Monday, March 28, 2011

Bone Tone

Several years ago I was sitting in a pit band playing acoustic next to Bob Sobo, an excellent player, who was playing electric.  After the first sound check and rehearsal the house engineer came up to me and said of my Taylor acoustic, "that's the best sounding acoustic guitar I've ever heard." Before I could agree with him Bob chimed in, "It's the Injun not the arrows."

It took me a second to get the axion. I'd never heard it. What Bob was saying was something I never would've said myself for fear of sounding egotistical. That it wasn't the instrument, it was the hands that wielded it. The hands that had played a million G chords and at least as many C, D, E and A chords. Hands that had been guided and directed by teachers, producers, artists and composers for 30 years.  Hands that had played on thousands of tracks.

Unintentionally proving this point one weekend I played my $99 Squire Strat at church for fun. Several people came up to me to ask what new instrument I was playing. All were amazed at how good this cheap Chinese made electric sounded. Myself included. What friend even came up to me and jokingly said, "I hate you!"

Another friend of mine, who had a real job, always had better gear than me, had me play his Tom Anderson guitar. He had changed the pick-ups for the third time trying to get that "tone." As I played it I thought, "this sounds sweet!" Just as he said, "it sounds good when you play it." It's not the gear.

How many of your favorite guitarists played sub-par instruments? Especially old school guys. The blues greats.

All this goes to say, you can buy more gear to improve your sound. Or it may be something as cost effective as practicing more. Playing out more. I don't think that there is a surgeon that can give you "bone tone".

Squier® by Fender® MINITM, Black

Taylor Guitars 814ce Grand Auditorium Acoustic Electric Guitar

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