Better Now or Then? – The Tone Survey Results!!
As promised, this month we’ll take a look at the results of The Tone Survey.
Last month, I published a survey that asked questions about the state of electric guitar tone as it is today vs. what I called the “golden age” of rock and roll.
If you missed it you can find the survey here.
Survey Questions & Results:
1) There’s lots of high quality gear available if you’re willing to pay for it, but how has the flood of inexpensive gear affected tone quality in general?
- 62% – I believe that, compared to the golden age of rock and roll, the average piece of gear’s tone quality has decreased.
- 38% – I believe that, compared to the golden age of rock and roll, the average piece of gear’s tone quality is at least as good.
2) Compared to the 60’s and 70’s, has the glut of inexpensive gear on the market caused a general decline in electric guitar tone as heard on recordings, in live venues and at home?
- 59% – I believe that, in general, electric guitar tone is not as good as it was in the 60’s and 70’s.
- 41% – I believe that, in general, electric guitar tone is at least as good as it was in the 60’s and 70’s.
3) With all this inexpensive gear at their fingertips, do today’s guitarists spend less time working on their craft and more on finding equipment to make them sound “good”?
- 74% – I believe that, in general, today’s guitarists spend less time perfecting their skills and more time trying to find gear that will make them sound good.
- 26% – I believe that, in general, today’s guitarists spend at least as much time perfecting their skills as they did in the 60’s and 70’s.
The results were conclusive and interesting!
In general, the majority of the over 120 survey respondents believe that the electric guitar world was a better place in the 60’s and 70’s.
60% of them believe that gear and recorded/live guitar tone sounded better back then.
However, when it came to how much effort guitarists invest in improving their skills, almost 75% of respondents said that today’s guitarists are slackers compared to the good old days.
Comments ranged from wistful nostalgia and anecdotes from back in the day to virtual shots to the head demanding that guitarists get over vintage envy and take advantage of the cornucopia of gear available to today’s guitarist.
So, are you surprised by the results?
Does it confirm that the gear market and guitarists in general have strayed from the path of tonal nirvana and earnest sweat and toil or that most of us are hopelessly stuck in the past?
Should the gear industry take note and make product development decisions on what appears to be a majority view that, on average, their products just aren’t as good as they once were or should they forge ahead taking as much advantage of technological development as possible?
Email me at Don@MackAmps.com with your thoughts and if I get enough feedback I’ll discuss the deeper issues related to this topic in next month’s article.