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How to get the perfect tone on guitar

Updated on October 4, 2011
The Ultimate guitar tone is right before your eyes.
The Ultimate guitar tone is right before your eyes. | Source

The purpose of this hub is to teach you how to achieve tthe perfect tone for your guitar based on the type of material you are playing.

Cover Bands.

If you play in clubs in a cover band playing other bands material you need to be able to get a wide variety of sounds out of your amp and guitar.

In most cover bands you will play rock,blues,country,pop and classic songs.

I use a custon telcaster and a fender blues reissue 40 watt amp with 2 - 12" speakers and I also use 3 footpetals all made by Boss - a superdistorion - chorus & a delay.

Belive it or not I can get just about any tone I want from the items above.

I can sound like Jimi Hendrix - David Gilmore - Billy Gibbons - James Burton or even Brett Mason with the equipment above.

What seperates a average guitarist and a pro?

I honestly believe that it is tone.

If you are an average guitar player and you have a great tone,that alone can propel you up to a higher level on guitar.

How do I get the sound?

Listen to the record and try to set your rig to make it sound like the artist.

I usually just play the chorus with a slight delay, when I am playing a rhytmn and if I want to crank it up a notch I hit the distortion on basic rhythm I use a slight distortion until it is time to solo then I kick it into super distorted to get that cutting lead that satnds out above the other instruments.

Your rhythm distortion should be just a notch above the straight amp level, that keeps it perfect where you aren't too loud.

Your lead distortion should be even a little more above the rhythm distortion,to make sure your leads can be heard.

It is very important to have good tone if you are playing 3 piece.

For example I play with a drummer and bassist.

I have to have a full sounding sound to help fill in the gaps.

That is why I use the chorus and reverd off the amp with the front pickup off the telecaster to play rhytmns, it sounds great.

If you are playing a rocking type song like Gimme 3 steps by Lynard Skynard - I will have the chorus and Distortion going for a big old fat tone.

This also works well with bands like

  • The Eagles
  • Pink Floyd - you need delay
  • 38 special
  • 3 doors down
  • Aerosmith
  • Led Zepplin
  • Marshall Tucker
  • ZZ Top
  • Allman Brothers

If I'm doing a slow country song

I will use just the straight amp and chorus petal.

A good example of this would be songs like

  • Chattahootchie - Alan Jackson
  • Today I started loving you again - Merle Haggard
  • Third rate romance - The Amazing Rhythm Aces
  • Peaceful Easy Feeling - The Eagles
  • If tomorrow never comes - Garth Brookes
  • Tomorrow - Chris Young

When playing a slide

I prefer to use a glass type slide and use a heavy overdrive.

Using the glass you won't have the tingy tin sound of using a brass or chrome slide.

Crank the overdrive up and let them tubes do the work.

Howling wolf may have invented that sound but people like Billy Gibbons & Dwayne Allman perfected that sound.

You can sound just like them if you use the right equipment.

Using the right guitar for the song

There are 3 standard tones guitarist have been using for years.

The Les-Paul or Gibson tone, which is a full or Fat sounding tone,great for rock music or playing slide guitar with.

The Fender Stratocaster tone - very versatile and if used with the correct amp and petals you can get just about any tone from it including the goibson above.

The Telecaster tone - which in my opinion is the ultimate guitar you can do anything on a tele if you have a tube amp and the correct petal.

Genres you can play on a tele

  • Country
  • Rock
  • Blues
  • Jazz
  • Heavy Metal
  • Death Metal
  • Grunge
  • Punk
  • Punk Rock
  • Delta Blues
  • Rythmn and blues
  • Pop

That is why I love the Telecaster so much you can get any sound you want out of it.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below,if you want to know what they are doing to get a certain tone on a recording if you ask me I will let you know.

I hope you have enjoyed the article - I look forward to your questions.


Submit a Comment

  • TheManWithNoPants profile image


    6 years ago from Tucson, Az.

    My baby is my American Strat. I have quite a few guitars, but the Strat is the one I'm with most of the time. I have a very nice Takemine for acustic work and I also do some stuff with my Ibanez Iceman, but not much. I like boss. I mostly use the Flanger with a Digitech sound bank these days. I use a Marshall amp, but I'm also looking for an old Twin Reverb. I have a lot of good equipment for a guy who has his limitations with the old ax. Lol

    This was a very good and informative hub and I salute your choice of equipment.

    ~ jim

  • manthy profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Alabama,USA

    @Erin - I would say to change to a heavier gauge string or don't bend as hard, but you are gonna break strings just naturally, I think a set should last 4 -5 months if you are playing daily. I use a 9 gauge, light string usually SIT or stay in tune brand and I rarely if ever break a string and I am a huge bender..LOL

    Thanks for your comment and for stopping by

  • Erin Boggs1 profile image

    Erin Boggs1 

    7 years ago from Western Maryland

    This is a great hub. I am a gibson girl and my brother is the Fender guy. He plays a mustang and he has a tele that he uses too. I break too many strings on fenders...any suggestions? Great Hub!

  • manthy profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Alabama,USA

    I already started them ;0) Go here and get caught up!

    Thanks for stopping by

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 

    7 years ago from Orlando, FL

    So when do guitar lessons start? I want to learn ... one day! Great hub!!!


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