Some wise guy always brings up this whenever a gear discussion comes up. “The tone is all in the fingers man! Forget about all that gear.”
In some regards, “that guy” is right. You could scour the earth and acquire every single piece of gear down to the vintage correct pick guard screws in your Strat, and you will NOT be able to rip The Star Spangled Banner like Hendrix. It’s definitely “in his fingers”.
But who is to say that you wouldn’t get pretty close?
I would argue that the gear matters quite a bit.
If tone has nothing to do with gear than why doesn’t Cannibal Corpse play their music with a Gibson J45? Why would Jimmy Page have used a Marshall stack instead of just a Tweed Champ? I suppose that Stevie Ray Vaughn would have had the same sound if he had just used a ukulele then, right?
It’s a combination my friends. Great tone is a system. The gear and the player work together as one to produce the sounds. If you want to emulate a particular sound, you have to pay attention to what was used, as well as how it’s played.
It seems obvious, but you need both the gear and the technique to get the sounds that you are after.
That’s not to say that you absolutely must buy a Dumble if you are chasing the Santana tone. Players these days live in a world where the once untouchably rare and expensive, has been dissected to the point where it can be placed at your feet in a stompbox. Exact? No. But amazingly close.
All that being said, a magic gold box with a man/horse hybrid on it is not going to make up for horrible playing technique. Flubbed notes are flubbed notes regardless of which Big Muff version you are using. This wasn’t wrote to blow the gear trumpet louder than the player trombone, I simply argue that the “all in the fingers” is only true to an extent.
This one aughtta ruffle some feathers…….
What do you think? Does gear matter? Is it all touch? Both? I’d live to hear what you think! Drop it in the comments!