Tone is the thing, yet again....

During a quick look through the alt.guitar newsgroup (against my better judgement) I found these awesome posts.  Again, these are verbatim folks…I now realize that I can't make this stuff up.  What makes this great it that it represents a little experiment that I tried -- limit myself to one week and see what I could come up with on the newsgroup.  It worked.  What was the hypothesis, you ask?

These posts, and posters, all have something in common.   Let's see if we draw a similar conclusion.

Subject: pickup round-up
From: (Josh xxxxxx)
Date: 9/28/2004 12:59 PM Central Standard Time
Message-id: <>

OK, I am putting together a custom guitar and want a comprehensive list of pickup makers. I know about EMG and Seymour Duncan, also I have heard of Lindy Fralin. What are some more?

For your reference I want a guitar with a humbucker in the bridge and a single coil in the neck positions and the tones I'd like would be classified as "majestically blazing heavy/indie-rock/metal" for the bridge tone and "sultry soulful bluesy gritty southern rock solo" vibe for the neck pickup. Mostly indie rock bordering on metal. Mainly I use the bridge humbucker for heavily distorted tones similar to janes addiction, nirvana, tool, foo fighters etc..., but I prefer warmth and character to cold-steel cutting metal. The single coil neck pickup I use either for fat solos, melodies, or crystal clean parts.

Thanks for any suggestions.


And here is the response:

Dude I don't think you're going to get all that from a pickup. They are after all, just magnets. The big thing is your fingers and what amp you use.


Where did Josh come up with all of these neat terms?  "Sultry soulful bluesy gritty..."  -- "majestically blazing"....yada,yada, yada.  Of course, the folks where he comes from do not use commas because they tend to slow you down.  Where did Chris come up with the thought that pickups are just "magnets", even though his assertion is essentially correct in that tone is deeper than pickups.

Wouldn't it make more sense if Josh just Googled his butt off and found all of the little boutique pickup makers out there? 

To further illustrate the point, check this next post out....

Subject: Duncan Distortion in old Epi G-310?
Date: 9/29/2004 6:15 PM Central Standard Time
Message-id: <>

I'm playing through a Zoom 15 modeling amp set to reticifier with the gain on full blast and some chorus and delay. I love the neck on this old Epi, and maybe a Duncan Distortion can make it sound even better? This guitar has a alder body, and I play r&r and punk on it.


Survey says?  No.  "Go to a some"   No, no, no.  There is something intrinsically sad about this post.  Sounds like the guy may just need a new guitar...and a new amp...and some lessons.

So enough on the gear front -- how about some questions on material?

Subject: Re: Aspiring blues artist: what to play?
From: "Harry J" nospam@xxxxxxxx
Date: 9/29/2004 9:37 AM Central Standard Time
Message-id: <>

"Jimbo" <> wrote in message

I am playing I guess at an intermediate level. I can play some Clapton and Hendrix-type riffs, although not as cleanly and perfectly as they could. I wouldn't even attempt to play Eric Johnson---although I have a couple of his tutorial videos (to give you an idea of where I'm at now). I like 60s-70s classic rock and blues...especially Albert King/ Stevie Ray,etc. I am looking for more material to play, material that will challenge me and help improve the coordination of the hands and fingers. I don't read tablature, so I learn everything either through watching videos or by ear.

Just wondering if anyone with similar tastes has some suggestions. What do you like?
And here is the response:

I'm certain to get flamed for this but, I really think you would get more mileage out of tryin' your best to NOT sound like any of the artists you mentioned.

Back in the middle ages when I was starting to play, I made a conscious effort to listen to as many instruments and vocalists as I can. I can remember being very influenced my Jeff Beck... then I really listened to what his keyboard player, Max Middleton was layin' down... that changed my direction a good bit...

Rant over.... for now

Harry J

You go Harry...

Maybe some lessons are in order, but who are we to judge?  Or a new guitar....check this next one...

Subject: Samick UM-3
Date: 9/30/2004 4:26 AM Central Standard Time
Message-id: <>

Does anyone know what a Samick UM-3 plays like? The finish on it looks the business and is very much a PRS style guitar but I don't know how it actually plays. I have not won the lottery yet so can not spend 2k on a genuine PRS but still want a guitar that will play well, low action, nice sound - generally good for live performances - and was recommended a Samick (I have a samick at the moment that is about 10 years old and has seen better days but I cannot fault the workmanship or the playability of the guitar - It has loose wires, a high action and one of the frets is loose and causes the same note to be played on 3 different fret positions but I am sure if I bothered to put the effort in and tinkered all these problems could be fixed, at least well enough for a back up guitar). Any advice would be most welcome!


Note to self: Looks like our hero is about ready to order one, sight unseen. Now if you want to get the newsgroup really fired up....

Subject: Cheap Guitar Question
Date: 9/29/2004 11:40 PM Central Standard Time

How cheap can I go and get a decent acoustic? I would appreciate some examples. Maybe I'll just have my Esteban steel string el cheapo set up properly. Thanks again!


I don't think DeWayne's question is particularly cheap.  Wouldn't that be a "Question about a Cheap Guitar"? Esteban...ahh, those QVC shows are so sexy!

I think we can draw a number of conclusions, but the bottom line is, in my opinion that a lot of the initial allure of guitar playing is not really about the music at all; rather, it is all about being accepted, and, ultimately, being cool.  There is also an economic component in a majority of the post on the newsgroup, hence the rise of the internet store front.  My love of guitar took years to nurture, and some really good instructors to get me going in the right direction.   I guess I am lucky that I didn't have the internet to distract me when I was learning my scales -- and "Deuce" by KISS.

This newsgroup is instructive, harmless, and I recommend  you lurk through it sometimes.  If nothing else, it is entertaining.

OK...get back to your practicing.

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