Grand Tone

While on vacation we stopped by the in-laws. My wife played her grand piano that her parents have been so kind to hold on to until they die…. which is understandable, but it would be really cool to have now!

kawai grand piano

Anyway, she is a great player with years of experience and training (very much the opposite of my guitar playing), but she hasn’t been playing a lot since we had kids, so she considers herself rusty. When she got done playing her grand piano she had this silly grin on her face. I asked her if everything was ok and she just said,

“Good tone covers so many mistakes and rusty playing.”

The piano does sound really good. And she loves to play. The weight of the keys fit her style. It fits her so well and she knows it inside and out.

It made me wonder how guitarists out there approach tone. I have read lots of blogs about G.A.S. and the quest for great tone. i.e. vintage instruments, tube amps, boutique pedals, and lots of money as we all accumulate gear. Does good tone cover mistakes and bad playing? Is that what helps define good tone? When I can play through my guitar, pedals, and amp and it all sounds good even if I don’t play very well?

What is good tone to you? Is it fleeting? Is it a foundation to build on or is it the shell that covers the playing beneath? Is it a comfort level? Does it need to be earned over time? Do you ever achieve it and then stop searching? Does it change?

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