The recipe for getting great guitar tone involves a few different factors which we’ll outline in this article. We feel that when you have amazing tone, it can be all the inspiration you need to create great music. So lets take a look at the five areas to help better your tone:
Often times, I find the guitar itself to be a small part of the equation. However if you have a really terrible guitar that has questionable electronics, then I can see this being a bigger issue. If you have a pretty decent electric, then that should be enough. Of course the more expensive the guitar, generally the better it will probably sound (though not always the case). Also you can upgrade the pickups on your guitar, which will have a big effect on tone. I’ve heard crappy guitars with amazing pickups sound great!
If you want great tone, then I would highly recommend a good tube amplifier. As the tubes in the amp warm up, so will your tone. With a tube amp, you need to drive it a bit with the volume. If there is no master volume, then I would suggest a low wattage amp for home use. That way you can crank it (which is where great tone really comes from) without bothering the neighbours. Check out my article on amp settings for making the most of your amp.
It’s a good idea to invest in higher quality cables to connect your guitar to the amp. When I a/b’d my cheap $10 cables that I got from my local music store with my boutique Sweet-Tone cables, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the difference it made to the overall guitar tone.
Sweetening the Signal
Try using different pedals to sweeten the signal a bit. A few I would recommend for this purpose are Reverbs, Compressors, and Overdrives. If the tone in your head entails solos that scream, then you’ll definitely need those dirt pedals to push the signal.
Its in your Hands
Remember, once you have all the technical elements to give you great tone, it doesn’t mean everything will be pleasing to the ear. A lot of the tone is in your hands. The way you strum, and pick notes has an effect. And of course the better you play, the better the tone will sound.
Hope these tips help, and get you closer to great guitar tone!