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Do brands always sound like themselves?

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  • Do brands always sound like themselves?

    For example, does a Mesa amp always sound like a Mesa? Is there some overriding sonic character that makes a JCM 800 sound similar to a Plexi and yet dissimilar to an AC30?

    I'm pondering the concept of a "Fender" sound or a "Marshall-in-a-box." Aside from the Tech 21 Character offerings, aren't these things simply aiming at one type or model of amp? Or do all Fender amps really have great cleans and crappy dirt? Do all Voxes chime the same? Can all Mesas get the same characteristic crunch? Do all Orange amps suck the same*?

    *Okay, so ignore that last one- I like Orange amps; it's just that the first band I ever heard use them had the worst tone I've EVER heard, so I hold onto that joke.

    For that matter, how about guitars? Does a Gibson always sound like a Gibson, regardless of whether it's a P90 SG, a Les Paul, or a 335? Do the Tele, Strat, and Toronado all have some similar "Fender" sound? Does G&L sound significantly different? Does every PRS stand for "Piece of Real Sh..." never mind.

    I know, I'm having random thoughts today... what do you guys think?
    Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro, Epiphone Les Paul Standard (for sale), Fender Stratocaster, Ibanez AF75 (for sale), Alvarez Artist, Washburn Taurus, Fender Precision, Rogue MandolinAmps: Traynor YCV40WR, SWR LA12, Behringer BX3000T head/Steel Sound 2x12 bass cabPedals: Too many to list...Good deals: knives490, slufay, Jim Hunter, deadanddreaming, lank81, MickTaylorFan, jmecale72, billy budapest, melx, CRANK, Mdsmithii, juankyman

  • #2
    Does a Gibson always sound like a Gibson, regardless of whether it's a P90 SG, a Les Paul, or a 335?


    I've got a Gibson All American Model I SG and it gets very Fender-y when I tap the coil on it. It's all stock by the way.
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    • #3
      For example, does a Mesa amp always sound like a Mesa? Is there some overriding sonic character that makes a JCM 800 sound similar to a Plexi and yet dissimilar to an AC30?


      I know, I'm having random thoughts today... what do you guys think?


      Hmm we're moving into the realm of gear philosophy, I like this. No, not all brands sound like themselves 100% of the time, but personally I feel it's safe to say that these companies have figured out what their strong suit is and they play towards that not only when designing equipment, but how they market it, what artists they add to their roster, etc. IMHO some of the best companies are the ones who don't stick to one particular sound. Peavey and Carvin are great because their lines emphasize diversity and you can get everything from Mesa Rec tones to super clean Fender-like tones. Mesa is actually pretty versatile too, many people associate that company with the heavy rectified sound, but they also have the Mark series, Lonestar series, Electra Dyne, 5:50 amps, etc.
      Shot From Guns
      www.shotfromguns.wordpress.com - New updates!

      The Artful Dodger -
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      "Business acumen, institution building, and shrewd political maneuvering are the only way to protect conscious artistry."

      "The more fragile harmonics can survive in a vacuum tube, where they seem to be eliminated or squashed in the solid state crystal lattice. Maybe it just comes down to that." - the wise Alexander Dumble

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      • #4
        Mesa is actually pretty versatile too, many people associate that company with the heavy rectified sound, but they also have the Mark series, Lonestar series, Electra Dyne, 5:50 amps, etc.


        Very true. I remember back when I was young and stupid, I'd go to the "boutique" guitar shop to try out amps that I would never be able to afford. I knew a Mesa-Boogie was the amp to try for that huge, thick sound that I now know is the classic Dual Rectifier sound. Well, they had the giant full stack Dual Recs in there, but I didn't want to plug into that- it's a sure way to get thrown out. Instead, I figured, SURELY this little Mesa Lonestar can get the same tone!

        Actually, I'm really looking into buying the Tech 21 California just for its ability to cop a good Mesa tone from the entire spectrum.

        I guess what I'm really looking at is this- is there something that makes every Fender amp, from a Champ to a Super Sonic, "Fender-y"? Or do we as the consumer start to shoe horn brands into categories and ignore any offering that doesn't fit? Does every Marshall have "that Marshall tone"?
        Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro, Epiphone Les Paul Standard (for sale), Fender Stratocaster, Ibanez AF75 (for sale), Alvarez Artist, Washburn Taurus, Fender Precision, Rogue MandolinAmps: Traynor YCV40WR, SWR LA12, Behringer BX3000T head/Steel Sound 2x12 bass cabPedals: Too many to list...Good deals: knives490, slufay, Jim Hunter, deadanddreaming, lank81, MickTaylorFan, jmecale72, billy budapest, melx, CRANK, Mdsmithii, juankyman

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        • #5
          If Marshall tried to get into the "Recto" sound I'd be very disappointed.
          Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses


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          Originally Posted by Echoes


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          Originally Posted by John Ellis


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          • #6
            I guess what I'm really looking at is this- is there something that makes every Fender amp, from a Champ to a Super Sonic, "Fender-y"? Or do we as the consumer start to shoe horn brands into categories and ignore any offering that doesn't fit? Does every Marshall have "that Marshall tone"?


            I think we do. I talked to Rob from Keeler Designs a while back and he was telling me that there are only five or six ways to make a soundwave clip. So when you think of literally hundreds of amps and pedals claiming to do one thing and create a "Marshall in a box tone" or "Hiwatt in a box tone," it's just a marketing ploy. From a acoustic imaging/physics standpoint, there are only so many things you can do to a wave so the other stuff is kind of irrelevant.

            Going back to Peavey and Carvin, some of their amps are just as capable of creating a plexi sound as an actual Marshall. I dunno, sounds are just sounds to me. I've evolved into a somewhat discriminating tone snob though because so many different products are thrown at us with new and sometimes bad marketing techniques. How do we tune out a lot of that stuff as consumers?
            Shot From Guns
            www.shotfromguns.wordpress.com - New updates!

            The Artful Dodger -
            www.soundclick.com/theartfuldodger



            "Business acumen, institution building, and shrewd political maneuvering are the only way to protect conscious artistry."

            "The more fragile harmonics can survive in a vacuum tube, where they seem to be eliminated or squashed in the solid state crystal lattice. Maybe it just comes down to that." - the wise Alexander Dumble

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            • #7
              you could write an entire philosophy paper on the title of this thread
              No Stairway... Denied ?

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              • #8
                you could write an entire philosophy paper on the title of this thread


                I agree.

                It depends on how loosely you use terms like "Marshall" or "Fender" to describe, say, a pedal. Saying that a distortion box "sounds like a Marshall" might mean something to a non gear-nerd, but people who are really into amps will like to know more specifics. Not all Marshalls use el34s. Not all Marshalls have tons of gain on their own. Some Marshalls have diodes and SS components to make them sound more like themselves (hah!). Hell, Marshall even make little transistor practice amps.

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                • #9
                  I agree.
                  Saying that a distortion box "sounds like a Marshall" might mean something to a non gear-nerd, but people who are really into amps will like to know more specifics.


                  Exactly! What "Marshall" sound are you going for? Angus Young's? Eric Clapton's (heck, they used the SAME AMP and yet had such drastically different sounds)? Are we perhaps trying for the Tom Morello tone? The Zakk Wylde? John Frusciante? Hendrix?

                  All rocked Marshalls, but they all sounded TOTALLY different! So which Marshall is exactly in the box? Or is there some kind of sonic signature which they all share? Some specific mid range bump or curious bit of presence? Can you really make a Fender Deville sound like a clean Marshall or does the "Marshall sound" only exist when the gain is cranked?

                  Curiouser and curiouser...
                  Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro, Epiphone Les Paul Standard (for sale), Fender Stratocaster, Ibanez AF75 (for sale), Alvarez Artist, Washburn Taurus, Fender Precision, Rogue MandolinAmps: Traynor YCV40WR, SWR LA12, Behringer BX3000T head/Steel Sound 2x12 bass cabPedals: Too many to list...Good deals: knives490, slufay, Jim Hunter, deadanddreaming, lank81, MickTaylorFan, jmecale72, billy budapest, melx, CRANK, Mdsmithii, juankyman

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