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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Ambient Guitar
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next [all]
Author Ambient Guitar
mallarme
Since buying an Avalanche Run (thank you Knobs and your evil Youtube channel) I've been lusting for a guitar so that I can make textures, "pads", and long sustained sounds a la Michael Brook, Andy Othling, Ed O'Brien, etc...

I'm sure the magic here is in the processing, and as always, ultimately, with who is playing and making the noises/sound... but I wonder if there are guitars that are better suited for the "genre". For instance I read that Stratocasters have a short sustain, but does that translate at all when dealing with such heavily processed sounds? Meaning, a Gibson with a "fatter" tone would be better?

Totally in the dark here. All input appreciated. OH, and share your favorite artists in the genre!
Smokey
mallarme wrote:
I've been lusting for a guitar so that I can make textures, "pads", and long sustained sounds a la Michael Brook, Andy Othling, Ed O'Brien, etc...


Don't know much about it but probably the Moog guitar?

Also cuz Lou...

berfmurret
Fernandes sustainer guitars can be had for not too many and can do some great sustaining chords with different harmonics selections.. very close to what the moog guitar can do... maybe not as flexible.. but similar.
mallarme
Wow, thanks. That sounds like cheating somehow, though...
polyslax
I like to keep an EBow handy. One string at a time... you can kind of keep several strings going if you rotate through them quickly. Or, of course, you can harmonize that one string... or overdub.
mallarme
Sure thing Polyslax, I'm sure an Ebow is handy... but what about guitars per se? What should one look for?
Sinamsis
Dude, I've been eyeballing the Moog guitar for years. I read folks complained about the tone of the actual guitar, which makes the whole thing kind of a moot point to me. The concept is fantastic. But that's a lot of cash to spend if you don't like the actual tone of the guitar. I've never played one so I can't personally comment.

I do agree that some guitars have more sustain than others. But as you've alluded to, your signal chain can overcome a lot of that. Body type (solid vs hollow), neck, strings, wood type, etc all play a roll.

Compression will add a lot of sustain. Other pedals are meant to create sustain type effects. The EHX HOG for example does a really nice freeze effect. I also like making nice pad like effects running my guitar through a delay with the mix towards almost complete wet, higher feedback, medium time and then through a reverb. Playing with the flesh of your finger tips helps as well. But anyways, that's not what you asked for. Haha, sorry.
polyslax
mallarme wrote:
but does that translate at all when dealing with such heavily processed sounds?


No, not imo. The bubbly sound of a single coil guitar (eg. Strat) may not be the best jumping off point for ambient, but ultimately I think most guitars can be processed into ambience.
mallarme
polyslax wrote:
mallarme wrote:
but does that translate at all when dealing with such heavily processed sounds?


No, not imo. The bubbly sound of a single coil guitar (eg. Strat) may not be the best jumping off point for ambient, but ultimately I think most guitars can be processed into ambience.


So better off not looking for single coil guitars? What are some examples of single coil guitars, and NOT single coil guitars? Sorry, again, totally novice here in that department...
m0d
mallarme wrote:
So better off not looking for single coil guitars? What are some examples of single coil guitars, and NOT single coil guitars? Sorry, again, totally novice here in that department...


White guitar (with black pick guard) is a Gibson Les Paul with double coil (humbucker) pickups
Black guitar (with white pick guard) is a Fender Strat with single coil pickups


Under the metal piece covering each "pickup" are two single coil pickups.
http://thehub.musiciansfriend.com/tech-tips/humbucker-vs-single-coil-p ickups-explained

Furthermore, the Gibson has a set neck and the Fender has a bolt-on neck.
http://www.guitarplayer.com/miscellaneous/1139/all-about-bolt-on-and-s et-necks/14775
islandpark
In my experience the actual guitar doesn't matter too much with ambient music, it mostly comes down to your preference of sound/what type of guitar you like playing. Personally I lean more toward something brighter like something with a single coil pickup or Lace Alumitones as its easy to cut out the high end and kind of replicate that humbucker "fatness" rather than the other way around.
Torn n Frayed


This geezer talks about the difference btw Fender and Gibson while he shills for his new, otw signature ax. Plays it will all the excitement of someone waiting for a bus, Nick McCabe defines Ambient guitar playing, IMO.
felixer
mallarme wrote:
Michael Brook

is using a system much like the fernandez sustainiac. basically a polyphonic ebow where you use a magnetic field to drive the string, using the sound taken from that same string: basicall feedback without an amp and the need for high volume levels.
that said, oldfashioned feedback with the amp turned up still has a lot of charm. and with the ebow you can get several sounds depending where you have it on the string: close to the bridge it sound different then close to the neck. and on top of the pickups it sounds different yet again. also for the sustainiac you need to set up the guitar with a very low action (distance from string to frets) which has it's drawbacks.

but most ambient guitar relies on fx to process the traditional sound coming from any electric guitar and indeed the original sound is not crucial. as a rule single coils sound brighter then humbuckers, but often there are switches so you can use only one coil of a humbucker to get the same effect. and some guitars with singlecoils have a switch to put two of those in series, giving a fatter sound. so don't be fixed on appearance: test any guitar and buy what you like ... and pickups can be changed (there are humbuckers in the shape/size of single coils and vice versa), so if you like the feel (esp the neck) you can always modify the sound.
most strats (and obviously some other guitars too) have the vibrato arm (that changes the pitch) that is hard to copy electronically and can add nice shimmer esp with echo/reverb so i think that would be a plus.

the ehx 'freeze' and 'superego' boxes can do endless sounds very well with any guitar (like what's built into the 'hog') so i would def try that.
also useful is a volume pedal so you can 'fade in with your foot' any note/chord you play and get rid of the typical attack that characterizes the guitar, making it sound a lot smoother/spacier: cheap&simple but very effective cool the chap in the video is doing that effect with his left(picking)hand pinky on the volume control of his guitar (around 7:30): doable but not very practical imho

generally you'll prob use your feet more since you need two hands to play the guitar. so (unless you want to sit down) get used to standing on one foot without falling over hihi

the godfather of ambient guitar is prob robert fripp with his 'frippertronics'. basically a long delay (a few seconds, a lot more then yer typical 'echo') with a lot of feedback that lets you stack several layers of playing to get an orchestral effect. a bit like doing overdubs live. originally with two taperecorders, but nowadays you can get digital delay boxes with, say 4 seconds, of delay time for less money (and maintenance trouble). different sound then a 'looper' as the first parts slowly degenerate and disappear and create a lot of depth ...

have fun thumbs up
dubonaire
I recently did a lot of net research on this and came to the conclusion that a Les Paul was what I was after. I went with an Epiphone Les Paul. Gibson Les Pauls do seem to sound better, but apparently quality varies in both brands and you can get dud Gibsons and awesome Epiphones (which are actually also made by Gibson). A thing that influenced my purchase was I could easily get a left-handed Epiphone, but I also found it hard to justify the significant price difference and once you heavily process the sound I think the difference becomes obscured anyway.

Youtube has many videos of guitarists demoing the various guitars and I found that very useful in making the decision.

The Fender Jazzmaster is interesting too.

One thing I plan to do with mine is replace the pickups with custom pickups to get a warmer richer tone.

PS it was fascinating to get lost in the rabbit hole of pages and pages of forum discussion on pickup versions. And you thought synth nerds were bad.
MindMachine
Fripp and Pinhas used Les Pauls.

I am a rank amateur and use an Epiphone Les Paul Special II. It was $120.00. I play through an MXR BlueBox and it sounds great even though I am horrible. I have mixed luck with the ebow. I sample the good parts.

Whatever Gabor Szabo used for the live recording of 'Space' (likely an acoustic w/ pick-up) sounds amazing.

I think the interaction between a particular guitar and amp are the most important component. Physically heavy axes like th Les Paul seem to yield the best results. Hollow body electrics are great too, but can run away in a blink. I think you need to be a true master to use one loudly (Andy Scott, Ted Nugent, etc.)
visible cow
I really wouldn't worry about the make/model of the guitar. As long as it's set up properly and you like how it sounds it will work for any kind of music. Just grab something that you think looks cool and doesn't have issues and get going.

There are some great deals on older (1990's) Epiphones on eBay. Awesome guitars for cheap. Or maybe grab something like a Reverend? Totally great guitars.

I don't know the artists you've mentioned but I do love Fennesz. I think he plays a strat? Can't remember.....but it really doesn't matter.
italoop
Mallarme

there is no specific guitar for what you want to do, and in case you want sustain, you can always use a compressor. Ebow cah help when THAT's what you need.
I have been using both Strat and Gibson/PRS guitars and they all are great.
The whole pads concept is NOT about guitar sustain... it's ALL about processing. You can have endless pads with long feedback delays and multitaps/long reverbs, post processing of them and what not.
Guitars have a tone! That's what I'm more interested in... and Strat have those "in between" positions that are hard to beat for crystal toned pads.

Listen to these audioclips. A lot of ambient oriented works done with a Strat... you'll find PLENTY of sustain in the pads:
http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/eventide_and_other_stuff/lexicon_pcm_ 80-81-91.asp#audioclips
http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/eventide_and_other_stuff/eventide_h30 00.asp#audioclips
http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/eventide_and_other_stuff/eventide_ecl ipse.asp#audioclips
http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/eventide_and_other_stuff/eventide_ORV ILLE_DSP7500_DSP7000.asp#audioclips
http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/eventide_and_other_stuff/eventide_H80 00FW.asp#audioclips2
http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/eventide_and_other_stuff/korg_dl8000r .asp#audioclips
http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/eventide_and_other_stuff/strymon_time line.asp#audioclips

Enjoy!
Rockin' Banana!
chvad
I do a lot of ambient material with guitar. For greater sustain I went with a through neck guitar with a harder tone wood. Ive played with compressors in the past but they were all either too noisy or messed with the attack of the string. Ebow is a solid recommendation. That and a looping pedal will take you a long long way into beautifully stacked chords and textures. That's for clean stuff. If you don't mind grit some fuzzes can have you sustaining for what seems like days. Fuzz Factory is nice for this. SOmething more subtle is the Philosophers Tone which combines a fuzz and very very strong compressor. I don't like it clean as the attack from a quick signal sounds odd to me but the fuzz covers that up nicely. Plop a reverb in the mix BEFORE that pedal and you can just let the guitar sit there while nice things happen.
charliejones
As others have pointed out, this is really about the processing. Just look at one of your examples, Andy Othling. He uses pretty much every guitar under the sun. My recommendation is to pick up a middle of the road Telecaster and concentrate your efforts on the effects/processing part of the equation.
Bartimaeus
Ed O'Brien's "secret" is the Fernandes Sustainer system. Put that in any guitar that you like and you'll be a third of the way there. Another third is getting some delays (you don't need reverb) and a pitch shifter, and the rest is playing technique.
m0d
charliejones wrote:
As others have pointed out, this is really about the processing. Just look at one of your examples, Andy Othling. He uses pretty much every guitar under the sun. My recommendation is to pick up a middle of the road Telecaster and concentrate your efforts on the effects/processing part of the equation.


Fripp's "Lunar Module" rig for about ten years (up until ~2005):
IanEye
stk
My personal preference is for humbuckers over single coils as I find they give more control over feedback without going into squealy territory, and I like to manipulate feedback as another sound source.
mallarme
Thank you folks! A lot of good info here!
strangeonlooker
Perhaps look into the Gizmotron as well...I think there is a lot of potential for it to be used for ambient guitar stuff.
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