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Does the average music listener care about tone?


phishmarisol

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I highly doubt that it is even a thought in most people's minds. Unless it is really offensive or something. I have noticed that most people don't even really notice at all if you are using a chorus, reverb, or a vibe. Maybe something more in your face like distortion but it seems that subtle effects are all but lost on most people.

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I think that even if your average listener doesnt really notice reverb, subtle effects, or say the difference betwee two kinds of delays, they still hear an overall vibe or feel in the song. Like a part using reverb will just "feel" or seem different from a part that doesnt to them, even if they cant go "oh he turned off his reverb pedal right there."

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Originally posted by Elliott Damage

the average listener doesn't know that your using a phaser. just that its a swooshy sound.

 

 

That's exactly the point, though. Its all about how good it sounds. We don't like true bypass because its inherently cool, we like it because it doesn't alter the tone. We want good buffers so that our good tone doesn't get sucked away. There may be little tonal difference between two phasers, one mass produced and one boutique, and if that's the case, then the tone is what matters to the listener, and there's no difference to them. As a guitarist, we might choose to get the boutique in order to support a person vs mega corporation, but its similar to why people buy luxury cars. They don't buy a BMW over a Honda for the specs alone, there is a quality that makes it a luxury good. Its for people who care about craftsmanship and build quality.

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I agree before I learned to play guitar and use effects I had no clue what those crazy sounds where. Now I can pick out specific effects, with pretty good accuracy,in most songs. But most of my friends think im friggin crazy "because that is obviously a computer or a turn table sound"..... IDIOTS :mad:

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If I use my wife as an example of the average listener, I would have to say that the average listener mainly listens to the vocals. When I'm driving in my car, I turn up the stereo so I can hear EVERYTHING. I want to hear every little detail down to bass drum pedal and guitar string squeeks. I want to hear how the instruments interact and what effects are used. However, when my wife is in the car, she has me turn it down so low that you can't really hear all that. You can hear the vocals and the instruments are pretty much just background noise. That's enough for her but it's torture for me. When that happens I just play Comfortably Numb over and over again in my head. :)

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No, but it's certainly no reason for us not to. Most people don't care about good songs either. People don't care about great lyrics...I could go on.

It's up to us. I try not to make my music a commodity in that way. It ends up coming off in a rather self indulged manner but that's what music should be to an extent.

I think great tone is one of the small equations that make up a bigger picture. No one cares if drums are in good tune, etc. But put all of those things together and you really start coming out with a product.

Any 4 guys can get together in a garage and bash out 3 chords. The big stuff isn't important. The small stuff is.

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Originally posted by phishmarisol

I highly doubt that it is even a thought in most people's minds. Unless it is really offensive or something.

 

 

Funny that I happen to be into very offensive tones right now. I have no idea why. Not offensive but just unusual ratty boxy tones and how they fit into a larger picture.

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We play at a lot of bars where people are drunk as {censored} and we play all covers. I don't necessarily play exactly what the original guitarist did, so I have a lot of freedom to do whatever I want.

Every now and then through the night I'll get a delay going and self oscillating (sp?) with a envelope filter and then I'll turn on the tremolo very choppy and speed it up and slow it down over and over again. It just makes me happy to look at peoples faces as they mouthe "what the {censored}". It's sweet.

So, to answer the question, they don't care about "tone" per se, but we can surely grab their attention by throwing in things they don't expect.

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Expect more from your audience. You guys aren't in tune as to how keen they really are. The average listener hears more details than he/she is aware of. Just because they can't qualify the difference between chorus pedal A and chorus pedal B doesn't meen they don't appreciate it. They're hipper than you think. Trust me.

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Every now and then through the night I'll get a delay going and self oscillating (sp?) with a envelope filter and then I'll turn on the tremolo very choppy and speed it up and slow it down over and over again. It just makes me happy to look at peoples faces as they mouthe "what the {censored}". It's sweet.



AgentCooper..........i like your style!:D

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Obviously the average civillian is not going to tell you that now you are using carbon comp batteries your JRC4558D overdrive sounds better. But...

Punters tend to like something that 'sounds good'. They (and me) will pick up on an emotion. I've played some soundclips of my LP and Nano dimed and non musicians have said 'that sounds great'. (at risk of sounding like an egotisical guitar hero, which I am not).

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yr averege listener doesn't know much about electric guitars in general.

1.
my mom thought all of the shiny solid-colored guitars are plastic and only the finished ones arewood.

2.
my friend used to listen to music in his car and play the notes on his dash as if it were a keyboard. unfortunately the solos he imitated were often guitar solos....

3.
count the thousands of photo shoots/videos/etc. where the bands playing electric instrments with no cord or amp.


having said that, if you're playing sloppily thru broken-speakers and slightly out of tune , it will leave a bad taste in the audience's mouth if you're not playing punk but rather slowcore or country or top 40.


but "the averege listener" also has to be defined. is it a concert-going inide nerd, a music reviewer, or your mom?

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Originally posted by Eddie

The average music listener does not even care about music!
:(



The average listener does not care about music because they have not yet been given music worth caring about. I really mean it when I say this: your audience is hipper than you think. On our second gig with our new drummer (who can swing his ass off like no other--three months now and I'm still dumbfounded by how good he is and how I had never heard of him), we opened with our normal collection of semi-obscure 70's and 80's funk. When we got to the ends of songs, he would lead us off somewhere else. Each of the songs would turn into a seven or eight minute modal jazz jam. An audience of well-dressed college kids who probably have no frame of reference outside of Limp Bizkit and Chingy got on their feet, stood in front of the band, and just listened. They hadn't been exposed to anything like it before.

Don't tell me they don't care. Get proactive. Make them care.

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The listener focus is on the song, the hook, the look of the band or singer.

I hear bands and I think if that guitarist only used a fuzz instead of his amp's distortion I'd like the song better. The next band had the same sound.

People are so conditioned to the Les Paul/PRS Marshall sound maybe they don't want to hear
anything else. So we say they don't care about tone.

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Originally posted by riffdaddy

Don't tell me they don't care. Get proactive. Make them care.



Whatchu talkin' bout, riffdaddy?

I have no problem with my music or my bands' music. Our audiences really enjoyed our stuff for the most part. One time we were told that we were "too heavy" but even that was fun :D More importantly, we enjoyed our stuff and created some decent things, combining elements from pop, rock, blues, metal, reggae, as well as "exotic" ideas.

Anyway, the topic mentioned "the average music listener" and my comment was addressed regarding those "listeners."

How many people do you know who really listen to music?
I don't know that many. A friend used to show me his tube equipment he used when listening to music, and he would sit down and really listen. Another friend gave me a bunch of Jazz CDs telling me he had already listened to them. That seemed strange, and he proceeded to show me one song as an example. He knew the parts of each instrument, and explained some of the ideas behind the playing. He was a listener, and he already knew those records inside and out.

These days what do we have? I'm aware that there's good music out there, but at the same time there is a lot of crap, and that crap is selling millions of records to the "average listener."

On average, I'm sure Brittney Spears sells more albums than Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits.
And what about a concert? Without the light shows and other effects some concerts would be unbearable.

The music business is more about the business and less about the music. Fortunately there are still people who like to listen to music, but for the most part -or on average- marketing is more important than musicianship these days.

Even the act of listening to music has radically changed in the last 100 years. Then, all music was a live event, performed in halls, picnics, barber shops, rent parties, etc. There were the musicians and the audience. And the musicians had to be well versed in a variety of styles. Today there's the iPod, were people listen by themselves to music that may not have been performed by a musician at all. Music that maybe does not even use real instruments! Sure it may sound like a piano or guitar or violin, but I bet it does not sound the same as it did 100 years ago, and most people -or the average- don't know and don't care (I know you asked not to tell you).

I'm not going to romanticize the past, because the business side of music has been there for a long time, but perhaps one of the problems is the ridiculous amount of money involved these days. Few artists retain their artistic integrity in this industry.

And what about different music styles? Sure, there's been "alternative" stuff, but alternative to what? What happened to mambo, polka, tumbao, cha cha cha, or other forms of music

Listening seems to be a lost art. And I'm proactive. I've shown people how to listen to different stuff, I try to learn more about how to listen, and I post this links time after time, but no one listens ;)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/

By the way, I remember when MTV was actually cool. Actually, no one knew what to make of MTV back then. It started as a promise and it became a monster.

I stand by my comment; The average music listener does not even care about music!

I could post my theory of hip hop too... :D

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Originally posted by riffdaddy



The average listener does not care about music because they have not yet been given music worth caring about. I really mean it when I say this: your audience is hipper than you think. On our second gig with our new drummer (who can swing his ass off like no other--three months now and I'm still dumbfounded by how good he is and how I had never heard of him), we opened with our normal collection of semi-obscure 70's and 80's funk. When we got to the ends of songs, he would lead us off somewhere else. Each of the songs would turn into a seven or eight minute modal jazz jam. An audience of well-dressed college kids who probably have no frame of reference outside of Limp Bizkit and Chingy got on their feet, stood in front of the band, and just listened. They hadn't been exposed to anything like it before.


Don't tell me they don't care. Get proactive. Make them care.



hell yes :cool: that's the kinda shows i like to see/hear

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I think most people just want it to sound "good"
And I mean that in a "polished" way, not in a quality/style way.
If you sound big and full and don't make glaring mistakes and everything is in tune, you will sound "good" to most people. As long as the major parts are covered and you have a good vocalist, people don't notice too much...

People still ask questions like:

"Is that a lead guitar? Or a rhythm guitar?"

"You play bass....what does the bass do?"

"What are all of those little footswitch thingies?"

or they would ask our cover band:

"Do you have a record of that song? You know, that goo-goo dolls song...did you make a recording of it...I'd buy a copy if you did, I like the way you guys sound on that song...you should record it."


There are huge misconceptions about what it's like to be in a working band as well. You get off of work, run down to the club to set up by 7:30- soundcheck around 8:00 or so, play from 10:00pm to 2:00am with two 20 minute breaks and then you have to wait around until nearly 3:00 to get paid and get your gear out, visiting the local Korean vendor cart on the corner (Kim's terriyaki Chicken Gyros! - where else but America could you get a greek sandwich made with japanese chicken, served up by an entrepreneurial Korean! That stuff is GOOD.) . So you are in the club for 6-8 hours to make your 180.00 per person and go home exhausted and smelling like cigarettes, finally crawling into bed around 3:30 am if you are lucky. Not to mention the hours you practice to keep up with the latest tunes. It's a job.
But people in the club are like "Man, it must be nice- I wish I could get paid to do nothin' You know just stand up there and have fun all night...how easy can it get? You are so lucky..."
And I'm all "Dude we work our arses off to be here and make some dough entertaining you so we can fund our private recording projects and gear addictions...not to mention paying the rent."

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