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No more innovation in guitar amps/tone anymore. Everyone is just modelling the amps of the past.
Old 16th April 2022
  #1
Gear Addict
 
No more innovation in guitar amps/tone anymore. Everyone is just modelling the amps of the past.

I've noticed that there is no longer anything new or innovative coming out in terms of amps or guitar tone from manufacturers. All they're doing is just making modelling amps which emulate famous guitar amps of the past, but not creating any amps which produce a new and unique tone. To make it worse, every modelling amp just emulates the same list of amps: Marshall, Vox, Fender, Soldano etc. It almost doesn't matter which modeller you buy now as they all model the same old amps. As a result, modern guitarists don't have their own individual tone. It's all just really samey and generic. Guitar tone has stopped evolving and is now just harking back to the past. Why is this?
Old 16th April 2022
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
The future of guitar amps is brighter than you think

Quote:
Old 16th April 2022
  #3
Gear Nut
 
My dad used to say, "The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm."
Old 16th April 2022 | Show parent
  #4
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John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lllubi ➡️
The future of guitar amps is brighter than you think
Brilliant idea!

Only one problem - it won't work.

Different tubes have different tonal characteristics. You can't reduce everything to generic "nanotubes" or what ever - it won't work.

I'm not saying it will sound bad, that's up to the designer, but a "universal guitar amp"? Won't work.

The best take on that idea was done about 20 or so years ago, when a company, I believe Seymour Duncan, marketed an amp that used interchangeable plug-in circuit modules. Worked great, but it used the real tubes in the real circuits. Changing modules actually changed the amp.
Old 16th April 2022
  #5
Gear Addict
 
markmann's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nksoloproject ➡️
I've noticed that there is no longer anything new or innovative coming out in terms of amps or guitar tone from manufacturers. All they're doing is just making modelling amps which emulate famous guitar amps of the past, but not creating any amps which produce a new and unique tone. To make it worse, every modelling amp just emulates the same list of amps: Marshall, Vox, Fender, Soldano etc. It almost doesn't matter which modeller you buy now as they all model the same old amps. As a result, modern guitarists don't have their own individual tone. It's all just really samey and generic. Guitar tone has stopped evolving and is now just harking back to the past. Why is this?
Makes me think of many other instruments and how they have not changed at all. IMO the electric guitar/amp/pedals are capable of a LOT of sounds.
Old 16th April 2022 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➡️
Brilliant idea!

Only one problem - it won't work.

Different tubes have different tonal characteristics. You can't reduce everything to generic "nanotubes" or what ever - it won't work.

I'm not saying it will sound bad, that's up to the designer, but a "universal guitar amp"? Won't work.

The best take on that idea was done about 20 or so years ago, when a company, I believe Seymour Duncan, marketed an amp that used interchangeable plug-in circuit modules. Worked great, but it used the real tubes in the real circuits. Changing modules actually changed the amp.
It does with the Bluguitar Amp 1 already. The Amp X will be revealed at NAMM. If you have a chance you should visit Thomas Blug and try his amps yourself. You will be surprised how close it gets if you have the possibility to take a challenge where Thomas Blug dials in your amp on his units.
Old 16th April 2022
  #7
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
There are really few distinctive guitar tones through rock history. Link Wray, Chuck Barry, Harrison, Clapton, SRV, Hendrix, Keef, Gilmore, Brian May, Martin Barr, Andy Summers, and some others were actual tone innovators. But even EVH was distinct because of his playing technique less than his raw tone. Guitars are guitars and amps are amps. There are Fenders/Gibson guitars and Fender/Vox/Marshall amps, and most others are variations on those basic themes.

Rock-Pop music has stopped evolving (long ago) and is harking back to the past. Bands that are guitar centered, like Drive By Truckers, Alabama Shakes, The Record Company, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bad Flower, Real Estate, The Struts (even the names sound worn) all sport retro, not fresh, sounds. NWOCR is one of the hottest things going right now. What does that tell you? I heard a new song on the radio the other day that started exactly like a 70's classic rock tune with 70's LP/Marshall tones, and then it morphed into some kind of pseudo white-rap thing. Kind of interesting, but complete retread. New release on XRT in Chicago. Stuff is like classic, punky, roots, indie, urban-ish/rap, new country, folksy, ska or Reggae-ish, or a few other well-worn categories.

No new music sound right now. It's not good or bad thing. There is a lot of very good music, but nothing truly fresh. So new guitar tones are really not needed. I'm kind of old, but not talking from that POV. Just a casual observer of the past and the present. Whatever is truly fresh and new probably will not involve guitars or guitar tones, like rap, EDM and other dance styles disavowed guitars. Disco turned its back on the guitar hero. But rap started in the late 70's with disco, half a century ago, and honestly has become no more than one of the most "imitation is the sincerest form of music" styles ever. EDM is about scene, mashup, raving and the crowd experience, and less about music. It's a social movement less than a musical movement.

For music sake at large, I might actually hope that we are actually coming to the end of the guitar craze that began in the 1950's. About time already, right?
Old 16th April 2022
  #8
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enorbet2's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You guys do realize, don't you, that almost every noteworthy guitar hero you've ever heard plays modded old amps. Boutique amps starting with Mesa and Dumble are just modded Fender amps. Even the venerabe Marshall amps are just modded Fender amps. So are Vox and virtually every other important amp and then THOSE modded amps were further modded either by the owner or a company. One of the reasons this happened is because Fender amps started out so fundamental in design AND construction. It is nearly effortless to change a part value or three and sound substantially different. The difference in design between a 58 Tweed Bassman and a 68 Marshall BluesBreaker is nearly non-existant, a few parts values, (you can easily convert one to the other) but they sound substantially different.

Modern gear is NOT easily modded, whether cars or amps or mostly anything else exactly because of the era. Back then things were basic and largely mechanical, easily intuited because they were designed to be hands-on. They had to be. Sophistication and miniaturization changed all that, mostly for the good, but not without a cost.

It is a lot harder to change layout, components, etc these days and that's on full sized amps! Once you build from integrated circuits and suface-mount components on a tiny multi-layer PCB things get a lot less tactile and intuitive and ultimately, moddable. When you go even further where it isn't physical components but algorithms you do get a lot of options in one place but you lose fundamentals and that extends to the sound, too.

Without exception every great guitar player I've ever known or heard of spent YEARS building and tweaking His/Her sound. Every step of the way contributed to the end result. Simply put, with shortcuts you miss the context, the "scenery"... the learning. Most here note that much of "tone" is in the person. THAT'S how it got that way, taking the "full ride". There is no shortcut to experience. You just need fundamentals you can grasp and grow on.
Old 16th April 2022
  #9
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Farmboy presents's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I think my little Vox Night Train 15w has a great modern sound. Doesn't sound like an old amp at all, to me. Ymmv. Maybe it's the guitar you're playing. Try tuning all the strings to the same note and set on fire, with a delay or something (for dub etc.). Modern sound requires modern playing techniques.
Old 16th April 2022
  #10
If one can't find a few of the thousands of different guitar sounds that work, grab a midi guitar and find a few thousand more.
Old 16th April 2022
  #11
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nksoloproject ➡️
I've noticed that there is no longer anything new or innovative coming out in terms of amps or guitar tone from manufacturers.
While I'll agree that there's far more emulation than innovation tone-wise coming out of amp manufacturers, I would argue that there's a crap-ton of new or innovative coming out in terms of guitar tone from stompbox manufacturers.
Old 16th April 2022
  #12
Here for the gear
Interesting discussion!

I'm happy if modern modeling software gets me in the ballpark of some classic rock tones. Even if it's only heard through headphones.

Just been demoing the Neural DSP Petrucci for it's clean chimey chorused and doubled tones using a revstar with p90s. I've never been able to get that clean tone before, so i'm gonna buy it.

I take the point about modern gear emulating tones from the past, and to a large extent I agree, but I do hear some modern tones in metal which depart from classic rock tones, using high output pickups on low tuned guitars into high gain amps, with heavy use of gating. On the software side, Neural dsp have been innovators in this area with their modeling software.
Old 16th April 2022
  #13
Deleted 62578c6
Guest
Not even going near software or modulars. There's countless fx units and amps already to choose from, many not even designed for guitars just waiting to be abused and connected in new combinations. The only thing missing here is imagination.
Old 16th April 2022
  #14
Gear Nut
 
You can check the virtual amps of Neural DSP like Nolly or Tim Henson. They are really good and special but yes, meanwhile, a lot of people use them.

What about you? Do you solder your own unique amps together at home?
Old 17th April 2022 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgzen ➡️
You can check the virtual amps of Neural DSP like Nolly or Tim Henson. They are really good and special but yes, meanwhile, a lot of people use them.

What about you? Do you solder your own unique amps together at home?
There will be no need to solder your own amps once the Amp X gets released. The software will do the soldering for you.
Old 17th April 2022
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
THE NEURAL-ANALOG-PREAMP™

BluGuitar's "digital soldering iron" for analog amp tuning: Combinations of analog circuitry and digital control have so far been limited to the control and storage of operating parameters such as tone control, gain, etc...

The NEURAL-ANALOG-PREAMP™ – like the NANOTUBE-X power amp – offers for the first time the groundbreaking possibility to edit and save circuit parameters at component level. From a technical point of view, that’s like changing the circuit. With this new approach and the use of extremely small and lightweight components, AMP X can now authentically reproduce all kinds of classic tube amps in a true analog circuit. These defining parameters can then be stored as what we call "BlugPRINTs™".
Old 17th April 2022
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
I used to feel this way about Tech 21. Seemed they were just endlessly recycling the original. The Character Series was a step forward though. And in general, Sansamp DOES sound distinct from most amps, both tube & modelling, even if they do claim to emulate certain amps. So hats off to them.
Old 17th April 2022
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Are you looking for anything in particular?
Seriously, I think there's all the options one may wish for (with a few exceptions, usually caused by lack of processing power).
If you want a different amp sound, roll your own. It's easily possible, especially in the plugin world, but there's also some quite competent hardware options allowing for a lot of things (unfortunately not always combined in the best fashion). Just don't use any pre-made models anymore but a combination of EQs, compressors and drives. Use them in whatever weird routing scheme. Then go crazy with all sorts of weird IRs.
There's absolutely no shortage of tools allowing you to go wild.

Things I'm personally still not happy with:

- Guitar synthesis - as in guitar modeling. Basically there's just two serious options on the market, namely coming from Line 6 (lousy quality guitars) and Roland/Boss, the latter being quite ok but you gotta accept their modeling, which isn't the best for all things (alternatively, you will have to slap different systems together and deal with menu diving fatigue, additional latency and what not).

- Pitch shifting. It's still just not as good as it could be. Or it's pretty decent but coming with quite some latency.

- No hardware box available to combine the best of the best in one unit. This is really quite an unfortunate thing, especially in case you also like to alter your guitar sound (which I think would be a crucial part of "new" sounds).
Old 17th April 2022
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Same as a violon or an acoustic piano, an instrument can reach its development potential at certain point. It does not mean that people using the gear will feel limited.
Old 17th April 2022
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by nksoloproject ➡️
Guitar tone has stopped evolving and is now just harking back to the past. Why is this?

Not sure what it is that you are disappointed in or what you hoping for exactly?

Electric guitar was born in the 1930's and the guitar as well as it's amplification and other tone modifiers (pedals, rack effects and even things like the Ebow and guitar synths) were a series of huge developments over the decades.

While there may be new things coming, much has already been explored. The electric guitar has matured into a rather complex instrument capable of many widely varying tones and sounds.

I don't hear people expressing dissatisfaction about instruments like the acoustic piano or the saxophone for not developing further. These instruments are still quite valid in even modern music and they have nowhere near the range of different tones that an electric guitar has available today.

Jimi Hendrix is considered to be maybe the biggest innovator of the electric guitar and it's sound.

He made use of many things that already existed, his amps were not different than what many contemporary bands were using and others had used fuzz pedals as well.

He refined techniques that were already in use like feedback and distortion but it was his music and his playing that made him unique far more so than any specific gear.

Sure Hendrix had Roger Mayer designing things for him but do you really think Hendrix would have remained in obscurity just because he didn't have a Uni-Vibe or an Octavia??? Certainly cool effects and often thought of as inherent to the Hendrix sound but if not for Roger Mayer I'm sure Jimi would have found other things and made them his own.

As to amps the differences were even less, although known for his Marshalls Hendrix didn't suddenly not sound like Hendrix when he plugged into a Sunn or a Fender Dual Showman.

Lack of new innovative gear simply isn't the limiting factor with guitar based music today. I think the giant body of recorded work by many amazing guitarists is the far bigger issue to be overcome.
Old 18th April 2022
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Guitar is back. I am fine with spending my money on pedals instead of plugins now. There are a lot of new sounds to discover if you spend some time in a nice music store.
Old 18th April 2022
  #22
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mdme_sadie's Avatar
So…. go innovate?

Plenty of money to be had if you can make something new and be a trend setter, so you should do it.

Of course it’s far easier to not and just be derivative then instead just do a lot of marketing and make big claims that you are in fact more original than everyone’s ears are telling them, and ideally find some poor patsy who’s almost exactly the same as you to be the victim of your scorn for their lack of originality. It’s amazing how people believe what they’re told even when the person telling them is literally doing the opposite.
Old 18th April 2022 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck ➡️
Things I'm personally still not happy with:

- Guitar synthesis - as in guitar modeling. Basically there's just two serious options on the market, namely coming from Line 6 (lousy quality guitars) and Roland/Boss, the latter being quite ok but you gotta accept their modeling, which isn't the best for all things (alternatively, you will have to slap different systems together and deal with menu diving fatigue, additional latency and what not).

- Pitch shifting. It's still just not as good as it could be. Or it's pretty decent but coming with quite some latency.
The BOSS GT 1000 runs in less than 1ms total roundtrip. RTL under 2ms will be common with future releases of digital units I think.
Old 18th April 2022
  #24
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
The way some people grouse that amp models don't sound anything like the real deal, I would think that at least those people would consider amp models to be entirely new and innovative sounds.
Old 18th April 2022
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
The innovation that I want to see with digital amps is the ditching of the legacy controls from current guitar amps, and a total rethink of how the user can set the parameters of the sound.
Off the top of my head there could be new controls for "saturation" and "warmth"., to name just 2.

Last edited by AnthonyG; 2 weeks ago at 07:21 AM..
Old 18th April 2022 | Show parent
  #26
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross ➡️
While I'll agree that there's far more emulation than innovation tone-wise coming out of amp manufacturers, I would argue that there's a crap-ton of new or innovative coming out in terms of guitar tone from stompbox manufacturers.
This is true. I can get a boatload of different tones just from my ancient, shopworn ME50. It's all in how you combine things.

I see the guitar and amp as the foundation of the building. There are a few solid, basic foundations one can use.

The architecture that gets built on top of that foundation is the element that creates the uniqueness and aesthetics. That structure is what people notice, and it consists of the person's unique playing style, plus how FX units are employed and combined to enhance that style.

Give any two quality players the same amp and guitar, five or six interesting stomp boxes, and half an hour to tweak and experiment, and you will end up with two unique "edifices of tone" built on that same exact foundation.

But it's hard to separate physical things from playing style in defining what makes a player unique. A musician's playing style is king of the hill, and the FX are there to add architectural details. Leaning on any gear to generate "New and Innovative" is fallacy, and the reason so many players sound the same. Kind of like an architect saying, "I'm going to build a FLW mid-century prairie, but I'll make it unique by putting green glass in all the windows." All you get is an old-design, imitation structure with something odd added that may or may not fit.
Old 18th April 2022
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I would like to see units that feel closer to playing a real amp than the new BOSS GX-100. Wonder if that will happen at NAMM.
Old 18th April 2022
  #28
I think the Cory Wong plugin from Neural DSP is an interesting one. Not taking the vintage route.

I agree that the generic vintage sounds suck. People claiming that there's something like the ultimate tone. A "true" tone. Tube "realness" and that sort of bullshit. One of my favorite guitar players of the past is Johnny Guitar Watson. That's straight into the desk stuff.
Old 18th April 2022
  #29
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Bramley's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nksoloproject ➡️
I've noticed that there is no longer anything new or innovative coming out in terms of amps or guitar tone from manufacturers. All they're doing is just making modelling amps which emulate famous guitar amps of the past, but not creating any amps which produce a new and unique tone. To make it worse, every modelling amp just emulates the same list of amps: Marshall, Vox, Fender, Soldano etc. It almost doesn't matter which modeller you buy now as they all model the same old amps. As a result, modern guitarists don't have their own individual tone. It's all just really samey and generic. Guitar tone has stopped evolving and is now just harking back to the past. Why is this?
"Why is this?"

The rock template was laid down in London mid-late sixties.

Musically since then we have been re-arranging and/or re-engineering styles and equipment from that period.

Even innovators like Dan Lanois and Adrian Belew as adventurous as they are still draw on the physics of amplification developed back then. How to break out of that? Who knows what will come along, we'll see!
Old 18th April 2022 | Show parent
  #30
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast ➡️

Lack of new innovative gear simply isn't the limiting factor with guitar based music today. I think the giant body of recorded work by many amazing guitarists is the far bigger issue to be overcome.
Truth, right there!
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