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Sharp Dressed Man: Gear, Tone, and Tuning


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Sharp Dressed Man

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For this song I'll be using a couple of different guitars. For the main rhythm guitars I'll be using my Telecaster and I'll be running them both through a modeled Marshall amp with a somewhat clean basic tone. Then in front of that I'm adding a Fuzz pedal to get that very interesting and almost synth-sounding distortion sound that you hear on the recording. I'm using this Fuzz God pedal by Empress and there are a couple parameters to tweak on this pedal. First there's the volume, and I have that set to match the bypassed volume. Then there's the Fuzz level, and I have that set to 3'o clock. This next button controls to the "Wrath" effect which is engaged by the second foot switch, but I'm not using that setting for this song. Finally I have the "sputter" knob which controls that gated sound that makes the Fuzz sound so unique. If I have this knob all the way up it sounds more like a regular distortion, but when I have it here at 12'o clock you get that almost synthetic sound that I'll be using. That's the basic tone for both guitars, but for guitar 2 I'll add a subtle chorus effect. The modeled chorus pedal I'm using only has one knob and I have that set to 12'o clock. Just something to make it sound different from the other guitar and a little more spacy!

For the slide guitar I'll be using this Les Paul on the bridge pickup and I'll be running that through the same basic amp and pedal settings as the rhythm guitars. If I were using the same guitar I'd have to be careful not using the same amp and pedal again, but because it's a different guitar it's not as much of a concern. I have the strings pretty high off the fretboard to make the slide playing easier, but it still has to be low enough that I can also fret regularly. I've done this by putting 13s on the guitar instead of the 10's that I normally use.

Even though the song is in the key of C, the slide guitar is in an open G-tuning. For that you tune your low E-string down a whole step to D, you A-string down a whole step to G, your D-, G- and B-string stay where they are and finally your high E-string goes down a whole step to D. Now our open strings form a G-chord, which means we'll have our I-chord, C, in the 5th fret.

Finally for the lead guitar that enters for the outro solo I'll use my Telecaster again and I'll be running that through the same basic amp settings, except that I'm lowering the Fuzz knob down to 2'o clock instead of 3 and changing the speaker cabinet and the microphone in order to make the tone different from the rhythm guitars.

But as always it's important to remember that you can play this song on any gear, as long as you play the parts well. As long as you have 6 strings, a slide and some kind of distortion you're good to go!