Guitar tone can be tricky to nail down, especially when gear can cost an arm and a leg. Luckily, playing music is not all about the equipment. As long as you have a decent, completely working instrument, you will be able to extract great tones and sounds from it. Here is a list of super-easy-to-implement tone improvements you can complete right now.
1. Concentrate on your attack and playing dynamics.
The majority of your guitar sounds and tone will come from you, the player. Great guitar players can make any guitar sound pretty good. So focus on your attack, or the way you strike the strings.
2. Use the right pick for the right situation.
Picks can provide a lot of different sounds and change your guitar’s tone. A thinner pick will give you a lighter, more hollow sound, while a thick pick will give you something that sounds thicker and even louder.
You can read all about picks in this blog post here.
3. Change your strings.
Strings don’t cost a whole lot, and a new set of strings can dramatically change the way your guitar sounds, it’s quite amazing. Elixir strings are great if you want long-lasting strings, but almost always a new set of strings will give you the most notable boost in guitar tone.
Use thicker strings for a fatter tone, or if you want the ability to play easier, then maybe string a lighter gauge set onto your instrument.
4. Turn down the bass!
There are a number of amp tweaks you can make that can help your tone. By turning down the bass levels, you can let your guitar sing a bit since it’s not droning and overpowered by the lower frequencies. This is, of course, all up to personal taste. You may also want to turn up the treble or just tweak your amp a bit and really dial in the tone you want as well. Amps are literally made for experimenting and obtaining tone.
5. Shorten your cables.
If you run a lot of effects, be sure to use shorter cables, and cables that are low-capacitance. These types of cables essentially give you better tone and let’s more of the signal from your guitar, travel into and out of the amp.
Tip: Since the guitar’s signal has to travel through each stomp box before it gets to the amp, this can definitely affect the tone. There’s also a lot of advice out there that say certain effects should come first, or last, etc. General rule of thumb is to put effects like tuners, wah, and compressors closest to your guitar’s signal, and then follow that up with distortion pedals like overdrive and fuzz, and then end with modulation effects and then delays and reverbs.
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