wood burning stoves*
The moose likes Meaningless Drivel and the fly likes My new toy Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


JavaRanch » Java Forums » Other » Meaningless Drivel
Bookmark "My new toy" Watch "My new toy" New topic
Author

My new toy

Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

In recent months I've been back to playing the guitar, so I thought I'd buy a new one. Wanted to buy something nice enough that it sounds and looks good, but not something so nice that I'd get all nervous if the kiddies got near it. After months of online research, today was the day. Here is my new Epiphone LP Custom Pro. I am loving it.



[Thumbnail for IMG_8316.JPG]


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10426
    
    8

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:.. I am loving it.

Shouldn't that be "I'm lovin it™"

How about posting a video clip? That would be way too cool!


[How to ask questions] [Donate a pint, save a life!] [Onff-turn it on!]
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61310
    
  66

Art? Music? And a superb techno-geek?

"Fess up... you're the reincarnation of Da Vinci, right?


[Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Super cool. I picked up a new Taylor 814ce a few months ago. I'd love to get a new electric at some point. Just not in the cards right now.


GenRocket - Experts at Building Test Data
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Gregg Bolinger wrote:Super cool. I picked up a new Taylor 814ce a few months ago. I'd love to get a new electric at some point. Just not in the cards right now.


I saw the pix of your Taylor, it looks gorgeous. See, though, I would be scared to have that in my house, what with the mini wrecking crew I live with.
Kathleen Angeles
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 122

I envy you guys who can play a tune on the guitar.

I bought this a long time ago and some lesson books too, but havent picked up anything due to loss of interest or laziness.

(dreaming....that I can play any metallica song....)

Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Do you have a proper tube amp to go with it? Tubes (aka valves) are critical to getting proper sound out of a guitar.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Pat Farrell wrote:Do you have a proper tube amp to go with it? Tubes (aka valves) are critical to getting proper sound out of a guitar.


No, I don't. I bought a digital job with a USB port through which you can download sound profiles. It has distortion and digital delay and built-in emulations of a dozen classic Fender amplifiers. It sounds pretty darn good, and it's very quiet -- no hiss, no hum.

I remember the amp I had as a kid: tubes and spring reverb. For folks who don't know what that is: back before solid-state analog circuits, and of course long before digital, they used to do echo and reverb effects by running your analog signal through a fine metal spring, with fifty turns per inch or so, stretched between two contacts. The signal would go though the coils and this would induce smaller, ghost signals, which sound like echo.

If you kicked the amp, the springs would "sproing" and the amp would make a loud, bad noise.

The new guitar has humbucker pickups with "coil tapping." This last is something I only recently learned about. Single-coil pickups are prone to picking up 60Hz line noise, so you get a humming sound out of the amp. Humbuckers have two coils wound in opposite directions; line noise they pick up tends to cancel out, so they're great for high levels of amplification. You lose some of the high end, though -- the sound is a little muffled and so it's not so good for jazz or other distortion-free playing where you care about the tone of the guitar itself.

With coil-tapping, you pull up one of the volume knobs -- click -- and one coil of the the corresponding pickup is shunted, so now you have a single-coil pickup -- all the hum, but also all the treble. This effectively turns the two pickups into four. So you can play jazz and metal on the same guitar. Technology is not all bad!
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

I have an old Line 6 Pod, which is a digital thing with assorted DSP. And its great fun. But I also have a real Fender tube amp with big honking tubes. Only problem is that it sounds a lot better when its really loud. 8 is great, 9 is better, and when you set it on 11, its heaven.

Yeah, single coil pickups grab hum from anything within 50 yards. Florescent lights and CRT monitors are especially bad.
Joe Harry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 26, 2006
Posts: 9396
    
    2

Kathleen Angeles wrote:I envy you guys who can play a tune on the guitar.

I bought this a long time ago and some lesson books too, but havent picked up anything due to loss of interest or laziness.

(dreaming....that I can play any metallica song....)



Same here. Even I bought an E-Guitar this year and the Gibson's Learn and Master Guitar CD's. But I somehow did not find enough time in the recent days to practice it. My aim is also to play one of those Metallica songs, especially Nothing Else Maters!


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4 - Hints for you, Certified Scrum Master
Did a rm -R / to find out that I lost my entire Linux installation!
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14193
    
  20

Nice guitar Ernest, enjoy it!

I have a Gibson Les Paul Custom, sunburst.

Pat Farrell wrote:Do you have a proper tube amp to go with it? Tubes (aka valves) are critical to getting proper sound out of a guitar.

I do have a tube amp (Fender) but I don't like it. It's too loud, so that I can't really use it at home without annoying the neighbours, and the tubes aren't very reliable.


Java Beginners FAQ - JavaRanch SCJP FAQ - The Java Tutorial - Java SE 8 API documentation
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Jesper de Jong wrote:It's too loud, so that I can't really use it at home without annoying the neighbours, and the tubes aren't very reliable.


Yes, that's a feature. I have a Tom Sholtz Hot plate, which is just a bunch of resistors that get hot and let the amp work like its set to 11 but keeps the actual output down. Tubes are flakey. If its a modern Fender replication of the old designs, they tend to have reliability problems unless you rework the connections.

But the sound.....
dennis deems
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
My god, I want your flooring.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Dennis Deems wrote:My god, I want your flooring.


That's the playroom/studio in the basement. It's a floating floor.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:
Dennis Deems wrote:My god, I want your flooring.


That's the playroom/studio in the basement. It's a floating floor.
For some reason I didn't think it was the master bedroom.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11351
    
  16

Pat Farrell wrote:Do you have a proper tube amp to go with it? Tubes (aka valves) are critical to getting proper sound out of a guitar.

I'm curious - has anyone ever done a proper, double-blind study on whether tube amps REALLY sound better?

It reminds me of all those ads that say "Buy our cables for $500 and your stereo will sound better", and then they have quotes from people who say "I put these on and now my stereo sounds GREAT!!!". Knowing you have $500 cables and knowing you are using a tube amp influences your perception.


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

fred rosenberger wrote:I'm curious - has anyone ever done a proper, double-blind study on whether tube amps REALLY sound better?


Well, "better" is subjective, but there is no question that most listeners and most guitarists much prefer the sound of a tube amp.

The reason is fairly simple and real. Transistor amps are very linear, what comes in soft goes out soft what comes in loud goes out loud. This is what engineers call a "wire with gain". While tube amps have some portions of their gain curve that is linear, what the guitarists exploit is that when over driven (asked to do too much) they distort. Well, technically, all amps distort when over driven. The key is that when a tube amp distorts, it creates second harmonics, which are "pleasing" to human ears.

The sound that we associate with Jimi Hendrix or Wes Montgomery or BB King is not just the sound of their guitars, but its the sound of their tube amps distorting in ways we like.

No transistor amp distorts that way. There are effects boxes, which use DSP chips or other processing that attempt to emulate that sound.
Some do pretty well. Close but no cigar.

There is a big trend to get boutique tube amps, that have only 5 or so watts of power. These are expensive, far more expensive than an equivalent transistorized amp. Why do this? Because the boutique amps run out of linear range quickly, so you can get the distortion you want without blowing the walls down.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11351
    
  16

Pat Farrell wrote:Well, "better" is subjective, but there is no question that most listeners and most guitarists much prefer the sound of a tube amp.

I'm not disputing that they all SAY they prefer it. But if you say "here is a transistor amp with an effects box...here is a tube amp...which do you like better?", they are not giving an impartial answer.

If you tell a person they are drinking from a $40 bottle of wine, and then tell them they are drinking from a $4 bottle, they will almost always tell you the $40 bottle is better - even if it is the EXACT same wine. The same is true for speakers, Monster cables, magnetic wine cleaners...the list goes on and on.

Unless you do a proper, scientific double-blind study, the results are meaningless.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

fred rosenberger wrote:Unless you do a proper, scientific double-blind study, the results are meaningless.


Actually, proper double blind, scientific studies of sound quality have been done, and they have never been significant.

Yet people can reliably tell which they prefer.

Stereophile and other high-end sound magazines, and the audio forums go over this periodically.

My best guess is that they are measuring the wrong things, what they think makes it sound better is not what they are measuring. I expect that selecting a sound is like selecting a mate/lover. The basic criteria are known, but not well understood. Its nearly impossible to generalize on which mate/lover works for each individual.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Pat Farrell wrote:
fred rosenberger wrote:Unless you do a proper, scientific double-blind study, the results are meaningless.


Actually, proper double blind, scientific studies of sound quality have been done, and they have never been significant.

Yet people can reliably tell which they prefer.

Stereophile and other high-end sound magazines, and the audio forums go over this periodically.

My best guess is that they are measuring the wrong things, what they think makes it sound better is not what they are measuring. I expect that selecting a sound is like selecting a mate/lover. The basic criteria are known, but not well understood. Its nearly impossible to generalize on which mate/lover works for each individual.
I don't see why the sound is such a big deal. Ideally, you should use an amp powerful enough to prevent any distortion in the first place. I don't think you hear trumpet players going on and on about the sound quality of this product versus that one.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Frank Silbermann wrote: I don't see why the sound is such a big deal. Ideally, you should use an amp powerful enough to prevent any distortion in the first place. I don't think you hear trumpet players going on and on about the sound quality of this product versus that one.


You are missing the point.

The distortion is the sound they want. An electric guitar is a two part instrument, the guitar and the amp. Guitar players do not want "wire with gain" amplification. They want the controlled distortion.

If you think that trumpet players don't care about the difference in sound between one trumpet and the next, you are showing considerable ignorance about how trumpets are bought. Any serious trumpet player will play ten or more copies of the "identical" instrument, same manufacturer and model, to find the one that sounds right for him or her. This is in addition to how they play perhaps a dozen different models to match the sound quality of this product against another.
marc weber
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:...I remember the amp I had as a kid: tubes and spring reverb. For folks who don't know what that is: back before solid-state analog circuits, and of course long before digital, they used to do echo and reverb effects by running your analog signal through a fine metal spring, with fifty turns per inch or so, stretched between two contacts. The signal would go though the coils and this would induce smaller, ghost signals, which sound like echo...

Spring reverb is essential to me!

As for tubes... Well, yes, my two main amps are tube (a Mesa Boogie Subway Blues and a Fender Twin Blackface Reissue). But there are definitely solid state amps worth seeking out, like the Rivera-era (early 80's) Fender Montreux. I gigged with that amp for a while, and other guitar players would come up to me and rave about how old tube amps "like that one" totally blow away solid state. When I told them the Montreux is solid state, jaws dropped and most didn't believe me.


"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer
sscce.org
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Pat Farrell wrote:

The distortion is the sound they want. An electric guitar is a two part instrument, the guitar and the amp. Guitar players do not want "wire with gain" amplification. They want the controlled distortion.

So how do the acoustic guitar players get this necessary controlled distortion?
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Frank Silbermann wrote:So how do the acoustic guitar players get this necessary controlled distortion?


They don't. An acoustic guitar is a different type of instrument with its own sound.
dennis deems
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
Frank Silbermann wrote:I don't think you hear trumpet players going on and on about the sound quality of this product versus that one.

Sure you do. There are all kinds of mutes and each one has a distinct effect on the sound.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11351
    
  16

Pat Farrell wrote:
Frank Silbermann wrote:So how do the acoustic guitar players get this necessary controlled distortion?


They don't. An acoustic guitar is a different type of instrument with its own sound.

although there is no reason why you couldn't put a pickup on the acoustic guitar and run the signal through an effects box.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

fred rosenberger wrote:although there is no reason why you couldn't put a pickup on the acoustic guitar and run the signal through an effects box.


For sure, you could do that. There would be a bit of sonic conflict between the acoustic sound and the output of the speaker post-effects-box or even tube amp.

Most guitarists with an acoustic just use the pickup so it can be amplified (wire with gain) when playing to large audiences.

A lot of electric guitarists have ears in the back of their knees, which is where the sound comes out of most amps when you stand in front of them.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11351
    
  16

I always found it odd that in concerts, the guitarists plug into a (say) 100watt amp, and then a mic is placed in front of the cones to pick up the sound to be sent to the house main amps. it just seems like a kludge.

However, I get the fact that that is how most guitarists like it. the little amp imparts a change to the tone that they want through the mains.

I do know that Geddy Lee started running his bass directly into the mains - post effects box. This frees up space on the stage for him to do goofy things...he has set up a washer/dryer set, a refrigerator, and I think for one tour he even had a chef cooking in a rotisserie oven.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

fred rosenberger wrote:I always found it odd that in concerts, the guitarists plug into a (say) 100watt amp, and then a mic is placed in front of the cones to pick up the sound to be sent to the house main amps. it just seems like a kludge.


Its the standard operating procedure. They get the "tone" they want from their amp, and then its gets put through the 'wire with gain' amps out to the house.

Bass guitarist generally don't do any tone stuff, so they use a "DI" direct inject into the house mixer and then out to the house.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Pat Farrell wrote:
Bass guitarist generally don't do any tone stuff, so they use a "DI" direct inject into the house mixer and then out to the house.


Depends on the bass player! But certainly this is true for many.

I haven't said anything in this thread for a couple weeks, even though I'm the one who started it. I've been playing with my new equipment and am still very happy with it. Despite the great flexibility of the amp, I find I use only two or three basic settings over and over. I thought I'd love the digital delay feature but in fact it's generally just annoying and I keep it turned off most of the time. So I have a sort of warm Jazz setting, a bright setting with some phasing, and an overdriven rock setting that I return to again and again.

I use the controls on the guitar itself much more in terms of shaping the sound. The coil tapping feature is great -- the coil-tapped bridge pickup sounds a lot like a Strat, when that's what you're after.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:The coil tapping feature is great -- the coil-tapped bridge pickup sounds a lot like a Strat, when that's what you're after.


The single-coil pickup at the bridge is what makes a Strat sound like a Strat.

I miss my Strat.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

You have a Mac. Act like it! Crank up Garage Band, let's hear the MP3!!
 
wood burning stoves
 
subject: My new toy