The secret of great guitar tone


turn up that master volume

Some tips I have learned over the years for getting consistant guitar tones


Jimi at Woodstock


SRV in the zone

I have been playing electric guitar now for over 35 years and have discovered some usefull information about guitar tone.

First of all tone is mostly in the fingers, yes that's right, I would say between 70 to 80 percent.

The way you strike the strings with your pick, thumb, or fingers, and the way you use your fretting hand is all you, your tone.

Lets start with the picking hand, there are so many different ways to pluck the strings, you can change the dynamics or angle of attack or how hard you strike the strings or indeed anything. And that is without going into where you strike the strings, closer to the bridge for a harder brighter tone or closer to the neck for a warmer rounder jazzier tone.

The fretting hand provides the vibrato, bends, and depending on skill level, speed.  And those signature favourite licks you choose to play over and over, again this is all you.

Think for a minute about your guitar heroes, lets take Jimi Hendrix for instance. Jimi has a tone all of his own, I bet if you heard a previously un-released track of Jimi's on the radio you would instantly know that it was indeed James Marshall Hendrix.

SRV had a similar tone to Jimi Hendrix because guess what, Jimi was one of Stevies heroes, he must have spent many hours listening to records trying to get a handle on what makes Jimi, Jimi. Have you heard SRV's Voodoo Chile, spooky...

SRV also has an unmistakable tone, touch, and feel and again an instantly recognisable tone.

Carlos Santana, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Yngwie J Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour, Brian May, the list could go on and on but you get the idea, all of the above have an unmistakable tone, touch, and feel and are instantly recognisable.

Are we seeing a pattern here?