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  1. #1

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    I recently did a recording with my big band and noticed my tone is sounding very bright and thin. The thing that surprises me is that I have everything on my amp at 1 or 2 and my tone knob on the guitar is at 3. Does anyone know what the problem can be? What can I do to make my tone fatter and darker? I use a Gibson ES 335 with D'addario EJ 21s and use a blue chip jazz iii style pick. The amp is an Evans AE 100. Thank you.

    -Zane


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  3. #2

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    EJ21 are described as bright round wounds, have you experienced with flats like ecg25 ?
    Also playing with pickup height could help as if too low can tend to sound thinner
    ...every note has an origin and a destination...
    - Tal Farlow

  4. #3

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    the evans is the most adjustable amp in the universe

    so its very easy to have it set too bright - not realizing that you can also set it up so its too dark and fat

    get in touch with steve at evans and ask for tone knob help - people can help you on here too - to find the dark settings

  5. #4

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    and jazz guitars tend to be 3 3/8'' deep - not thin like a 335....

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad View Post
    and jazz guitars tend to be 3 3/8'' deep - not thin like a 335....
    A 335 is capable of producing very fat and dark tones!

    I am a bit confused, please clarify: you find your tone always bright and thin or you only find yourself thin sounding in the recordings?

    If it's only the recordings then it's probably bad microphone placement or EQ by the recording engineer.
    Last edited by Little Jay; 05-01-2017 at 06:10 AM.

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  7. #6

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    I have had great success altering the tone of a couple of thin line telecasters by changing the capacitor.


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  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad View Post
    the evans is the most adjustable amp in the universe

    so its very easy to have it set too bright - not realizing that you can also set it up so its too dark and fat

    get in touch with steve at evans and ask for tone knob help - people can help you on here too - to find the dark settings
    This is dead on; try treble at 0, and turn up the 'depth' knob to around 2 o'clock, with bass and 'body' around 4. This would even makes a banjo sound dark and fat, so I'm sure you can get great 335 sounds with an AE100

  9. #8

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    Two points:

    a) Band sounds great! Guitar sounds fine -- sorry you're not enjoying it as much as you might.

    2) Translating a great sound at home into a great sound elsewhere is The Guitarist's Unicorn.

    iii) Your sound would have been totally different (and much more "generic recorded guitar") if the engineer had cranked up the compressor. Personally, I think s/he achieved a nice sound with a lot of air for you and it's a sound that stays out of the way of the piano.

    ....) The two cheapest adjustments you can make to thicken up your tone are to use the rounded corners of your pick, and to use your fingers instead of your pick.
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  10. #9

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    Where are you picking try closer to the neck to fatten the sound. Changing your pick angle can change sound too. Also as another suggested adjusting the pickup height can change a lot. When not happy with sound I will keep my pickup screw driver next to me when I practice and tweak the pickup height and maybe the screw heights now and then, it may go on for weeks till I'm found sound I like.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  11. #10

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    Ah, now I listened to the recordings. I find the guitar sounds quite nice, but I think I know what you mean. I have an ES-333 (almost identical to the 335) with Classic 57s and the way your guitar sounds in the recordings is a bit a-typical for an ES-335 with Classic 57s.

    But still my question remains: is it just the recording or do you find your guitar too thin sounding in general?

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  12. #11

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    Zane,

    The playing sounds great. The tone could be warmer and fatter.

    Easy changes:

    Try 13 flats from TI

    Pick closer to the neck

    Zero the treble on the amp and turn up the bass

    Expensive changes:

    Change amp to something with a 12 inch speaker

    Change guitar to a full hollowbody with a built in humbucker

    IMO, there is no way to get a thinline guitar with roundwounds played through an amp with a small speaker to sound warm and fat at big band volume levels.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  13. #12

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    Do you think what comes out of your amp sounds thin? There's no problem for an audio engineer to make thick into thin, if that's what you think

  14. #13

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    Try lowering your pickup considerably, turning the amp up louder than you need, and coming down on the guitar volume.

    Dropping the pickup increases its "aperture" - the length of string sensed is longer, giving a more complex tone similar to the sound of a big body jazz box.

    Raising volume on the amp lets it "breath a little deeper" even with a lowered signal from the guitar - more depth and character.

    Also, if you are using a high quality cable (like the $100 Mogami Platinum or similar), try a $12 cable - they tend to be noticeably darker.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    Also, if you are using a high quality cable (like the $100 Mogami Platinum or similar), try a $12 cable - they tend to be noticeably darker.
    Depends entirely on total cable capacitance. It baffles me that they don't provide info on capacitance per unit length with instrument cables, as it is the only thing making audible difference. Or...not really, as that would prevent them from charging stupid amounts and claims of magic properties

    Cable capacitance chart

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    Ah, now I listened to the recordings. I find the guitar sounds quite nice, but I think I know what you mean. I have an ES-333 (almost identical to the 335) with Classic 57s and the way your guitar sounds in the recordings is a bit a-typical for an ES-335 with Classic 57s.

    But still my question remains: is it just the recording or do you find your guitar too thin sounding in general?
    I took the recording to my teacher at school today and he said that my tone does not sound like that in real life. So the way the guitar was recorded is the reason why the guitar is sounding thin and bright.

  17. #16

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    Center the mike on the speaker, then? And push it close to use proximity effect?

  18. #17

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    I was just going to say it sounds like mic placement and amp settings more than anything. But that's very humble of you to bring this up in the technique forum.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by randomman123 View Post
    I recently did a recording with my big band and noticed my tone is sounding very bright and thin. The thing that surprises me is that I have everything on my amp at 1 or 2 and my tone knob on the guitar is at 3. Does anyone know what the problem can be? What can I do to make my tone fatter and darker? I use a Gibson ES 335 with D'addario EJ 21s and use a blue chip jazz iii style pick. The amp is an Evans AE 100. Thank you.

    -Zane

    Playing is nice!

    I think I hear what you're concerned about, although it sounds ok.

    If the engineer adjusted the guitar EQ for comping, he might have chosen a thinner sound because there's so much else going on in the band. But, then he might not have re-adjusted to get the solo to sound warmer. I also hear it as pretty dry. Maybe a hint of reverb would help warm it up a bit?

    The only other thought I had is that it's possible you'd have gotten a warmer sound if you turned the amp (or headphone volume) higher so that you might unconsciously adjust your picking to a lighter touch. Sometimes picking hard seems to make the sound a little thinner. But, some players like that sound. Robert Cray, for example, uses a thin compressed sound (to my ears) and it works great for him.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Runepune View Post
    Depends entirely on total cable capacitance. It baffles me that they don't provide info on capacitance per unit length with instrument cables, as it is the only thing making audible difference. Or...not really, as that would prevent them from charging stupid amounts and claims of magic properties

    Cable capacitance chart
    Wait, what?? 24 years of playing and I always thought the cable's affect on tone was a myth propagated by Monster Cable et al to get people to play 100 bucks for a cable. I am very interested in any info on this.

    Regarding the recording, is your amp miced or is it just stereo mics and not anything directly on your amp? One of the best ways to get a good recorded sound is to work on it yourself to see what sounds good. Get a mic and a cheap recorder and start messing with mic placement to experience what the differences in position and distance do to your recorded tone. Good gear would be nice of course but if you have no interest in recording anything then just get a used sm57 and the cheapest used zoom recorder you can get - it doesn't need to be hifi, it just has to have a mic you can move and be able to record it to listen back to evaluate differences.

    If the amp is not being miced directly then there are other things you can do to fatten up your tone but being that your teacher said you don't sound like that in person then I don't know that there is much that is within your control other than change guitars. Semi hollows can sound great and I am not knocking them but the recorded tone you have here would not come out of a hollowbody. It might be bad in other ways if the recording is not good! But the thinness and overall does have a solidbody/semi hollow sound to it. Darkening up your guitar shouldn't be hard though, even with rounds. Get a set of half rounds if you still want some round sound, 13 on the high E minimum, and shape the end of your pick so it is not so sharp. Blue Chip picks come to kind of a point/edge on one of their bevels. I was having a similar problem and shaping it down so that there is no edge and a round point at the end darkened things up considerably.


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    Last edited by rio; 05-01-2017 at 11:25 PM.

  21. #20

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    All well-meant advise on playing techniques, strings, picks, cables and stuff, but it's the recording.

    So it comes down to mic placement, type and brand. And recording technique and mastering.

    It's out of your hands so it seems!

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    Wait, what?? 24 years of playing and I always thought the cable's affect on tone was a myth propagated by Monster Cable et al to get people to play 100 bucks for a cable. I am very interested in any info on this.
    No wonder, since the cable industry is the land of myth and magic. In most all audio applications, cables don't make audible differences (apart from noise/bad shielding, bad termination etc), but with our beloved passive electric guitars capacitance makes a real difference. Luckily, price doesn't reflect capacitance.

    Here's a recording of a Tele with a low and high capacitance cable:


    Lowpass and resonant peak is shifted with capacitance:

    Guitar Tone too bright and thin-varycapacitance-jpg

  23. #22

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    Sounds to me as the guitar was recorded with direct out instead of using a mic in front of the speaker. I hear indeed no air.
    Or wrong placement of the mic.
    It is something technical. Not you or your guitar .

    Hans

  24. #23

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    Here's a recording of a Tele with a low and high capacitance cable:

    [/QUOTE]

    Tele is a good choice to illustrate a capacitance issue. Tele's are very bright. If that's the sound you want, you'll leave the tone knob up all the way. If you want to hear the impact of capacitance, probably nothing better than a Tele because the Tele has a lot of highs to begin with.

    BUT, if you roll off treble with the tone control,like a lot of jazz players looking for "dark", you're adding capacitance. Why would you pay extra for low capacitance cable if you're simply going to add capacitance intentionally?

    I know some players insist that there's some other kind of mojo in an expensive cable. I can't hear it.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    Wait, what?? 24 years of playing and I always thought the cable's affect on tone was a myth propagated by Monster Cable et al to get people to play 100 bucks for a cable. I am very interested in any info on this.
    Capacitance matters (capacitance per unit length times length). Mechanical properties matter. Many other marketing claims are myths, but that would be another topic.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Runepune View Post
    No wonder, since the cable industry is the land of myth and magic. In most all audio applications, cables don't make audible differences (apart from noise/bad shielding, bad termination etc), but with our beloved passive electric guitars capacitance makes a real difference. Luckily, price doesn't reflect capacitance.

    Here's a recording of a Tele with a low and high capacitance cable:


    Lowpass and resonant peak is shifted with capacitance:

    Guitar Tone too bright and thin-varycapacitance-jpg
    :


    While looking for connectors online today I came across this. I don't know if they have been mentioned here before although other Neutrik products have:

    Neutrik NP2RX-TIMBRE Right-Angle 635mm 1/4'' timbrePLUG | SWAMP
    TLB
    Last edited by thelostboss; 05-02-2017 at 10:48 PM. Reason: sort out link problem

  27. #26

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    Getting back to the OP's point- one other thing is that much of your signal is masked by the sounds of the drums, bass, horns, etc. What the audience hears is what makes it through all the other signals. I also find I have to play brighter at gigs than I do at home.

    For the cable stuff, capacitance is what effects tone. The other marketing BS is BS.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  28. #27

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    That is all amazing info to me - I have never heard of it before so I have some homework to do. Thanks!

    Edit: One question, can I measure capacitance of a cable? Or can I assume that the capacitance of a cable is the same as another unless it is marketed as a low capacitance cable? If it is the same effect of rolling off the tone and using the guitar's tone cap then just getting a normal cable as cheap as possible would make sense but I am wondering if there is a standard capacitance that all cables have unless they are designed for a lower capacitance. If that makes sense...

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by rio; 05-03-2017 at 04:19 AM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    One question, can I measure capacitance of a cable? Or can I assume that the capacitance of a cable is the same as another unless it is marketed as a low capacitance cable?
    Yes, it is possible to measure the capacitance of a cable. As an electrical engineer my POV would be that this measurement is not a trivial one, especially with instruments at hand in your household. You need to know what you're doing... Maybe it is easier to consult the producer of your cable, or try to find your cable listed somewhere on the web, e.g. Guitar Cable Capacitance Chart • Comparison of pF Ratings by SHOOTOUT! Guitar Cables UK.

    About the assumption that cable capacitances are generally equal--I would assume: no.

    Robert

  30. #29

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    The best cable seems to be about 50pf per meter and the worst almost 200pf per meter.

    That means, btw, that an average length quality cable has 100 or 200pf, depending on the exact length.

    The tone cap in many guitars is .022 micro (not pico) farad. That's about 22000 pifofarads. The pot is probably audio taper, so I'm not sure how many pf you're adding for each quarter turn (audio taper is not linear).

    But, it wouldn't take a large fraction of that 22000pf to add more capacitance than your cable. Anything more than 1% would do it.

    I'd guess that the average player rolling down his tone control to get a darker sound is adding way more capacitance than a couple of meters of even cheap cable.

    To me, that means the country musician trying to get maximum twang out of a single coil guitar like a tele might find it worthwhile to think about cable capacitance. For those who already roll down the tone control, I'd guess that cheap cable might, at worse, cause you to position the tone pot a bit differently.

    Perhaps the EE's among us will correct me.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by thelostboss View Post
    :


    While looking for connectors online today I came across this. I don't know if they have been mentioned here before although other Neutrik products have:

    Neutrik NP2RX-TIMBRE Right-Angle 635mm 1/4'' timbrePLUG | SWAMP
    TLB
    Hah, I just came across this myself some days ago and have one on the way to me now Or, I ordered a cable with it from Designacable, as it ended up cheaper than just buying the plug.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    If it is the same effect of rolling off the tone and using the guitar's tone cap...
    Rolling off tone is not the same. Cable capacitance shifts the low pass and resonant peak between approx 2-4kHz. Our ears are very sensitive in this area, and shifting a narrow peak within it can be very audible. Rolling off on the tone control doesn't shift this peak/low pass but rather flattens the peak.

    Soo...the cable has an impact that can't be compensated or simulated by controls on your guitar or amp.
    Last edited by Runepune; 05-03-2017 at 09:06 AM.

  33. #32

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    Thanks guys, again, for the info. It is fun learning something new. Considering the sound is different from the cable I think it might be worth exploring.

    Quote Originally Posted by thelostboss View Post
    :


    While looking for connectors online today I came across this. I don't know if they have been mentioned here before although other Neutrik products have:

    Neutrik NP2RX-TIMBRE Right-Angle 635mm 1/4'' timbrePLUG | SWAMP
    TLB
    I can't seem to find any info on this but is this a jack that you have to solder a cable to, a jack that has a 1/4" female plug to plug any cord into or something that has a cord connected to it already? I think I am going to get one to play around with but I'm not sure which of those three things are the case and their FAQ page is showing up blank for me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    Thanks guys, again, for the info. It is fun learning something new. Considering the sound is different from the cable I think it might be worth exploring.



    I can't seem to find any info on this but is this a jack that you have to solder a cable to, a jack that has a 1/4" female plug to plug any cord into or something that has a cord connected to it already? I think I am going to get one to play around with but I'm not sure which of those three things are the case and their FAQ page is showing up blank for me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    You have to solder it, or get someone to do it for you. I had these guys make me one: 4 Meter Sommer Black and Blue Neutrik Timbre Jack to Gold Mono Jack | Electronics | Designacable

  35. #34
    Wow thank you all for the great responses!!

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Runepune View Post
    Rolling off tone is not the same. Cable capacitance shifts the low pass and resonant peak between approx 2-4kHz. Our ears are very sensitive in this area, and shifting a narrow peak within it can be very audible. Rolling off on the tone control doesn't shift this peak/low pass but rather flattens the peak.

    Soo...the cable has an impact that can't be compensated or simulated by controls on your guitar or amp.
    How does this work?

    If you roll off the tone control, basically you are allowing some of your signal to pass through the capacitor to ground. Caps pass high frequencies, so it amounts to a treble roll-off.

    Your cable has some capacitance, which means some of your signal can be passed to ground within the cable.

    The only difference is that, in the tone control, there's also a resistor. Is that what you're saying changes the resonance? I looked for evidence on the internet and couldn't find anything about the difference between the effect of cable capacitance vs. tone control capacitance.

    If you're right, it would suggest that you could duplicate the effect of the cable by soldering in a capacitor of equal picofarads between the pickup output and ground, with no resistor (that is, no pot). This may be what the old Gibson varitone did.

    If there's website that shows the results of measuring these things, please post the link.

    One thing I know for certain is that I can't hear any difference between cables, but I usually roll off some treble and I play humbuckers which are less bright than single coils to begin with. Would I hear the difference with a Tele -- between adding capacitance with a cheap cable vs. adding capacitance with my tone control? My guess is that I'd end up turning the tone pot until the guitar sounded good to me and end up in the same place without regard to cable capacitance.

    One other point: the material I saw which advocates for the advantages of boutique cable were all sellers. The money-neutral websites didn't find any meaningful differences. If anybody has a Consumer Reports type study on it -- please post a link.

  37. #36

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    Yes, how much of an effect the cable has depends on the guitar curcuitry, it's output impedance and the amp's' input impedance. Cable's are often of similar lengths and capacitance too, so it can be hard to spot. But you will definitely hear the difference between a short low capacitance cable and a long high capacitance one! And definitely in a Tele. Shifting that peak around sounds very different from reducing it.

    I'm no EE so I can only speculate The resistance in the tone pot, it's fixed cap value...versus the varying capacitance of the cable. There's a German page here...I don't read German, but there's Google Translate, and the graphs are somewhat self-explanatory. The tone control low passes the peak away...and at the very end it actually adds a peak again way down in the mids:



    Die Klangeinstellung in der Elektrogitarre

    A graph of cable capacitance effect:



    BuildYourGuitar.com :: The Secrets of Electric Guitar Pickups

    I just got the Neutrik TIMBRE cable in the mail today. The effect is actually too severe for me. I wish they'd have used lower cap values. The first position is fine and useable, but the other two is so severe they make sigle coils into dark humbuckers

  38. #37

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    [QUOTE=rpjazzguitar;769542]How does this work?

    If you roll off the tone control, basically you are allowing some of your signal to pass through the capacitor to ground. Caps pass high frequencies, so it amounts to a treble roll-off.

    I found a website which said this. The capacitor value in the tone control matters because it determines the frequency where the roll-off occurs. The pot determines the proportion of the signal which is subject to that roll-off frequency.

    This is what the Varitone was doing. Instead of rolling off varying fractions of your signal at a fixed frequency, it changed the frequency of the roll off.

    So, you're right. The capacitance in the cable will roll off treble at a different point than the capacitor in the tone control (if the two don't have the same value, which is what occurs in a standard setup).

    But, it seems to me that rolling the treble back at the tone control will be adding so much capacitance, compared to the cable, that the cable is likely to have no audible effect. That's because the frequency at which it starts rolling off treble is already mostly gone -- having been rolled off in the tone control.

    Does that make sense?

    And, thanks, I never really understood the impact of the capacitor value until today.

    Is it possible that a smaller value tone control capacitor could brighten a guitar's sound, even with the pot all the way up? That is, there would be a lot of resistance in series with the capacitor, so that a very small percentage of the current would be routed to ground.

  39. #38

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    The cap value being so much higher doesn't matter as long as there's an audible portion of the signal not being passed through it. Depends how high that resonant peak is in your setup. If you have the tone control dialled far back I guess the shifting peak/lo pass from the cable won't matter much. But I have to dial it almost to the end to not hear it on the guitar I'm trying now.

    Is it possible that a smaller value tone control capacitor could brighten a guitar's sound, even with the pot all the way up?
    Don't know, but I doubt it

  40. #39

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    The math gets complicated.

    If you roll back the tone control part way, you're still passing a portion of your signal to the amp without it going through the tone cap in the guitar.

    That portion of the signal is then subject to the roll-off of the cable. So, mathematically, the cable capacitance has to matter.

    What would you hear?

    Well, we know that the tone control darkens the sound.

    Now, we're going to pass that darkened sound through two cables -- one with about 50pf per meter and another with about 200pf.

    They both pass some highs to ground, with the 50pf doing that at a higher frequency.

    With the tone control rolled off, you're sending less signal, on average, at that higher frequency to the amp. So, the 50k would be rolling off something that had already been rolled off -- not to zero, but part way.

    The question is, would you be able to hear the difference between the 50 and 200pf cables -- after you have already rolled off a bunch of treble in the guitar?

    I'm certain that, for me, the answer is absolutely not. That's because I don't hear any difference between cables even with the tone control full up. But, I have high frequency hearing loss, so maybe that's it. My understand is that blindfold tests tend to agree with the side of the argument that there's no difference, but maybe somebody can post a money-neutral analysis that concludes otherwise.

  41. #40

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    What about wireless systems for guitar. Do those have capacitance? Any measurable effect on tone?
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Now, we're going to pass that darkened sound through two cables -- one with about 50pf per meter and another with about 200pf.

    They both pass some highs to ground, with the 50pf doing that at a higher frequency.


    The two cables are not separate. They add up to a total capacitance in parallell in the guitar-amp circuit (and if they're connected with a stomp, any cable length after the stomp won't be in that circuit...unless it's a bypassed true bypass stomp )

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post

    The question is, would you be able to hear the difference between the 50 and 200pf cables -- after you have already rolled off a bunch of treble in the guitar?
    Depends on what you mean by "bunch"

    You hear this though? They are two cables of mine, low and high capacitance:

    With humbucker


    With single coil


    This is with the tone control up though. But in the humbucker clip you'll hear that, in addition to the lost treble, the mids are a bit more prominent due to the downward shifted peak.


    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    What about wireless systems for guitar. Do those have capacitance? Any measurable effect on tone?
    Wireless systems made for guitar often adds capacitance (or simulation of it...I dunno). E.g. the Line 6 series.

  43. #42

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    Hey Zane!

    I play an ES-335 as well. Something you should absolutely try is keeping your volume knob around 2-4 and getting more volume from your amp. As your guitar volume increases you naturally get a brighter sound, but when more of that volume is coming from the amp it stays darker.

    David