As I continue on my journey as a guitarist/musician, I find myself soul-searching in terms of what kind of music I want to play, what my genre is. I feel sort of like I like too many genres, so I write songs and cannot decide whether to make them alt rock, punk, art rock, indie, mainstream/hard rock, blues, folksy, jam band, jazzy, electronica (and then the various electronica options from deep house to psy-trance to dubstep and more) and even classical.

I'm kind of on a mission now to commit to a particular guitar tone, to find that level of distortion, warmth, etc., that I can call "my" tone, and to use now that I'm ready to start recording some songs.

I've heard advice like, "just follow your ear, do what you like," but I like so many different things on different days. And, too, I have mostly played classical/nylon string guitar so I don't have any pedals, I have not upgraded my guitar pick ups on my Epiphone G400, don't really know how to get different tones much beyond clean and distorted, and I guess if I could figure out the right adjectives to describe the tone I want, maybe that would help me searching the internet or in guitar stores to find gear or settings on gear, to help dial in that tone.

So, if I lay out what bands I really like, maybe some people with more experience will see a common tonal thread they can clue me into? These are listed from from best to worst of my favorites.

First, there's Cracker (songs like Teen Angst, Low, Get Off This, EuroTrash Girl, Low). It's alt rock with a bit of twang, bit of bluesy soul.

Second, there's Dramarama (songs like Anything, Anything and Last Cigarette and Haven't Got a Clue). Again, I like the clean, sharpness of the guitar tones, yet they still have some jangly-ness (not quite twang).

[edit:] Third, there's the Refreshments (song like Banditos). They again have what I consider to be a pretty solid rock sound, yet with a jangly-ness.

Then there's Everclear songs like (Father of Mine, Santa Monica, I Will Buy You a New Life). I think of it like a hard alt rock, but in control, and the warmth of the guitar notes is not totally drowned out by distortion. When bands go further with the distortion/fuzz, and I think at that point I lose interest because I cannot hear enough of the nature tone or warmth of the guitar. Weezer is a good example of that, like the sweater song. It's a great song, and I actually love Weezer and think they are very talented songwriters, but I'd probably love them more if their guitar tone was not such a massive wall of distortion. I mean, I love some of their songs, but I can only take so much of that. I need a bit of jangly warmth to keep me interested in the long-term.

Also there's Social D. (Ball and Chain, Ring of Fire, Prison Bound). Again, it feels like they have a lot of distortion, but they keep it on a very tight leash, allowing some natural warmth to come in.

I guess I like the first three more than the last two, because the last two don't quite have enough warm jangly-ness for my taste. But I do like the very tightly reined in distortion type of sound. I mean, I could go on and add Nirvana 'cause their grunge sound again had a nicely controlled distortion that remained reasonably warm/melodic, and then Green Day & Blink 182 made it faster, but similar tone, similar controlled distortion.

So I guess on the one hand, I like twangy, jangly rock tones like the first three, and on the other hand I light tightly controlled edgy distortion like the latter bands. I'm not sure if there's an overlap there, or any bands that kind of merge the two.

Is there enough to deduce if I'm a Gibson or Yamaha guy, or if I should look at a particular pedal, or gear, or settings on gear, or any other bands I should listen to based on the above?

Or, if you just want to talk about any of these bands generally, I'm down for that, too.

Bernie Sanders for President!
Last edited by krm27 at Jan 15, 2014,