Friday, 14 November 2014

Guitar Tone Secrets of the Pharaohs.

OK I fess up. That title is entirely misleading and designed to lure the unsuspecting guitarist into reading this blog and watching the video. The clue was the use of the word SECRET. It's a bit like when it says 'Rare unseen footage of player X' in a Youtube description. If it's on YouTube it's no longer rare or unseen! But I digress...

 Guitarist's are suckers for anything that promises to aid them in that endless quest for tone and the guitar mags are full of it.

'10 things you must do to sound like Eddie Van Halen'
1: Huff Schwinn cycle paint (it's what Eddie used)
2: Rewire your guitar only on a full moon and don't forget to bypass the tone pot.
3. Get some authentic Marlboro burns on your headstock etc....

And on it goes.....

Whilst a lot of this stuff us usefull and valid advice the fact of the matter is these mags are there to sell product whether it be the artists (their latest CD) or the manufacturers (their latest amp).
 Often I find the latest offering from Blackmarstarshall or whoever to be completely unusable but these products are aimed at a mass market and the key thing here is finding something that works for you.

So here's the real meat of this article - after this you can go back to watching Ukrainian midget tossing, pictures of donkeys wearing fedoras or whatever else you do with your internet time.

Okay so the tone secret of the Pharaohs is.......

It's at either end of the tone chain that the major changes can be achieved. The bit in the middle...well.....meh!

The beginning.
The player's ears, hands and heart.
They make the single biggest difference but you can't buy those.

Great strings are the heart of your sound and anyone that says they don't make a difference is frankly an idiot. For years I used Ernie Balls and thought they were the best you could get. Until I tried Newtones that is. They sound and feel better last far longer and because they're wound for YOU the gauges and core can tailored to your instrument and requirements. Over the years either through necessity or curiosity I've tried others but they just don't cut it. A big shout out to Kurt Mangan strings by the way who've come the closest!
Getting the right pickup for the guitar is crucial and handwound pickups are always better. More articulation and detail. In terms of bang for you buck it's hard get more for less. Amps only do just that...amplify. Feed crap in at one end and they'll throw crap out at the other end. Loud, distorted crap!
This is why I pay more attention (and money) to this stage than any other. I think that without the right pickup you're fighting a losing battle.

The end.

Finding a speaker you like sound of is critical and can transform the sound of an amp for better or worse in 5 mins. This is easily controlled by you and doesn't cost a fortune to experiment with.

Finally the listeners ears. People do hear things differently and there's nowt you can do about it.
Some have golden ears whilst some are made of cloth. my video and check out Catwhiskers Pickups.