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I Wanted It That Way: Gear & Tone


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I'll be using my Gibson 335 and my Telecaster to play this song, and I'll be running it through some modeled Fender amps, but you can play this song on any guitar and through any amp!

I have a pretty tiny sounding clean tone for the rhythm guitars, meaning that there's little or no bass in the tone. That's a typical mixing trick. When you play guitar by yourself, you think want to hear a lot of bass, cause it sounds nice and full. But when you listen to a recording or a performance, you want the bass frequencies to come from the bass guitar and not from the guitar. otherwise, it gets muddy. So that's why it's so "trebly" sounding!

For the chorus I'll be using some heavy distortion. Both guitars are playing power chords, so they can handle quite a bit of that. I have it dialed so that the volume is a little louder than the bypassed, clean volume and I have the distortion set on 2 o'clock. But all distortion pedals are different, so you have to use your ears to find the right amount of distortion.

For the lead guitar I will be using a fuzz pedal and a stereo delay effect. I have the delay volume, often called "the mix", set so that the delay almost is louder than the original note, and I have the timing of the delay set to match the quarter notes of this song. Then the delay is panned so that you hear it from the opposite side of the mix where original note is coming from. This prevents it from clashing with itself and almost creates the illusion that two guitarists are playing together. That's what gives the solos that strange ambient sound, but we'll come back to that later.