What is your tone? How would you describe it? How did you come to it? Does it reflect your musical influence? Did you just find it one day or did you spend hours upon hours of tweaking? What are your EQ settings?

I only really began to find my tone when I started to back off the bass and become very mid-centric, since I did that I've become a lot happier with my general tone, it's distinctively British sounding but still unique given that I like to incorporate a lot of jazz chords over traditional ones. Definitely using V30 speakers helped me get there, same with using a good Marshall tube head. I also like to use the crunch channel primarily with quite a lot of gain (2-4 o'clock) so that I can be quite dynamic without using pedals.

I probably spent years tweaking and slowly understanding what I wanted to sound like - and what I actually sounded like - before I finally felt happy with my tone
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I tend to go with lots of gain, medium-high mids, and medium low & treble. I like the 6505 as my baseline and was test-driving the Blackstar HT40 today with a Korn-ish riff with a JS22-7 (26.5" scale, FTW). I find the mids really bring out the tone I want, so I tend to tweak that first then lows and treble.
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It depends I play mostly metal so I like plenty of low end and somewhat scooped mids with a fair amount of treble and presence for bite, I use more mid range when using a crunch tone,

I have a 6505+ halfstack and a Mesa 2X12 Roadster combo, I always use the Mesa for cleans because the Peavey just don't do cleans very well.

For cleans it really varies depending on what I am playing eithr bright and chimey or warm and bluesy I'm not near my amps so I'm not going to be able the actual settings.
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Last edited by Evilnine at Aug 16, 2016,
Using BIAS FX (no space for an amp - am a student) so I can revel in my versatility.

- Metal tone with enough mids but rolling off the treble
- Use an EQ to cut out harsher high frequencies
- Compressor and tube screamer clone towards the beginning of the chain
- Mesa and Soldano clones (IIRC)
- Delay set at 1/8th note with the tone rolled down for the darker sound. The delay is really for filling the space, along with some reverb.


Ibanez RG2550Z/SRX430
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It comes out differently based on what amp I'm playing through, but usually I'm going for one of a select few tones in my head: a pristine clean that's not too bright nor bassy with a touch of chorus, a thick-but-tight metal rhythm tone, and a smooth lead tone that is clear and sings but isn't harsh. My Splawn and Peavey Ultra are pretty easy to dial in; the Splawn doesn't like V30s and the Peavey really likes a tubescreamer up front. The RoadKing is a little more labor-intensive to set up. All that to say, each of my amps usually ends up doing the same thing, just with its own flavor.

Even on the more straightforward setups I've spent lots of time and money on testing and tuning with things like tubes and speakers and pedals, etc. Sometimes I got a good tone out of an amp, but it just wasn't what I wanted so I tried some out-of-the-box ideas. My Ultra, for example, has a couple of the 12AX7 tubes in the preamp replaced with 12DW7s (which are a gain stage from a AX7 and a gain stage from an AU7 I think) to lower the gain, make it more usable, and reduce some fizz. Hit it with a boost and an EQ in the loop and it's brootall.
Ibanez UV777 - Carvin TL60 & 727 - Jackson KE3
Splawn QuickRod - Mesa Stiletto & RoadKing - Peavey Ultra+ - Peavey Bandit
Some pedlulz & cabz

7 String Legion
P90 into a SLO (well an RM100 with SLO cards). I wanted a ballsier Pete Wells from Rose Tattoo's tone. He used P90's into a 2203 so a SLO was the obvious choice.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100

Cathbard Amplification
My band
DiMarzio Evo/EMG-85 or 89 into my Line 6 POD HD Pro X, which has an ENGL based setting that I painstakingly set up over a week. It's a cross between the super dry tones of the early Dream Evil/Gus G records and the chorused Marshally tones of Zakk Wylde during his early Ozzy career. Its tight, its ferocious and most importantly its super clear. Even when I have the gain dimed, if I ring out a chord you can hear every note. For my cleans, I have 4 amp settings, I have a regular clean that has a little bit of delay and reverb. I have one that is slightly chorused, delayed, and reverbed, which is my main clean for almost everything, then I have my Trichorused cleans which one is used for over dubs, and the other one is used for atmospheric tones. Real Michael Landau/Dann Huff kind of settings.

For leads, I only have one setting and its essentially my rhythm tone, with more reverb and delay, and no chorus. My guitars are very diverse, as I have Mahogany/Alder/Basswood/Maple combinations and I can get a variety of different tones with a push of a few buttons. The only external pedal I have is my wah pedal, which sits there mostly collecting dust.
1987 Charvel Model II
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2006 Fender Mexi Strat
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Ovation CP 247 Acoustic
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70s Metal/Hard Rock is probably the best description. I'm currently working on a blues rock tone but currently that tends to lean towards a Gary Moore type sound. I do have some more modern edges to the tones I use but at heart I think it would be right at home in say the mid to late 70s.

I've spent my whole playing career working on my tone and it is subject to change as it suites me. I think that tone is always going to be a work in progress and is never really done. it's also changed some depending on what style of music I'm playing. in the 80s and early 90s I was into metal and shred big time so my tone tended to reflect that. once I figured out I was never going to be a good shredder things changed and now I'm older so I'm not playing thrash metal or the like much these days (although I still like to crank it up occasionally) I went back to the sounds that inspired me to play to begin with which is the late 60s -70s stuff. Ritchie Blackmore's Deep Purple tone, Ronnie Montrose from the first Montrose album, Uli Roth Scorpions, Frank Marino and of course Hendrix and Cream era Clapton. lately I've been listening to a lot of Peter Green from the Bluesbreakers era and early Fleetwood Mac as well as Rory Gallagher and early Johnny Winter plus of course Gary Moore's blues stuff.

I was told early on by a local guy that I really admired that no one got famous by sounding like every one else so I took that to heart and tried for my own style of tone and playing.
Cleans for me are mostly a good base sound with mostly mids and a smidgen of reverb. Add tremolo, vibe or phaser in a very subtle way and maybe some delay here and there.
Anything that has gain is pretty dry for me. Little to no reverb (only for solo's, really, and I don't solo often) and as little gain as possible to play what I want to play. Again lots of mids.

Playing style is a big mixture of a lot of different inspirations. I pull from the classic players and add stuff from anywhere I can. Hearing Guthrie Govan talk about how he approaches bending and looking at what I'm doing. Trying some stuff Josh Homme talks about in interviews. St. Vincent and her unique take on playing. And so on. Mainly playing to serve a song also. Above all, I try to just have fun and take inspiration from one genre and pull it into another genre.
I don't really have a particular tone that I've spent ages crafting and perfecting because I've always found it far more useful to just dial in a tone that is well balanced in the room and blends in with the other instruments in a mix or in a live band in a manner that is appropriate for the piece of music that's being played.

I think what people tend to recognise as a certain guitarist's 'tone' really is more in the nuances of their technique than what gear they use and how they set the controls. Often you can compare two songs with the same guitarist where they used different rigs, resulting in completely different tones, and still notice a certain signature sound that is unique to that guitarist anyway. "tone is in the fingers" is a kind of simplified and misleadingly worded way of putting it, misleading because it's not really 'tone' that makes one guitarist different to another, as such.
Live Rig January 2018

Fender Baja Telecaster/Danelectro DC-12
Boss TU-3, Ibanez TS9, Fulltone OCD 1.7, Boss CS-3, EHX Small Clone, MXR Carbon Copy
1964 Vox AC30TB with '69 Rola G12M "blackbacks"
Elixir Nanoweb 10-52 strings, Dunlop Jazz III XL picks
I tend towards stacking light/mid gain overdrives for bigger rhythm parts in my band, but mostly focus on syncopated rhythmic delay patterns and reverb wash for the more intricate sounds. Basically, somewhere between post rock and twinkly sounding indie rock with some punchy punk stuff thrown in now and again. I use a bunch of guitars, but mostly single coils (Tele, Jags, Jazzmasters, etc.) through an AC15 and interchangeable pedals on the board (OCD, Walrus OD's, some Earthquaker reverb/delays, tremolo, Empress/Boss/Digitech delays, and on...)

A lot of the tone I've developed over the years has come from appreciating note articulation rather than striving for the biggest and loudest sounds. Sometimes the subtle arpeggios or tapped parts can sound really interesting and fill out the space more than the big crushing sounds (at least for my purposes).
My (electric) tone reflects my admiration for players like Ry Cooder and Mark Knofler, and that my musically formative years were about folk and acoustic blues, not electric. - So I like clean and bright, with subtle reverb and maybe a little crunch - "acoustic-like" would describe it well. P90 types into bright clean amps.
i regularly use at least five guitars and at least four amps EVERY day. lots of different things. at the moment i am bouncing back and forth between my rockerverb, music man, and rivera. from blues to doom metal. every setup is a little different.

i almost always use OD's and delays, i have them on every rig (except on my music mans).
My tone is not Scottish...so it's CRAP!
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 18, 2016,
5150/Soldano type tone with a very heavily modified 6505+ 60 watt conversion amp. The lead channel preamp has been modified to be near identical to a Soldano SLO. I've also increased the bias of all the tubes to make them run hotter. I use a 5751 in V1 & V5 for more headroom on the clean channel at a loss of some gain, but this isn't a problem. The amp has far more gain than I'll ever use to spare. I run a TS9 in front and an MXR 10 Band in the loop. Both pedals are always running.

I try and aim for a sort of load/reload tone in the midrange but with tighter bass. Basically a fusion of 90's heavy metal but with a tighter low end, not dissimilar to Sylosis. It's a pretty mean-sounding combination.

The clean channel preamp has been extensively modified to be similar in design to a Fender Bassman, so one can expect it to sound pretty similar to one. TONS of low end and a dramatically improved headroom compared to stock.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Aug 18, 2016,
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Depends. At home i use amp sims on my computer, but for practice and giging i use an Engl Powerball. No pedals, just my guitars into the amp, into a 412 oversized randall cab with vintage 30s. It sounds massive, with a lot of mids, but its still tight as hell.

I did notice that even when i play on other peoples equipment, especially if i use my guitar, i still sound somewhat similar to how i always do. Altough i think its more because i still play my riffs and licks, more than the fact that "tone is in the fingers" or whatever.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
Totally depends on what I'm playing but right now my band are going in a sort of stoner rock/psychedelia direction. I'm playing through a little Kustom 30 Watt Double Barrel amp which has got average distortion but a lovely warm clean sound. I usually run this through a Pro-Co Rat 2 with a bit of reverb, high mids, mid treble and mid bass. Guitar wise its a Gibson SG 2016 Special with two mini-humbuckers. Since I downtune to D standard its got plenty of beef and if I want a gnarlier sound I turn the tone nob right down. Gets a proper, early Iommi vibe on my SG.
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
wel... i am using Seymour Duncan Blackouts Metal (AHB-2) on an ESP M-III Custom Deluxe (japan made) guitar (maple fretboard and neck, alder body).... well... i always play with low mids, giving more bass and trembles... i also use Zoom 9.2tt...
but well... have in mind that the tone you wish is something YOU need to find, depending on your gear and most importantly it's also a matter of taste... while at the same time you can have a good control of it... no matter what the sound you hear is a combination of your guitar, your fingers, the way you're playing and your gear.... imho there isn't actually a recipe like "use this, and this and a little bit of that and you will get the tune"
At the minute I'm using a Gibson SG 2016 T with Mini-Humbuckers (495R and 495T) through a Marshall DSL100H Head and a 1960B Cab. I run two channels, one clean and one gnarly. The clean is fairly standard with low gain but the distortion channel has mids at about 3 o' clock, bass at about 1 o' clock, treble at about 12 o' clock and gain at about 11' o 'clock. Gives enough low end with the bass that high, cuts down the jangly high end of the mini-humbuckers with the treble down and the relatively low gain gives me a really heavy but clear tone.

Occasionally I turn down the tone nob on my bridge pickup for a bit of a dirtier sound when on distorition but only to about 6/7. I usually run the neck pick-up tone nob on about 5.
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
That's a tough one as I'm generally all over the place, Lately I've been using one of the Bugera TriRec's through an old Kustom DC412a Celestion V 30 cab, Basically just putting it through its paces to see if the tube life multiplier thing actually works and you can indeed mix and match tubes, which so far so good, and to think its 3 year warranty ran out 6 months ago, Should I be worried? That's OK I have back up amps, And yes I have to agree the V30's are the key here, then combine them with a void free birch lam cab and solid birch baffle, I don't know that you could make it sound bad, Although in my case not for lack of trying, Then the fact I've been playing with guitar synths for quite some time now, so I tend to hover around the clean channels and stereo out to the mixer and monitors for the processed PCM sounds, which is what I mean by all over the place, Which for some can be a bit confusing from a tone stand point, Uh... Dude I never heard anything like that come out of a guitar before, Actually with my Godin XTSA I have 3 input jacks, one being the 13 pin for the synth another for the mag pickups and another for the piezo bridge saddle pickups, Although does look a bit ungodly with 3 cords sticking out of your guitar, Its tonal options are pretty amazing, I use an old Kustom Quad dfx 100 stacked on top of an even older Peavey TNT 130 for the Piezo side, Would that be Triphonic? or is there such a thing?
Last edited by nastytroll at Oct 7, 2016,
Quote by dannyalcatraz
My tone is not Scottish...so it's CRAP!

being Scottish hasn't done a damn thing for my tone so no loss
Quote by monwobobbo
being Scottish hasn't done a damn thing for my tone so no loss

Och, mon! Have ye tried playing slide with a CABER?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Not me! I get a kick from playing the same tunes with different tones,..sometimes, radically different. Sometimes it sucks, but other times, it breathes new life into a composition.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
That's fun too, as is playing the song in a different tuning- "Rock You Like A Hurricane" sounds petty different in NST as compared to E Standard.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
I've been told by a lot of people that I have a pretty "80's" high gain tone. I tend to base my tone around mids, and then adjust the bass and treble accordingly (typically, a little bit of bass cut to keep everything tight, and prevent "boominess" (as well as to allow bass guitar to cut through in a mix), and a bit of treble boost to give the tone some bite). I won't bother mentioning where I leave the EQ or gain dials, because it's very amp dependent - I prefer to use my ears
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
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- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
Hi-gain with maximum fizz and minimal crunch. For cleans I usually just start with 4/8/6 and go from there. Through on a compressor, slapback echo, and spring delay and that's all you need. I've never liked that feel of tube amps that people rave about and I don't like any sensitivity to picking dynamics.

I also don't like that edge of breakup stuff that people like. If I want a clean sound, I want something clean. If I want distortion, I want distortion. None of this wishy-washy stuff where the guitar doesn't know if it wants to be clean or distorted.

Also a bass combo with like an MT-2 or HM-2 is amazing. I hate when people run an HM-2 in front of a distorted amp since it completely fucks up the sound of the HM-2 and it is silly to get an HM-2 if you aren't going to make it sound like an HM-2. Running an HM-2 with a Big Muff is also really cool and something every sludge or stoner metal player needs to do. That and playing your rhythm parts in drop-X so you can play the low power chords with a slide.

It's pretty great actually. I can get the exact sound I want out of a sub-$500 rig so I can put money into things that actually matter. Saving up to get like a hurdy-gurdy or something. Way more fun that buying some $2500+ stack setup especially when nobody else really cares about your tone.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
I got 2 ways to tone and 1 guitar for each.

My partscaster Blackie is the ash body, maple neck with 69 pickups. I can cover the Hendrix, Blackmore fuzz and overdrive pretty spot on.

I have mid '80s Dean Markley I-20 signature 100 watt tube amp which works good for that. Settings are usually set all in the middle and adjusted to where Blackie sounds best. Sometimes I ad an effect like a Fuzz Face or Carl Martin hot drive n boost mkii.

My Jackson Rhoads custom does not sound to good with that setup so I got a mesa/Boogie Quad preamp I connect to the Dean Markley amp until I get a Mesa/Boogie 295 poweramp.

The Quad is the cheaper answer to Mesa mk2c+ and it does have the gain. It also has tons of other settings to explore. A Quad is a great gem of a high caliber Mesa product that second hand does not cost an arm or leg.

The Mesa mk2c+ is the Metallica crunch from Puppets and forward. A Quad was among the gear used for the Justice album as pictures is showing it.

For speaker I got a small Marshall 1922 stock cab and it is good for smaller use
Last edited by anders.jorgense at Oct 8, 2016,
Quote by Tony Done
For those of you that like a lot of different tones, don't you find it a distraction from playing music? I did when I tried digital multiFX, which is why I gave up on them.

Hardly. Keyboard players have thousands of choices at their finger tips. For live work I have "set list" presets for both keys and guitars. Remember that Practice is different from Rehearsal which is different from Research (aka "Poking around finding out what sounds are available").
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 9, 2016,