No, it’s not all in the fingers.

Farview

www.farviewrecording.com
Hex-a-pickup.

My mind separates what the artist does, his styling and articulations, from the gear. At some level the artist is an individual , but the equipment is also iconic.
I'm not sure I've ever witnessed anyone asking to sound like a guitar rig, they always say they want to sound like a specific player.

If you are separating the gear from the artist, and the artist is the one with the fingers, then you are not answering the question that was asked.

Will a specific Les Paul plugged into a specific Marshall sound the same when when played by multiple robots that are calibrated exactly the same, yes.

Will that same setup sound exactly the same when SRV, Paul Gilbert, Chet Atkins and Ace Frehley play it, no.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Active member
I'm not sure I've ever witnessed anyone asking to sound like a guitar rig,
Bunch of modeling companies must be doing it for a reason. The Tweed unison model in the Apollo is $99 and has 4000+ reviews. Somebody must be looking to 'sound like the rig'.
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
Sorry, I’m feeling very sick from my second vaccine dose today. I’ll address the argument I’m making later, but Beagle is right when I say I’m distinguishing a difference between overall sound and tone.
 

Farview

www.farviewrecording.com
Bunch of modeling companies must be doing it for a reason. The Tweed unison model in the Apollo is $99 and has 4000+ reviews. Somebody must be looking to 'sound like the rig'.
We're arguing past each other. Anyone asking "how do I get that tone?" has to be listening to someone playing the instrument. I can't see anyone asking how to get the sound of a Fender Tweed without realizing that using a Fender Tweed would probably be a good idea...They have answered their own question.

In the mid 90's I had my first commercial studio and there were a bunch of bands that wanted to sound like Pantera. I was in a band that played with Pantera during the Cowboys from Hell tour and I knew some people who were tight with the band, so I had a really good idea how they got their sounds and what went into the production of their first couple albums.

I got all the right equipment, used all the right techniques (down to the actual Ddrum samples used on the album)...Did it sound like a Pantera album? Not really. It had that same scooped and grainy quality to it, but it wouldn't be mistaken for Pantera.

You can't separate the artist from the sound.
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
I think I’ve come up with a good analogy for this. Let’s take the voice for example. Someone wants to sound like Trump. And let’s say someone is asking what frequency range is Trump’s voice. And the timbre of it. (Let’s just say its the future and we have voice modelers now for the purposes of this argument).

Saying it’s all in the fingers is like saying, “it’s all in the cadence.” Like, of course, if you use the right words and the right cadence, the right inflection, the right modulation, anyone can “sound” like Trump. Even women. But nothing you do can change the tone of your voice. And so someone is asking how to get that tone, and saying it’s all in the cadence is false. I’m saying the phrase is misused. If someone asked how to “sound like SRV,” the answer that it’s in the fingers would be far more applicable. But if someone asks how to get the tone of SRV, the answer is different.

I also disagree that imitating someone’s style is impossible. Just like some people are laughably bad at imitating voices (I’m one of them), some people are shockingly good at it. The same holds true for musicians.
 

famous beagle

Well-known member
I also disagree that imitating someone’s style is impossible. Just like some people are laughably bad at imitating voices (I’m one of them), some people are shockingly good at it. The same holds true for musicians.
I don't think anyone is saying it's impossible; I'm certainly not. What I'm saying is that it takes a lot of practice and dedication to do it very well --- well enough that it could fool someone into thinking it was the actual person. And that's why people say "it's in the fingers." That's just another way of saying that it's all about the player's technique, which takes time and practice to imitate well.

What we're saying--- I think I speak for several here---is that the gear that's used to produce a "tone" doesn't do anything by itself. It's always producing sound via the player.

Take a Les Paul and a Marshall. We all have a pretty good idea of what this "tone" sounds like in our head. Some of us might think Guns N Roses, some might think Zeppelin, etc. But the fact is that even that classic rig can sound different depending on who's playing it, even if all the settings are the same.

The equipment doesn't have a tone without a player --- whether that's an actual person or a robot. In other words, you can't hear anything unless someone is playing through it. Therefore, you can't separate the tone from the player.

If I played through David Gilmour's rig, and it didn't sound like him, don't you think many people would probably say the tone was different? If you search many forums online, I'm sure you'll hear the words tone and sound (i.e., "Gilmour's tone" or "Gilmour's sound") being used interchangeably all the time.

To your analogy about mimicking a voice, I think it's a pretty good one. But I think you may be getting hung up by the word "all" in the phrase "all in the fingers." IMO, when I hear that, I don't think they're saying that gear doesn't matter at all. I think they're saying that, to get the sound/tone exactly the same (or as close as humanly possible), the gear will only get you so far. The fingers (technique) are the crucial final ingredient. You said it's 5%. I would disagree that it's that unimportant, but it's subjective so it's hard to put an exact value on something like that.

But to use your cadence analogy in voice, I would argue that the cadence is very important when doing an impression. It's one of the things --- another being accent (i.e. the pronunciation of the vowels) --- that separates the masters from the hacks when it comes to impressions. And I think that's what people mean when they say "it's all in the fingers." I think they mean that true mastery of said tone lies ... ultimately ... in the fingers. That's my opinion, anyway.
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
...and then there's the other end of that spectrum.
What if?
Great video. I heard three vastly different styles and three vastly different tones. Even when they were holding out notes, the tone was simply extremely different. Nobody will convince me that the fingers have such a dramatic effect on the tone if three guitarists were to play and hold a single note.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Active member
But you are watching the show. Not a participant. You have no Idea whats happening. You need to be part of the test. Walk up grab the guitar and play it too.
 

BroKen_H

Re-member
But you are watching the show. Not a participant. You have no Idea whats happening. You need to be part of the test. Walk up grab the guitar and play it too.
Exactly. If you got Stevie Ray or Eric Johnson to set up their own rigs and play a solo, then got 10 guitarists to play the same exact solo through the same exact rig, you'd have more of an idea about what percentage should be applied to rig/player.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
This has been an interesting debate.
"It"'s not all in the fingers.
How could it be ?
The key word there is "all."
Like most things in life, the end result is a combination of different factors working at different strengths depending on the individual in question. The fingers {or in the case of a drummer, the feet & wrists or in the case of reed/brass players, the breath} play an important role ~ some more than others.
 

famous beagle

Well-known member
Great video. I heard three vastly different styles and three vastly different tones. Even when they were holding out notes, the tone was simply extremely different. Nobody will convince me that the fingers have such a dramatic effect on the tone if three guitarists were to play and hold a single note.
I'm not sure what you mean here. You have three different players playing three different things through three different rigs. How is this supposed to demonstrate whether or not tone is in the fingers?

If anything, it argues that it is in the fingers, because, although both Phil X and Rick Beato are skilled players and were using very similar rigs to the players they were imitating:
Phil X did not sound like Eddie
Rick did not sound like Frampton

Granted, they only tried to match the player's rig and didn't (I assume) try to match the recording chain/room/etc. I don't think they were trying to be terribly scientific here; I think it was more for fun.

But I don't understand how this video convinced you that fingers don't make a big difference.

Also note that Rick Beato used the words "sound" and "tone" interchangeably while talking about his Frampton solo at around 5:00 to 5:20.
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
I'm not sure what you mean here. You have three different players playing three different things through three different rigs. How is this supposed to demonstrate whether or not tone is in the fingers?

If anything, it argues that it is in the fingers, because, although both Phil X and Rick Beato are skilled players and were using very similar rigs to the players they were imitating:
Phil X did not sound like Eddie
Rick did not sound like Frampton

Granted, they only tried to match the player's rig and didn't (I assume) try to match the recording chain/room/etc. I don't think they were trying to be terribly scientific here; I think it was more for fun.

But I don't understand how this video convinced you that fingers don't make a big difference.

Also note that Rick Beato used the words "sound" and "tone" interchangeably while talking about his Frampton solo at around 5:00 to 5:20.

Of course they didn’t “sound” like them. The tone was similar, though. I can hear it clearly. I think you’re not distinguishing style from the tone well enough. You think I’m not giving style enough credence to tone. We’re not really convincing each other of anything here. We’ll have to agree to disagree.
 

famous beagle

Well-known member
Of course they didn’t “sound” like them. The tone was similar, though. I can hear it clearly. I think you’re not distinguishing style from the tone well enough. You think I’m not giving style enough credence to tone. We’re not really convincing each other of anything here. We’ll have to agree to disagree.
I can agree to that. :)
 

famous beagle

Well-known member
Of course they didn’t “sound” like them. The tone was similar, though. I can hear it clearly. I think you’re not distinguishing style from the tone well enough. You think I’m not giving style enough credence to tone. We’re not really convincing each other of anything here. We’ll have to agree to disagree.
I mentioned earlier; I don't know if you saw it. I would have liked to known some more specifics (player, song/album, etc.) as to what sparked the debate for you on the other site.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, I don't agree with people just saying "it's all in the fingers." Clearly that's not true and is a very dismissive statement.
 

VomitHatSteve

Hat STYLE. Not contents.
To jump back a fair ways, "When I come around" could be a very good gauge of how much of tone is in the fingers. It's not a super-complex song. You could transcribe it to sheet music and give that to a player who'd never heard Green Day before. Then record them through the exact chain of the original recording and see how much they sound like the original.
I suspect that a dedicated GD fan would definitely be able to tell that it wasn't Billy Joe.
 
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