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Table Of Contents

Table Of Contents ..................................................................... 2 Introduction ............................................................................. 3 A Bit About Bypass on Pedals ................................................... 6 Order of effects ...................................................................... 29 Tremolo/Wah ......................................................................... 33 Amp stand or on the ground? ................................................. 35 Tube pedals vs. non-tube pedals ............................................ 36 Effect Pedal Mods ................................................................... 38 Multi effects vs. pedals ........................................................... 39 Finding YOUR Tone ................................................................. 40 General information................................................................ 45 In closing ............................................................................ 47 AFFILIATES: ........................................................................... 48

Welcome to Indyguitarist.com and Guitartone.nets Introduction to Guitar Tone and Effects! This is an essential manual for getting the best sounds from your electric guitars, your amps, effect pedals, digital processors and equipment. This book and the accompanied audio also features easy to follow instructions with tons of photos, teaching the basics of guitar tones, effects, amps and guitars. The CD or the provided link for the download provides many audio examples. Readers of this will learn all the different types of guitars, what type of music they are best suited for, who plays them, what different configurations of amps, what tones are best, rock or country. In the other books, weve discussed how you can modify your effect pedals for maximum tone without paying premium money as well as what some hot pros are using. Just like those books, Ill also put everything in extreme detail for you. Not only that, Ill also show you some of the best ways to set your effects, to achieve tonal bliss! To learn how you can modify your effect pedals for maximum tone, please click here: http://www.guitartone.net/liquid.htm

Effect Pedal Types and Tones

What is an effect loop? Most amps today have more sockets than the one labeled "input". Chances are, your amp also has two- labeled "send" and "return" - the effect loop. The signal that "travels" through your amplifier normally takes the following way: Input - Preamp (generally responsible for sound and - if you want - overdrive) - Power amp (generally responsible for volume, although with tube power amps the sound is also shaped). Some effects (see the following Topics) work and sound better if they come after any distortion or gain that is applied to your guitar signal. Why? For example, it would not sound too good if you put the reverb before the overdrive. You want a reverb on your overdriven signal, not an overdriven reverb. Basic rules: 1) If the effect modulates the signal (see following Topics), put it behind any preamps or overdrive/distortion boxes. 2) It the effect boosts the signal, put it before overdrive. 3) There are no absolute rules! Break them, experiment! Normally, you put all your stomp boxes between your guitar and the input of the amp. But if you want to use your amp's overdrive channel, you get the problems described above. This is where the effect loop comes in. The guitar signal comes from your amp's preamp and through "send" goes into those effects that should be put behind any overdrive. The signal comes back into your amp through the "return" socket. Therefore, you should have all the stomp boxes that should come before overdrive between your guitar and the amp's input and all the boxes that should come after overdrive after your amp's preamp in the effect loop. The following Topics will give you information on which effects belong to which group. Some amps have a series, and others have a parallel effect loop. With a series effect loop, the guitar signal (your sound) comes from

the preamp of your amp, "leaves" your amp through the send jack, runs through the inserted effect and comes back through the return jack. 100% of your signal goes through the effect. The solution was the parallel loop: with the control, you control how much of your original signal leaves the amp and passes through the effect. The "remaining" signal stays in your amp, preserving much of your sound, and is "joined" again by the signal coming back from the effect, now with effects on it. So you can mix the dry (without effect) and the wet (with effects) signals, but keep in mind that you won't hear much of the effects if you only put a tiny part of your signal through the effect box. The effects in the loop should be set so that they let out no original signal but 100% effect signal. You decide with the parallel effect knob how much effect you want.

A Bit About Bypass on Pedals

Many people have found that their sound suffers (great tube amps and - perhaps cheaper that are ran through multiple buffered (non-true bypassed) pedals may result in loss of full bodied tone. Even worse, though is the pedalboard that is ALL true bypass the long lengths of cord NEED a buffer of some sort to push the signal through all of that resistance. For this reason, if I had to choose, I would go with non-true bypass pedals that have a good buffer (Visual Sound, Boss, Ibanez to name a few) instead of all true bypass.

A Compressor reduces the dynamic range of a signal. If the input signal is above a set threshold level, the signal is made quieter, if the signal is below a set threshold level it is made louder. Therefore, the volume level is more consistent and sustain is increased. The instrument sounds smoother. You might call a compressor a variable gain device. It reduces its gain when the signal level is too high - making louder passages softer. If the signal becomes too soft, it tries to maintain a constant level of output by amplifying the incoming signal to maintain that constant level. For example, after sounding a string on a guitar, the sound produced by the pickups gradually dies away. A little compression will keep the instrument's level from dropping too radically after it's plucked, which is perceived as increased sustain. The gain here is not perceived as "distortion"!! Controls: Threshold: Sets the level where the compressor kicks in to make the signal softer. Attack: The compressor takes a little time before the gain is adjusted to the new input level. The amount of time the compressor takes to decrease its gain when the input level rises above the threshold is called attack time. Release: When the input level exceeded the threshold, the compressor kicked in. When the input level falls under the threshold, the compressor again needs time to respond and increase the gain again. This is the release time. Sustain: Sets the length of the period during which weak signals are amplified. If you are using a stompbox type compressor, you most likely have one or more of these controls: -Level (controls volume level) -Tone (adds or removes high frequencies)

-Attack (adjusts how quick the compression kicks in) -Sustain (adjusts amount of compression desired) A compressor has to be used carefully. Some people say that if you hear that there's a compressor at work the effect was overdone. If you overuse it, you limit your own range of playing dynamics drastically. Using an appropriate attack time, the naturalness of an instrument's sound will get through before the compression sets in. If attack and/or release time is too short, you get very quick changes in gain, which is often perceived as "pumping" and generally not desirable. When do you need it? Sometimes a song or even a certain style requires the notes you play to fall in a certain (sometimes very narrow) dynamic range - some funk songs for example. It would be very hard if not impossible to achieve this just by controlling our picking hand - especially at high speed. If recording, it's even more important: If your signal exceeds a certain peak, there will be distortion on the tape. This happens easily without a compressor because you normally set the input level in such a way that the average signal is loud enough. One too strong pick attack and you've distortion on tape, ruining a whole track. The compressor helps here. Set the threshold in a way that your signal does not exceed the point where distortion occurs. For most guitarists though, a compressor is their secret weapon by cranking up the sustain and attack, you will be able to play faster notes and the notes will be more even sounding, and sound smoother to the listener.

This setting will give you a bit of warmth, and smoothness to your tone.

This setting will give you incredible sustain you will be able to hold a note for a long period of time.

This setting is how everyone starts out everything dialed in at 12:00 and making little tweaks to get it to sound like you want it to.

This setting is excellent to use during prominent licks or solos.

Examples of settings It also can be used as a booster for solos or to give your guitar sound more punch for playing rhythm. http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/cs3-50.mp3 http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/cs3-full.mp3 http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/cs3-quarter.mp3

FUZZ - OVERDRIVE - DISTORTION It all started in the 60s when the PA systems and amps weren't as powerful as today. The only thing you could do was to turn your amp up to 10. The high input signals overloaded the tube preamp and output stage as well as the speakers, resulting in distortion. By accident, guitarists discovered that the result didn't sound too bad. Basically, there are three different types of effects for "distortion": fuzz, overdrive and distortion. The names have been mixed up by companies producing effects, so your effect may produce something that's different from what its names says. The fuzz was created very early. A characteristic of its sound is that it radically emphasizes harmonics. Some people even say the sound reminds them of a circular saw. Fact is, that Jimi Hendrix used a fuzz (Fuzz Face) often. Check out "Foxy Lady" or "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" or the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" or the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" for examples. Overdrive: Simulates the sound of an overdriven tupe amp and responds to playing touch. The resulting distortion is warm and smooth, the nuances of the picking technique are still audible. A well known example is the Tube Screamer. Fuzz: http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/big-muff-stock.mp3 Overdrive: http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/od3_stock.mp3 Distortion: http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/ds1_stock.mp3




Distortion: Produces harder, metallic distortion with many upper harmonics. A guitar sound that really cuts through and screams is the result. Boss DS1 (Distortion) or Boss HM3(Hyper Metal) are examples. Besides producing an overdriven or distorted sound that your amp only amplifies, overdrives (and less often fuzz and distortion) can also be used to boost your guitar signal so that it actually overdrives your amp. If you do this, use the "Gain" control (see below) sparingly and use "Level" to set the level of distortion. Controls: Drive: Adjusts the distortion of the effect unit. Level: Adjusts the output volume of the effect unit. Tone: Adjusts the highs and lows (if you have a more comfortable unit, you may even have controls for Bass, Middle and Treble). A few tips: Don't overdo it!!





If you listen to Rhythm guitars on CDs you'll very often notice that the amount of distortion used is not that much. Very often, the rhythm guitar was recorded twice or even more often to get that huge sound. If you use too much, your sound becomes muddy. Another disadvantage is that gain/distortion reduces your dynamic range. Another thing you perhaps have already experienced is this: You dial in a distortion sound you really like and as soon as you play together with other people, you seem to have not enough volume, even if your amp volume is wide open. If you want your guitar to cut through in a band context, try using less distortion instead of turning up your amp and/or turning up the mids on your amp/pedal/eq. Downside: A lower gain setting leads to less sustain. A Compressor comes in handy here. In the effect chain, a compressor comes before a distortion device.

Often used overdrive/distortion units are: Ibanez Tube Screamer (TS9), ProCo The Rat, Tech21 Sans Amp. Fuzz pedals still exist, like the Arbiter Fuzz Face.

A chorus belongs to those effects that modulate and double sound. It combines a slightly delayed (20 - 80 milliseconds) and pitch modulated signal with the original signal. This produces a swirling, shimmering effect. This swirling effect makes the two signals sound slightly out of tune as they would be if there were two instruments. Some use it to imitate the sound of a 12string, but it's not a perfect imitation. A stereo chorus adds spaciousness and dimension, resulting in a thicker, rich sound. Controls (maybe with different names): Rate: the speed of the modulation Depth: how intensive the modulation is Filter: adjusts how much time there is between the original signal and the modulated one Effect level: volume of the modulated signal.



Music example: Extreme chorus used throughout 80s rocklisten to any dokken, skid row, warrant, slaughter, etc. slow song and youll

definitely hear chorus! If you want to use your amp's overdrive, a chorus belongs in the effect loop, just as a flanger, phaser, reverb or a delay. In the effect chain, all these effects should come after overdrive/distortion!

A Flanger creates a slight delay and combines it with the original signal for a "swirling doubled" effect. The length of the delay is constantly changing. Other words to describe the effect are "whooshing" or "a jet plane flying overhead". Legend says it originated while the Beatles were producing an album. A tape machine was being used for a delay and someone touched the rim of a tape reel, changing the pitch. With some more tinkering and mixing of signals, that characteristic flanging sound was created. The rim of the reel is also known as the 'flange', hence the name 'flanging'. The delay time is so short (1 to 10 or maybe 20 milliseconds) that you don't hear an echo. Instead, the delayed signal interferes with frequencies of the original signal (picture two sine waves, one delayed for a short time). Some frequencies are eliminated (one sine wave is at its maximum, the other at its minimum). This creates "notches" in frequency response. As the delay time changes, the frequencies affected also change, resulting in the typical sound of the flanger. Controls Depth: Maximum delay time added to the time you set with the Delay control (see below). Rate/Speed: Adjusts how quickly the notches move up and down the frequency spectrum. Delay: Sets the minimum amount of delay (remember, delay changes). Feedback/Regeneration: Only some units have this control. With it, you can take a portion of the flanger's output and route it to the input. In some cases, you can also specify whether to add or subtract the feedback signal. A large amount of feedback can create a very 'metallic' and 'intense' sound. A Flanger is very similar to a Chorus, but the Chorus has longer delay times (30 - 50 milliseconds) and no feedback. If you listen to Van Halen's "Ain't talking 'bout love" you can hear a delay (about 100ms) and a flanger (slow spead, moderate depth with regeneration) in the intro riff.

Just like a chorus, a flanger belongs in the effect loop if you want to use your amp's overdrive. In the effect chain, a flanger comes after the overdrive/distortion. Flanger: http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/bf2-stock.mp3

A phaser combines an out-of-phase signal with the original signal to produce a sound similar to the "spinning" sound of a rotary speaker. Well, in my humble opinion, a phaser sounds very much like a tamed flanger. It does nearly the same (see "Flanger": creating notches in the frequency spectrum) but it uses a shorter delay (0-5ms), sounds drier and has a shallower "whoosh". The Flanger indeed is a special kind of phaser. The way the effect is produced differs a little bit from the flanger. The notches in the frequency spectrum are created by passing the signal through a special group of filters, called allpass filters. As the name implies, all frequencies pass through the filter (i.e. none is "absorbed") to the output. But the signal needs a certain time to pass through the filters so it is "delayed" in comparison to the original signal. If you now mix the two signals, the delayed signal interferes with frequencies of the original signal - just like the flanger (picture two sine waves, one delayed for a short time). But not all frequencies are delayed by the same amount, so only some are eliminated (one sine wave is at its maximum, the other at its minimum)and some are made weaker. This creates the "notches" in frequency response. By putting more allpass filters in line, more notches are created. The MXR Phase 90 contains four stages for example. Controls Rate: Adjusts how often the notches move up and down the frequency spectrum per second. Depth: Sets how far the notches move up and down. Feedback/Resonance: The phase shifting effects can be made more intense by using feedback - adding part of the filter output to the input again. This control determines how much of the filter output is routed to the input again.

Mix/Level: Sets how much of the filter output (the delayed signal) is added to the original. A phaser is very often used for clean rhythm guitars in pop and funk music. Lenny Kravitz' "Are you gonna go my way" is an example for a phaser at work. Just like a chorus or flanger, a phaser belongs in the effect loop if you want to use your amp's overdrive. In the effect chain, a phaser comes after the overdrive/distortion. Soundclip: http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/dano-pepperoni-mod.mp3

A Delay samples the original signal and plays it back delayed to simulate "echo".


Controls Delay time: Sets the time between original signal and delayed signal. Feedback: How many delayed signals do you want? This control sets the number of repeats. It's a very versatile, often used effect. Depending on the time between original signal and delayed signal, the effect is quite different. Doubling: Use a short delay time (50ms or less) and cut feedback so only a single delay is produced. The result sounds similar to two guitars playing in unison => fatter sound. Keeping the direct sound and delayed sound separate for a stereo effect makes it sound like recording left and right cannels separately. Reverb: Use about five delays at 100-200ms and set a low volume and you have a reverb-like sound. "Cheat": Selecting a delay time that matches the song tempo (see below), you can play notes at a constant speed and have a delayed signal right between those notes, creating the impression that you are

playing twice as fast (for example: play constant eight notes and have the delay set to repeat your eight note right between two of your notes => sounds like sixteenth notes being played: your note - delay repeats note - your note - delay repeats note ...). Harmony: Using long delay (800ms or longer) is good for creating harmony: you play a note and the delay repeats this note at the same time you play another note that creates a musical interval with the first one (example: you play first a C, then an E and finally a G: the delay repeats the C at the same time you sound the E and the E repeat sounds together with the G, creating the impression of two guitars playing in harmony a third apart.) You get even more interesting results, if you allow more repeats than only one! Slapback: Use a short delay time (40 - 120 ms) and no feedback and you have the sort of delay you hear on many rockabilly songs. Generally, setting the delay so that it matches the speed of the song produces a highly musical effect! Ok, but how do I calculate the delay time needed to fit the speed of the song, to "cheat" or to play harmony? Delay time for quarter notes =60/Tempo(bpm). You get the delay in seconds, and then you just multiply or divide that to get the desired note value. EG you want a 16th note delay at 120 BPM: 60/120=0.5 (500 ms) then divide by 4 (to get 16th)=125ms Examples: Generally, U2's the Edge uses a lot of delay to make his sound fatter or to create the impression of playing twice as fast as he actually is (for rhythm and lead guitar, check out "Pride (In the name of love)". Brian May often used a delay to play harmony lines with himself, listen to "Brighton Rock". The Stray Cat's "Rock this town" provides an example for a slapback delay. If you want to use your amp's overdrive channel, the delay belongs in the effect loop. In the effect chain, a delay should be put after overdrive/distortion. delay: http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/dl5-hicut-mod.mp3

REVERB A reverb adds the natural acoustic ambience present in rooms and halls. In a room, every noise is reflected by walls, furniture, ceiling and the floor. The reflected signal is again reflected and so on until so many echoes are created, that you can't discern any echoes anymore and you just hear a "reverb". Reflected sounds arrive a little later at our ears as the directly heard signal, because they had to travel a little further. They are also a little weaker, because walls and other surfaces absorb some of the signal. For a short period after the direct sound, there is a set of well-defined and directional reflections that are directly related to the shape and size of the room, as well as the position of the source and listener in the room. These are the early reflections. After these early reflections, the rate of the arriving reflections increases greatly. These reflections are more random and difficult to relate to the physical characteristics of the room. This is called the diffuse reverberation, or the late reflections. This diffuse reverberation is considered to be the primary factor establishing a room's 'size', and it decays exponentially in good concert halls. One measure used for the reverb in a room is reverberation time. This is the time it takes for the sound intensity to 1/1 000 000th of its original value. Longer times mean that the sound stays in the room longer before being absorbed. Reverberation time is often associated with the size of the room (the longer the time, the larger the room). BUT: The materials the walls, floor, ceilings are made of also plays an important role: concrete or brick are highly reflective, carpets, curtains or people absorb a lot of the signal. Thus, an empty room will sound bigger whereas during the performance it will sound differently, with less reverberation. If you want to test the natural reverb of a room, clapping or snipping loudly with your fingers works best. Controls

Pre-delay: Sets the amount of time before the first reverberations of a signal are heard. Reverb Time: Sets the duration for the reverb (see "reverberation time" above). Effect level: Adjusts the volume of the reverb. Direct level: Adjusts the volume of the direct signal. Sometimes reverb units also contain controls like High Pass or Low Pass Filter. A special kind of reverb is the Gated Reverb. Here a sound is allowed only a certain number of reflections. After a certain amount of time, the response is cut off (in contrast to a normal reverb where it fades away). This time is the gate time. If you want to use your amp's overdrive channel, the reverb belongs in the effect loop. In the effect chain, a reverb should be put after overdrive/ distortion. No matter if you use your amp's overdrive or not (i.e. no matter if the reverb effect is between your guitar and amp input or in the effect loop), it's best to have reverb as the last effect in the signal chain.

Order of effects
By now we have covered most of the basic effects. There ARE more, but these are the most common. Also, Id like to address the question in which order to put the effects. On the previous Topics I've already given some "rules" - remember that rules can be broken! - and on the first Topic you can find info on the effect loop. But let's assume that you want to put all your stomp boxes in line between your guitar and your amp. The following order is one that I feel results in useable sounds. This does not mean it is the only one possible. There are some effects mentioned that I haven't explained yet, but to have it all on one Topic I include them here. guitar - Octaver - Auto Wah - Compressor - Wah (1) Distortion/Overdrive - Equalizer - Flanger, Phaser or Pitch Shift - Volume Pedal (2) - Delay - Chorus - Reverb Notes: (1): If you put the Wah in front of the overdrive/distortion unit, it influences the overdrive. It is also possible to put the Wah after the overdrive/distortion effect. (2) A Volume Pedal can also be put in front of the overdrive/distortion, controlling the intensity of the overdrive. You might want to put a Noise Gate before the Compressor and/or after Flanger/Phaser/Pitch Shift.

Most of us use - at least to a certain degree - our amp's EQ to get the sound we want. And I guess most of us have been frustrated because a) the controls are not as effective as we would like them to be b) the settings influence each other too much. Some companies offer EQs as stomp boxes and most multi-effect units also contain extra EQ - besides the parameters for the preamp. Having an additional EQ is nearly like having a second amp. With most "extra" EQs you have an enormous influence on your sound. The result is two sounds: one with the EQ turned off and - if you want - a completely different one if the EQ is turned on. A graphic EQ normally offers you certain "bands" of frequency (for example: 100Hz, 200Hz, 400Hz, 800Hz ... up to maybe 6.4kHz) and the opportunity to boost/cut each of these bands individually - up to a certain amount (for example +/-15 dB). You can't change the frequencies the graphic EQ offers you to cut or boost.




A parametric EQ lets you choose exactly which frequencies you want to boost or cut, and, its the type of eq to use if your wanting to notch out a bit of hiss, or noise in your signal, as well as cut out feedback in a pa or guitar rig. General guidelines: For sharp rhythm sounds cut the middle frequency bands around 800Hz and boost at around 1.6kHz. For overdriven solos boost the middle frequency bands slightly - make sure you put the EQ after the overdrive. For a metal sound cut the middle bands around 800Hz and boost the lower and higher frequency bands. Some folks some like to use EQ before the preamp, some folks like to use EQ after the pre-amp. Now I say pre-amp generically here what I mean is it could be a distortion pedal, an overdrive pedal or a fuzz pedal. Im just using the term pre-amp generically. Its going to give you different tones. You put it before, its going to boost the

frequencies, more or less basically adding distortion. It wont boost the frequencies like bass, treble or mids like it will behind it. So, if you want to add bass, mids or treble, you need to put it behind the preamp or even better in the effects loop. Soundclip: http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/ge7-stock.mp3

A tremolo will basically raise the volume in your signal, and then turn it down in steady patterns to create an effect. This is probably one of the first effects ever for guitar. It can also give a very cool staccato effect. Soundclip: http://www.indyguitarist.com/soundclips/tr2_stock.mp3 A wah pedal changes the eq range of the pedal as you step on it, and move your foot. A good example of wah use is jimi Hendrix- voodoo chile, or alice in chains man in the box.

Tuners Some guys like to use their tuner in their effects chain. I dont like to and I recommend you dont, it will take some high end off. You are not going to have a pure guitar signal. If you really have to have a tuner in your chain, I suggest you have an AB box, running a signal to your amp, and the b signal straight to your tuner or just put it in a true bypass box. If you have a wah pedal, you basically want to do the same thing. I suggest that unless you true bypass your wah, you do not want that thing in your chain!! I suggest you use a true bypass box. You will destroy your clean signal to your amp. Youll take off some high end if you dont have it true bypassed.

True Bypass While on the subject of true bypass, is it hype or is it real? I believe it is kind of a selling point for some companies. I dont think its really necessary if you are only using one or two pedals but if you are using five or six pedals, ten pedals, the best thing may be to have a buffered pedal or two and much of them as you can true bypass. A Buffered pedal is a pedal that switches the pedal on and off electronically, instead of mechanically (like true bypass). It buffers the signal-meaning it boosts the level of the signal, in an attempt to not color the tone, as well as boosting the signal so you dont lose quality of tone when using long guitar cables. Long guitar cables will also tend to take some high end (treble) off of the guitar signal. The buffer helps to correct this. Too many buffers or too many buffered pedals you are back to losing some high end off your tone. You do not want that. Contrarily, however, by using ALL true bypass pedals, your guitar cable will actually suck even MORE tone from your guitar signal, which is why one or two buffered pedals work wonders they help keep this from happening. The general exception, however, is wah pedals, and tunersthey will color your signal in a bad way if they are in the path of your guitar signal to your amp.

Amp stand or on the ground?

Some guys swear by amp stands, and some amps (like the fender twin) come with legs that allow you to tilt it back, to direct the sound towards your ears. With a regular metal amp stand, you are actually going to lose bass because it is not resonating through the floor plus the speaker is pointing directly at you so its going to sound kind of thin if you have the speaker facing you. I prefer to have my amp sitting on the floor so it resonates through the floor. It colors the tone a bit but I feel it makes it a lot fuller and sound better. For an example, take an electric guitar thats not plugged in and lean it against a kitchen table thats made out of wood and strum it a bit and youll notice its louder and plays a little bit fuller thats just because it is resonating through that wood.

Tube pedals vs. non-tube pedals

-Most tube pedals run 12 volts or less so the effect is not the same as a tube based amp. Clipping diodes generally creates distortion of the overdrive but some of the tube pedals with the in internal transformers sound better than the ones with the wall warts. This is basically because they are running more voltage and its more like true tube pre-amp. But, I say all in all a lot of its hype. The real decision is what you like, what do you feel sounds better?


Effect Pedal Mods

Why mod any pedal? I'm glad you asked! For the same reason folks buy a tube amp instead of a solid state amp, or the same reason folks buy a Les Paul instead of a rogue, The same reason Folks prefer a ferarri to a hyundai... It's everything the stock pedal is, but SO MUCH MORE! Seriously, its sort of like 'hot-rodding' your car. Some folks like their car just fine, but other car enthusiasts like to fix them up, put nice stereo systems in them, nice wheels, etc. Its not for everyone, but if you approach it open-mindedly, you just might dig it! Which one? Listen to the mods, probably the top ones you hear the most about is Robert Keeley, Analog Man, Tone Jam, and Indy Guitarist. Keeley and Analog Man are probably the most well known. Keeleys mods are more geared like the original pedal, but a bit clearer. Hes very well known for his original compressor designs. Analog Man is very well known as well. His mods are more subtle. Kind of made to sound more like a vintage type of tone. Tone Jam and Indy Guitarist are kind of the new breed of modders out. They mod almost anything and they do custom mods-turning your wimpy overdrive pedal into a beast!! So, basically you can tell them you want a Boss DS1 with nothing but more mid range and theyll do it. From what Im told, Keeley and Analog Man only offer certain mods, they dont do custom mods. If you like to work on your own equipment, or just want to save money, you can always go to http://www.guitartone.net/liquid.htm and do your own mods. Theres an easy to follow guide there that teaches you how to mod your own.

Multi effects vs. pedals

Pedals are ideal when you want to flavor your original signal. Also, for some, you cant beat a couple of premier or modded single effects, and run them into a tube amp. This issue, however, is debated daily! With a multi FX you can preset all your sounds into patches. With stomp boxes you have to do a tap dance turning on/off several FX-if say changing from a 80's style clean tone with Compression>Reverb>Chorus>Delay>EQ. If you wanted to go from this clean sound to a dry high gain lead sound or a rhythm crunch then you have to do the tap dance. A Multi effects generally is liked for the one footswitch to change a load of FX on/off in one quick tap of the toe! Some players prefer that when playing live, if they are using a ton of effects. To sum it up, use your ears-play on both and see what feels right and sounds right to YOU.

Finding YOUR Tone

You askhow do I find the perfect tone??!! There is no perfect tone. The "ultimate" tone (The Tone) does not exist. "Tone" is a shifting object that varies depending upon song, emotional context, venue, audience, genre, physical environment, etc. Some of the "best" guitar sounds are rather lop-sided when analyzed in isolation. I hear players all the time say they finally found the perfect tone or they're still searching for the Holy Grail of tone. Most of these people are sitting in their bedrooms or are gear collectors perpetually in search of excuses to buy more stuff. The real discovery comes when they play with a band or try recording. In short, you can take any guitar and amp in good working order and get plenty of useful sounds. I've gotten what I thought were perfect sounds from my guitar only to find that they didn't work at all when you take your sound out of your garage or bedroom. Instead of looking for "The Tone" you need to think about finding your place within the frequency spectrum. Think about it this way, you've got your drummer pounding away, another guitarist, vocals, bass, plus whoever else is in your band. Say you join a band where the other guitarist plays a Strat and a Fender Twin. With the addition of another vocalist, a lot of the spectrum is taken by instruments and voices that would compete with another guitar. Are you going to shove another bright Strat into the mix? Why? Rather than trying to compete (VOLUME WARS!) you've got to cooperate and find a space that you can occupy that does not step all over other people that might just mean finding a sound that you don't like (say, in isolation) but sits well in the mix or work well in comparison to some other guitar tone in the group. That might mean, in the above context, finding a thicker sound (say a Marshall-type middominated sound with humbuckers) and let the Strat guy have his sparkle and snap.

Likewise, in some situations, a paper-thin guitar sound will cut through a mix that is heavy on bass and mids. Your tone may sound like crap, if someone soloed your mixer channel, but remember the whole is greater than the parts so what might sound like crap by itself could very well sound super in the total mix. So, in your band or when you record, the vocals and drums are going to be the least flexible elements. Start there, let the bassist take the bottom, and then divide the relatively small portion of space left over between the guitars. And when the vocalists are singing select a sound that will compliment. When there is a vocal-free space you can go for something with more substance to it you might find that in any given song, you'll need two or three different sounds for different areas of the piece. Your tone will sound differently at practice, at sound check, and every venue, even if you use the exact same equipment and settings. Be prepared to alter it based on the room, temperature, humidity, and the amount of people and sound absorbing objects in the room. And, lastly, your tone is going to be the product of being reasonable and considerate. Cooperate with your band members. You will not be appreciated if your awesome tone conflicts with what other people are doing. You are the guitar player. Unless you are also the singer or you are a featured guitar god, you will be pretty much ignored. Find a cool groove to get into with the drummer and the bassist. That's how to be a musician, and not just a guitarist. Whats that? How do you sound like Eric Johnson/Eddie Van Halen/Yngwie etc.? If you want to sound like EJ or whoever then do not read this! Instead, take out a loan on a vintage, pre-CBS Strat ($12,500) + vintage TS808 Tube Screamer ($500) + vintage Marshall JTM45 ($1200) then you will have all the gear necessary to sound like EJnote that I said you'd have the gear for the sound not the sound itself. For Example, please realize that just because you own a 1954 Strat, two Fender Deluxe Reverbs and a vintage 50 Watt Marshall, you probably wont sound exactly like Eric Johnson Don't get me wrong,

that would be a good starting point. But great tone comes from the heart, soul and fingers of the person playing. Equipment, in and of itself, is only part of the battle. The remainder, literally, rests in your hands and fingers. Wonder why I would say a thing like that? Read on! Amp/Effects Debates Don't get caught up in the tube vs. solid state vs. digital debate. That is a never-ending argument that will probably never be won. Great tones can be coaxed out of any kind of amp as long as it is well designed and in good working order. If Mike Stern and B. B. King can get their sounds out of, in Stern's case an ancient Yamaha G100, and in King's case an old Gibson Lab Series amp, then the matter is really pointless. I've seen many tube purists who couldn't tell the difference between solid state and tube when they had to rely solely on their ears. So, trust YOUR ears and don't get something merely because it has tubes -- there are many of those amps that sound plenty bad. DO get something that sounds good to YOU! Do get an amp that will be reliable, durable, and versatile, and inspires you to play it! Don't worry so much about the power or wattage an amp has. Tube amps are going to sound better cranked, so lower wattage amps tend to be favored. When playing within the context of a band, your going to mic the amps anyways, so loudness shouldnt be so much a factor as some folks think. If you are using a tube amp be sure that the tubes are in good shape. Don't settle for the cheapest you can find; you'd be better off shelling out the bucks for some good ones. Be aware that different speaker sizes can radically affect your sound. Some people swear that a 4X10 cabinet loaded with Jensen speakers is the only way to go (i.e., the Fender Bassman sound) while others will only play through a 2X12 cabinet loaded with Celestion speakers. Try them all out and decide for yourself. Great sounds can be obtained

from all of them. A cab with 4X10s typically sounds punchier and more immediate while a cab loaded with 12s will sound looser and will allow for a more compressed sound. Also, a closed-back cab like a big 4X12 will generally sound much darker than one with an open back configuration. Never base your equipment decisions on aesthetics. Considerations like tweed, leopard skin, and boa snake coverings, chicken-head knobs, or metal armor should be secondary to the sound. Never base your amp purchase decisions on the reviews you find in guitar magazines. The current crop of periodicals has, over the last few years, become nothing but propaganda machines for manufacturers (who, incidentally, are paying their bills through advertising dollars). In short, you simply can't trust them. Go to online resources for the reviews that real owners have posted. But, you must be careful here as well. Most of these reviews are posted by well-meaning folks just like you and me but most of them have been posted by people after just a few days of owning a piece of gear. You cant accurately know the ins/outs, and shortcomings of an amp that quickly. Look for reviews from people who have owned and used the amp, or guitar, for at least six months or more. And every now and then you'll find people making second reviews of the same piece after some use. Effects sound best in moderation. Though, in the pursuit of weird sounds it is fun to hook together an altogether immoderate quantity of effects. It all depends upon your sound. Sometimes it's cool to use old digital effects from the 80s and early 90s the ones that sound horrendous in their attempt to emulate tube preamps; they get this terrible fuzz, which can be accentuated by clipping the input way too far. Some love it. But for most folks, the general rule is the fewer the better. Effects can become a crutch for sloppy playing and a general lack of skill. Try cutting back on what you use if you are practicing, and trying

to get better. Use the effects when you performyoull get much better in a shorter period of time. Try and keep fresh batteries in your effects, or use a power source. Some people claim that weak batteries will get that 'vintage sound.' I can't tell the difference. Maybe you can-I cant, and most tests wont show an audible difference, but when you perform, no one will ever know the difference. In this instance, better safe than sorry-use fresh power.

General information
There are some simple, physical things that you can do to help achieve a good guitar tone. Make sure that your guitar is capable of being tuned and staying in tune. Make sure that your guitar has been intonated properly. You might want to have this done down at your local guitar shop or, if you own a really good tuner, you can do it yourself. Be sure that your pickups are adjusted to their proper height in relation to the strings. You could contact the factory to get the official specs or look it up in a good reference book that deals with setup and repair. Also, feel free to experiment with pickup height. Try using larger strings. Heavier string gauges will help your guitar sound bigger and fuller. Jazz guitarists routinely play with 13s or 14s; I think Pat Martino actually uses 15s or 16s! Ouch! Fusion players often use 11s or 12s, while rock guitarists typically use 9's or 10s. Experiment with using larger gauges until you reach a happy balance between gauge, playability and comfort. Keep your action up high enough that your strings dont buzz while bending. Try fretting the string different ways utilizing different finger angles and portions of the fingertip. If you are looking for speedy speed, play with the tips of your fingers. This will diminish the amount of finger contact on the fretboard itself. Find a pick, or picks that feel most comfortable to you. Also, try using your other fingers to pluck strings. Or, combine pick and fingers for a different sound. Spend the extra money to get a good instrument-youll never regret it. Buy a guitar that is versatile, stays in tune, and is made with quality components and woods. Versatility in the electronics area might mean

a Humbucker, Single coil, Humbucker scheme (H-S-H) with coilsplitting ability for the humbuckers. The Absolute Truth The key to your tone is not in the equipment as much as it is in you. Even Seymour Duncan admits as much. In an issue of Guitar Player he recounted an experience watching Page, Clapton, and Beck each take turns playing through the same Fender Strat -- no surprise, they each sounded different. Great tones can be had from almost any kind of amp and guitar combination. Don't get too wrapped up in the gear thing. Know the gear that you own. If you don't take the time to figure it out then you might be missing the perfect tone that is already in your amp. Guitar playing and getting "The Tone" is not about things but people, knowledge, and skill.

In closing
People, Knowledge, and SkillSO HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR TONE? The key to finding your tone is simple: stop looking for it. If you concentrate on things like mastering the language and logic of music and mastering your instrument then the tone will develop. A master musician, playing masterfully, will always sound masterful. Ornette Coleman (one of the pioneers of free jazz) gigged with a plastic saxophone. That's right, plastic. This illustrates my point. YOUR TONE IS INSIDE YOU- in your touch, in your mastery, skill, and knowledge get yourself some adequate tools like a dependable amp and guitar that work and stop worrying about searching day and night for the equipment that is finally going to set you free. Free your mind and your tone will follow! As simple as this seems -- it is very true!! Your tone is already there, NOW you just need to DEVELOP it! How do you do that? Practice, practice, and then practice a bit more! Play along with jam tracks, set aside a set amount of time every day and just practice, just like you would train if you were an athlete competing in sports. In closing, please be sure you check out the soundclips included with this ebook, and listen to examples of what were discussing here. I welcome anyone and everyone to email me with questions/comments/suggestions: Brian@indyguitarist.com To gain access to all of the free stuff the newsletter members have access to, simply send a blank email to info@guitartone.net -- its free to join!

Links: http://www.indyguitarist.com/ http://www.guitartone.net/liquid.htm http://www.brent-mason.com http://www.howtoplayguitar.net/ For those interested in starting an online music business, or even just selling your original songs, I highly suggest this: http://www.theauctionsecret.com Thanks and take care, Brian Wampler

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