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Everything you need to know to get the right sounds
for playing rock, metal, blues, acoustic and country!

Sixteen of the hottest artist model guitars
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Thirteen wild and innovative effect pedals!

skip electronics—you’ll get more guitar for your money that way. bright tone. but can be harder to play. Here are some basic tips for narrowing down your decision: If you’re a strummer. Try different types and brands of sets on your new acoustic guitar to figure out what works best for you. There are a bunch of different guitar humidifiers on the market. you can easily change the key of P. Definitely shop for an instrument with a solid (as opposed to laminated) soundboard—this part of the guitar contributes the most to its sound—and go for a solid back and sides. Proper hydration of your acoustic guitar is essential. The basic styles of capo include strap-on. Jim Dunlop Celluloid Standard and Teardrop Picks WANT TO TRY YOUR HAND AT PLAYING BLUES OR COUNTRY OR METAL OR SOME OTHER GENRE OF MUSIC. then you’ve got so many options in terms of shapes. go for a dreadnought-sized guitar or larger. CAPOS ACOUSTIC  METAL  BLUES COUNTRY ROCK a song or the overall mood of a piece. An undersaddle pickup fits under a bridge’s saddle and captures more of the attack than a soundboard pickup. many acoustic-electric guitars have built-in preamps with tone controls and electronic tuners. And if you do double duty at gigs. and you might like to experiment with fingerpicks as well. Keep in mind that. save for the magnetic soundhole. and brass is the brightest. the range should be 45 to 55 percent. for gigging. PICKUPS String choice is largely a matter of personal preference. Heavier strings produce more tone and loudness. Soundhole microphones fit inside the guitar and are adjustable in terms of position. smaller picks with pointy tips work best for singlenote work. but don’t produce as much volume as heavier strings and are susceptible to fret buzzing. opt for a cutaway only if you venture high up the neck. an acoustic-electric will be useful. If you’re a singer-songwriter who gigs. you’ll want a smaller guitar. follow this handy guide to get the ACOUSTIC sound you want. And some more recent systems use modeling technology to conjure up the sounds of real miked acoustics. When looking for an amp. BY A DA M P ERLMU T T ER guitarworld. while tips are most useful for strumming. the extended range a cutaway gives you can come at the expense of a guitar’s tone and projection. 2-3 P. BUT DON’T KNOW WHAT GEAR YOU NEED TO GET THE RIGHT SOUNDS? GUITAR WORLD HAS YOU COVERED WITH THIS HANDY GUIDE TO STARTER PACKS. to say the least. This will save you money—and your back. Dryness can cause your guitar’s wood to shrink. look for a two-channel amp that includes both quarter-inch and XLR inputs. for bottom-end heft. Ideally. Coated strings typically have slightly less sustain and brightness than their uncoated counterparts but are corrosion-resistant and longer-lasting. some fitting in the soundhole and others in the case. Trigger-style and Shubb. 8-9 P. in general. A capo is a must-have for an acoustic guitarist. you’ll need a hygrometer. 6-7 P. If you just play around the house. Also consider the string composition. Whatever method you chose. an undersaddle with a microphone.GUITARS Taylor Guitars 612ce larger picks It can be tough to pick an acoustic guitar. skip an amp with built-in effects. for the best sound and flexibility. if you can afford it. usually mounted to the guitar’s upper bass bout. Thinner picks are great for strumming. lowering the action and introducing fret buzzing. if you get deep into effects. To measure the humidity level in your house (or in the guitar’s case). consider an amp that will work with both acoustic and electric guitars. All pickup types. given how saturated the market is with high-quality examples at all price points. don’t be influenced by features you don’t need. with softer STRINGS Smaller picks with pointy tips work best for single-note work. require a preamp to boost the signal. those included on an acoustic amp might not be flexible enough for your music. if you mostly fingerpick. and at worst cracking the wood. 4-5 P. With this handy accessory. For strummers and finger-pickers who prefer their playing au naturale. but here are some things to remember: Lighter strings exert less pressure on the guitar’s neck and tend to be easier to play. too. If you’re just looking to make your guitar louder.com 3 . available at any good music or hardware store. sizes and materials. always be vigilant. Bronze tends to have a clear. PICKS AMPLIFICATION If you’re strictly a fingerstylist. Soundboard transducers and magnetic soundhole pickups are easy to install without modifying a guitar and generally sound warm and natural. phosphor bronze is darker. While preamps are available in the form of outboard boxes. If you’re a fingerpicker. On the other hand. But if you’re a strummer or a flatpicker. while thicker picks add presence to single notes. 10-11 HUMIDIFICATION You’ve got a number of different solutions for amplifying acoustic guitars. But now there are tons of great options on the market. consider trying a thumb pick. On the other hand. while larger picks with softer tips are most useful for strumming. This will allow you to plug in your guitar and a vocal microphone at the same time. It used to be that acoustic guitarists had scant options relative to their electric counterparts when it came to amplification. Certain hybrid systems combine pickup types—for example. In general. picks are probably a moot point.

Both passive and active pickups work equally great for metal. precise and you hear the pick’s staccato attack when you play your leads. get a new one. much better to use a lighter gauge that allows you to bend in pitch rather than using too heavy of a set. For passive pickups. cutting mids and less piercing highs. When you step on it. A great cable will allow for clearer tone. Some use standard bridges or floating tremolos. use your amp’s volume control to turn up. Choosing the right pickup is super important to your sound—and installing a great pickup in an inexpensive guitar is the cheapest way to improve its tone. you’ll need to change it when your guitar is starting to sound a bit muddy. go for the overdrive effect instead and pair it with the amp’s distorted channel. practice often to maximize the most out of what you already have while continuously developing your playing abilities—that is the ultimate way to achieve a massive. strings break frequently or when you can feel the fret indentations if you run your finger under a string. Cables are often one of the most overlooked elements of a guitarist’s gear. listen for a good. and for live shows consider getting a pedal tuner that you can put in as the first unit in your pedal board. so you should experiment to determine how your pick is really performing. many guitarists shy away from the “mids” knob on their amps. This way you’ll have a good warm tone while maintaining the precision and tightness of a solid-state head. There are a few others that are used more often in the studio. A guitar that sustains well without being plugged in usually has a solid tone when you play it through an amp. Otherwise. The key PICKS gradually A heavy pick gauge is the weapon of choice for most metal players. It makes little sense to plug (top) Randall Amplification EOD88 Head (bottom) Engl Amplification Artist Edition E651 Head TUNERS a $2. a good amp should be able to retain and preserve a good amount of your guitar’s initial tone. Since most high-gain heads have a decent amount of gain built in. BY META L MI KE CH L ASCIAK When it comes to effects. This quick and simple adjustment will give your guitar more pronounced sustain and make it sound better overall. better lows. very often a little overdrive in front of the head will give you the extra bite for your rhythms and sustain for your leads. A guitar that hangs well balanced on the strap. Some of the world’s greatest metal guitarists use very light gauge strings. If you plan on using a delay for solos. don’t be afraid of a string action that is just a bit high. For the delay to sound good you must run it through the amp’s effects loop and not through your pedal board signal chain. how well it sustains when not plugged in and how it generally feels. If your pick gets uneven edges or is getting worn out. find an amp that has a master volume knob or similar capability.GUITARS If it’s crushing METAL tones you’re after. Some of the greatest metal tones are based on sweet mids that really cut through. you might find yourself always tweaking your guitar. to getting a great metal tone? Crank the amp’s master volume and turn up the channel volume. metal players typically go for overdrive. It’s time to change strings when your guitar no longer stays in tune. Lastly. The longer the cable the more interference and sound loss you’ll experience. remember that the best way to improve your sound is practice. wah wah and maybe a flanger or a phaser. For a solid-state application. professional tone versus cranking your amp’s gain to 10 and putting an overdrive box in front of it all. start with this breakdown of essential gear. It’s a good idea to invest in a small headstock tuner for practicing. so don’t be afraid to make the investment. use various woods and fret heights and come in either bolt-on or neck-through designs. guitarworld. Quality cables will last forever. Try not to use too heavy of a gauge than you are comfortable with. Every couple of months take a microfiber cloth and wipe off the ends of the cable. Use your pick to execute your ideas and don’t slam the strings with it. It is much. Remember that too much gain in your sound will result in a harsh. piercing. Once you find pieces of gear that work for you. it will mute your sound. look for a brand that feels consistent from pack to pack and strings that last for a while on your guitar.e. so definitely consider incorporating those into your amp’s setting. FINAL THOUGHTS While having the correct equipment is essential to a proper tone. Lastly. there is absolutely no shame in that. Slightly higher action allows your strings to sound clearer and gives you extra grip for bending. If you use stomp boxes in a pedal board. Otherwise. PICKUPS Truetone Jekyll & Hyde Overdrive Distortion EFFECTS Guitars suitable for metal come in many shapes. The second most important effect for a metal player is a delay. In guitar talk. If you plan on playing in a band and are using an amp that utilizes tubes. goldplated tip and features plenty of shielding. STRINGS When it comes to strings. usually will give you at least some indication that the instrument is built well. check the battery often. chorus. shreddy tone that is hard to mic-up and has a difficult time cutting through the band’s overall sound. 12 inches or shorter). AMPS Dean Guitars Dave Mustaine USA Signature VMNT Before adding its own overdrive and equalization.com 5 . so plan on investing in decent speaker cables. which can lead to frustration and tuning problems. More on that in the Effects section. Remember that the guitar is an instrument that lives in the middle of the sound spectrum. clear tone when plugged in. Wrap your cables neatly when not in use and use Velcro strips to keep them organized. If the pickup is starting to sound muddy. use your amp’s gain on about seven and dial in the rest from your overdrive.000 guitar into a $2. lower the bass side slightly (this would be the screw by the sixth string). Choose a cable that has a well-soldered. quality cables. swooshes and other annoyances that only take away from what are playing. such as a compressor or an exciter. Only use a true distortion pedal if your amp’s gain is very weak. This approach will give you a much clearer. Remember. a pick is a precise instrument in itself. A tuner pedal on the floor is less distracting to the fans and you can see the small tuning lights when you’re not right on top of it. A heavier pick with some tip to it will give your playing the attack you want. delay. crushing guitar tone. You’ll know that you found a great pick when your sound is clear. Pickups are the heart of your guitar’s sound. This will remove any oxidation that over time will start to fight your cable’s capabilities. distortion. If you want to play louder. This allows your amp’s power section to put out the most power while naturally overdriving the power section (this is partly where great tone hides). A pick comprises a huge amount of your tone. I recommend using the little screws found on top and bottom of the pickup to move it as close as you can to the strings.000 amp head while using a $5 guitar cable. so only use as long of a cable as you need. but to sound really good it should at least be in tune. and then backing it off a bit. To get a better tone. meaning the neck is not pulling as if to tip toward the floor. use short (i. powerful and clear metal tone is to crank the amp’s master volume almost all the way up while gradually turning up the volume of the channel you are playing on. A band doesn’t have to be machine-tight. Keep turning the overdrive gain and level knobs until you get the right sound without it getting muddy and stop there. If you use active pickups. less distortion (the bad kind) in your sound. look to pair up your amp with a guitar that has a pickup with a nice warm low end to warm up the sound. CABLES They say that you are only as strong as your weakest link. The key to getting a great. When choosing a guitar. making tuning in front of an audience a breeze and instrument changes fast and embarrassment-free. find an amp that has an effects loop or has the delay already built in. this refers to cables. Too thin of a pick and your sound will suffer from too many unwanted noises. Tuning your guitar should be done quickly and without taking away from your performance.

And no look at blues-approved electric guitars would be complete without mentioning the semihollow Gibson ES-335.011. it became the guitar of choice for legendary blues players like Eric Clapton. Freddie King and Otis Rush. while using an A string from a banjo set. lower wattage amplifiers are best suited for the job. Gibson ES-335 AMPLIFIERS Generally speaking. Stevie Ray Vaughan popularized the Ibanez Tube Screamer. the Klon Centaur. If you are looking to go this route. Gibson and Fender were among the few companies offering amplifiers for electric guitars. Gibson or another string company. and a little later. as companies such as Fishman. Taylor. the better it will sound when amplified. Vox was. began his career playing acoustic guitars such as a Gibson J-100. Along with Gibson. guitarists (top) TC Electronic Flashback Delay. the Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail. such as the Gibson L-1 favored by Robert Johnson. all offer high quality single-coil pickup guitars. The Les Paul morphed into the SG. Albert King got around the problem by tuning his guitar down one and a half steps.046. Today. Martin. Glass slides run the gamut from medicine bottle types like the Coricidan bottle favored by Duane Allman. for the high E. and it exploded in popularity with the arrival of Jimi Hendrix. a leading manufacturer of high quality amplifiers that are perfectly suited for blues. ACCESSORIES Fender Champ String bending is an essential element of electric blues guitar. Jeff Beck. Eric Clapton. companies such as ESP. single-coil pickups produce a brighter sound with a greater frequency range. King. The early Les Pauls were fitted with oversized P-90 singlecoil pickups. A common approach was to use the standard high E string. The widespread popularity of the blues today has also led to the reissuing of seminal acoustic instruments.com 7 . Blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan played Stratocasters nearly exclusively. Johnny Winter. The simple three-knob design—Level (volume). Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes to the bottlenecks favored by Bonnie Raitt and Ry Cooder. Tampa Red. among the most commonly used pedals of this type for blues are the Love Pedal Zendrive. Chrome steel is most likely the most prevalent metal slide. referring to the types of pickups that are used. the Timmy. Today. followed in the Forties by the more popular GA series. many blues guitarists still choose to use acoustic guitars with pickups placed in the sound hole.B. Both are equally suited for blues music. DR. the Analogman King of Tone. Fender and Santa Cruz. now produced by companies such as Victoria. later. Epiphone. still popular today for their high output and clear sound. EFFECTS Though the majority of the classic blues recordings were done without any guitar effects used at all—the distortion came from turning the amps up all the way and the delay-type effects were the result of mic placement and/or slap-back recording techniques—most blues guitarists today use at least a few pedals in the pursuit of a blues-approved sound. electric blues is not extremely high volume music. the Gibson Les Paul be- Electric blues is not extremely high volume music. a primitive single-pickup guitar also used by Jimmy Reed. both of which strive to replicate the Dallas-Arbiter Rangemaster Treble Booster used on the early recordings of Eric Clapton. And most blues guitarists will tell you that tube amps are the way to go. After the Les Paul switched to humbucking pickups. Once . and many guitarists today still prefer these types of tube amps. In the late Fifties. Lonnie Johnson. one of the most widely used pickups of this style was the D’Armond. Fender-style guitars such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster feature single-coil pickups. blues music has been performed and recorded on virtually every style of acoustic and electric guitar. Steel-bodied guitars create a very distinct sound that remains closely associated with the blues. And another dual humbucker style guitar. with a removable pickup set in the sound hole. Solidbody electric guitars are generally separated into two categories: single-coil or humbucking. the Flying V. usually a . Jimmy Page and Richie Blackmore all used them. In the early years. but other effective pedals are the TC Electronic Flashback. As a rule.and 15-watt amps such as these. bronze and even brass. Picks are almost as varied as there are players. became iconic in the hands of the great blues giant Albert King. along with Gibson and Fender. Deluxe and Bassman. the Fulltone Full-Drive 2. Rory Gallagher and others. Before the proliferation of electric instruments. as Gibson began production in 1936 with the EH product line. came the guitar of choice for blues icons Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. and have a distinct tone that still sounds fantastic for blues today. the MXR Carbon Copy is my favorite. there is no shortage of quality acoustic guitars available today. lower wattage amplifiers are best suited for the job. such as a 12-inch and eight-inch speaker. the Xotic AC and BB Boost. so smaller. Magnatone and Supro. Carr. making his strings much easier to bend. morphed into the better-known Fender Champ. a darker sound and a more narrow frequency range. Epiphone. Fender began making amps in 1945 and these early models. as well as humbucking style guitars. Steel-bodied resonator guitars. Gary Moore and Joe Bonamassa. Scrapper Blackwell and Johnny Winter. so smaller. an overdrive distortion pedal. the Jetter GS 124. The early GAs had two different sized speakers. For those using a standard flatpick. the Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail and the Pigtronix Echolution. though many players prefer copper. and the Analogman Beano Boost and Keeley Java Boost. shape and thickness can be found among blues guitarists. from companies such as Collings.010–.Happy-go-lucky guitarists need not apply here: this convenient gear guide is one sure-fire way to get the BLUES. These instruments have been reissued for those looking to replicate the vintage sounds of early electric blues. were utilized by blues legends Son House.009. the better the instrument sounds acoustically. Johnson moved on to a Kay solidbody. PRS.010 or a . Freddie King. favored by Duane Allman and Derek Trucks for electric slide. it seems the “Fender” style Medium or Heavy is most common. The lion’s share of classic blues recordings were done using 10. Ernie Ball. MiSi and DiMarzio and others offer high-quality “drop in” pickups for acoustic instruments. In later years. Schecter and Washburn. and is.009 sets became available in the Sixties..and 12-string guitars used by Blind Willie McTell and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Ibanez and D’Angelico all offer great semi-hollow electrics today. The two most common materials for slide guitar are metal and glass. usually a . as every guitarist seems to have specific preferences in this department. so the greater majority of blues guitarists favor lighter gauge strings for bending facility. starting with the TS-808 and followed by the TS-9 and TS-10. (bottom) Dunlop Joe Perry “Boneyard” Slides began experimenting with light-gauge banjo strings so they could exploit string-bending sounds and techniques. etc. blues guitarists would place pickups in the sound holes of acoustic instruments in order to amplify the sound so that it could be heard over a noisy juke joint or a band. guitarworld. including the Model 26 and Champion. Orange. Today. Ibanez. the most commonly used gauge for blues is . Gain (distortion) and Tone—has been replicated by countless other pedals. the Suhr Shiba-Drive Reloaded. and are also popular and sought-after today. Fender. Yamaha. such as the National and the Dobro. With its introduction in 1952. or the Stella six. and humbucking pickups have a higher output. though picks of every size. the Bogner Burnley and Harlow. 345 and 355 guitars favored by B. Johnny Winter. Mike Bloomfield and. and then use the B string in the place of the G string. The single-coil Fender Stratocaster became a standard tool for blues in the hands of Buddy Guy and Otis Rush. Jimmy Page. Gibson. for the B string. and Gibson-style guitars feature humbucking pickups. Early blues players either used fingerpicks—such as Muddy Waters and Freddie King—while other picked simply with their bare fingers. Ceramic is another common material for slide and is equally effective. the Way Huge Pork Loin. BY ANDY AL E D O RT GUITARS As the preeminent musical style of the last 100 years. One of the earliest blues/jazz guitarists to gain recognition as a soloist. Whether you go with D’Addario. Jimi Hendrix. If you are looking to replicate vintage style delay. Though the acoustic properties of the instrument become secondary when amplified in this manner. Peavey.

Again. Compression is one of the most vital thickening effects for country guitar because of its ability to add more sustain to fatten up clean runs and smoothly tame the sharp peaks of chicken pickin’ licks. set the unit to a single repeat or the delays will start to sound wonky. the guitar’s 25 1/2–inch scale length combined with a single-coil pickup on a steel bridge plate with brass saddles and strings routed through the back of the body all contribute to the harmonic sparkle and percussive snap—or “twang”—a Telecaster is known for producing.010–. Fender Hot Rod Deville and Deluxe III. the guitars and gear most associated with country have certainly changed. You can also use a digital delay but they are often criticized for being overly harsh (digital) in tone. Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail. Wampler Brent Mason Hot Wired. There are also many boutique effect brands that make exceptional analog delays but there are just too many to list—as a starting point. To create that country sound. its perfectly simple and modular design lends itself to easily modify and repair the guitar quickly when necessary. Truetone H2O and Strymon Deco and Brigadier. Or if you use a clean amp and need more boost to juice your signal into breakup. MXR Custom Badass Modified O. and who basically wrote the book on country guitar. and some brands often use the word “overdrive” loosely to where the pedal can end up sounding more like a distortion. clarity and sustain. Now. Modern country music is having a renaissance in its perceived sound. as well as adding some crunchy overdrive. and add an overdrive pedal. and Lollar Pickups’ Special-T Series Tele pickup. Klon KTR. Wampler Ego Compressor. because nothing says “I’m country” more than than Levy’s Leathers’ M17VNB leather guitar strap with nubuck inlay. Depending upon the player’s individual style and volume needs. but there are other amp designs that use EL-34 tubes to convincingly mimic the sound of both EL-84 and 6L6 tubes cleverly like the 3rd Power Dual Citizen or the Fender Bassbreaker 45.009–. But there are also many other country players who love to turn their amps up loud for a slightly overdriven sound but still remain defined.042 or . most country players will agree that a great tube combo amp needs to be loud and clean. For example. There are other great boutique amps like the Matchless DC-30 that employ those tubes and I find they sound phenomenal for country. which leads me to the next topic… Compression EFFECTS is a vital For most players. Because Fender makes a wide range of amplifiers. and here is where you’ll need an analog delay pedal. Boss DM-2W Delay. the amount of overdrive pedals is endless. Some of the best affordable analog delays available are the MXR Carbon Copy. unmistakable and elusive to most—and here’s how to get it. And for those reasons and more. Victoria Golden Melody and Peavey Classic amplifiers will provide a glassy tone for sparkling clean sounds. It also adds a beautifully lush and boosted clean tone that can sound incredibly dynamic if you have great technique. then replacing it is a good option. This simple recipe of effects (and sometimes tremolo) is generally the bread and butter for most classic country guitarists. Elvis Presley and Merle Haggard. If you already have an overdriven amp. which combines an offset body shape and new pickups with a range that evokes the “twang” of a Telecaster as well as the punch of other solidbody guitars. but if you’re not happy with those. Maxon Overdrive OD808 and Truetone Route 66 are among some of my go-to pedals. James Burton. has his very own PRS Guitars Brent Mason signature guitar. Fender produces over 40 different Telecasters to accommodate any flavor of country or rock. Analog delays are prized for their warmth in tone and tend to have shorter delay times (up to 600–800ms). most of the chicken pickin’ and string poppin’ licks you’ve heard in country songs were done on a Tele or any other variation of this iconic instrument. used to put banjo strings on his guitar to accommodate his technique. Here. Finding the right overdrive can be the linchpin to your tone. Finally. There’s good reason many players constantly obsess over finding the right overdrive because having that perfect combination of sustain and drive adds so much to the tonal connection you feel between guitar and amp. Chances are. Carr Amps Impala guitarworld. ACCESSORIES Having the right pickup in your guitar is crucial to getting the country sound.046 gauge set).038) set that works for him. the Tele’s bolt-on construction of a swamp ash solid body paired with a maple neck offers a perfect blend of sweet highs. which become remarkably responsive when they are overdriven. an overdrive and an analog delay are essential for playing country. These particular amps employ the bell-like tone and sweet midrange of EL-84 tubes. as well as becoming your sonic signature.Fender American Elite Telecaster Thinline GUITARS No other guitar is more closely associated with the sound of country music and its players than the Fender Telecaster. it will push your amp into singing distortion. not the rule. JHS. BY PAUL RIA RI O Just like the Fender Telecaster. Picks are totally a personal choice and it really comes down to how you were taught to play. and with that. double stops and pedal steel licks. Some country guitarists also love the scrappy 50-watt Fender Bassman with four 10-inch speakers for raunchy overdrive and touch-sensitivity when its volume is pushed to the edge. when it comes to accessorizing for country. but what I can tell you is that Dunlop makes just about every pick imaginable for you to choose from.com 9 . along with legendary country picker Albert Lee having his own signature guitar with Ernie Ball Music Man. like the Fender Twin. especially if you use a Telecaster. clipping gain when a tube amp is turned up into overdrive. Keep in mind. Regardless. You can’t go wrong with either DiMarzio’s Area-T pickups. have been spotted using Gibson Les Paul and EVH Wolfgang guitars. jazz or standard picks.. However. and for that he uses a number of his very own signature Dr. rockabilly and honky tonk music is the slapback echo (a single repeat short delay that emulates a lively room sound). Jack Sizemore and Kurt Allison. check out companies like Wampler. most classic country guitarists have favored an all-tube Fender combo amplifier with reverb paired with it. with the Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster and the new Fender American Elite Telecaster Thinline as two of my favorites. Finally. Whether you use thumb picks. or if you need pedals to sculpt your sound. Earthquaker Devices Disaster Transport Jr. In fact. taut lows. an overdrive does the trick. EHX Memory Man. Seymour Duncan’s Antiquity Tele ’55.009–. Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer. Brent Mason. you’ll need to dial in a short delay time (under 200ms) and MXR Dyna Comp thickening effect because it adds more sustain to fatten up clean runs and smoothly tame the sharp peaks of chicken pickin’ licks. Jason Aldean’s guitarists. and even Nashville’s most preeminent session guitarist. Country virtuoso Brad Paisley is one of those players who relies on an amp’s overdriven volume to achieve his tone. One of the most signature guitar sounds used in country. Boss BD-2 Blues Driver. I find the Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808. Some of my favorites are the MXR Dyna Comp. what’s more important than a thick leather strap for your guitar? Don’t overlook this small detail. AMPLIFIERS A true COUNTRY guitar sound is unique. if you look at today’s modern country players. but here are our top three: First. many players can be seen with something as sweet and punchy as the 22-watt Fender Deluxe Reverb or as loud and cutting as the esteemed 85-watt Fender Twin Reverb. once you find the right combination of pedals that sound great to your ears and with your guitar. Catalinbread and Diamond. Carr Impala. a higherwatt amp with 6L6 tubes. they are using everything but a Telecaster. EHX Soul Food. then it’s usually best to have light gauge strings (typically a . which are based on a beloved Vox AC-30 he owns. because some modern country guitarists use pedal boards that would rival the Edge’s massive sonic arsenal of stomp boxes. there is no wrong way to play in this area. he uses a custom hybrid light gauge (. Whichever amp you decide to choose. There are many reasons why the Telecaster is often employed for country music. Second. you can easily create a uniquely signature tone from nearly any clean-channeled amplifier. Z amps.D. PRS Guitars have also introduced a new model called the S2 Vela. Overdrive simulates the soft. Way Huge Saffron Squeeze and Keeley 4 Knob Compressor. I can say most Tele-style guitars come equipped with great pickups. it’s best to ask yourself whether you get your tone using the amp and your guitar’s volume control. who played with Ricky Nelson. Way Huge Aqua Puss. PRS Archon. Tech 21 Boost DLA. If your technique involves plenty of bending. not all country guitarists are using Teles. Fulltone OCD. only three effects—a compressor.

A. and also having a great guitar you feel comfortable with. The Peavey Classic Series of amplifiers are another solid choice because they’ve been around for a long time offering great tone and reliability. a whole bunch or nothing at all. The first step is to determine whether a head and cabinet or combo amplifier will do. the Mesa/Boogie Mark Five and Lonestar Series of heads and combos are huge favorites among many blues. Z. and the built-in Red Box allows for direct recording or plugging into a P. Guitarists like David Gilmour and the Edge have racks of outboard effects and tons of stompboxes because their music requires expansive musical landscapes. it’s all the power you’ll need. Hell.AMPLIFIERS Playing rock guitar means you’ll need clean. because there isn’t one. Also. Orange Amplification Rockerverb 50 MKIII head Playing rock guitar means you’ll often have to be a musical wizard by quickly summoning a plethora of guitar sounds and for that. However. in addition to their Vibrolux and Vibro-King combos countless times for their legendary tones. You can’t speak of Holy Grail rock guitar sounds without mentioning Marshall Amplifiers. and I personally love. a good choice would be finding a solidbody guitar that is equipped with a humbucker in the bridge and two single coil pickups in the middle and neck. Dr. but here’s a cross section of heads and combos that should suit you well if you’re looking for true rock tone. the Vox AC30 has been my go-to amp for decades. so you’ll need a guitar with multiple options and modern refinements like hot-rodded pickups. EFFECTS (clockwise from bottom left) Dunlop John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby Wah. TC Electronic Ditto Stereo Looper. or a humbucker-equipped guitar with coil splitting to get those same single coil tones. when it comes to transport and weight. Whether it’s classic or modern tones. crunch and lead tones. but if you’re playing songs that require different tunings. You will end up paying more for this kind of amplifier. especially if you play with a lot of gain and volume. We’ve all seen plenty of guitarists with semi-hollow or hollowbody guitars and countless other pawnshop-prized guitars totally kill it at a gig without missing a beat. Or maybe you don’t. Of course. coil splitting. Depending on the type of music you play. For true British crunch and hi-gain. Of course. but for rock and blues. whether it’s a pointy Flying V or the innovatively shaped St. Single coils. Now. you can use just about any shape or type of guitar to play rock. it should be noted that there are no hard and fast rules that apply to playing rock music or declaring what is the “perfect” rock guitar. and sweet midrange bite when using overdrive. 10 GU I TA R WOR L D • M AY 2016 combo amplifier with a single 12-inch speaker is an easy. portable choice. on the other hand. a low to medium watt Follow these simple rules when it comes to your gear. you may need just a few. An essential pedal-friendly amplifier is the renowned and powerful Roland JC-120. 3rd Power. and for most gigs. Humbuckers also work well for cleans as well. I’m also a huge fan of boutique amplifiers. even Kurt Cobain threw away all convention by putting a Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion pedal in front of his Martin acoustic and wailing during MTV’s Unplugged. and you’ll be joining the ROCK brigade in no time. the Marshall DSL Series are a good place to start. but that is no longer the case. Just like electric guitars.or three-channel amplifier to cover a lot of ground. single coils are also known for producing what is known as 60-cycle hum. Of course. yielding fat and warm notes. Humbucker-equipped guitars tend to give you a fuller sound. or look into guitars that come equipped with noiseless pickups. then a guitar with a fixed hard tail bridge or stop bar/Tune-o-matic bridge is your best bet for being versatile. However. The AC30 as well as the AC15 are the benchmarks of classic British crunch and chime. there is no such thing as a “rock” guitar anymore. having a locking tremolo is fun to use and keeps the guitar in tune. the wall-of-sound that a 50. But for some guitarists. but isn’t your tone worth it? Some of my favorites are Carr. tremolos. check out the two-channel Orange Rockerverb 50 MKIII head and 2x12 combo. crunchy overdrives and pristine cleans. DigiTech Whammy 5. Vincent signature guitar from Music Man. you’re going to need a lot of effects. rock music requires some versatility. you’ll need either a two. BY PAUL RIA RI O GUITARS During the Sixties and Seventies—the golden age of rock—it used to be just a Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul would suffice. because its EQ and gain structure allows versatility to play just about anything and be heard. and for that. there are so many companies and models to list. The Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36 head or combo are also extremely versatile and sound great. Supro Amps have made a big splash with a slew of new combos that sound great turned up and are pedal-friendly. Bogner. what it really comes down to is having a command of your instrument and tone. which happen to be a favorite with guitarists like Joe Bonamassa and John Frusciante. and it’s almost impossible to not engage its acclaimed built-in chorus for its distinctive tonal color. And finally. Check out their Jubilee Reissue Series. Friedman and Victoria. are superb for producing glassy cleans with sparkle. And isn’t that what rock guitar is all about anyway? Regardless. Fuchs. sleek neck shapes and so much more Because you’ll need to get a variety of heavy sounds. which is crucial for crunchy and distorted tones. Matchless. jumbo frets. own and use Fender’s Hot Rod Deluxe and Deville combos. metal and rock guitarists for their versatility and ability to nail a variety of crunch and lead tones. EVH 5150 III 100watt head. because their designers use tried-and-true circuits and innovated them for improved performance in addition to using premium components to produce stellar tones.to 100watt head and 4x12 speaker cabinet can provide is something they refuse to live without. Fender makes the kind of amps that are found on just about every stage and backline. But with a little skill you can certainly learn to tame the noise. The EVH 5150 III 100-watt head and 4x12 cabinet is still one of our favorite combinations. Despite the previous suggestions. you may only need to be as stripped .

EarthQuaker Devices. delay. and Dunlop Nickel Wound and Super Bright guitar strings. what is the best signal path. Dunlop. Xotic and Z. then a guitar with a fixed hard tail bridge. A good place to start is a . fuzz. if you use your amplifier’s gain as your tonal base. DiMarzio and Bare Knuckle offer a huge variety of pickups to match the type of music you play. Tech 21. Having a bunch of stompboxes to use is fun. boost. I totally understand how easy it is to get lost in the amount of string choices available to guitarists because it’s overwhelming: Nickel wound or stainless steel? Coated or uncoated? All valid questions.036 and . Boss. distortion. it’s best to choose a guitar where you already love the sound of its pickups.042) are easy to bend and feel comfortable but can lack the volume or fullness of heavier-gauged strings. For all this. As a rule of thumb. check out companies like Boss. but with a little research you’ll be able to zero in on what string type is most appealing to your style of playing. the best way to change that is to install new pickups. D’Addario NYXL and XL Nickel Wound.Vex. TC Electronic and Korg. Pigtronix. JHS. or stop bar/Tune-omatic bridge is your best bet for being versatile.008–. which offer loads of effects and amp modeling. If you need a little nudge. then it’s also best to route your time-based (delay. which is what is most commonly strung on electric guitars. reverb.down as Stevie Ray Vaughan with just a wah pedal and an overdrive. Vincent Signature suggest trying out a bunch of string brands for a period of a few months and seeing which one feels and sounds the best. phase and wah are the most common effects used in rock music. reverb) and modulation (chorus. DR Strings and Elixir are recognized for making the best coated strings. I’d TC Electronic Polytune Clip If you’re playing songs that require different tunings. and are a must to check out just for their distinctive feel. Also. Boss and EHX pitch-shifting pedals. . DigiTech. And the most important thing of all is to play in tune! With the wealth of pedal tuners and clip-on headstock tuners available from Boss. Line 6 and Fractal Audio Systems are among the very best when it comes to floor processors. you have no excuse. Way Huge. but if you find the tone to be lacking. In addition. chorus. Truetone. Strymon. flanger. EQ. to create unique stompboxes that alter and change your tone to great effect. Electro-Harmonix.046 set. Cleartone. Many guitarists’ introduction to strings relies on other players’ word of mouth or choosing a brand their favorite star guitarist uses. You’ll also find that unconventional effects like the DigiTech Whammy. Ibanez. like reverb and delay. For different tonal colors and flavors.010–. here are my some of my suggestions: Ernie Ball Nickel Wound Electric Slinky and Cobalt Electric Slinky. many popular and boutique pedal companies have also combined popular effects. gain and boost pedals and wahs are best employed in front of your amp. TC Electronic. Obviously. no pun intended. Fulltone. Ernie Ball Music Man St. There are some guitarists who favor guitar floor processors.009–. flanger) effects through the amplifier’s FX loop. MXR. Eventide harmonizers and Boss and TC Electronic looper pedals are also increasingly favored as well. Lighter-gauged strings (. ACCESSORIES Your guitar’s pickup is one of the most important starting points to your tone. Also. and are also some of the most popular effects seen on many guitarists’ pedalboards. The first step to understanding strings is to find which gauge is right for you. the most efficient way to route the following popular effects (if you use a clean or slightly overdriven amplifier) is in this order: amplifier–reverb–delay–chorus–flanger– boost–distortion–overdrive–fuzz–phase–wah–guitar. but what is most important is how you route them—in other words. Seymour Duncan. Finally. as well as offering tone guides to direct you toward the right pickup for your music. overdrive. Another area of confusion is string brands and the alloy and materials used to construct them. Wampler.

EVHGEAR.COM CORT ESP GUITARS MBC-1 MATTHEW BELLAMY SIGNATURE GUITAR 02 Designed by Muse guitarist Matthew Bellamy. 07 05 MSRP $1. three-piece mahogany neck. 22 frets. EPIPHONE. Vincent (see page 26 for full story). rock-solid quartersawn maple neck with oiled finish. EMG 89R RED (neck) and EMG 81 RED (bridge) pickups. Floyd Rose tremolo. The Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster offers signature touches based on the legendary guitarist’s distinctive “flipped-over” guitars. ebony fingerboard with 22 extra jumbo frets. 08 01 STREET PRICE $999. Other features include a recessed. Schaller locking tuners. setthru-neck construction. Grover Tuners. With an otherworldly black-and-white “crop circles” graphic gloss finish.COM MSRP $799. GARY HOLT GH-600 07 The ESP LTD Guitars Signature Gary Holt GH-600 is designed in collaboration with the Slayer/Exodus guitarist and ESP Guitars. Vincent inlays. VINCENT SIGNATURE 06 Designed in close collaboration with Annie Clark aka St. The kill button allows a wide range of guitar effects to be created by the player without resorting to outboard effects. It features multi-colored “Numbers” inlays and Seymour Duncan pickups.com 15 . EVH direct-mount pickup. The guitar features a large Seventies style reverse headstock.99.COM guitarworld. this guitar features an African mahogany body.599. Joe Bonamassa. The guitar features a sleek Strat-like basswood body. adding an ease of playability. solid basswood body.COM/MBC1  DEAN 02 RUSTY COOLEY RC6 XENOCIDE 03 The first six-string electric offering in the Rusty Cooley series of guitars. the Xenocide features a super-thin neck. Mansondesigned bridge humbucker and single-coil neck pickup.COM STREET PRICE $599. 25.TAKIN G CARVIN GUITARS JB24 01 The Carvin JB24 is a modern take on the “Numbers” guitar that Jason Becker designed but was never fully produced. CARVINGUITARS. and 10-inch radius with 25 1/2-inch scale length.899. 24 3/4-inch scale. full rosewood neck with St. STREET PRICE $899. 9 1/2-inch radius and “C”-shaped maple neck with medium jumbo frets. ST. original Floyd Rose tremolo with locking nut and more. STREET PRICE $799. FENDER. and a classic Bigsby B70 vibrato along with a Les Paulclassic “Lifton” style hard case. Manson Guitar Works and Cort. 24 fret bolt on hard rock maple neck. MUSIC-MAN. ESPGUITARS. CORTGUITARS.COM MSRP $1. compound-radius maple fingerboard. three custom mini-humbucking pickups and five-way switch with custom wiring. American Vintage ’65 single-coil pickups including a reverseslant bridge pickup. the EVH Circles model is one of the most distinctively eye-catching guitars in Edward Van Halen’s Stripe Series. Gibson Burstbucker humbucker pickups. this guitar features a one-of-a-kind Inverness green finish. the new matte black finished MBC-1 features a sleek maple neck with rosewood fingerboard.99. and is available in classic Olympic White or Black.COM 03 04 FENDER EPIPHONE EVH LTD ED JOE STRIPE SERIES CIRCLES 05 BONAMASSA LES PAUL STANDARD WITH BIGSBY 04 JIMI HENDRIX STRATOCASTER 08 The third Epiphone Signature Model from modern blues legend and Grammy nominee.199. and an extra-deep body cutaway for access to the high frets.COM NAMES 06 GUITAR WORLD ROUNDS UP SIXTEEN OF THE HOTTEST ARTIST ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN MODEL GUITARS ON THE MARKET. EVH Floyd Rose bridge and locking nut and EVH tuners. Floyd Rose Pro tremolo system and direct mount EMG 81 and 85 pickups and Grover tuners. The GH-600 features a mahogany body. DEANGUITARS. a swamp ash body with a tung oil finish.5-inch scale length.  DIRECT PRICE $1.99.

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while unlimited overdubs and undo/redo features helps to bring the vibe up and down. easily allowing you to achieve syrupy slapback tape echoes. Custom mode instantly changes the sound to a cleaner analog tone with over twice the delay time. Two output jacks allow for separate output of delay and direct sounds if desired.95 / DIGITECH. Plus. TRIO listens to what is played and automatically generates bass and drum parts that match chord progressions and rhythmic feel. press the footswitch to teach TRIO the chords and rhythm. It also features an all-analog SansAmp section to go direct to a PA or mixer. performers can build any idea into a full-sounding performance instantly.NET STREET PRICE $99. The DM-2W also includes a jack for controlling delay time with an optional expression pedal. The TC-Helicon Ditto Mic Looper is the perfect looping pedal for singers. Stop/Erase button and an oversized loop level control. Analog Man has added some mods including a new up/down toggle for Mutrontype reverse wah sounds. Users simply need to plug a guitar into TRIO. With just a Loop button. The RK5 features Richie’s signature OMG overdrive plus reverb. while fattening it with subtle tape-driven transparent overdrive. STREET PRICE $299 / STRYMON. and gorgeous tape chorusing sounds. and Emphasis knob for more or less extreme tones. STREET PRICE $269 / TECH21NYC. and then press the footswitch again to start playing with a customized personal band. the last loop is automatically stored even when the unit is turned off. beatboxers and acoustic performers who want to loop quickly and easily. and an independent boost function.COM guitarworld. The Boss Waza Craft DM-2W delay uses allanalog circuitry and an authentic bucket brigade delay line.com 21 . built into a modern.5 GUITAR WORLD PRESENTS 13 WILD AND INNOVATIVE EFFECT PEDALS TECH 21   5 Richie Kotzen RK5 Signature Fly Rig The Richie Kotzen Signature RK5 Fly Rig is a collaboration with virtuoso guitarist Richie Kotzen and Tech 21.COM ANALOG MAN   6 Block Logo Envelope Filter The Analog Man Block Logo Envelope Filter Pedal uses a NOS MXR envelope filter circuit board. The DM-2W’s Standard mode captures the lush sound and 20-300ms delay range of the original DM-2.99 / TC-HELICON. The Doubletracker provides the power to shift your sound in many ways.COM 1 STRYMON   1 Deco Tape Saturation & Doubletracker 2 TC-HELICON   2 Ditto Mic Looper 3 DIGITECH   3 TRIO Band Creator 4 BOSS   4 Waza Craft DM-2W Delay  The Strymon Deco Tape Saturation & Doubletracker is two effects in one. The Deco’s Tape Saturation smooths out your sound with tape compression and saturation. The DigiTech TRIO Band Creator pedal provides the ability to create a band that plays along with the user. psychedelic tape flanging.COM STREET PRICE $179 / BOSSUS. compact boutique pedal. delay with tap tempo.COM STREET PRICE $179. 6 STREET PRICE $219 / ANALOGMAN.

COM IBANEZ   9 WD7 Weeping Demon Wah VIRAL VIDEOS The Ibanez WD7 Weeping Demon Wah pedal shrieks. and wails in the most extreme way.INTRODUCING 7 THE BRAND NEW GUITARWORLD. T-REX   8 Replicator EXPERT LESSONS The T-Rex Replicator is the only 100-percent analog magnetic tape delay featuring tap tempo control. cries. The pedal features two gain stages in series that produce beautiful clean tones but that can also destroy any signal into a beautiful fuzzy mess. heft.CO. The pedal is hand made in Denmark. and saturation controls.COM EXCLUSIVE REVIEWS 8 PIGTRONIX   7 Echolution 2 Ultra PRO The Pigtronix Echolution 2 Ultra PRO is a massively flexible multi-tap stereo modulation delay that features an entire array of customizable filter. The Weeping Demon features spring and normal footboard action. as well as adjustable master level. and fine-tuning controls. chorus depth. The Colour Box uses a high quality Lundahl transformer that adds weight.com 23 . LFO and pitch shifting options along with expression pedal and envelope control of every knob as well as complete MIDI control of every function. STREET PRICE $899 / T-REX-EFFECTS. The USB port on the Echolution 2 provides connectivity to MAC or PC computers. 10 JHS PEDALS STREET PRICE $110 / IBANEZ. and a 3D quality just like preamps that cost much more. full of rich harmonics and body with over 39db of gain on tap.JP   10 Colour Box The JHS Pedals Colour Box brings the color and character of a real vintage console to your feet or desktop. 9 STREET PRICE $399 / JHSPEDALS. allowing you to run the free Echolution 2 application for preset management and real-time tweaking of advanced sound design parameters. Other features include all standard delay controls and a kill-dry switch. The unit features two playback heads.COM guitarworld.COM GEAR NEWS STREET PRICE $449 / PIGTRONIX. selectable wah range.

COM 13 .  STREET PRICE $149. STREET PRICE $225 / EARTHQUAKERDEVICES. true bypass.COM 12   EARTHQUAKER DEVICES   13 Interstellar Orbiter The Earthquaker Devices Interstellar Orbiter is a dual resonant filter controlled by a single LFO that sweeps each filter in opposite directions.99 / JIMDUNLOP.three octave range and features three modes which allow the pitch to be transposed up. Each filter is voiced differently and has controls for LFO intensity. The pedal is all analog. resonance and mix. STREET PRICE $158.11 MXR   11 Sub Machine Fuzz The MXR Sub Machine Fuzz combines shaggy vintage fuzz with a growling sub octave circuit. and a Series switch that lets you run the sub octave signal straight into the fuzz for subterranean saturation or alongside the fuzz for a split channel effect.20 / EHX. an octave switch for electrifying octave up fuzz.COM ELECTRO-HARMONIX   12 Pitch Fork The Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork Polyphonic Pitch Shifter transposes an instrument’s pitch over a +/. It can do everything from wah emulation to complex vocal formant filtering and even outlandish rotary speaker effects. simultaneously. down or both. The pedal features separate fuzz and sub octave output controls.