use chorus, but I create it manual with just a MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal. I have set the delay time a little, little, little bit longer to create an ADT sound. When I notice an echo the delay time is too long, but this is of course subjective and up to personal taste. Like many other have said subtle chorus is the best. In this type of trio concept it seems working very well for you.
    Thanks, I was originally looking for pitch vibrato but for one reason or another, hated everything I tried. I got the EQD aqueduct and really like the sound of it but it adds a 15ms delay to the signal which gives it a tad bit of that '80s mike stern chorus sound which I didn't want but I really love the wideness of the sonic footprint and haven't been able to find anything better. I usually run in stereo and was sad that it is not available in stereo but I just run it into a hardware 7 and use it's reverb for the stereo effect.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    I think the difference between Scofield and someone like Mike Stern, whose chorus tone I've always had mixed feelings about, are twofold. First of all, sco tended to keep the shimmery 80s chorus a bit more subtle. He'll sometimes use the faux leslie chorus sound as a special effect, but the always-on style thing was a bit more subtle especially with distortion. It's worth noting that Sco almost always have a bit of distortion going on, whereas Stern tend to turn it on and off. And I think Stern's chorus sound much better with his clean settings. Secondly, they simply play differently. You don't hear Sco do those long sustained notes or bends where you really hear the effect stand out, and a chorus sound is going to sit different with those styles.

    And then there's musical context: I love Sco's 80's processed sound, and I doubt an unchorused sound would sound as good in the context of the über 80s sounding Blue Matter band for instance. Listen to the below and tell me that a Jim Hall sound would be better . But he dialed it back for his more straight jazz albums. I hear someone like stern sound much the same regardless of context.

    The above is no slight of Stern, who I think is a monster and who's work I love. I'm going to see him live again soon and I'm looking forward to it. But his use of chorus ain't always my cup of tea


  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    I think the difference between Scofield and someone like Mike Stern, whose chorus tone I've always had mixed feelings about, are twofold. First of all, sco tended to keep the shimmery 80s chorus a bit more subtle. He'll sometimes use the faux leslie chorus sound as a special effect, but the always-on style thing was a bit more subtle especially with distortion. It's worth noting that Sco almost always have a bit of distortion going on, whereas Stern tend to turn it on and off. And I think Stern's chorus sound much better with his clean settings. Secondly, they simply play differently. You don't hear Sco do those long sustained notes or bends where you really hear the effect stand out, and a chorus sound is going to sit different with those styles.

    And then there's musical context: I love Sco's 80's processed sound, and I doubt an unchorused sound would sound as good in the context of the über 80s sounding Blue Matter band for instance. Listen to the below and tell me that a Jim Hall sound would be better . But he dialed it back for his more straight jazz albums. I hear someone like stern sound much the same regardless of context.

    The above is no slight of Stern, who I think is a monster and who's work I love. I'm going to see him live again soon and I'm looking forward to it. But his use of chorus ain't always my cup of tea

    There are some clips from that era when Scofield’s playing with his Blue Matter Band in Copenhagen, I think it’s from 1987. Yes, his sound is very chorused and it seems like he playing through a Roland JC-120. But on the other hand I agree with you that an unprocessed sound in this type context doesn’t work. The feeling, in terms of joy and musical expression, is way more important.

    By the way, I’m a real Jim Hall fan and have heard that he used some chorus and harmonizer pedal during the late part of his career. I haven’t found any clips or recordings where he uses this. Can somebody help me find some clips or recordings where Jim Hall uses his effects pedals?
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    This is Jose Macario, a really good local prog etc. guitarist with a chorus demo that he just posted last night. I don't think there's anything cheesy about this.

    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed