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Sorry if this is a stupid question.. Does the guitar still matter when using a processor?


Christopher5777
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So a little about me, I am just a bedroom player that plays as a hobby. I finally decided to ditch the amp and go the processor route, I jist bought a Line 6 POD Pro HD X and 250 ohms headphones..

 

After years of owning Mesa Mark V, trying a Mark IV, Dual Rec and Peavy 6505 plus, I still couldnt quite get that true to life 80s thrash tone like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer etc.

 

So, my question is this.. Since processors like these do most of the work, will there be a sound difference using say a bottom of the heap squire or a real ESP?

 

Again, I know this might be a stupid question but I am brand new to the processor world. BTW I currently have a LTD, James Hetfield Snakebyte signature series guitar with the EMG active het set pick ups.

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Yes the guitar matters. The processor is modelling the effects chain and amplifier, and mic and some post mic processing, but the start of everything is your playing of your guitar.

 

That said don't forget that the sound of those bands is not just the guitar and rigs but all of the studio post processing and mastering as well so don't forget EQ both before the amp (which can change the sound of a guitar substantially) and afterwards where often very significant amounts of EQ is used to make each instrument fit into the producers idea of the correct mix.

 

There are quite a lot of videos out there about getting the sounds of those bands out of the POD HD series so have a good search for videos and other sources and then don't forget that you need to tweak for your specific equipment and circumstances.

 

Don't get too hung up about that perfect sound - remember to have fun and enjoy it! 

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Yes and no...as far as I'm concerned the type or "style" of guitar (Strat/Tele/LP/etc) matters a whole lot more than the name scrawled on the headstock. And "signature" models, imho are usually little more than cosmetically prettier versions of virtually identical guitars that they justify charging an extra $1K for, because it says "James Hetfield" on it somewhere.

 

Some people will tell you that good tools make good work, and there's some truth to that. But there are caveats...SRV (allegedly) bought his "No. 1" Strat for $100 in a pawn shop. In other words, you have to have some level of skill, as well as an abstract understanding of HOW to generate a certain tone(s), and experienced enough ears to be able to make subtle distinctions between the way different things sound....otherwise, all the expensive gear in the world isn't gonna help you.

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Guitars matter. 

BUT... 

 

Because of the processing power of these puppies, you can accommodate for your lack of gear. 

Meaning - your real tube amp only sounds good when turned to 10. You can't do that in a bedroom. But, with a computer, you crank the virtual amp to 10 to make it sound kickass, but then you nudge down the volume of the physical speaker you are using so that you get the "but mine go up to 11" tone while not being heard by your baby mamma's ex husband in the guest house. 

 

Of course, you aren't talking about amps, you are talking about guitars. But it really is the same principle. You guitar sucks, so you add a little more volume and eq and distortion to your tone. 

Nothing will ever replace having decent gear going into decent gear coming out of decent gear. But, as long as you are in the bedroom, you might not truly recognize the differences.

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Thanks for all the responses.. While we are talking about this, my dream all these years is get almost identical tones from Puppets or And Justice for all, like I ripped them right from the albums and threw them in my amp, but I never could acheive it, even with the Mark IV and Mark V..

 

With some tweaking, can I get these tones from the POD HD Pro X?

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...my dream all these years is get almost identical tones from Puppets or And Justice for all, like I ripped them right from the albums and threw them in my amp...

 

With some tweaking, can I get these tones from the POD HD Pro X?

Nobody can answer that for you. All anyone can tell you with any certainty, is you should be able to get "close". How close depends largely on you, and learning to use whatever gear you have. I've been chasing an Eric Johnson-ish tone for 20 years. I can get in the ballpark, but I'll never nail it 100%...not even if I had all his personal gear. Because I'm not him. Gear is only part of the equation. It's that simple.

 

Records aren't jigsaw puzzles. Isolate any one piece, and that piece itself changes. No track sounds the same solo, compared to sitting in a full mix with everything else. If you had access to the masters from ANY album that you think has amazing guitar tones, and you were to solo just the guitar tracks, I guarantee you won't hear the same tone that you associate with that album that you've been listening to since you were a kid. EQ the kick drum differently, the guitars might not sound the same anymore, raise/lower the bass and the guitars might not sound the same anymore...etc etc. It's all part of one giant "organism", if you will.

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No it's not a stupid question .

 

Guitar will always be a very important and fundamental part of the sound . 

Try plugging one of the Chinese inventions you can get on Ebay for around $60 -$80  and you will quickly learn that this  so called "guitar " its simply impossible to play . :)  

Noise , humming ,buzzing , flat as a pancake sound , out of tune , fret noise , no sustain , no low end ,noisy pots , pick ups picking up a local radio stations  just a disaster ! 

Now use the same amp and plug in mid range Squier by Fender or any other instrument well made with decent pups and well put electronics together with quality pots and shielding . You will discover a whole new world and probably be even able to turn the volume up a bit !!!!!  

 

So all in all YES the guitar also makes a difference :)  

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So an update. I just got my HD Pro X yesterday and wow!! Why didnt I switch to something like this years ago?! The Mesa Mark V I owned cant even come close to the tones I can get out of this thing. Simply amazing. Within minutes I managed to dial in a legit Ride The Lightning Rhythm tone.

 

I do have one question, where do I find the chrous effects? I have the heavy metallica tone I crave, now I want the clean, chorus type sound to go with it. Thoughts?

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Thanks again, you guys have been a great help. Another question, right now I am using headphones which actually sound fantastic, can I also use just a regular powered PA speaker or will I need a power amp to use a PA speaker and If I can just use a regular powered PA speaker, do they sound good with the POD? Im just looking at one for like $250 at Guitar Center.

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My 2 cents:

 

The PODHD can make up for a guitar that is lacking.  However, the guitar and pickups make a difference.  I recently starting using Gibson pickups more after using Di'Marzzio, EMGs, Seymour Duncan, and a bunch of others over the years.  It makes a difference.  Sometimes when you think you can't ever achieve a certain tone, change the pickups.  Pickups are cheaper than buying guitars and sometimes that's all you need.

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Yup strings are so much more important than people think. For me, the components and what they affect the most:

 

Strings - basic tone, feel, sustain, tuning stability

Guitar - tuning stability, sustain, comfort, weight

Pickups & other electronics, plus cable - attack and response, noise, output level (not so important, easily compensated on processor), tone (can be EQ-ed to a certain extent)

Speakers - volume, frequency response, stereo width

Spouse - the quantity and unit price of all the components above

 

Probably missed out a bunch of stuff, just plucked out from the top of my head.

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Meiannatee, you forgot picks. They come 2nd in importance just behind strings.

Yes picks! (btw I didn't arrange them in any hierarchy of importance, just followed the signal path)

 

Picks, fingers, violin bow/EBow, electric toothbrushes, etc - attack/transients, dynamics, string noise/fret buzz, finger expressions, the list goes on

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The type of guitar strap can make a difference in tone too. Also strap locks can give it a brighter tone unless you're using a leather strap. <anyone gonn'a believe this?>

No, but if you do manage to convince anyone, tell them I have some lovely beach front property for sale in Kansas...

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You can tell that I am a child of the 80's...

 

I use those picks with the fruity colors. 

*Technically, I only use 3 colors of the rainbow depending on what instrument I am playing. And none of them are a primary color, only the mixed colors. 

Even my pointy's are neons and glitter types. 

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