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High Gain 80s Tone


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The 80s: High Gain Rock

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In this period the guitar players wanted gain, gain, and more gain. This meant that the classic guitar amps were modified to provide even more gain than the amps they had used previously at their dirtiest settings. These amps are not surprisingly known as hi-gain amps. Mesa Boogie and Marshall made some of the classic models.

Both humbuckers and single coils were used in this period. The humbuckers were popular because of their big "fat" sound, their low noise, and their ability to handle copious amounts of gain. Single coils were popular because of their bright sound, which adds a cool "screech" to the hi-gain sound.

On top of lots of gain, almost anything went in this period. Many guitar players would bring effect racks the size of refrigerators with them on stage providing an abundance of modulation effects, stereo delays, and almost anything else you can think of. So the sky is the limit when it comes to gear in this period, but by no means do you need all that.

Just get as much gain as you can out of your amp and pedals without losing your attack or drowning in noise. Then you can add some modulation effects on top of that like phaser, flanger, or chorus- that's an instant time machine. I'll be using a phaser. You can also add an epic delay tail with 3-4 repeats and a mix that's just high enough for the delay to be noticeable, without getting in the way of the other notes.