The Chase for Perfect Tone

Hey guys!

I wanted to use this post to talk entirely about guitar tone.  I love this subject because, 1: everyone loves this subject and 2: everyone is chasing a common goal – to sound like their hero.

If I think back over my last 20 years of playing guitar, I can name two guitar tone hero’s that I’ve had and describe why they have impacted me (there are infinitely more, but i’ll stick with two for now).

John Mayer:  Mayer has a sound that we all have either loved, drooled over, tolerated or even cringed at, depending on the recording / era of his career.  For me, his record “Battle Studies” is a pillar in my memory of digesting the “width” of his tones.  I think it’s his best record, and encompasses his best guitar tones.  “War of my life” is a great example of clean, ultra compressed, almost low-battery tone that is perfect for the song. Oppositely, the solo on assassin is one of my favorite moments of any Mayer record.  It is roll’d-off-tone-knob dark, dirty, and clear cutting.  It is bold and perfect for that moment in the song.

Jonny Buckland:  Buckland to me is a little more narrow in what he does record to record, but it is still so inspiring.  I love his signature sound.  His verb / delay settings are always dialed.  I love his sense of melody and clarity, using clean / semi clean sounds with the right amount of “wetness”.  Of course you can’t beat the mix of a coldplay record, but that starts with great tracking, and I love Buckland’s take on guitar EQ.  His standout record to me for guitar tone is “Ghost Stories”.

Most of us are not always successful in achieving appropriate guitar tone.  We may get it right sometimes, but feel confused why we don’t always nail it.  After 20 years of playing and over 80 studio records, I feel like I have a light to shed on how to get great tone.  I can at least show you the door, and you can walk through it better equipped.  Below is a link to my new training video series “PERFECT YOUR TONE”.  It starts with a brief explanation of how I use the guitar neck, and how I adapt depending on the setting I’m in.  The second video in the series dives in to some pillars of guitar tone that I think are crucial to understand if you are going to be successful every time you step up to the instrument.

Hope you guys enjoy the series!