Tip: Research Your Tones

Figuring out which models are primarily oriented toward clean sounds, toward crunchy, or overdriven sounds will go a long way towards giving you the sonic result you are after.

For starters, find a tone that you love from one of your favorite artists then do some research to determine how they created that sound. Ask yourself what amp did they use? What cabinet? What effects? How was it mic’d? Google is a beautiful thing.

Here is a quick example: Did you know that like Brian May of Queen, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters predominantely uses a Vox AC-30?

Starting with the album There is Nothing Left to Lose, his tone largely consists of just a cranked Vox AC-30 mic’d with a Shure SM-57. On that album in particular, one of his guitar tracks used a Pro Co Rat distortion pedal to give a nice “gnarly” contrast to the overdriven tone of the Vox AC-30. He’ll also use a MemoryMan for his delay.

Dave has noted that one of the tubes was dying on his amp during the recording of that album and you can hear that “jingling” sound in the recordings.

Pretty cool stuff, eh? Give Learn to Fly a listen and see if you can duplicate his tone.

Practice makes perfect. The more you research different tones, the more you’ll be able to etch out your own unique voice.