Dated synth? How come they are dated but not electric guitars?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Crimson jon, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Crimson jon

    Crimson jon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I see people saying things like "dated Synths" when describing synthesizer parts on led zep in through the out door and many others. I love classic synth sounds so my question is this...

    Why are vintage synth sounds dated but the same distorted guitar sound we have been hearing forever doesn't get called dated or experience the same negative associations? Just curious.
    Michael P, fatwad666, RubenH and 5 others like this.
  2. zphage

    zphage Beatard

    Bucks County, PA
    Guitar sounds can definitely get dated: 50s Vibrolux/verb, 60s fuzz, 60s full roar plexi, Univibe, wah-wah, 70s Dumble sound, 70s/80s Marshall JCM sound, 80s chorus, echo, compressed, etc.,

    Synth/keyboard sounds can be digital or analog: one is heard as warm, the other tinny. They get in trouble when they start trying to emulate real instruments: horns, strings, clarinets, etc., instead of using the real instrument.
  3. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Forum Resident

    Shifting tastes, but mostly because the basic rock guitar sound really hasn't had any radical change since the late 60s. Synths however have been constantly changing, with some "vintage" synth sounds now becoming very desirable.
  4. Terry

    Terry Forum Resident

    I love the synth sound.
  5. jjhunsecker

    jjhunsecker Forum Resident

    New York city
    Good question ! I know I personally find a lot of the synth sounds of the 80s hard to bear now- they just sound so tinny. However, I still love Prince's work with synths in that era, and albums like "love Stinks" and "Freeze Frame" by the J Geils Band (one of the few successful mergings of classic rock and New Wave synth stylings in my view, along with ZZ Tops excursions in that direction )
  6. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
    I'm betting that when a lot of people speak of dated synths they're specifically talking about the ubiquitous Yamaha DX7 and its presets in the 80s. All of a sudden this affordable midi synth was everywhere.
  7. Crimson jon

    Crimson jon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm a sucker for the Mellotron from cris mson and the Beatles and never tire of 70'S Moog sounds from Genesis and the like.
  8. Noisefreq1

    Noisefreq1 Well-Known Member

    I had a buddy once tell me, he didn't like music with keyboards. Guitars or nothing for him.
    I didn't argue with him, just thought of all the great music he was missing out on.

    As synths and keyboards have evolved through the last 50 years, their sound is present on recordings from that perticular era.
    Guitars too, have evolved from being a jazz rhythm instrument strummed in the background to slapback and twang guitar of early rock n' roll and blues to heavy metal wall of distortion and beyond.

    I don't understand why guitars are more accepted than synths and keyboards in popular music.

    But I'm attracted to artists that continue to reinvent the guitar like Robert Fripp.

    It's also interesting how some classic synths come back into favor with certain musical styles.
    Many listeners probably not realizing it started decades before.
    Frankh and Crimson jon like this.
  9. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Because electronical instruments have been in constant development, new models every year.

    So what sounded up to date in the 80's might sound dated now. But it's all a matter of taste. In theory modular synthesizers should sound dated as hell. But I guess most people would call their sound vintage.
    Hardy Melville likes this.
  10. I detest the fake trumpet synth sounds of the 80s (pop songs). Ta-dat... Ta-dat-dat... That's one of the things I guess that easily "date" negatively synthesizers, when they wannabe this or that. Whereas guitar has more "personality". I like good synth sounds when they don't try to emulate anything.
  11. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Marysville, WA
    Every so often a guitar part comes along that sounds pretty dated, even within a great song, i.e, the remake of Grey Seal by Elton John. Specifically, at the "playout" ending at the tail end:

    GodShifter and Crimson jon like this.
  12. ponkine

    ponkine Forum Resident

    So, you basically covered the whole classic guitar gear history!
    Frozensoda, BGLeduc and zphage like this.
  13. ponkine

    ponkine Forum Resident


    Most horrible-sounding synth ever. Responsible in a great deal of the awful 80s dated sound
    EdogawaRampo, Gumboo and ampmods like this.
  14. zphage

    zphage Beatard

    Bucks County, PA
    I think we also tend to see guitarists as personalities and stylists who can evolve their sound, whereas as most keyboardists are pretty faceless and are not known for further personalizing their sound beyond what comes out of the box, obviously there are exceptions. Ironically, many more people may have been able to tell distinctive piano stylings during the 50s and 60s and organists from the 60s onward.
    GodShifter likes this.
  15. morgan1098

    morgan1098 Forum Resident

    It might also have to do with HOW the synths are played. Complex synth solos, IMO, almost always sound dated. Synths work better as atmosphere or as programmed/rhythmic elements.
    dbucki, FJFP, Ryan Lux and 2 others like this.
  16. krlpuretone

    krlpuretone Forum Resident

    Grantham, NH
    Dated synths are in...have been for about 10 years now.
  17. George Blair

    George Blair Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    It's about effects, not the instrument. A clean piano cannot sound dated, but a synth really is a keyboard with an array of effects - any of which could become tied to a particular style or era. Same with guitars, but perhaps less obvious. A guitar usually sounds like a guitar, even with an array of effects. But what does a synth sound like? The name implies processing something to sound like something else.
  18. ponkine

    ponkine Forum Resident

    As with any other instrument, synths can sound beautiful, awe-inspiring, lush, warm, etc or crappy/forgettable/annoying

    To me, the most dated guitar sound is that thin/twangy/brittle or surf
    That's why I've never been fan of Telecasters
    Northwind likes this.
  19. Say It Right

    Say It Right Forum Resident

    Niagara Falls
    Maybe it's time to stop paying serious mind to what people post here.
    Jeremy Holiday, Otlset and monotone like this.
  20. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    Yeah, Zappa's use of synths in the late 70's / early 80's is pretty hard for me to take. Of course, I'm not a fan of his synclaviar work either.
  21. Crimson jon

    Crimson jon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    This is the best place for music knowledge and equipment advice so I take people's opinions seriously here. Hard not to so many great members.
  22. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Problem is they were used to emulate other instruments in the 80s. Sounds like crap. Synths that sound like synths haven't aged badly.
    Frankh likes this.
  23. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    Guitars can sound soulful
    Synths are soulless

  24. GodShifter

    GodShifter Son of the Morning Star®

    Dallas, TX, USA
    I think guitar sounds evolved or devolved in every decade. I can definitely hear the difference in terms tone in a 70’s guitar album as opposed to a 2000 album. Much of it has to with chosen effects, amplification, and studio decisions. Listen to Black Sabbath’s Never Say Die as compared to Heaven and Hell. Same guitarist, same guitars, same Laney amplifiers, but there’s a huge difference.
    YardByrd, Mr. Explorer and zphage like this.
  25. Crimson jon

    Crimson jon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Soundtrack to a clockwork orange sounds like the soul but 1000 years in the future ...bluesy rock bendy guitar sounds sound like the souls of the past. Two different beast but not devoid of soul.
    zen, Lilainjil, Davido and 3 others like this.

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