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Table Of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Several Guitar Types 3. Amp Types and Tones 4. Effect Pedal Types and tones 5. Amp Box, Amp stand or on the ground? 6. Tube pedals vs. non-tube pedals 7. Effect Pedal Mods 8. Multi effects vs. pedals 9. Modeling amps vs. real amps 10. Solid State or Tube Amps? 11. Recording with mics 12. Direct Recording with Modeling Devices 13. Finding YOUR Tone 14. Amp/Effects Debates 14. Your Guitar 16. The Absolute truth... 17. In closing--People, Knowledge, and Skill...SO HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR TONE?
Hi! Welcome to Indyguitarist.com and Guitartone.net’s “Introduction to Guitar Tone and Effects”! This is an essential manual for getting the best sounds from your electric guitars, your amps, effect pedals, digital processors and
equipment. This book and the accompanied audio also features easy to follow instructions with tons of photos, teaching the basics of guitar tones, effects, amps and guitars. The CD or the provided link for the download provides many audio examples. Readers of this will learn all the different types of guitars, what type of music they are best suited for, who plays them, what different configurations of amps, what tones are best, rock or country. In the other book, we’ll discuss how you can modify your effect pedals for maximum tone without paying premium money as well as what some hot pros are using. I’ll also put everything in extreme detail for you. Not only that, I’ll also show you some of the best ways to set your effects, and amp to achieve tonal bliss!
To listen to soundclips, go to www.indyguitarist.com/tone You will be able to click on them there.
Fender strat usually features 3 single coils or 2 singles and a humbucker. It may also feature 2 humbuckers at your neck and at your bridge and a single in the middle, although that is not as common. The 3 single coils, it is more known for a ‘quacky’ type of sound and used on a ton of recordings, and is very common. Neck position is very good for blues, its very full and warm. Stevie Ray Vaughn used that quite a bit as well as the fourth position, which is a combination of the middle pickup and the neck pickup. Most guitars nowadays are patterned after the strat. Many of the them have taken the good things about the strat and changed the tremolos and different pickups, and maybe a little bit different radius for the fret board and so on. The Fender strat is very good for rock, blues or country and it is still used for those types of tones today.
the Nashville studio giant. Jimmy Page used to use one on some of the older recordings until he switched to a les paul and there are many other guys that use them too. It has a very smooth mid range and though its used primarily in country it is also very good for rock and blues as well.Fender Telecaster A fender telecaster is more known for a honky type of tone…and that’s really the easiest way to explain it. Its more of a mid-rangy tone…kind of more of a compressed sound. It has 2 single coils or the Nashville tele comes with 3 single coils. swears by them. . Brent Mason. as do most country pickers.
The Les Paul is kind of mid rangy like a telecaster-just more ‘in your face’ and ballsy… and has much more bottom end than a telecaster. . rock n roll or maybe every now and then some light pop-ish type of music though more dominantly in the hard rock or rock n roll. Usually configured with 2 humbuckers one at the neck and one at the bridge or 3 humbuckers. They are primarily used for hard rock.Gibson Les Paul Joe Perry from Aerosmith and Slash from Guns n Roses were two of the faithful followers of the Gibson Les Paul.
Ibanez came out with many different models probably the most popular were custom models for Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. . Paul Gilbert loved his Ibanez. A lot of guys use them for hard rock and rock n roll. which included locking floyd rose tremolos to do whammy bar dives and lots of whammy tricks. There was just a ton of guys especially in the late 80’s when it was a fashion statement to have an Ibanez. They are a favorite of ‘shredders’ typically. They’re very full sounding but they don’t cut through as easy as a fender or a Gibson.
The PRS is considered by many to be the guitar to have this decade. A lot of guys starting buying the PRS. . It is very full sounding plays excellently but they are expensive. It has very hot pickups. as they are called-everyone calls them PRS. They kind of took the place of Ibanez was the guitar to have in the 80’s.Paul Reed Smith guitar – primarily used for new metal. rock or hard rock.
Its an excellent rock amp and breaks up very nicely. There again. if you listen to that guitar. Its very similar to a deluxe reverb but is has a lot a more power and it’s a lot louder. It’s a pretty good clean tone. It’s the only solid state amp in this line up of amps we are discussing here. brown will use two of them in stereo and have them cranked up and they are amazingly loud. they sound very good when you crank them up. came the Marshall Plexi. A lot of guys use those. If you are standing in front of them they will almost knock you down--they are that loud! The 1965 black face is the most famous which is also reissued in the 90’s because of it being famous and the ability that people were buying the old 65’s and paying ridiculous money for them. mostly country some rock and jazz. The Marshall amps JMP series is more of a straight forward rock amp. Very smooth and very full. It has two channels clean and dirty. like all marshals. its all Plexi tone. In fact. which was the most famous in the 60’s and 70’s. the old ACDC stuff with Bon Scott especially. Before that. It Had a single channel but when you crank it up there was no tone like it. excellent dirty tone.Chapter 2 Amp types and tones The Fender twin Reverb is generally used for clean tones. The Roland Jazz Course has excellent clean tones very loud without distorting so its great for jazz and some rock and country guys use it too. Some guys like Jr. You can crank it up a lot more to get it to . The Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier was primarily for heavy guitar driven music but a lot of bands nowadays who play new metal and hard rock use them too because they are so full and aggressive sounding and very almost a fuzz type of distortion. There’s no distortion channel and its very loud but it really shines when you can crank that thing up and get those tubes hot. The Fender Deluxe Reverb is basically just like the Twin Reverb except its not near as loud.
the twin) to get it to compress naturally or distort.saturate and compress a little bit more so a lot of country guys love it.e. Brian May of Queen used one of these quite a bit.com) swears by his 67 fender deluxe. . Vox – primarily a country and rock amp. Z amp. Z amp that he uses pretty extensively to kind of simulate a sort of vox tone. Some rock and jazz guys use it but not so much jazz because you don’t have to turn it up to such a loud volume (i.brentmason. Brent mason (www. Its very midrange has a great honky type of tone breaks up very nicely. Brad Paisley on his earlier stuff used a Vox and now he has a Dr. Click Here to Listen to Brad playing through his new Dr.
Some amps have a series. it would not sound too good if you put the reverb before the overdrive. Basic rules: 1) If the effect modulates the signal (see following Topics). your amp also has two. You want a reverb on your overdriven signal. put it before overdrive. The following Topics will give you information on which effects belong to which group. you should have all the stomp boxes that should come before overdrive between your guitar and the amp's input and all the boxes that should come after overdrive after your amp's preamp in the effect loop.overdrive) .Preamp (generally responsible for sound and .effect pedal types and tones What is an effect loop? Most amps today have more sockets than the one labeled "input". you get the problems described above. experiment! Normally. The signal that "travels" through your amplifier normally takes the following way: Input .Chapter 3 . With a series effect loop.labeled "send" and "return" . "leaves" your amp through the send jack. put it behind any preamps or overdrive/distortion boxes. Why? For example. Chances are. although with tube power amps the sound is also shaped). But if you want to use your amp's overdrive channel. The guitar signal comes from your amp's preamp and through "send" goes into those effects that should be put behind any overdrive. This is where the effect loop comes in.if you want . Some effects (see the following Topics) work and sound better if they come after any distortion or gain that is applied to your guitar signal.the effect loop.Power amp (generally responsible for volume. 2) It the effect boosts the signal. Therefore. not an overdriven reverb. you put all your stomp boxes between your guitar and the input of the amp. the guitar signal (your sound) comes from the preamp of your amp. and others have a parallel effect loop. 3) There are no absolute rules! Break them. . The signal comes back into your amp through the "return" socket.
100% of your signal goes through the effect. but keep in mind that you won't hear much of the effects if you only put a tiny part of your signal through the effect box. The "remaining" signal stays in your amp. .runs through the inserted effect and comes back through the return jack. you control how much of your original signal leaves the amp and passes through the effect. You decide with the parallel effect knob how much effect you want. and is "joined" again by the signal coming back from the effect.perhaps cheaper ran through multiple buffered (non-true bypassed) pedals may result in loss of full bodied tone. preserving much of your sound. So you can mix the dry (without effect) and the wet (with effects) signals. Many people have found that their sound suffers (great tube amps and . The effects in the loop should be set so that they let out no original signal but 100% effect signal. now with effects on it. The solution was the parallel loop: with the control.
A compressor has to be used carefully. the volume level is more consistent and sustain is increased. you limit your own range of playing dynamics drastically. if the signal is below a set threshold level it is made louder. Attack: The compressor takes a little time before the gain is adjusted to the new input level. the signal is made quieter.COMPRESSOR A Compressor reduces the dynamic range of a signal. after sounding a string on a guitar. it tries to maintain a constant level of output by amplifying the incoming signal to maintain that constant level. If the signal becomes too soft. the sound produced by the pickups gradually dies away. Sustain: Sets the length of the period during which weak signals are amplified. The instrument sounds smoother. It reduces its gain when the signal level is too high . A little compression will keep the instrument's level from dropping too radically after it's plucked. Some people say that if you hear that there's a compressor at work the effect was overdone. You might call a compressor a variable gain device. If you overuse it. the compressor kicked in. which is perceived as increased sustain. When the input level falls under the threshold. the compressor again needs time to respond and increase the gain again. If the input signal is above a set threshold level. . For example. This is the release time.making louder passages softer. Release: When the input level exceeded the threshold. Therefore. The amount of time the compressor takes to decrease its gain when the input level rises above the threshold is called attack time. The gain here is not perceived as "distortion"!! Controls: Threshold: Sets the level where the compressor kicks in to make the signal softer.
there will be distortion on the tape. you get very quick changes in gain. Set the threshold in a way that your signal does not exceed the point where distortion occurs. One too strong pick attack and you've distortion on tape. It would be very hard if not impossible to achieve this just by controlling our picking hand . which is often perceived as "pumping" and generally not desirable. it's even more important: If your signal exceeds a certain peak. The compressor helps here. If recording. Examples of settings . If attack and/or release time is too short.Using an appropriate attack time. This happens easily without a compressor because you normally set the input level in such a way that the average signal is loud enough.some funk songs for example. the naturalness of an instrument's sound will get through before the compression sets in. When do you need it? Sometimes a song or even a certain style requires the notes you play to fall in a certain (sometimes very narrow) dynamic range .especially at high speed. ruining a whole track.
It also can be used as a booster for solos or to give your guitar sound more punch for playing rhythm. .
resulting in distortion.DISTORTION It all started in the 60s when the PA systems and amps weren't as powerful as today. Basically. A characteristic of its sound is that it radically emphasizes harmonics. Check out "Foxy Lady" or "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" or the Beatles' "Sgt. Fact is. The high input signals overloaded the tube preamp and output stage as well as the speakers. that Jimi Hendrix used a fuzz (Fuzz Face) often. Some people even say the sound reminds them of a circular saw. so your effect may produce something that's different from what its names says. The fuzz was created very early. A well known example is the Tube Screamer. the nuances of the picking technique are still audible.OVERDRIVE . overdrive and distortion. Overdrive: Simulates the sound of an overdriven tupe amp and responds to playing touch. The resulting distortion is warm and smooth. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" or the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" for examples. START EDIT . there are three different types of effects for "distortion": fuzz. guitarists discovered that the result didn't sound too bad. The only thing you could do was to turn your amp up to 10. By accident.FUZZ . The names have been mixed up by companies producing effects.
CLEAN BOOST MILD OVERDRIVE AGGRESSIVE OVERDRIVE .
Controls: Drive: Adjusts the distortion of the effect unit. Boss DS1 (Distortion) or Boss HM3(Hyper Metal) are examples. If you do this. Middle and Treble). use the "Gain" control (see below) sparingly and use "Level" to set the level of distortion. metallic distortion with many upper harmonics.AGGRESSIVE OVERDRIVE Distortion: Produces harder. Tone: Adjusts the highs and lows (if you have a more comfortable unit. overdrives (and less often fuzz and distortion) can also be used to boost your guitar signal so that it actually overdrives your amp. Besides producing an overdriven or distorted sound that your amp only amplifies. A guitar sound that really cuts through and screams is the result. A few tips: Don't overdo it!! . you may even have controls for Bass. Level: Adjusts the output volume of the effect unit.
If you use too much. Another thing you perhaps have already experienced is this: You dial in a distortion sound you really like and as soon as you play together with other people. Another disadvantage is that gain/distortion reduces your dynamic range. try using less distortion instead of turning up your amp and/or turning up the mids on your amp/pedal/eq. A Compressor comes in handy here. even if your amp volume is wide open. you seem to have not enough volume. .CLEAN BOOST MILD DISTORTION HEAVY CREAMY DISTORTION HEAVY CRUNCH DISTORTION If you listen to Rhythm guitars on CDs you'll very often notice that the amount of distortion used is not that much. the rhythm guitar was recorded twice or even more often to get that huge sound. Very often. Downside: A lower gain setting leads to less sustain. your sound becomes muddy. If you want your guitar to cut through in a band context.
a compressor comes before a distortion device. Often used overdrive/distortion units are: Ibanez Tube Screamer (TS9). resulting in a thicker. CHORUS A chorus belongs to those effects that modulate and double sound. This produces a swirling. Controls (maybe with different names): Rate: the speed of the modulation Depth: how intensive the modulation is Filter: adjusts how much time there is between the original signal and the modulated one Effect level: volume of the modulated signal. shimmering effect. like the Arbiter Fuzz Face. Some use it to imitate the sound of a 12string. ProCo The Rat. .In the effect chain. rich sound. Fuzz pedals still exist. This swirling effect makes the two signals sound slightly out of tune as they would be if there were two instruments.80 milliseconds) and pitch modulated signal with the original signal. but it's not a perfect imitation. It combines a slightly delayed (20 . A stereo chorus adds spaciousness and dimension. Tech21 Sans Amp.
all these effects should come after overdrive/distortion! FLANGER A Flanger creates a slight delay and combines it with the original signal for a "swirling doubled" effect. A tape machine was being used for a delay and someone touched the rim of a tape reel. etc. Legend says it originated while the Beatles were producing an album. warrant. The rim of the reel is also known as the 'flange'. just as a flanger. phaser. the delayed signal interferes with . a chorus belongs in the effect loop. The length of the delay is constantly changing. hence the name 'flanging'. The delay time is so short (1 to 10 or maybe 20 milliseconds) that you don't hear an echo. RICH CHORUS SUBTLE WARM CHORUS Music example: Extreme chorus used throughout 80’s rock…listen to any dokken.DEEP. slow song and you’ll definitely hear chorus! If you want to use your amp's overdrive. reverb or a delay. that characteristic flanging sound was created. With some more tinkering and mixing of signals. In the effect chain. skid row. slaughter. Instead. Other words to describe the effect are "whooshing" or "a jet plane flying overhead". changing the pitch.
If you listen to Van Halen's "Ain't talking 'bout love" you can hear a delay (about 100ms) and a flanger (slow spead. Controls Depth: Maximum delay time added to the time you set with the Delay control (see below). but the Chorus has longer delay times (30 . This creates "notches" in frequency response. PHASER A phaser combines an out-of-phase signal with the original signal to produce a sound similar to the "spinning" sound of a rotary speaker. Feedback/Regeneration: Only some units have this control. A Flanger is very similar to a Chorus. Instead. resulting in the typical sound of the flanger. The rim of the reel is also known as the 'flange'. Delay: Sets the minimum amount of delay (remember. sounds drier and has a shallower "whoosh". hence the name 'flanging'. As the delay time changes. you can also specify whether to add or subtract the feedback signal. a phaser sounds very much like a tamed flanger. in my humble opinion. a flanger comes after the overdrive/distortion. moderate depth with regeneration) in the intro riff. that characteristic flanging sound was created. A large amount of feedback can create a very 'metallic' and 'intense' sound. Rate/Speed: Adjusts how quickly the notches move up and down the frequency spectrum. In some cases. you can take a portion of the flanger's output and route it to the input. Just like a chorus. It does nearly the same (see "Flanger": creating notches in the frequency spectrum) but it uses a shorter delay (0-5ms). a flanger belongs in the effect loop if you want to use your amp's overdrive. the frequencies affected also change. .50 milliseconds) and no feedback. one delayed for a short time). the delayed signal interferes with frequencies of the original signal (picture two sine waves. With it.of signals. Well. In the effect chain. Some frequencies are eliminated (one sine wave is at its maximum. the other at its minimum). The delay time is so short (1 to 10 or maybe 20 milliseconds) that you don't hear an echo. delay changes).
sounds drier and has a shallower "whoosh".Well. Mix/Level: Sets how much of the filter output (the delayed signal) is added to the original. The notches in the frequency spectrum are created by passing the signal through a special group of filters. so only some are eliminated (one sine wave is at its maximum. the other at its minimum)and some are made weaker. It does nearly the same (see "Flanger": creating notches in the frequency spectrum) but it uses a shorter delay (0-5ms).e. But not all frequencies are delayed by the same amount. called allpass filters. But the signal needs a certain time to pass through the filters so it is "delayed" in comparison to the original signal. A phaser is very often used for clean rhythm guitars in pop and funk music. the delayed signal interferes with frequencies of the original signal . one delayed for a short time). The way the effect is produced differs a little bit from the flanger. in my humble opinion. Feedback/Resonance: The phase shifting effects can be made more intense by using feedback . The Flanger indeed is a special kind of phaser. The MXR Phase 90 contains four stages for example. Controls Rate: Adjusts how often the notches move up and down the frequency spectrum per second. This creates the "notches" in frequency response.adding part of the filter output to the input again. Lenny Kravitz' "Are you gonna go my way" is an example for a phaser at work. more notches are created. As the name implies. Depth: Sets how far the notches move up and down. a phaser belongs in the effect loop if you want to use your amp's overdrive.just like the flanger (picture two sine waves. none is "absorbed") to the output. If you now mix the two signals. a phaser sounds very much like a tamed flanger. . This control determines how much of the filter output is routed to the input again. Just like a chorus or flanger. By putting more allpass filters in line. all frequencies pass through the filter (i.
DELAY A Delay samples the original signal and plays it back delayed to simulate "echo". SLAPBACK ECHO . a phaser comes after the overdrive/distortion. a phaser belongs in the effect loop if you want to use your amp's overdrive.Lenny Kravitz' "Are you gonna go my way" is an example for a phaser at work. In the effect chain. Just like a chorus or flanger.
It's a very versatile. Feedback: How many delayed signals do you want? This control sets the number of repeats. often used effect. Keeping the direct sound and delayed sound separate for a stereo effect makes it sound like recording left and right cannels separately. "Cheat": Selecting a delay time that matches the song tempo (see below).Controls Delay time: Sets the time between original signal and delayed signal. The result sounds similar to two guitars playing in unison => fatter sound. you can play notes at a constant speed and have a delayed signal right between those notes. Depending on the time between original signal and delayed signal. the effect is quite different. Reverb: Use about five delays at 100-200ms and set a low volume and you have a reverb-like sound. Doubling: Use a short delay time (50ms or less) and cut feedback so only a single delay is produced. creating the impression that you are .
If you want to use your amp's overdrive channel. creating the impression of two guitars playing in harmony a third apart. EG you want a 16th note delay at 120 BPM: 60/120=0. setting the delay so that it matches the speed of the song produces a highly musical effect! Ok.120 ms) and no feedback and you have the sort of delay you hear on many rockabilly songs.) You get even more interesting results. the delay belongs in the effect loop.5 (500 ms) then divide by 4 (to get 16th)=125ms Examples: Generally. to "cheat" or to play harmony? Delay time for quarter notes =60/Tempo(bpm).delay repeats note . . You get the delay in seconds. Brian May often used a delay to play harmony lines with himself.your note . but how do I calculate the delay time needed to fit the speed of the song. Generally. U2's the Edge uses a lot of delay to make his sound fatter or to create the impression of playing twice as fast as he actually is (for rhythm and lead guitar. In the effect chain. if you allow more repeats than only one! Slapback: Use a short delay time (40 . The Stray Cat's "Rock this town" provides an example for a slapback delay. listen to "Brighton Rock". then an E and finally a G: the delay repeats the C at the same time you sound the E and the E repeat sounds together with the G.playing twice as fast (for example: play constant eight notes and have the delay set to repeat your eight note right between two of your notes => sounds like sixteenth notes being played: your note . Harmony: Using long delay (800ms or longer) is good for creating harmony: you play a note and the delay repeats this note at the same time you play another note that creates a musical interval with the first one (example: you play first a C. check out "Pride (In the name of love)". a delay should be put after overdrive/distortion...delay repeats note . and then you just multiply or divide that to get the desired note value.).
Controls . For a short period after the direct sound. One measure used for the reverb in a room is reverberation time. clapping or snipping loudly with your fingers works best. because walls and other surfaces absorb some of the signal. the rate of the arriving reflections increases greatly. Reverberation time is often associated with the size of the room (the longer the time. and it decays exponentially in good concert halls. BUT: The materials the walls. ceilings are made of also plays an important role: concrete or brick are highly reflective. the larger the room). Longer times mean that the sound stays in the room longer before being absorbed. with less reverberation. They are also a little weaker. Reflected sounds arrive a little later at our ears as the directly heard signal. Thus. floor. furniture. These are the early reflections. because they had to travel a little further. or the late reflections. This diffuse reverberation is considered to be the primary factor establishing a room's 'size'. an empty room will sound bigger whereas during the performance it will sound differently. This is the time it takes for the sound intensity to 1/1 000 000th of its original value. curtains or people absorb a lot of the signal. as well as the position of the source and listener in the room. The reflected signal is again reflected and so on until so many echoes are created. there is a set of well-defined and directional reflections that are directly related to the shape and size of the room. In a room. These reflections are more random and difficult to relate to the physical characteristics of the room. carpets. that you can't discern any echoes anymore and you just hear a "reverb".REVERB A reverb adds the natural acoustic ambience present in rooms and halls. ceiling and the floor. This is called the diffuse reverberation. After these early reflections. every noise is reflected by walls. If you want to test the natural reverb of a room.
On the previous Topics I've already given some "rules" . no matter if the reverb effect is between your guitar and amp input or in the effect loop). a reverb should be put after overdrive/ distortion. Also. Sometimes reverb units also contain controls like High Pass or Low Pass Filter. I’d like to address the question in which order to put the effects. the reverb belongs in the effect loop. but to have it all on one Topic . There ARE more. There are some effects mentioned that I haven't explained yet. it's best to have reverb as the last effect in the signal chain. the response is cut off (in contrast to a normal reverb where it fades away).e. In the effect chain.Pre-delay: Sets the amount of time before the first reverberations of a signal are heard. But let's assume that you want to put all your stomp boxes in line between your guitar and your amp. Direct level: Adjusts the volume of the direct signal. Here a sound is allowed only a certain number of reflections.and on the first Topic you can find info on the effect loop. If you want to use your amp's overdrive channel.remember that rules can be broken! . Order of effects By now we have covered most of the basic effects. A special kind of reverb is the Gated Reverb. Reverb Time: Sets the duration for the reverb (see "reverberation time" above). This does not mean it is the only one possible. This time is the gate time. The following order is one that I feel results in useable sounds. but these are the most common. Effect level: Adjusts the volume of the reverb. After a certain amount of time. No matter if you use your amp's overdrive or not (i.
The result is two sounds: one with the EQ turned off and . It is also possible to put the Wah after the overdrive/distortion effect.Octaver .Auto Wah . 200Hz.our amp's EQ to get the sound we want. You can't change the frequencies the graphic EQ offers you to cut or boost. With most "extra" EQs you have an enormous influence on your sound.if you want .Delay . EQUALIZER Most of us use .. . 800Hz . Phaser or Pitch Shift .4kHz) and the opportunity to boost/cut each of these bands individually . You might want to put a Noise Gate before the Compressor and/or after Flanger/Phaser/Pitch Shift. A graphic EQ normally offers you certain "bands" of frequency (for example: 100Hz. up to maybe 6.Reverb Notes: (1): If you put the Wah in front of the overdrive/distortion unit. guitar . (2) A Volume Pedal can also be put in front of the overdrive/distortion. And I guess most of us have been frustrated because a) the controls are not as effective as we would like them to be b) the settings influence each other too much.at least to a certain degree .a completely different one if the EQ is turned on.Compressor . it influences the overdrive.Equalizer . Some companies offer EQs as stomp boxes and most multi-effect units also contain extra EQ . Having an additional EQ is nearly like having a second amp.besides the parameters for the preamp..Wah (1) Distortion/Overdrive .I include them here.Volume Pedal (2) . 400Hz.up to a certain amount (for example +/-15 dB). controlling the intensity of the overdrive.Flanger.Chorus .
METAL TONE ROCK/BLUES TONE NU-METAL TONE .
and then turn it down in steady patterns to create an effect. For a metal sound cut the middle bands around 800Hz and boost the lower and higher frequency bands. Some folks some like to use EQ before the preamp. some folks like to use EQ after the pre-amp. treble or mids like it will behind it. or noise in your signal. I’m just using the term ‘pre-amp’ generically. You put it before. General guidelines: For sharp rhythm sounds cut the middle frequency bands around 800Hz and boost at around 1. Now I say ‘pre-amp’ generically here what I mean is it could be a distortion pedal. you need to put it behind the preamp or even better in the effects loop. For overdriven solos boost the middle frequency bands slightly . A good example of wah use is jimi Hendrix. Its going to give you different tones. as well as cut out feedback in a pa or guitar rig. more or less basically adding distortion. It won’t boost the frequencies like bass. So. its going to boost the frequencies.make sure you put the EQ after the overdrive. or alice in chains’ ‘man in the box’. and move your foot. it’s the type of eq to use if your wanting to notch out a bit of hiss. Tremolo A tremolo will basically raise the volume in your signal. A wah pedal changes the eq range of the pedal as you step on it.6kHz. an overdrive pedal or a fuzz pedal.A parametric EQ lets you choose exactly which frequencies you want to boost or cut. and. .voodoo chile. if you want to add bass. mids or treble.
is it hype or is it real? I believe it is kind of a selling point for some companies. I suggest you have an AB box. Too many buffers or too many buffered pedals you are back to losing some high end off your tone. running ‘a’ signal to your amp. Picking Techniques Picking techniques for tone – there’s all different styles. I don’t like to and I recommend you don’t. is wah pedals. You’ll take off some high end if you don’t have it true bypassed. If you really have to have a tuner in your chain. instead of mechanically (like true bypass). You are not going to have a pure guitar signal. A Buffered pedal is a pedal that switches the pedal on and off electronically. The general exception. True Bypass While on the subject of true bypass. You don’t want your tone colored like that. . you basically want to do the same thing. however. The buffer helps to correct this.Tuners Some guys like to use their tuner in their effects chain. If you have a wah pedal. you do not want that thing in your chain!! I suggest you use a true bypass box. as well as boosting the signal so you don’t lose quality of tone when using long guitar cables. ten pedals. Long guitar cables will also tend to take some high end (treble) off of the guitar signal. and tuners…they will color your signal in a bad way if they are in the path of your guitar signal to your amp. -Finger picking which is like a classical or country style. I don’t think its really necessary if you are only using one or two pedals but if you are using five or six pedals. It buffers the signal-meaning it boosts the level of the signal. it will take some high end off. You do not want that. You will destroy your clean signal to your amp. in an attempt to not color the tone. the best thing may be to have a buffered pedal or two and much of them as you can true bypass. I suggest that unless you true bypass your wah. and the ‘b ‘signal straight to your tuner or just put it in a true bypass box.
Amp stand or on the ground? An amp box will send the sound from the back of the amp to the front. Topic 7 Amp Box. Not really. For an example. take an electric guitar that’s not plugged in and lean it against a kitchen table that’s made out of wood and strum it a bit and you’ll notice its louder and plays a little bit fuller that’s just because it is resonating through that wood. With a regular metal amp stand. some guys like and some guys don’t. you have a lot more bassier frequencies coming out of the back and your crispier clearer tone coming out of the front. you are actually going to lose bass because it is not resonating through the floor plus the speaker is pointing directly at you so its going to sound kind of thin if you have the speaker facing you.-Alternate picking…which a lot of guitar solos and ‘shredders’ will alternate pick and that’s the most standard picking -String mutes which is a kind of chunky type of tone old Metallica and a lot of the new hard rock which is more of a string mute type of picking. I prefer to have my amp sitting on the floor so it resonates through the floor. Basically when you play an open back guitar amp. its just going to be more bassy and fuller and that’s just a preference. Topic 8 . An amp box will redirect that bassy frequency directed out toward the front of you and a lot of companies will say it will give you a 412 or _ stack sound. It colors the tone a bit but I feel it makes it a lot fuller and sound better.
Tube pedals vs. Keeley and Analog Man are probably the most well known. Analog Man is very well known as well. what do you feel sounds better? Effect Pedal Mods Why mod any pedal? I'm glad you asked! For the same reason folks buy a tube amp instead of a solid state amp. but if you approach it open-mindedly. you just might dig it! Which one? Listen to the mods. It’s not for everyone. The real decision is what you like. Tone Jam and Indy Guitarist are kind of the new breed of modders out. But. but other ‘car enthusiasts’ like to fix them up. The same reason Folks prefer a ferarri to a hyundai. Analog Man. nice wheels. Some folks like their car just fine. This is basically because they are running more voltage and its more like true tube pre-amp.. but SO MUCH MORE! Seriously.. put nice stereo systems in them. Kind of made to sound more like a vintage type of tone. . non-tube pedals -Most tube pedals run 12 volts or less so the effect is not the same as a tube based amp. but a bit clearer. etc. basically you can tell them you want a Boss DS1 with nothing but more mid range and they’ll do it. His mods are more subtle. Keeley’s mods are more geared like the original pedal. Clipping diodes generally creates distortion of the overdrive but some of the tube pedals with the in internal transformers sound better than the ones with the ‘wall warts’. and Indy Guitarist. He’s very well known for his original compressor designs. its sort of like 'hot-rodding' your car. probably the top ones you hear the most about is Robert Keeley. They mod almost anything and they do custom mods-turning your wimpy overdrive pedal into a beast!! So. Tone Jam. It's everything the stock pedal is. I say all in all a lot of its hype. or the same reason folks buy a Les Paul instead of a rogue.
fender tones. Topic 10 Multi effects vs. box tones everything you need is right there with a click of a button. you can always go to www. With stomp boxes you have to do a tap dance turning on/off several FX-if say changing from a 80's style clean tone with Compression>Reverb>Chorus>Delay>EQ. pedals Pedals are ideal when you want to ‘flavor’ your original signal. for example. To sum it up. If you like to work on your own equipment. You have your marshall tones. real amps A modeling amp is basically a jack-of-all-trades.net and do your own mods. or just want to save money. A modeling amp is good for a cover band where you don’t need 12 amps on stage for example. you’re not going to get an exact replica out of any modeling amp or any modeling device really. if you need a good marshall tone. Keeley and Analog Man only offer certain mods. they don’t do custom mods. This issue. use your ears-play on both and see what feels right and sounds right to YOU. and run them into a tube amp. Also. You are going to get good tones but it is not an exact replica. There’s an easy to follow guide there that teaches you how to mod your own. If you wanted to go from this clean sound to a dry high gain lead sound or a rhythm crunch then you have to do the tap dance. But.From what I’m told. Topic 11 Modeling amps vs. . you can’t beat a couple of premier or modded single effects.guitartone. for some. however. is debated daily! With a multi FX you can preset all your sounds into patches. if they are using a ton of effects. A Multi effects generally is liked for the one footswitch to change a load of FX on/off in one quick tap of the toe! Some players prefer that when playing live.
I own a v-amp and for some things they really work well. . Its going to be similar but its not even going to compare in terms of the ‘ballsiness’ factor-the feeling and tone you get from a good cranked tube amp. Topic 12 Recording with mics I like to put 2 mics on my amp. Jazz or Pop you're probably better off with a tube amp. C&W. If variety is important to you as a player. But let's not forget the Digital Modeling amps. a nice amount of mids. both have their place. As the technology progresses I think you'll even see some die-hard tube snobs taking a closer look at this technology. Solid State may be the ticket.If you put a JC 800 or a Marshall JC 800 right next to a modeling amp on the Marshall setting. Most people refer to ‘ballsiness’ when they are speaking of a guitar tone that has bass. and just the right amount of highs. R&B. If metal is your chosen genre. My biggest gripe with most of the modeling technology is their lack of dynamics. For Blues. with a very nice ‘feel’ to it. these are worth a look. Solid State or Tube Amp? The debate goes on and on and on and on. IMO. its going to be totally different. I've owned both and.
some guys like to use 1 mic. Not actually necessary. is the choice of many a player. There are endless possibilities when it comes to microphone type. I feel it’s best for my needs. I just like doing it that way. however. professional or amateur.I like to put 1 mic towards the edge of the speaker that gives it a little more bass and I like to put 1 mic towards the cone and I mix those two together to get as full of a sound as possible. whenever I record direct. I go my line out from my v amp directly into my stock sound card on my computer. It’s sounds very realistic just like a mic’d amp. It’s a pretty good tone. . In my opinion. or v-amp. direct recording with them is where they shine. For example. and the prices range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars! Topic 13 Direct Recording with Modeling Devices Direct recording with modeling devices such as the pod. really. I record from my guitar straight to my v amp.
Say you join a band where the other guitarist plays a Strat and a Fender Twin. a lot of the spectrum is taken by instruments and voices that would compete with another guitar. another guitarist. audience. In short. The "ultimate" tone (The Tone) does not exist. Most of these people are sitting in their bedrooms or are gear collectors perpetually in search of excuses to buy more stuff. I've gotten what I thought were perfect sounds from my guitar only to find that they didn't work at all when you take your sound out of your garage or bedroom. Are you going to shove another bright Strat into the mix? . you've got your drummer pounding away. a lot of studio guys use them even more so now on a lot of the pop records and country records rather than dragging a lot of equipment in there they set up a pod and plug away at it.In fact. venue. you can take any guitar and amp in good working order and get plenty of useful sounds. physical environment. plus whoever else is in your band. I hear players all the time say they finally found the perfect tone or they're still searching for the Holy Grail of tone. Think about it this way. genre. Some of the "best" guitar sounds are rather lop-sided when analyzed in isolation. emotional context. vocals. The real discovery comes when they play with a band or try recording. etc. "Tone" is a shifting object that varies depending upon song. bass. Instead of looking for "The Tone" you need to think about finding your place within the frequency spectrum. Topic 14 Finding YOUR Tone You ask…”how do I find the perfect tone??!!” There is no perfect tone. With the addition of another vocalist.
and not just a guitarist. in your band or when you record. That's how to be a musician. Your tone may sound like crap. When there is a vocal-free space you can go for something with more substance to it you might find that in any given song.Why? Rather than trying to compete (‘VOLUME WARS!’) you've got to cooperate and find a space that you can occupy that does not step all over other people that might just mean finding a sound that you don't like (say. And when the vocalists are singing select a sound that will compliment. lastly. Likewise.? If you want to sound like EJ or whoever then do not read this! . and then divide the relatively small portion of space left over between the guitars. in some situations. let the bassist take the bottom. and the amount of people and sound absorbing objects in the room. and every venue. What’s that? How do you sound like Eric Johnson/Eddie Van Halen/Yngwie etc. you will be pretty much ignored. That might mean. You are the guitar player. Start there. Unless you are also the singer or you are a featured guitar god. You will not be appreciated if your ‘awesome tone’ conflicts with what other people are doing. And. Cooperate with your band members. the vocals and drums are going to be the least flexible elements. at sound check. even if you use the exact same equipment and settings. if someone soloed your mixer channel. in isolation) but sits well in the mix or work well in comparison to some other guitar tone in the group. So. you'll need two or three different sounds for different areas of the piece. but remember the whole is greater than the parts so what might sound like crap by itself could very well sound super in the total mix. Your tone will sound differently at practice. a paper-thin guitar sound will cut through a mix that is heavy on bass and mids. your tone is going to be the product of being reasonable and considerate. in the above context. humidity. Be prepared to alter it based on the room. temperature. finding a thicker sound (say a Marshall-type middominated sound with humbuckers) and let the Strat guy have his sparkle and snap. Find a cool groove to get into with the drummer and the bassist.
you probably won’t sound exactly like Eric Johnson… Don't get me wrong. that would be a good starting point. But great tone comes from the heart. durable. in Stern's case an ancient Yamaha G100. The remainder. trust YOUR ears and don't get something merely because it has tubes -. Equipment. B. King can get their sounds out of. please realize that just because you own a 1954 Strat. so lower wattage amps tend to be favored. and inspires you to play it! Don't worry so much about the power or wattage an amp has. Great tones can be coaxed out of any kind of amp as long as it is well designed and in good working order. So.there are many of those amps that sound plenty bad. pre-CBS Strat ($12. . rests in your hands and fingers. and versatile. That is a never-ending argument that will probably never be won. your going to mic the amps anyways. I've seen many tube purists who couldn't tell the difference between solid state and tube when they had to rely solely on their ears. then the matter is really pointless. two Fender Deluxe Reverbs and a vintage 50 Watt Marshall. and in King's case an old Gibson Lab Series amp.500) + vintage TS808 Tube Screamer ($500) + vintage Marshall JTM45 ($1200) then you will have all the gear necessary to sound like EJ…note that I said you'd have the gear for the sound not the sound itself. take out a loan on a vintage. digital debate. DO get something that sounds good to YOU! Do get an amp that will be reliable. solid state vs. For Example. When playing within the context of a band. Wonder why I would say a thing like that? Read on! Amp/Effects Debates Don't get caught up in the tube vs. so loudness shouldn’t be so much a factor as some folks think. literally. soul and fingers of the person playing. Tube amps are going to sound better cranked.Instead. is only part of the battle. in and of itself. If Mike Stern and B.
. and shortcomings of an amp that quickly. And every now and then you'll find people making second reviews of the same piece after some use. In short. Try them all out and decide for yourself. incidentally. A cab with 4X10s typically sounds punchier and more immediate while a cab loaded with 12s will sound looser and will allow for a more compressed sound. you simply can't trust them. the Fender Bassman sound) while others will only play through a 2X12 cabinet loaded with Celestion speakers.If you are using a tube amp be sure that the tubes are in good shape. in the pursuit of weird sounds it is fun to hook together an altogether immoderate quantity of effects. Some people swear that a 4X10 cabinet loaded with Jensen speakers is the only way to go (i. But. Sometimes it's cool to use old digital effects from the 80s and early 90s the ones that sound horrendous in their attempt to emulate tube preamps. or metal armor should be secondary to the sound. Go to online resources for the reviews that real owners have posted. chicken-head knobs. It all depends upon your sound. You can’t accurately know the in’s/out’s. leopard skin. you'd be better off shelling out the bucks for some good ones. Considerations like tweed. Great sounds can be obtained from all of them.e. Though. Be aware that different speaker sizes can radically affect your sound. The current crop of periodicals has. are paying their bills through advertising dollars). they get this . Never base your equipment decisions on aesthetics. a closed-back cab like a big 4X12 will generally sound much darker than one with an open back configuration. Never base your amp purchase decisions on the reviews you find in guitar magazines. become nothing but propaganda machines for manufacturers (who. or guitar. you must be careful here as well. for at least six months or more. Look for reviews from people who have owned and used the amp. Don't settle for the cheapest you can find. Effects sound best in moderation. Also. Most of these reviews are posted by well-meaning folks just like you and me but most of them have been posted by people after just a few days of owning a piece of gear. over the last few years. and boa snake coverings.
and most tests won’t show an audible difference. Use the effects when you perform…you’ll get much better in a shorter period of time. you can do it yourself.terrible fuzz. Effects can become a crutch for sloppy playing and a general lack of skill. General information There are some simple.' I can't tell the difference. Also. Make sure that your guitar is capable of being tuned and staying in tune. better safe than sorry-use fresh power. Some love it. Try and keep fresh batteries in your effects. which can be accentuated by clipping the input way too far. no one will ever know the difference. and trying to get better. Try cutting back on what you use if you are practicing. or use a power source. Make sure that your guitar has been intonated properly. but when you perform. But for most folks. Some people claim that weak batteries will get that 'vintage sound. You might want to have this done down at your local guitar shop or. feel free to experiment with pickup height. the general rule is the fewer the better. if you own a really good tuner. Be sure that your pickups are adjusted to their proper height in relation to the strings. In this instance. Maybe you can-I can’t. physical things that you can do to help achieve a good guitar tone. . You could contact the factory to get the official specs or look it up in a good reference book that deals with setup and repair.
Find a pick. Single coil. Clapton. Humbucker scheme (H-S-H) with coilsplitting ability for the humbuckers. Experiment with using larger gauges until you reach a happy balance between gauge. Keep your action up high enough that your strings don’t buzz while bending. Versatility in the electronics area might mean a Humbucker. This will diminish the amount of finger contact on the fretboard itself. they each sounded different. Try fretting the string different ways utilizing different finger angles and portions of the fingertip. If you are looking for speedy speed. Spend the extra money to get a good instrument-you’ll never regret it. Great tones can be had from almost any kind of amp and guitar combination. or picks that feel most comfortable to you. . Know the gear that you own. Don't get too wrapped up in the gear thing. Buy a guitar that is versatile. while rock guitarists typically use 9's or 10s. The Absolute Truth The key to your tone is not in the equipment as much as it is in you. If you don't take the time to figure it out then you might be missing the perfect tone that is already in your amp. Even Seymour Duncan admits as much. playability and comfort. combine pick and fingers for a different sound. knowledge. and Beck each take turns playing through the same Fender Strat -. In an issue of Guitar Player he recounted an experience watching Page. and is made with quality components and woods.no surprise. Heavier string gauges will help your guitar sound bigger and fuller.Try using larger strings. Jazz guitarists routinely play with 13s or 14s. Guitar playing and getting "The Tone" is not about things but people. Or. and skill. play with the tips of your fingers. try using your other fingers to pluck strings. stays in tune. I think Pat Martino actually uses 15s or 16s! Ouch! Fusion players often use 11s or 12s. Also.
That's right.net -. and Skill…SO HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR TONE? The key to finding your tone is simple: stop looking for it. just like you would train if you were an athlete competing in sports. will always sound masterful. please be sure you check out the soundclips included with this ebook. simply send a blank email to info@guitartone. Ornette Coleman (one of the pioneers of free jazz) gigged with a plastic saxophone. NOW you just need to DEVELOP it! How do you do that? Practice. If you concentrate on things like mastering the language and logic of music and mastering your instrument then the tone will develop. set aside a set amount of time every day and just practice. practice. Free your mind and your tone will follow! As simple as this seems -. playing masterfully. Knowledge. skill.com To gain access to all of the free stuff the newsletter members have access to.in your touch. In closing. YOUR TONE IS INSIDE YOU.it is very true!! Your tone is already there. and listen to examples of what we’re discussing here. I welcome anyone and everyone to email me with questions/comments/suggestions: Brian@indyguitarist.its free to join! . plastic. A master musician. and knowledge get yourself some adequate tools like a dependable amp and guitar that work and stop worrying about searching day and night for the equipment that is finally going to set you free.In closing… People. and then practice a bit more! Play along with jam tracks. This illustrates my point. in your mastery.
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