Ask Eddie: The Smallest Things That Affect Tone

It’s time for another edition of Ask Eddie, where Eddie Van Halen himself answers a question from a fan about his career, his gear and many other topics.

This month, the question comes from Timothy Horne from Fort Wayne, Ind.  Horne wants to know if Van Halen thinks minute detai

Horne: Some players can detect nuances and differences in tone in what seems to be the most trivial of things. Like, Steve Vai mentions that the color Sea Foam Green gives his guitar distinctive overtones, and I’ve heard Eric Johnson can detect the difference in the batteries in his pedals just by listening. Do you find such small details that important to tone?

Van Halen: Hi Timothy,

I agree with you to a point.  Detecting nuances and differences in tone in the most trivial things are not always trivial.  I tend to agree with Eric Johnson.  I can hear (and feel) when the batteries in my wireless unit lose just the smallest amount of voltage.  I can hear the difference between a 1-foot cable and a 3- to 5-foot cable, etc.  Every little bit affects the overall sound you get in the end.  Pertaining to Steve Vai and the color Sea Foam Green, that is a bit of a stretch if you ask me.  The thickness of  the paint or how many layers of paint or if the guitar has sealer on it or not can drastically affect the tone of your guitar.  But a certain color?  Not in my experience.  But then again, if Steve hears it, Steve hears it.

All the best, Eddie VH

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