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Creamy articulate tone
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Creamy articulate tone

Hi guys...like a lot of home recording people like me, I make up the song then work out the drums with something like Ezdrummer and then record a rough acoustic guitar part to map out chords, changes and all that. Later, depending on the song, I'll replace that acoustic scratch track with electric or acoustic properly recorded. (I hope)

Since I've spent so much time unable to record and unable to play electric guitar and only having acoustic guitar to play, I'm a noob in the ways of creating tones. I can't record actual amps due to sound constraints so I'm with Scuffman Amps or Amplitube 4.

But I'm struggling mightily to find the right tones. Here's an example of the intro for the song I'm doing. I want the intro to be simple drums, bass and an electric guitar tone that's kind of creamy yet articulate. Here's the scratch track...as you can hear the chords are basically octave power chords. I played the scratch acoustic track with an old nylon string guitar. Very simple and this is the feel I want:

Edit: I've removed the link.

But I can't make or find an electric guitar tone that I like. The tones I come up with or find in presets are either too stabby, shrill and thin or too over done and they lose articulation of notes. I guess I'm looking for that happy medium - creamy, some distortion and articulate without being too transparently articulate.

I know almost nothing about dialing in electric guitar tones of this kind.

Any tips?

thankyou

Last edited by hello people; 2 weeks ago at 04:31 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
BasHermus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Based on the information you are giving, that is a bit hard to assess.

What type of guitar are you using? Which pickup.
The easiest (and cheapest) things to try out first is using the neck pickup and heavier plectrum.
Both will give you a less-shrill sound.

Personally, I really do not like using amp and pedal sims at all. They all sound tinny too me.
But you could try using two different amps in parallel (e.g. a Vox and Fender simulation). That usually thickens the sound as well.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by BasHermus ➑️
Based on the information you are giving, that is a bit hard to assess.

What type of guitar are you using? Which pickup.
The easiest (and cheapest) things to try out first is using the neck pickup and heavier plectrum.
Both will give you a less-shrill sound.

Personally, I really do not like using amp and pedal sims at all. They all sound tinny too me.
But you could try using two different amps in parallel (e.g. a Vox and Fender simulation). That usually thickens the sound as well.
Fender Strat, original pickups...1.5mm pick, neck pickup.

Yeah I'm no fan of amp sims really either...for the exact reason you say. Some of the pure tones sound ok to me...like clean Princeton or clean Fender reverb tones. But anything with distortion or pedals rarely sounds right...though I know people do make it work great.

I might move to the country and crank my amp one of these days.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people ➑️
Fender Strat, original pickups...1.5mm pick, neck pickup.

Yeah I'm no fan of amp sims really either...for the exact reason you say. Some of the pure tones sound ok to me...like clean Princeton or clean Fender reverb tones. But anything with distortion or pedals rarely sounds right...though I know people do make it work great.

I might move to the country and crank my amp one of these days.
Great tone can take some fiddling, just like on a real amp, and just like on a real amp, a great , creamy tone requires turning the volume up to drive the "power amp" simulation, just like with a real amp.

I have a Fender Mustang Floor unit that I've been fiddling with quite a bit lately.
The tones are there to be had. You just have to find them.

So, turn up the volume setting, not just the gain setting, fine tune the tone controls, try out different cab simulations. Just like in the real World, selecting a single 12" speaker option for the Princeton really opens up the tone.
Fine tune the overdrive pedal settings.

Try different amp simulations.
What amp choices do you have?
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
What type of "creamy" are you talking about? Whipped? Marshmallow? Chocolate coconut? Butterscotch?

Or are we discussing cheese????

I don't understand this terminology when applied to guitars.......
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people ➑️
But I can't make or find an electric guitar tone that I like. The tones I come up with or find in presets are either too stabby, shrill and thin or too over done and they lose articulation of notes.
Which is one major reason that I tell people to avoid the programmable amps with 57 useless presets and just get a small tube amp that does one thing well and get into it.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
enorbet2's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I actually think "creamy" is a somewhat descriptive, useful term since it is the opposite of "gritty". This translates into mostly even ordered harmonics and generally of a fairly low order like under 5th order (not the same as a fifth interval). SS devices must be "corralled in" to produce mostly even and mostly low order harmonics but it can be accomplished fairly reasonably without too much unnatural phasiness.

It's going to be easiest on overdrive or simple preamping since SS clipping tends to get muddied up pretty quickly. A wee bit of lower odd order harmonics can increase articulation but things get unmanageable above 5th order and SS can do many, many times that.

Bottom line though is keep it simple and try any device out under the conditions you expect to actually use it. Playing at bedroom levels is not a good test for how it will sound on a Live gig nor will playing loud relate much to how it will record. Stay appropriate to what levels you expect. Volume changes everything.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Yeah well for those with ears, err, let them hear what I mean by creamy. If you're confused by it, just wait in the car park or move on with your life. Haha

I can't crank my amp and pedals unfortunately. And I'm finding amp sims not really up to it.

I wouldn't be the first person who's struggled to not only describe the sound he's looking for...but to get it. According to Slash, in his autobiography just for example...he reckons he took a frustrating age to find and settle on the tones he wanted for Appetite For Destruction.

And he was an electric guitar player! I'm coming from 20 odd years spent basically focusing on acoustic guitar.

And just as an aside...it aint no picnic trying to get acoustic guitar recorded how I want it either.

It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll...alone...from your bedroom.

Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
There are just as many crappy tones to be found on a digital modelling amp as there are crappy tones to be found on a regular tube amp. It would be easy enough to develop a digital amp that only produce good/great tones, yet if they did that the tube amp folks would absolutely lose it and profess just how awful digital amps are, because one mans crap tone is another mans tone that sits right in the mix.

It's not my place or the amp developers place to be the tone "police", so if they develop a digital "model" of a particular amp then it better be able to make as many crappy tones as the original item can.

So, to get great tone out of a digital modelling amp, you need to first know how to get great tone out of the original amp that is being modelled, and this isn't always easy, particularly if you don't play with them a lot.

So again, getting the volume setting just right to produce the tone you want is VERY important. It's not just a one step operation adjusting the gain setting. How you set the gain and volume together on a digital amp is quite important.
You need to play around with the tone controls to get the right sound for your specific instrument.
Adjusting the sag and bias may be very important for the certain sound that you are chasing. You need to adjust them carefully and listen for a while to get a handle on what they are doing.
Changing cabinet simulations can make all the difference in the World.
Overdrive pedal simulations can have 5 controls on their own to adjust and refine.

In the future I believe that the interface on these digital amps will change yet for now we are stuck with understanding and getting on top of the legacy controls.

Last edited by AnthonyG; 1 week ago at 03:26 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️
What type of "creamy" are you talking about? Whipped? Marshmallow? Chocolate coconut? Butterscotch?

Or are we discussing cheese????

I don't understand this terminology when applied to guitars.......
As long as you put it through a blender you should have the right smoothe consistency for the mix. Keep it simple
Old 1 week ago
  #11
A little cream corn maybe

Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Creamy tone is subjective. Can you give an example of a song with a tone that would represent what you consider creamy? I use S-gear a lot and I think it's a great amp sim.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
enorbet2's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
OP already mentioned "Appetite for Destruction" tone as one that took a very long time, even for an experienced pro, to achieve but it isn't clear if that's what he views as an example of "creamy but articulate".

I have a couple examples that may possible elicit a reaction for OP as to the range of that blend he prefers.

This one (FFWD to around 3:00 for the solo) I expect might be too creamy but that's likley because the entire solo is on Strat neck pickup... remarkably articulate for that but perhaps a tad dark for most.




This one is pretty much cliche creamy but articulate with similar overdrive but on the bridge pickup much of the solo. (FFWD to around 2:30 for 1st solo which could possibly be neck pickup but later, certainly by around 8:00 it's the bridge pickup). Yeah it's old but it does point up that pickup, EQ, and Volume affect tone substantially



... and yeah, creamy but articulate has been a holy grail for a long time
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Good Examples from Pink Floyd and Robin Trower

Nice. I tend to think more of Trowers sound example more but they both are great examples of creamy but articulate. I also think of warm when I think of creamy guitar tones.

So difficult to put words to sounds and get understanding and the guitar world is full of expressive names that can baffle some people. Chewy, gritty, creamy, chunky, liquidy, pokey, fat, thin, heavy, sticky, etc

Having to put words to describe sound or feel of playing is not easy.

Best thing is for the OP to post a link to a similar sound they are thinking of.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Not using a pick on your electrics can help provide creamy. Look No Further : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQDjSGnmYBI

Last edited by AfterViewer; 1 week ago at 04:13 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by AfterViewer ➑️
Not using a pick on your electrics can help provide creamy. Look No Further : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQDjSGnmYBI
Very true.

For those who can't manage to loose the pick making use of the tone control on your guitar can also be a good path to warm, creamy, or sounds often associated with such words.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 ➑️
I actually think "creamy" is a somewhat descriptive, useful term since it is the opposite of "gritty". This translates into mostly even ordered harmonics and generally of a fairly low order like under 5th order (not the same as a fifth interval). SS devices must be "corralled in" to produce mostly even and mostly low order harmonics but it can be accomplished fairly reasonably without too much unnatural phasiness.

It's going to be easiest on overdrive or simple preamping since SS clipping tends to get muddied up pretty quickly. A wee bit of lower odd order harmonics can increase articulation but things get unmanageable above 5th order and SS can do many, many times that.

Bottom line though is keep it simple and try any device out under the conditions you expect to actually use it. Playing at bedroom levels is not a good test for how it will sound on a Live gig nor will playing loud relate much to how it will record. Stay appropriate to what levels you expect. Volume changes everything.
I don't see "creamy" as the opposite of "gritty" at all. If you really want to go off on that tangent, the opposite of "gritty" is "smooth", not "creamy".

As far as I've been able to determine (and I've been riding this hobbyhorse for some months now), "creamy"is a totally meaningless adjective (in an audio context) that means totally different things depending on which ignoramus happens to be using it.

To me it's probably the most meaningless, idiotic term used by amateurs to "describe" guitar tones (in a way that communicates absolutely NOTHING.)
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #18
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people ➑️
Yeah well for those with ears, err, let them hear what I mean by creamy. If you're confused by it, just wait in the car park or move on with your life. Haha

I can't crank my amp and pedals unfortunately. And I'm finding amp sims not really up to it.

I wouldn't be the first person who's struggled to not only describe the sound he's looking for...but to get it. According to Slash, in his autobiography just for example...he reckons he took a frustrating age to find and settle on the tones he wanted for Appetite For Destruction.

And he was an electric guitar player! I'm coming from 20 odd years spent basically focusing on acoustic guitar.

And just as an aside...it aint no picnic trying to get acoustic guitar recorded how I want it either.

It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll...alone...from your bedroom.

You actually BELIEVE anything that was alleged to be said to any of the "reporters" for those teenie mags?

Really?

How much of that "autobiography" do you think Slash really wrote, BTW?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AfterViewer ➑️


As long as you put it through a blender you should have the right smoothe consistency for the mix. Keep it simple
My blender lives in my kitchen, not my audio studio.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by markmann ➑️
Creamy tone is subjective. Can you give an example of a song with a tone that would represent what you consider creamy? I use S-gear a lot and I think it's a great amp sim.
Not really hey. I did include a snippet of the tune I'm recording...a snippet mapped out with acoustic guitar. The intended chords are octave power chords...like a power chord without the middle string involved. But I've since removed that from my soundcloud. I could put it back up but...you know.

So, it's not for solo/ lead work...it's rhythm guitar octave power chords for example:

---x---
---x---
---x---
---7---
---x---
---5---

That kind of thing. I really did try to think of an example. But I just couldn't think of anything.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 ➑️
OP already mentioned "Appetite for Destruction" tone as one that took a very long time, even for an experienced pro, to achieve but it isn't clear if that's what he views as an example of "creamy but articulate".

I have a couple examples that may possible elicit a reaction for OP as to the range of that blend he prefers.

This one (FFWD to around 3:00 for the solo) I expect might be too creamy but that's likley because the entire solo is on Strat neck pickup... remarkably articulate for that but perhaps a tad dark for most.




This one is pretty much cliche creamy but articulate with similar overdrive but on the bridge pickup much of the solo. (FFWD to around 2:30 for 1st solo which could possibly be neck pickup but later, certainly by around 8:00 it's the bridge pickup). Yeah it's old but it does point up that pickup, EQ, and Volume affect tone substantially



... and yeah, creamy but articulate has been a holy grail for a long time
Thanks...yeah good point. But as I said earlier it's not for solos or lead work I'm after this tone for. It's for the octave power chord type things as described in the post above this one.

There's hundreds of possibilities and ways I could go about it I'm sure...but so far I haven't hit on the sound I'm after. And all I was left with was a desperate call for "creamy" (which has really captured the imagination of some I see and "articulate" which apparently is not such an emotive word).

I've put the song on the back burner for a while. I'll come back to it.

Thanks
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️

As far as I've been able to determine (and I've been riding this hobbyhorse for some months now), "creamy"is a totally meaningless adjective (in an audio context) that means totally different things depending on which ignoramus happens to be using it.
You OK dude? Do you need to lie down or have a little break for a while?

Maybe lay off the booze for a few days?

You've stumbled in here a rambling sour mess.

Old 1 week ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
OK, now that I have a better idea of what you are after, may I suggest that you try using a Marshall model and see where it gets you. In Amplitude it may be called British 70's and/or British 80's which represents 70's or 80's Marshall stacks. Turn the gain up to the max or nearly the max. Run the volume at 6 or more. Get the tone right for your instrument and don't be afraid to try tone extremes and see what you get. Some reverb and delay. You could even add a little more overdrive.

It's a very compressed sound. Maybe it's what you want, maybe it isn't, it can be fun to play with so give it a play.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG ➑️
OK, now that I have a better idea of what you are after, may I suggest that you try using a Marshall model and see where it gets you. In Amplitude it may be called British 70's and/or British 80's which represents 70's or 80's Marshall stacks. Turn the gain up to the max or nearly the max. Run the volume at 6 or more. Get the tone right for your instrument and don't be afraid to try tone extremes and see what you get. Some reverb and delay. You could even add a little more overdrive.

It's a very compressed sound. Maybe it's what you want, maybe it isn't, it can be fun to play with so give it a play.
Righto mate, thanks for that. Will give it a try

Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
enorbet2's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️
I don't see "creamy" as the opposite of "gritty" at all. If you really want to go off on that tangent, the opposite of "gritty" is "smooth", not "creamy".

As far as I've been able to determine (and I've been riding this hobbyhorse for some months now), "creamy"is a totally meaningless adjective (in an audio context) that means totally different things depending on which ignoramus happens to be using it.

To me it's probably the most meaningless, idiotic term used by amateurs to "describe" guitar tones (in a way that communicates absolutely NOTHING.)
John you and I rarely disagree much but this one has us somewhat at opposite poles. Firstly, words to describe sense data are by definition, approximations or translations. Describe the color Red to a blind man, right?

"Creamy" to me and most I wager, has a connotation of thick and smooth and because it mixes senses simply a first step requiring further conversation to arrive at a point where A = A'.

IMHO asking an artist to speak scientifically is largely a lost cause or at the very least also requires further conversation to establish the meaning of terms. Even a comment like "You have a 12db/octave peak around 250Hz and that's why your tone is unclear" will very often fail to communicate on The Tower of Babel.

Describing commonly used terminology as meaningless and idiotic simply ignores the fact that all words are symbolic much like Music itself.

I have witnessed some people when confronted with someone else for whom English is not their native language, and in some cases barely understood, who instinctively just raise their voice as if being louder will somehow break through the communication barrier.

We have to choose between demanding others speak our language (IMHO a fruitless, full stop pursuit) or painstakingly finding common ground.

I don't think "creamy" is too difficult to establish denotation from connotation. I have more problems with terms like "glassy" that require a lot more work, but if I wish to communicate with someone using such a term, I know I will get nowhere by simply chastising their choice. This ain't 4chan.
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