so i want to know if having a sound closer to the song you want to learn to play will help you learn faster or better than playing with a average sound . i find myself alot messing with my amp and affects pedal to dial in my sound closer to what i want to play but i cant seem to grab the sound yet. so will it be harder for me to learn songs if i dont have a close sound to the group im trying to cover?
I wouldn't say so. I have done many rock/metal gigs, but i am primarily a fusion/funk/jazz player. When i have practiced those metal songs for the gigs, i have often done so with a clean sound 90% of the time (since i primarily use a clean sound when playing jazz and funk, i am used to it) and then i check with a high gain sound every now and then to make sure the muting is up to par. If you know you can mute string noise this is a perfectly fine way to practice, if i wasn't sure about my muting i would probably play more with a high gain sound though.

Truth is, it is often beneficial to practice things with both a clean sound and then a more overdriven sound. Clean sound is less forgiving on you with details in the playing (dynamics, articulation, tone, technique) and an overdriven sound is less forgiving when it comes to muting.
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I practice more on acoustic that anything else, when I Practice with an electric it's usually clean. Playing clean or acoustic really helps you get a good grip on accuracy, and it's a lot easier to hear every little mistake or muffled note. Once you learn it clean or acoustic, I think you'll generally sound a lot better with the sound close to what you need.

As far as getting the sound right, I don't really worry much about it. Chances are I don't have the high dollar effects board the guy who recorded it did, or the effects added in the mixing/mastering of the song. So I try to get pretty close, I know from years of trying I'm not likely to duplicate the sound David Gilmour got in the studio, or Robin Trower, Billy Gibbons, Clapton, etc unless it was done mostly clean. Even when I know I have the exact same distortion or overdrive pedal it's often difficult to duplicate the sound of the original...

I use a tube amp, Fender Super Reverb, and a lot of those guys used Fenders in the studio, a Marshall Bluesbreaker overdrive, and Ibanez SD9 distortion pedal which is one of the best liked of the older pedals. Right now the Ibanez is on the blink so I'm using a Boss distortion, it works well and was used quite a lot, so I can get pretty close most of the time, but I don't even try to duplicate it any more. The Arion Analog Delay is always on, for one light echo, I run an A/B switch and set the two channels of the amp for different sounds, use different guitars for certain songs, and still can only get close.

So get it close to what you're hearing, and don't worry about it. They probably added delay, compression and reverb in the mixing process, and the guitar player could have been using any wild combination of amp and pedals to begin with. Gilmour, for example, has been known to use two treble boosters, an Alembic bass preamp, echoplex, various distortion pedals, compressor, EQ and who knows what else...so to really duplicate his sound, just the Alembic Bass Preamp would be mandatory. Seen one lately? That's the one thing he always has, that and the Echoplex. Same for other people, they have their preferred effects rig, you're not likely to have the exact same thing, or the exact same settings.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Oct 17, 2014,
for some stuff it helps to be in the ballpark. for instance if you want to learn Zakk Wylde style harmonics and you are on an acoustic it may be a little tuff lol.

As long as it somewhat the same though u should be ok. If its a sustainy lead sound then use that. If its crunchy rhythm then use that. If its a clean sound with a lot of ambient reverb/delay then use that. But I dont think things like trying to match the EQ perfectly is going to matter much
it depends, really

sounding more accurate might make you want to play more

there are also certain techniques which are difficult, if not impossible, to make sound "right" without at least a ballpark tone (try getting a real chug or screaming PHs out of a totally clean amp)
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Play clean, how long you playing I been playing for a week its hard lol I partice evey day for hour and a half ,
i try to aleast pick up my guitars everyday and do something i dont think i can even call it practice i practice what i know but i havent done any exercises or warm ups or anything like that. i want to learn but i just need to dedicate more time