I have been into prog metal for a long time (as a bassist) and am finally getting into guitar and want to write some doomy music. I know how to get what I want in terms of modern high gain tone, but don't know much about Doom/Sludge tones. What are the basic principles, gears, and tricks of the trade?

It seems like people use big old school amps with the power section breaking up, SG guitars from Black Sabbath era, maybe Big Muff. Am I on the right track?

This is some doom that I like (this guy uses a super loud Orange stack):


This is more on the stoner side but I like the heavy fuzz wall on the chorus (about :30 sec in):

Last edited by cGoEcYk at Dec 19, 2011,
Well on the bass side of things the Wren & Cuff Tall Font Russian muff will pretty much nail that tone. It probably applies for guitar too but I can't say for certain.

It might want to make you play bass again tho.
I play a fair bit of stoner/sludge stuff, and to my understanding it's pretty much this:

-Vintage-voiced to medium-output pickups(I use a Squier Strat for my sludgy stuff, and I used a Dean MLX with a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge, they both worked rather nicely for it, though most every stoner band I've seen uses Gibsons)

-Medium-ish gain amps with lots of gain(an Orange sounds like it'd be good for this, just about any Brit-voiced amp'll do the trick, I think)

-Downtuning(Kyuss plays in C, The Sword plays in Drop C, Sabbath played in C#, Heavy Lord uses either Drop C or Drop C#, so on so forth)

You're pretty much on the right track. You can get a fuzz too, but vintage Brit amp distortion'd prolly do you just fine honestly, if not boosted a little bit. I think the downtuning's a major part of it though, downtuning to C with, like, .11s on to get that sloppy sound. Best of luck to ya, man!
Quote by SlayingDragons
Nah, I prefer to tune lower. My tunings usually go into weird Hebrew symbols.
Do you run the Muff into clean or as more of a boost on a dirty channel?
Just an Orange amp is fine if you can crank it. Otherwise start researching the fuzz units used by the bands you’re into. One or two boutique fuzz pedals and just about any amp is all that you need. And your scale length is important. If you want old fashioned muddy sludge you need massive strings on a 24.75" guitar, for a tight tone you’ll need a 26.5"–28" guitar.
I can get a pretty good Kyussy tone with my setup, i've got a standard big muff pi USA going through an old boss bass EQ pedal with the low mids and bass turned up a bit , and the bass turned up loads on the amp (how i usually have it set anyway) with the mids and treble down.

Keep in mind im using a jcm800 and the 'mid' isn't quite the 'mids' it's more, high mids so it can be trebley with it up so i like to keep it on the low side, it's not really muddy, just not as sharp.
Quote by IbanezIceman09
Orange Amp + Big Muff = Win

This is about the single greatest recipe for sludge goodness I can think of.
I can get a good kyuss sound with my Peavey TNT100 and this cheap distortion pedal that I have.
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The bass sound itself is also quite important when it comes to doom/sludge, make sure you're using a very vintage style of bass and amp and that the tone has a healthy amount of gain on it, a heavy overdrive rather than a distortion or fuzz is what you're really looking for.
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That's pretty much it. Lots of fuzz, lots of bass, lots of mids. Low tuning, floppy strings, 24.75 scale. My personal setup is a bit more unconventional, but I like it a lot: Epiphone SG tuned to drop Bb (with 11-48 gauge strings for the floppz) -> Metal Muff with the distortion about halfway, bass all the way up, and mids halfway to 3/4 up -> Fender FM212 for the sexy cleans (I like ISIS a lot too). Also, get a 7 string and tune it down for a little ditty I like to call THE EARTHQUAKE SUMMONER.
Thanks for the tips everyone.

- Big Muff
- Shorter scale (~24.75) guitar w/ medium output pickups
- Floppy Strings tuned low
- Medium gain Brit style head w/ gain cranked
- Push Bass/Low Mids/Mids
Last edited by cGoEcYk at Dec 20, 2011,
basically, you're going to want to have moderate amp gain (a combination of pre and power amp clipping, hence all the suggestions of brit amps) augmented with a fairly heavy fuzz. adding fuzz to an already overdriving amp will give it the low end balls that you need to sludge, without resorting to dial up the bass on your amp which could result in muddy tone (there is a difference between sludge and mud. mud is just low frequency noise, sludge still has some definition, but is very low). I've managed to get really good sludge tones by using a bass big muff pi, because it has the ability to boost low frequencies, and it seems to do so differently than my amps can.
Honestly? Sunn Beta Lead, Model T, or Sceptre. Plug in your guitar, doooooooom away.
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I found a good deal on a Little Big Muff... is this acceptable for DOOM or do I need a full size? My goal is a huge sound and I am confused by the thousand different kinds of models that date through history.
Last edited by cGoEcYk at Jan 4, 2012,
That'll do doom just fine, nice and fuzzily saturated tone
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”