Hello Metalpaths readers! Welcome to the 2nd “Train Of Thoughts” article. For those of you that is your first time in this blog, you can also check the first article here.
So, this month I decided to write about a very important subject that many guitarists ask me about. The Guitar Tone. I’ll try to answer all these questions about this very important subject and also to point out some very common mistakes that guitarists do (mostly beginners) when they buy gear. In conclusion, I’ll give you my gear in case you’re interested in what I use. Ready? Lets go…
– Fretting Hand.
Our fingers (either left or right for the left-handed guitarists) get in touch with the fretboard which means that they are the main and most important factor for our tone. The way we’re going to sound like if you prefer.The main difference here is how you fret. This can rapidly change your tone. “Is there an ideal way of fretting?”. NO. There is NOT! The way we fret depends on the music style(s) we chose to play and what the ideal tone sounds like in our head. It’s obvious… a Jazz Player will not fret the same way a Metal guitarist does. Its not about right or wrong here. It a matter of music style.That being said, my opinion here is to try to fret with more than one way! Try to fret hard but also teach your hands to have control so that if you need to play something more mellow, to be able to fret softly.A piece of advice here. After seeing friends of mine having health problems(like tendinitis) trying to teach their hand to fret harder,I suggest you,to start by fretting hard from the day one and once you have that down you can start trying to fret more softly.It will be easier for your fingers to get used to this!
– Picking Hand.
A famous guitarist once said: “I have seen many guitarists with a not so good Left hand and a great Right hand. I liked them all! I have never seen a good guitarist with a good left hand and a bad right hand.” I think this line shows the importance of our picking hand!The way we pick can change the dynamics of our playing and it’s important to have the ability to pick with many ways. It will help you raise the range of your guitar phrasing vocabulary by adding more sounds, more dynamics and will generally make your playing more interesting and less predictable.
Ok before moving on to the gear part let me clarify something! I didn’t randomly wrote about our hands first. Our hands are more important for our tone than any piece of gear out there. That’s why I wrote about them first. BUT.. With the right gear in the right hands we can have the perfect tone. (Steve Vai for example).
For obvious reasons I’ll start with the guitar. Our guitar is the most important piece of our gear. It’s our instrument and you should pay a lot of attention and search very well to find the perfect guitar for you. Try to accept that you will never find a guitar that will be able to play all kinds of music.It’s impossible. And a piece of advice. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY! That includes all kinds of gear of course but it is even more important when it comes to our guitar. Espessially when you are about to buy something expensive.The fact that it’s expensive doesn’t make it the right choice for you.And since you pay a fair amount of money,you have the right to go to the store and try it and try it and try it, again and again and again until you are 110% sure that this particular guitar is what you’re looking for.
Like the guitar,our amp can be a pretty expensive purchase. Search for the best choices for your style and try the amp(s) with YOUR guitar before you buy the one you like most. The amp can rapidly improve or worse your tone so be conscious when you choose.
We were talking about improvement or worse of our tone with the right or wrong amp??! Now… Let me retype that for the pedals. Pedals can cause improvement or destruction of your tone. The right ones can lift it to heaven and the wrong ones will make you sound really bad. Talk to a gear expert and take his advice. Tell him what you need and he will definetily help you out choosing the right number and the specific pedals you need.
The list here is so big, that if I try to write every mistake that I know I will have enough material for 5 or 6 articles for the blog. So I’ll try to write the most serious and most common ones. Let’s Go!
– “My favorite guitarist plays this guitar, so I will buy this one for myself.”
NO! The fact that your favorite guitarist play with a specific instrument that is perfect for HIM, doesn’t make it perfect for you too! You don’t have the same abilities and most important, you don’t have the same fingers!!I don’t say that its unlikely the guitar to fit to your hands as well but like I said above try the guitar first! If its good for you too buy it. If not,deal with it,move on,buy another guitar and don’t be sad that you don’t have your hero’s guitar in your hands. You can still play your favorite songs with another guitar.
– “I can’t play some licks. I will go and buy some pedals that will help me play them.”
Once again… NO! Pedals don’t improve your technique. Sit down and work on those licks until you’re able to play them.
– “I Have a cheap guitar and I don’t like my tone. I will buy a few pedals and improve it.”
My answer to this is always the same: “Let me remind you something,you play GUITAR not PEDALS”. Better save your money and buy a better guitar than giving them to pedals. Its not going to work! I’m sorry.
– Buying pedals that you don’t even know what they’re doing.
This is a mistake that no one admits doing it,although all of us have done it in the past(or present) and many will do this in the future unless you ask about it and go and check it out before you buy it. Don’t buy pedals just to have your stage floor full of pedals. Have in your feet what you really need and its necessary for you
Guitar(s) : Schecter C-7 Hellraiser
Amp: Peavey 6505+
Pedals: Visual Sound Root 66.(Overdrive and Compressor)
Line 6 DL4 Stompbox Modeler(Delay)
Visual Sound H2O.(Chorus and Echo)
Boss Noise Suppressor
That was it guys. It was a very big subject and I hope I covered all or most of your questions. I think I will have to write about this again in the future,covering stuff that may stayed out this time. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to express your thoughts and suggest your ideas and desired subjects in the comment section below!
See you next month and remember… Tone is in your head and hands!
Written by Gus Drax.