Just another compilation of tone tips. Use them. Love them. Why is John Mayer wearing a stetson.

  • On most momentary tap tempo switches, the tempo is counted when your foot releases the switch, not when your foot hits the switch.
  • Tubes last longer in heads because there is less speaker vibration.
  • Turn the mix down on your delays.
  • More volume, less drive on overdrive pedals.
  • Amp set to the verge of breakup, push it with pedals. Or amp drive set to your highest gain, and use your volume knob or a volume pedal as your drive control.
  • Volume pedal first in chain to be used as a volume knob, after drives before effects for swells, end of chain for a master volume control. Or, get 3 volume pedals. ;)
  • Do not use flange.
  • Give it more emotion. Always, always, more emotion. That one thing will matter more than anything you can spend money on or even practice.
  • Those cushion things that you pay money for so that your amp can sit on them and give less vibration and hence less volume? Ya, those don’t work. Just turn your amp down and play better.
  • If it seems too wacky to be true, it probably is.
  • Your cables are not directional. And if electrons technically flow backwards through a cryogenically frozen vacuum of flux capacitance, or whatever the new internet site this week says from the guy trying to sell frozen vacuum’s of cable flux capacitors, a better position of your thumb on the string is going to make more of a tonal difference.
  • There is no one way to tone. ‘How do I sound like Hendrix, Stevie, Edge, and Andy Summers?’ I don’t know. All had great tone, all had wildly different ways of approaching it.
  • That is not the holy grail of tone. I don’t care what you’re looking at buying right now on Gear Page, with another tab open watching a youtube demo of it, while the manual downloads. It’s not it.
  • Modulation can cover for lack of tubes. Listen to some of Edge’s clean tone on The Unforgettable Fire. Or, maybe you just need a Roland JC120. ;)
  • Uh still…get a tube amp.
  • If your tone sounds different everywhere, it’s time for a real power conditioner. And not the rackmount power strip with lights.
  • Your ears are usually better than the internet.
  • Blind tests are your friend. Have your wife or girlfriend turn on and off different pedals while you play with your eyes closed. Then take her to dinner that doesn’t have a drive-thru, a movie that doesn’t have ‘Avengers’ in the title, and repeat for a few days.
  • There’s this incredibly small window where people respect your pedalboard. An inch smaller and you’re a noob, and an inch bigger and you’re a prima donna.
  • If it makes you happy, then it’s good tone.
  • Delay repeats up, mix down for ambience.
  • Your amp sounds different depending on where you stand. Stack it on something, or eq it with your ear where the mic’s at.
  • If it sounds good, use it. If it sounds bad, don’t. You’d think we wouldn’t have to remind ourselves of this, but the internet is a harsh mistress.
  • Shimmer is overused. Doesn’t make it sound bad.
  • Plug your amp and your board into the same power strip/source for less hum.
  • Amp volume up, back off on finger and pick attack. More power, more finesse. Less power, less finesse.
  • Practice. It never changes.
  • New strings. Those need to change. About every couple weeks or so.
  • Don’t time your trem’s so much.
  • Don’t tread on the vocals.
  • If you’re not having fun anymore, something needs to change.
  • If you find yourself leading worship and more excited over getting to look up what pedals Nigel uses to get the tones in the setlist, rather than how the setlist is going to glorify God, reach the congregation, and what you can do to help…something needs to change.
  • Production has become overrated. Working hard has become underrated.
  • Try a little less compression. On everything. Just try it.
  • A little noise never hurt anybody.
  • And my personal favorite…the guy’s who scoff at expensive amps and pedals, yet must record everything in a ‘studio.’ Your guitar does not need Pro Tools and a 78 channel mixer to sound good. Just once I want to see someone ask the producer to make their guitar sound like George Harrison, and for the producer to turn off all his gear, take out an old tape deck, connect a mic to it, and put the mic on the amp grill. Secondly, most ‘studios’ got all their gear at that Guitar Center you make fun of so much.
  • Okay…now I’m just plain listening to too much Katherine Baker and Son House. So take everything I’ve said here with a grain of salt. Then, realize I’m right, throw that salt over your left shoulder, and don’t hit Sea Bass.

Splendid.
Karl.