Getting Your Own Sound with Guitars & Amps

1962 Fender Telecaster Electric Guitar (Vintage)

Hello my friends in guitar land. The most frequent question I receive from my fellow guitar players is how do I get my own sound. First, I would like to say that in my opinion a signature sound comes from your hands not from your gear. And also from a picture you have in your mind of what you want your “voice” to convey. But the idea that certain equipment will help reproduce the sound you have worked so long and hard to achieve is relevant. So I will give you an idea of what I think is a good set-up for certain types of music and specific roles being played in a musical setting. Please remember that I humbly submit these opinions in good fun and are based on over 30+ years of playing live and in the studio, as well a collecting guitars and amps during those years. I know there are plenty of guitar players out there who know a helluva lot more then I do about guitaring.

I’m a Guitar Player, Now What?

Pete Townshend (The Who)

The days, weeks, months, and years of shedding and learning your craft are behind you. You are a guitar player, capable of making a living at this noble craft, but now what? Here is what, I think, are some tasks that will take you to the next level.

Recording Studio 101: The Electric Guitar

This month we tackle recording electric guitar. I’ve been fortunate enough to record guitars in many different studios with many different engineers. Each engineer or producer has a certain way they like to mic an amplifier (or speaker cabinet). Let’s discuss some of the most common ways.

Recording Studio 101: Preparing the Vocals

Recording vocals for me personally is always hit or miss. Some days you sing great and some days you feeling like a first day reject for American Idol. You want to try to be consistent and prepared so I’ve got my own routine for practicing my vocals so that when the day comes I’ll be ready to go!

Recording Studio 101: Preparing to Record

Recording Studio: Command Center

So you’re finally ready to record your songs in a “real” studio. What kind of preparations do you need to make? Let’s start off with basic guidelines that get us up to the point of pushing the red record button!

Amp Tone Controls: Tone & Gain Sucking Leeches?

Tradition is a powerful thing and change is hard to make. But, if you consider how tone controls affect an amp’s signal chain, investigate what a guitar and amp sound like with minimal tone controls (or none!) and then decide if you really need them, you might be surprised at your conclusion.

Budget Boutique Amps: What Are They and Why Should You Buy One

You’ve finally made your decision to slap down some of your scarce cash on a reissue or new model tube amp built in the Far East for a BIG name manufacturer. It seems like a great deal: the vintage amps of this model sell for thousands of dollars more, it looks like the real thing and the specs appear to be the same (same tubes, same power, same controls, etc.). And, it sounded pretty darn good in the store too.

A Baker’s Dozen Tips: Recording Guitars & Basses (Part 1)

Joey Leone Signature Guitar Prototype from Eastwood Guitars

My first home recording set up was an Akai ¼ inch 2 track and a Harmon Kardon cassette deck, no EQ, the only effects I had were a few effects pedals. I would program one of my primitive drum machines or use a factory preset non-programmable rhythm machine while I was recording that I would usually add my bass or rhythm guitar. And after a suitable take I would ping pong the tracks back and forth from the 2 track to the cassette, adding effects on the fly.

Class A Tube Amps: Marketing Hype vs. Reality

Class A tube guitar amps. Everyone’s heard the term. It’s generally associated with higher-end amps in support of an amp maker’s claim that their product sounds “better”. I’ll leave the debate as to which is better to others. What I want to discuss is what Class A really means and, from the pet peeve perspective, to debunk many amp manufacturers’ claims that their products are Class A when clearly they’re not! You may be surprised at how many amp makers falsely claim Class A operation. So, let’s review, in practical terms, what Class A really is and learn a simple rule of thumb you can use to spot operating class BS!