13 November 2017

On electric guitar tone

Kt88 power tubes in traynor yba200 amplifier.jpg
By Msquared - Matt Myers - Original photograph by Matt Myers (uploader)., Public Domain, Link

The first electric guitarist says that good guitar tone requires overdriving a tube pre-amp.

The second guitarist says that the key to good guitar tone is putting EQ before and after your distortion.

The third guitarist says that the real secret to good guitar tones is saturating a tube power amp.

The fourth guitarist says that it is really the amp’s transformer that matters.

The fifth guitarist says that it is about the interaction of the pre-amp, power-amp, and transformer. And don’t forget speaker distortion.

Meanwhile, Def Leppard’s best selling album was recorded using Rockman headphone amps. (Developed by Tom Scholz of the band Boston.) Not the Rockman Power Soak with a guitar amp. The little, 1980s-era, solid-state Rockman headphone amp with a belt-clip.

solid-state Rockman headphone amp
By waterborough - photo shooting, Public Domain, Link

Of course, that is only one example. If you look, you can find many more professional guitarists who have been very successful with gear the purveyors of “good tone” would dismiss out-of-hand.

That’s just one of those things to remember whenever the Gear-Acquisition-Syndrome flares up.


KenHR said...

My pedalboard is mostly Taiwanese/Hong Kong knockoffs of more expensive effects or homemade clones along with a Zoom multieffects unit for reverbs and modulation. My amp is an old '80s Peavey solid state (a fairly rare one that was a JC-120 clone). For a long while my main axe was a Squier Jazzmaster. Even so, I used to get compliments on my tone all the time after gigs, and a sort of amazed reaction when the ones giving compliments saw my gear.

You can get good tone with any equipment. It's mostly in your hands, the rest of it is being very careful with settings, gain staging, etc., and making sure your sound blends with the ensemble.

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