Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dream Tone

Dionizzy on youtube writes:
this is my dream tone, give me it lol
Thanks. I can actually say I'm pretty happy with my tone overall after many years of searching and experimenting. I've come to the conclusion that I can have fun from here on out by just tweaking small variables in the setup I currently have, and that good combinations of gear can be had by any number of devices and amps along the signal chain. My recipe for good rock and metal tone is this:

  1. Mahogany-bodied guitar
  2. High output passive or active humbucking pickups
  3. 1+ mm pick thickness
  4. 10+ guage strings
  5. Volume boost, EQ (mids boosted), or overdrive pedal (low gain, high level) between the guitar and the amp input; this grits up your guitar signal going into the amp but not too much
  6. Amp gain setting near 5 or 6 (too much will sound like mud), bass and treble less than 5, mids greater than 5
  7. EQ (lower @ 500hz to reduce "honk", higher @ 2khz to cut through in a band situation) then BBE Sonic Stomp or Sonic Maximizer (also helps to cut through) in the effects loop
  8. Cranked volume to push the output tubes; use an attenuator for reasonable speaker volume
  9. Celestion Vintage 30 speakers
Notice one pattern that exists throughout the entire signal chain: boosted mid-range frequencies. The only element that I would say "scoops" the sound (which is not a good thing) is the Vintage 30 speaker. Boosting the mids along the way prior to the speaker helps make your sound cut through when jamming with a band.

With all these ingredients, the brand of amp actually doesn't matter as much. You can make just about any rock amp sound good with most of the other ingredients combined. It would be like comparing top sirloin and New York steak: they're different in several ways but they both taste good. The same is true for whatever pedal you put between the guitar and the amp input. You just want to make sure it doesn't make the signal too dirty or it will sound like mud.

So the fun part for me nowadays is experimenting with different amps (borrowed from friends, mostly) and boost-type pedals to tweak the overall sound a bit and see what kinds of different flavors I can achieve. Good luck finding your dream tone and enjoy.