Achieving the perfect guitar tone can be a long and tedious process, especially when working with a pedalboard and multi FX processor. It often takes years of experimentation and tweaking to find the right combination of effects and settings that will give you the sound you desire. This can be frustrating, but with patience and perseverance, you will eventually get to the tone you want. It is important to remember that it is a process, and that small adjustments over time can lead to big improvements in your sound and get the best guitar tone in your guitar processor, vst, Guitar Rig or from your pedalboard.
Some Keypoints to get perfect guitar tone:
- Start with a clean tone.
- Experiment with diffrent effects.
- Use Eq to shape your tone.
- Listen and try your tone in different environment
- Dont always copy / downlaod tones from Internet
Some Keypoints to get perfect guitar tone:
- Start with a clean tone: Make sure your guitar and amplifier are set to a clean tone before you begin adding effects and Dont remember to tune your guitar properly :D.
- Experiment with different effects: Try out different effects pedals and see how they interact with one another. Experiment with different orders of the pedals and different settings on each pedal. If you use multy fx processor there are tones of effects you can experiement – Reverb, delay, chorus are some basic effects that you can try in your tone.
- Use EQ to shape your tone: Use EQ pedals to shape the frequency response of your guitar. This can help you achieve a more balanced tone and eliminate any unwanted frequencies. For a long long time i never tried this and once i started using and experiement with equalizer this improved my tone a lot.
- Listen to your tone in different environments: Its very very important to listen to your tone in different environments and make adjustments accordingly. Some pedals may sound great in a studio setting but may not be suitable for live performance. If you use headphone to make your tone in home and next day in your band practice you will see the tone s__ked big time in big amplifiers but with slight changes to your eq you can get that tone back.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment: Always be open to trying new things and experimenting with different sounds. Remember that it takes time and patience to achieve the perfect tone, but the journey can be just as rewarding as the final outcome.
Get your desire tone from Distortion / Overdrive Pedal & Multy Fx Processor:
This is an area that a lot of people (myself included) have found difficult to understand, and it’s even more difficult to understand when you find out that the same pedal setup won’t work for every amp and that there’s a huge difference between valve amps and transistor amps in terms of how they react to this sort of pedal.
Firstly, you should be aware of how much distortion is being put into the signal of your guitar. Try using the distortion pedal on a clean channel first. This makes it much easier to recognise the pedals’ independent distortion for reasons that I will explain shortly. Almost all distortion pedals will have a drive and volume dial on them; drive meaning the amount of distortion being fed into the signal, and volume being the amount of the signal being put through. In other words, some pedals make the amp slightly louder by increasing the amount of signal being received from the guitar, or quieting it, and can be toggled by turning the pedal on and off with the foot-switch.
Once you’ve found a level that suits you then you should be fine, but there are quite a few issues that may stop this from happening at first, so here are the main ones I’ve come up with.
Gain: the gain on the channel you are using can play havoc with the sound of your pedal if it’s not set right. In general terms you want the gain low enough so that the distortion of your amp doesn’t interfere with the distortion on the pedal, even on a clean channel, but high enough so that the full impact of the pedal can be heard. Most people who use a distortion pedal on ‘dirty’ channels (channels with overdrive on them) from the amp use the pedals as either a boost or a cutter. Here’s the difference between the two, and why people generally don’t turn the distortion on the amp up high as well as the pedals.
Boost; the pedal is set up to have a moderately small but noticeable amount of gain so that during a solo or a heavier section of a song, the guitar’s distortion suddenly leaps up to give the guitar more presence in a song.
Cutter; the pedal is set so that it has a slightly lower volume than normal as well as only a small amount of distortion, and this cuts out some of the distortion from the amp, getting a smoother and more laidback tone if pulled off correctly.
Why do people not turn both distortions up?
This can over saturate the input which can play havoc with lower notes and ruin the definition of higher notes. Even heavy metal guitarist are aware of this fact and so tend to use one or the other, and either turn up the bass on the amp or use another effect like compressors or a chorus pedal to thicken up their sound.
Okay, so, like, What’s the difference If I have a valve or a transistor amp? Simple, transistor amplifiers don’t actually have overdrives in them. Only valve, tube and valve-state amps have overdrives in them.
How To Fix The noise on Overdrive Noise? Well, on transistors, the overdrive is actually a digital effect worked into the signal inside the amplifier; whereas on valve amplifiers there’s an actual part of the amplifier specifically there just to get the overdrive, which is why valve amplifiers sound so much thicker and more powerful than transistors, and why a valve will always sound more natural than a transistor amplifier. Because of this, transistors are set up to more actively receive distorted signals a lot of the time, so will be more accepting of the pedals you’re using, but there always exceptions to the rules. Whereas unless you get a really high quality distortion pedal which likely has some part of valve technology built into it, it will never be able to match the distortion of a valve amp effectively.
Therefore it’s best to use a distortion pedal as a boost or a cutter rather than all of you distorted signal when using a valve amplifier.
Where should I put my distortion pedal along with my other pedals? If you have other stuff being used, then put your distortion pedal right at the end of the signal path closest to your amplifier (i.e. after the pedal the signal goes straight to the amp). This is so that the distortion doesn’t drown out other effects that you need to hear clearly, as distortion is definitely one of the more overbearing effects you will come across.
Which effects do I need to use for soloing and which do I need to use for rhythm playing? This is purely down to personal preference. Some guitarists use none throughout while some use fleets of effects pedals.
Here is a quick overlook at the most prominent pedal effects I’ve come across.
Overdrive/distortion: some people prefer to use pedal distortion rather than amp distortion, so use the pedal as a means of switching between clean and distorted sound. Others may use them as boosts or cutters for certain sections, so these are pretty open use pedals.
Chorus: this gives the illusion of another guitar playing within the same signal, which gives a much thicker and ‘wavy’ sound to your guitar. Used a lot with clean guitars as it can really enhance the depth of the guitar sound, but again guitarists like Alex Lifeson of Rush do use chorus whether clean or distorted to give their sound more bulk. Also very good for atmosphere-like sounds when combined with delay.
Delay: Essentially an artificial echo effect; can be used to great effect throughout all types of playing but takes up a lot of sonic space. If you want a song with very precise parts and complicated riffs, then I would recommend steering clear of it unless you’re absolutely sure of how you would use it. Notably Steve Vai uses this technique often, and is considered one of the ‘essential’ effects of a guitar rig nowadays, with it being used practically by every guitarist out there.
Phaser: a really spacey sound. Most famously used as the effect present through the entire song ‘barracuda’ by heart, it is a very seventies style sound. Still a very good effect to use to atmospheric effect because of the constantly shifting sound produced.
Octave pedal: moving the sound of your guitar either up or down by an entire octave. Used in stuff like ‘searching’ by Joe Satriani, it’s one of the more tricky effects to use. Very noticeable in a song, so I wouldn’t recommend using it for a song with subtle changes.
There are compression pedals out there as well, but I will go into them in another lesson. There is a difference between overdrive and distortion pedals though, so be sure to listen carefully before you buy one. Overdrive pedals generally have less gain than distortion pedals do, and are modeled to try and sound as natural as possible, whereas distortion pedals are made to sound different than what amplifiers normally produce.
And that’s pretty much it for distortion pedals. In next episode i will discuss about Getting Perfect Guitar tone from Your Amp.