Guitar Tricks Blog

How to Get Great Rock Tone

How to Get Great Rock Tone

Gary Heimbauer

Being able to shape tone on your own is an important skill for any guitarist. Throughout your journey, you will most likely find yourself plugging into an array of different amps, pedals, and equipment -- and you'll want to know how to find the best tone possible in any playing situation.

Overdrive is a light kind of distortion and is meant to replicate the natural sound of a tube amp “breaking up” when it’s pushed to its limit. Distortion is much fuzzier and tighter-sounding than overdrive. It’s a more extreme clipping effect.

Reverb just means “reverberation” and mimics sound being swirled around a room or a cathedral -- or a tank filled with springs! Delay is simply the effect of repeating what you play -- like an echo. The boost pedal is the last thing you'll need, but it is so important if you are going to take a solo. This pedal’s main purpose is just to make you louder so that your solo stands out.

Now let’s talk about your guitar! Rock tone is snarly and in your face. For this reason you want to make sure you have the right pickup in the bridge position. The bridge pickup is more popular in rock music because it has a brighter more focused sound, and is more harsh and aggressive.

The very last thing to consider is the importance of learning how to use your guitar's on board electronics by reducing or increasing volume and tone with the knobs, and learning how to pick and strum both very lightly and aggressively (this is called dynamics)! This can give you many different volume and gain levels without having to tap dance on your pedal board! Rock musicians of the 60s were much more in control of their guitars and amps as the array of effects wasn't what it is today.

Check it out below:

More Content by Category