Here is something for you true bypass fans to try - connect 3 true bypass pedals together in a chain, then play your guitar through them, with them all set to bypass - OKAY.
NEXT, plug your guitar straight in to your amp (no pedals)
Well - i bet you heard the loss of tone
...give it a try
Well I'm of a different opinion, not only have I tried it, but as for myself (and others who've attended our "blind" testing-for-fun) I tend to disagree somewhat.
When listening without knowing which-was-which (no visual clues) no one, could repeatedly tell the difference between a straight guitar cable and the 6-effect (big-test-box ala Cornish style
) unit in true bypass we were listening to. I'm reminded of the literally miles of cable in a quality mixing desk as opposed to his (Pete C) essay on true bypass...hmmm.
Ok so say what you like (I'm nobody, what does he know etc.) but I disagree alot with the Cornish explanation of the sum of the bypass cable
thing he wrote-up, most internal bypass wiring is not high capacitance cable and anyway a few pF at 8k-10k isn't a real big deal if anything it is often percieved as a benefit, lower noise as hiss is often associated with the silibacnce levels which might be effected with even 100pF@100k).
Another thing to consider, which is a totally Cornish-free thought (and quite argueable I suppose) is that most of the best recorded guitar tone's in History have come through high capacitance, not-expensive, long >10', non audiophile, >20pF/10ft, cables (well maybe except D Gilmore)
Look at Hendrix, Nugent, Betts and many more used those coily-cords which are beyond arguement as the epitome of capacative cables, more than most normal cables of their day, and definately more than any
modern (1/2 decent meaning like $25/25ft) cable of today.
IMHO, buffers are ok, they do a job, but they can also interfere with the interaction between the guitar pickup's and the input of the first effect they hit.
Case in point (excluding transistor mojo and lore) many prefer the FuzzFace to the Tonebender MKII. To the novice they sound very much the same, to the musician they sound very much the same BUT "react
" different to their playing style and dynamics, hence players with more finger control prefer FuzzFace's, and players with more percussive attack prefer the Tonebender. The buffer in the front of the Tonebender absorbs much of the (to some) annoying qualities of the FF, while to others it robs the nuances of their style and makes them play less "in touch".
I'm reminded of the last time friends and I did blind-testing at my friends home studio (he has a 30k Speck
board, 3x24 ADAT's, Blue/Senheiser/Shure mikes[/i] etc lives a long way away, don't get to hang out very often) we were listening to 3 wah's, two of which I had modified for folks and one was a fairly stock GCB-95 with a switchable input buffer. The long-and-short of it was, all (present were 7 musicians, 3 were electronics related) agreed that the buffer in the Dunlop sounded better, more clear, no grit, less variance from low-to-high in the sweep, but ruined the way the wah interacted with the guitar pickups.
The buffer specifically lost the growl
the wah had at the low-mid point of travel (think opening riffs of Hear My Train A Comin
, or Money For Nothing
) at the end of the day all agreed that better overall sound was achieved with a buffer ...but also... all agreed that better overall "character
" was achieved with the guitar straight in to a normal VOX/Thomas type wah (with no input buffer) wah.
So in my mind while buffers do help things, in a way, and have measurable value, to the musicians ear (which is THE
litmas test really) the character of the tone is more significant and buffering can flatten the character of the effect.
R.G. wrote:...you can realize that all capacitive loading on the raw guitar is bad, so the less the better....
I would disagree, too sweeping a statement (it's only my opinion, don't get upset) and considering music more with the mind and less with the ears. Was it not capacative loading that allowed Hendrix to live on the verge of feedback, without killing people (dogs, birds, plant life, single cell ameaba etc.) before you answer read on...
I'm reminded of the EMP Museum in Seattle (I live in the area) where his white Woodstock Strat currently resides, Fender asked EMP if they could come up and open it up to profile it for a special Hendrix model they were doing back in 2002 or '03, and they found a.... whoa!.... yep a .1uF tone cap, yep, not a .022 or .047 or an old Tele .056, nope the Godfather of feedback
had a .1uF
tone cap (on a 250k pot), geez, talk about capacitive loading! no room for argument here, all one needs to hear how much non
-treble loss 'ol Hendrix had is to just pop-in a copy of the Woodstock Tape/DVD and let 'er (him) rip....(or R.I.P. as it were)
Just for kicks, just try this at home, if you have a Strat drop a .1uF cap in there and see what your sound does (I did, it came right back out) nope it takes a special man with a full-blast 1959SLP and a .1uF tone cap (and a old funky coily-cord) to rip the paint off the walls with non-loss-o-treble
like that man did.
Anyway, food for thought, buffers definately have a place in electronics, but, not always in a musican's tone character
, and it isn't always automatically about capacitance or treble loss issues IMHO.