More tone tips

The sound of rock and roll is the sound of electrical components being pushed to their limits

I  need a 100 watt amp!

Well no, you don't, not really.

The truth is, a 15 watt amp can keep up with a drummer (as long as he hasn't got 100 watt arms), and also sound good because it is working hard for a living (see above), it can also be miked up through the PA for a bigger sound.

A 100 watt amp running at 15 watts is just above tickover and not even breaking a sweat or even breathing heavy.

These are of course two extreemes, I have found that a 30 to 50 watt amp will be fine for almost all venues and if you need more volume (transistor amps only) you can add another speaker cabinet to help push more air if you need to.

I have a 30 watt 1x12 transistor combo that I use for rehearsal and smaller bookings and a 75 watt 1x12 combo for larger bookings. I also have a 1x12 extention speaker cab that I can use with both amps if needed. I have used the 30 watt amp at larger venues and it is plenty loud enough, I also own a 22 watt valve amp and have used it as above with volume to spare.

There is no secret or hard fast rule to good tone but I have found that keeping the master volume at about 12 oclock (half volume) or above gives a nice fat sound, this also means that the speaker is having to work quite hard (still within it's power range) to produce the full range of tones from low to high frequencies, this is good (see above). The gain you can adjust to taste although too much will thin out the sound a little but hey that might just be what you want.

The moral of the story is if you can't turn that master up to at least half volume then your amp is too powerfull for the gig.

As a test play your amp with the master volume at 8 oclock, then 10 oclock, then 12 oclock. We all know which one sounds best don't we...


11, that's one louder innit!

"Tone tip"  Keep the guitar volume up quite high say between 6 and 8 for rhythm and 10 for lead so that the amp has plenty of signal to work with.

"Tone tip"  If you are playing a strange amp that you are not familiar with, centre all the controls (except reverb) at 12 oclock to give yourself a reference point so that you can boost or cut the highs lows or mids, might seem obvious to you but I never thought of it, a session guitarist gave me the tip, and yes it really does work.