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So Excited: Gear & Tone


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Guitar 1 is a Gibson ES-335, a hallmark of B.B. King's tone for many years now. It is a semi-hollowbody guitar with a slightly rounder tone, but any guitar with a humbucker pickup in the bridge position can get you in the ballpark. Any guitar is suitable for guitar 2's parts. The tone has more to do with the amp settings and effects used.

As far as amps go, B.B. has been using a Lab Series solid state combo for many years. It is a bit of a rare amp to find, but luckily it sounds very similar to a Fender Twin Reverb, so any Fender-style tube amp set for a cleaner sound can come close to the tone. Set the bass at 60% and the mid and treble controls up full.

Guitar 2 also uses a Fender-style tube amp, alternating between clean and overdriven crunch. I suggest setting the amp for a clean tone, then kicking in an overdrive or distortion pedal for the gritty rhythm parts and the solo. A wah-wah pedal is also used throughout to give a distinctive tone. Add some reverb to all guitars for depth. Here are the settings I used:

Fender Twin Model: Drive: 40% Bass: 60% Mid: 100% Treb: 100% Presence: 55%

(Guitar 2: Drive: 100% for crunch parts, or kick in overdrive/distortion)

Spring Reverb: WetDryMIX: 40%