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  1. #1

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    Amplifying Gypsy Jazz guitars and Acoustic archtops is a right royal pain in the behind. While many good solutions exist for flat top players, us jazz players seem to have the choice between
    1) lots of attack, no actual pitches
    2) something that sounds like an electric guitar
    3) good sound, with a side serving of howling feedback if you get it a bit wrong

    So I decided to give the Audio Sprockets Tonedexter a try as it seemed basically to offer the thing I always wanted - the guitar sound but louder. Here are the initial results based on training it with a not terribly scientific mic placement of a Rode NT1-A so hardly the best that could be done with it. (There is no mic in the audio here, that’s just for set up)

    but .... it sounds kind of .... like an acoustic guitar?



    anyway haven’t gigged it yet. My perception is the tone is rather scooped, so EQ’ing might be necessary in a live situation esp with drums, or I might use the handy feature which mixes the sound in with your normal piezo tone. I’m also finding it a little wooly here, maybe room and mic distance might help with that.

    Of course what may work in a band mix is not exactly a full acoustic tone.

    also has decent feedback rejection. EQ on the unit isn’t quite as powerful as the LR Baggs Para DI parametric, which may mean I won’t flip it to finance the new purchase...

    watch here for more thoughts, and maybe vids. Anyone else tried one?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I like the sound. And the playing!

  4. #3

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    Some missing info might useful for anyone interested in this thread. What kind of pickup did you use to train the tone dexter? Bigtone? Most of the guys of talked to or read about are using the bigtone to train it (with whatever mic they choose). That is my first question for you as I've heard the Tone Dexter works better or worse depending on the pickup used.

    I've asked my friend who is a very serious pro about his tone dexter experience. He says its not a magic bullet for live sound and there are still situations at loud noisy bars where it frustrates him and he'd rather use a magnetic pickup. Something about the eq in that environment and the tone dexter setup not really cutting thru the bar crowd noise in a way he likes.

    Anyways interested to hear how this works out for you because I'm thinking of getting into it too.

    Your clip sounded pretty good. I think eq'ing stuff you mentioned would be the challenge. I think using vastly different mics to create different stored sounds in the Tone Dexter would give you some variety of options to change the sound to better suit the environment you are playing in.

  5. #4

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    I'd not heard of this, sounds very interesting. Some video demos here. I wonder if it would works with a magnetic pickup on an archtop. Bang out some Freddie Green chords through a mic to train the TD and store that for rhythm comping.

    Audio Sprockets | ToneDexter - Your Studio Sound for an Acoustic Pickup

  6. #5

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    Sounds pretty life-like to me. I will follow this thread with considerable interest.

  7. #6

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    Does not work with magnetic pickups

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by callouscallus
    Some missing info might useful for anyone interested in this thread. What kind of pickup did you use to train the tone dexter? Bigtone? Most of the guys of talked to or read about are using the bigtone to train it (with whatever mic they choose). That is my first question for you as I've heard the Tone Dexter works better or worse depending on the pickup used.
    I used a K&K definity, but according to the company it doesn’t really matter. I noticed the biggest improvements with USTs on my flat tops.

    Now the K&K is a pretty decent sounding pickup, that senses the sound board as well as the bridge. while USTs sound less realistic, so that’s comparison. It was night and day, extraordinary difference. Psychology...

    that said I’m thinking I might change over to bridge pickups now on the gypsy and archtop guitars. Better feedback rejection.

    I've asked my friend who is a very serious pro about his tone dexter experience. He says its not a magic bullet for live sound and there are still situations at loud noisy bars where it frustrates him and he'd rather use a magnetic pickup. Something about the eq in that environment and the tone dexter setup not really cutting thru the bar crowd noise in a way he likes.
    I can totally imagine this being an issue. I hate rhythm guitar on a mag tho.

    another solution I was having some luck with was putting the K&K through a tube preamp and driving it hard. Logic here is that we do not hear a clean sound on Djangos recordings- we hear a clipped, compressed sound through a tube preamp. I’ve had some good results with this actually, so I can see the Tonedexter being relegated more to jazz club gigs and so on. But we shall see!

    Anyways interested to hear how this works out for you because I'm thinking of getting into it too.

    Your clip sounded pretty good. I think eq'ing stuff you mentioned would be the challenge. I think using vastly different mics to create different stored sounds in the Tone Dexter would give you some variety of options to change the sound to better suit the environment you are playing in.
    Might try it with an SM58 haha. Might help it cut.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I wonder if it would works with a magnetic pickup on an archtop. Bang out some Freddie Green chords through a mic to train the TD and store that for rhythm comping.
    Or nab other sounds; "Just a moment please, while I get WM's L-5..."

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I'd not heard of this, sounds very interesting. Some video demos here. I wonder if it would works with a magnetic pickup on an archtop. Bang out some Freddie Green chords through a mic to train the TD and store that for rhythm comping.

    Audio Sprockets | ToneDexter - Your Studio Sound for an Acoustic Pickup
    apparently it doesn’t work for mags.

    you’d need a piezo, the Fishman or Schatten would do. Of course they sound appalling normally, so no one uses them, but would be good with the TD.

    But here’s the thing, you could train it on an old Gibson or Epiphone archtop and use your thin line, provided that Gibson had a similar piezo bridge.

    people have been using Yamaha silent guitars with Wavemaps from Concert guitars, and it sounds great.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-20-2020 at 01:00 PM.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zina
    Or nab other sounds; "Just a moment please, while I get WM's L-5..."
    I eagerly await the pedal that will give me Wes’s hands - and ears.

  12. #11

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    Actually I think Wes’s actual recorded tone is quite often ... difficult, unforgiving. He kind of gets past it by being Wes. I think I would struggle to sound good using Wes’s actual sound.

  13. #12

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    A bass player I know uses a ToneDexter. The difference between this and his straight piezo is subtle, but noticeable. With just the straight piezo, it sounds like a bass. With the ToneDexter, it sounds like a good bass. With guitars, I would think there's even more promise just because there's greater need to improve the sound of a guitar piezo (which usually has some sort nasty stuff going on in the upper frequencies) than a bass piezo (which usually sounds fairly realistic).

    John

  14. #13

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    Try the Clingon pickup. Fareed Haque just put it on his flamenco. Ridiculously easy to attach. Sounds ok. Cheap. You can use two on a guitar, easily, to emphasize different tonal qualities. I just bought two. Will put it on my Brahms guitar.


  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    A bass player I know uses a ToneDexter. The difference between this and his straight piezo is subtle, but noticeable. With just the straight piezo, it sounds like a bass. With the ToneDexter, it sounds like a good bass. With guitars, I would think there's even more promise just because there's greater need to improve the sound of a guitar piezo (which usually has some sort nasty stuff going on in the upper frequencies) than a bass piezo (which usually sounds fairly realistic).

    John
    with my nylon and steel strings the difference is just ASTONISHING. Which is cool because I have a run of gigs coming up on it. in a little group with cello and violin, which I think is the situation that the TD would be most at home in.

    I only have cheap flat tops, but plugged in, man it was like falling in love with the guitar at age 15. I was tuning down to DADGAD and flexing my Celtic chop, playing Joni song, running through all my bluegrass lick.

    the nylon sounded fab as well. Very natural.

    i will post A/Bs as soon as I work out a way to do this easily.

    So I’m terribly skeptical about how this will all come across live, but so far I’ve been overjoyed. I just know the stage is a totally different thing.

    So I reckon this thing is great for inexpensive guitars. So I have guitars that record very well but aren’t top end acoustics and a cheap ass Fishman UST (that actually sounds fine through my AER because AERs are magic.) So I’m thinking that might work better with this rig than super resonant top end guitars with super sophisticated pickup systems.

    so - now I’m thinking, what would one of those cheap epiphone archtops with the nasty scratchy pick up might sound like with a good WaveMap?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ
    Try the Clingon pickup. Fareed Haque just put it on his flamenco. Ridiculously easy to attach. Sounds ok. Cheap. You can use two on a guitar, easily, to emphasize different tonal qualities. I just bought two. Will put it on my Brahms guitar.

    And you could probably run that into a ToneDexter.

    It sounds not unlike the Schertler Dyn-G to my ears, which is a complement for a piezo, esp one that costs a fraction of the price. A lot of thoughtful features. Probably not the most robust solution feedback wise however.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I eagerly await the pedal that will give me Wes’s hands - and ears.
    I often wonder about how exceptional players hear things; whether it's just more than others, or different.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Actually I think Wes’s actual recorded tone is quite often ... difficult, unforgiving. He kind of gets past it by being Wes. I think I would struggle to sound good using Wes’s actual sound.
    You mean the way it often overloads the amplifier? I like that in the more spirited songs, and when he has an organplayer, but would have loved for him to have access to modern clean sounds on the quieter material.

  18. #17

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    The tonedexter is an amazing product. I think its a revolution in acoustic amplification.

    I think its particularly good for solo gigs, but perhaps less useful in a band environment because the guitar tone can dominate.

    Keep in mind that there are a number of other IR-based products hitting the market.

  19. #18

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    Apparently this was recorded direct with tonedexter (trained with a quality classical, input via the electric-nylon):


  20. #19

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    some other IR-based products (i dont think any of these reach the levels of the tonedexter):




  21. #20

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    I'd like one for voice, so I can impersonate Kenny G. and order Super 400s for all JGO members I like. Cosmic Gumbo: you get an inflatable ukelele! (it's a joke)

  22. #21

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    You should have said something. I just went through this about a month ago, and we could have compared notes.

    Short version: I went with the fishman aura preamp, over the baggs and the tone dexter. Because I mainly play flattop acoustics, most of which have a different pickup system. Tonedexter doesn't work with magnetic pickups or internal mics, so that was out. Very little info on the baggs yet but what little I've heard didn't sound great. at least, no better than what's already been out there forever now.

    I'm quite pleased with the fishman aura sound going on to a PA, either with undersaddle, soundboard or soundhole picks. It took a bit of eq after the fact to really get it where I like, but it's the mythical "my guitar but louder" sound. All that brilliant eq'ing I did cut out all the weird frequencies, so I'm getting no feedback with the blend knob maxed, which is quite a feat. And I have ways to mitigate that should I run into feedback later.

    However, it was sort of a dud with my acoustic archtop with a floater. There aren't any archtop images in the gallery and approximating the wood and body size didn't cut it, either. Thought about getting a different pickup for the gretsch but I'll just let it ride for now and make do with eq. It sounds really good through amps. Maybe the tonedexter would help, but I'm not paying $400 to use with just one guitar.

    There are a couple of gypsy images available, but I can't vouch for those.

    Incidentally,I tried to record direct with the aura and didn't like that at all. You can make it work if you put a bunch of effort into it, but a mic is just much faster and sounds way better right off the bat.

    By the way, i used my handy zoom cdr70 to make a preset for each of my guitars with its own custom eq. Several instances of parametric eq to notch out the weirdness, then the graphic to chop out anything below 70 hz or so. No woofs, no squeals, no howls.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky Fish
    The tonedexter is an amazing product. I think its a revolution in acoustic amplification.

    I think its particularly good for solo gigs, but perhaps less useful in a band environment because the guitar tone can dominate.

    Keep in mind that there are a number of other IR-based products hitting the market.
    well I bought used so I can flip it if needs be. I’ll keep a look out!

    never buy new haha. Wish I’d learned that a long time ago.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zina
    I often wonder about how exceptional players hear things; whether it's just more than others, or different.



    You mean the way it often overloads the amplifier? I like that in the more spirited songs, and when he has an organplayer, but would have loved for him to have access to modern clean sounds on the quieter material.
    its just very bright and dry compared to what most people are used to. Most jazz guitar tones were back then.

    players dialled in tones that cut and learned how to play through it on the bandstand often in difficult sonic conditions. These days I think people can be very finicky about tone because the tech has improved. But it still doesn’t help if you have a bad room.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zina
    I'd like one for voice, so I can impersonate Kenny G. and order Super 400s for all JGO members I like. Cosmic Gumbo: you get an inflatable ukelele! (it's a joke)
    but I don’t want a super 400.

    can I have a Trenier instead?

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    but I don’t want a super 400.

    can I have a Trenier instead?
    I want some sort of crazy 8-string microtonal guitar synth thing that I would never waste my own money on.