String-To-String Articulation

The greatest names in guitar, the sounds that we all want and have chased for years. This is the central location for decoding the elusive signature sounds.

String-To-String Articulation

Postby KT66Hanwell on Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:11 pm

Not sure where else to ask this question: how do you get that string-to-string articulation in a chord with overdrive that guys like David Grissom and Josh Smith get. Check out the beginning of this video: ... 0w&index=2

Is it a particular tube type or amp schematic that allows for this? I'd love to have the kind of drive/tone that is still articulate.

Thanks for any help on this-I'm mystified.
Court Jester
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 3:59 pm

Re: String-To-String Articulation

Postby pdf64 on Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:27 pm

It probably helps to have good mitigation for bias shift ... excursion/ which in extremis can lead to blocking distortion ... distortion
These effects may manifest most obviously at the power tubes, but should be considered at every stage.
Also filter out bottom end much below the lowest fundemental of the intended instrument, and roll off bass / low mids before the main overdrven stage/s, in proportion to the degree of overdrive available.
My band:-
Posts: 1243
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:55 am
Location: Staffordshire UK

Re: String-To-String Articulation

Postby Seby on Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:25 am

Get a 1960 Les Paul Burst! "\(*o*)/"

Seriously though (but only for a sec), here are a couple of things that have worked very well for me personally. Apols if any of this is obvious or redundant.

- Try some flatwound strings. D'Aquisto make stainless steel flats if you're worried about loosing too much high-end. The shorter sustain of flats allows for amazing inter-string definition. The "more sustain = more awesome" equation is a function of a trend in 80s hard rock/metal playing, and this is an area where for the most part a lot of people tend to not want inter-string definition on chords. More sustain often means more overtones, which will lead to wall-of-noise chords. This is awesome if it is what you want. Less so if it is not.

- Get better cables. The difference between good and junk is so big that you could get lost in there, and need a search party to find you. Try some George L, Monster, Spectraflex etc., and see what works for you and the way that you play. On this note:

- Try different string attacks. Flat pick, finger pick, and so on. So much of what a chord will sound like depends on what your picking hand is doing that I don't know where to start. A thumb (no pick) brushed heavily down the strings whilst playing a chord will give minimal "attack" with a lot of "release". This is a totally different sound to say, sweep picking, where the attack involves the side of the pick raking across the strings before there is any release.

- Move your pups/polepieces further away from the strings. More of the strings' nuance will get picked up before the pup reaches its limit and saturates. With PAFs say, you want at _least_ 1/8" from the top if the pup to the bottom of the strings when they fretted at the highest fret. Buy a good quality jeweller's ruler. (On Gibson's site, they suggest 1/16"! Don't even start me....)

- Back off your guitar's volume pot a tad. Really. You can dial it up for greater saturation and more cut when you really want it, but set your reference tone/volume/gain levels with the pot at around 8, and take it from there. You want differences in your string attack to translate into heard differences from your amp's speaker, and leaving some sonic room here is key. Don't be afraid to back the tone pot away a little (or a lot!).

This is all relatively inexpensive (with the exception of the cables if you decide to go nuts and buy five different high-end ones). More expensive options include:

- Try an amp with no MV so that you are driving the power tubes. As pdf64 wisely states, the magic is going on in the power section. Non-MV amps have very quirky personalities, which is why they are a love or hate thing for so many of us. You'll need to dig around and find the sweet spot, which will be when you can trip the power section into overdrive and cause the speaker to breakup at will with your picking dynamics alone. In other words, you're trying to play the amp as an instrument in itself.

Try things like dialling the amp all the way up (or very close to it), and turning the guitar's volume up to just past the point of breakup (this might be 5 or 6 on the guitar's pot). There's a lot of experimenting to do here! One way to think about it is that you're trying to get the dynamic range of an acoustic guitar, but with an amplified electric guitar. Of course, the tonality between the two is insanely different, but the _range_ of tactile response is itself similar.

And do report back. =)

Um, this was longer than I expected....

Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:09 am
Location: Bondi Beach

Return to Signature Tones

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest