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09 November 2018

You Need to Have Good Guitar Tone


You Need to Have Good Guitar Tone

The sound of an instrument goes a long way toward the quality of musical piece. Imagine a beautiful sonata played by the screeching sound of a novice violin student. Poor sound can ruin even the best melody. Conversely, a great sounding instrumentalist can take a mediocre melody to the next level. Electric guitar players can access so many sounds, but even the best equipment can never replace the tone that a seasoned player brings. Through patience and practice, you too can have great tone on the electric guitar.

Know what you like

Listen to other guitarists that appeal to you and pick out what sounds good. If you don’t know what sound you want, you can’t get it.

Listen and pay attention to your sound as it is now

Begin to become aware of the quality of your tone and how you can affect it. Know your guitars sound in and out with switching between your pickups and dialing the tone nob up and down.

Experiment with your touch on the strings as you fret the neck

Try alternating the harshness of your picking. Pay attention to how your sound changes as you vary the attack. Your vibrato is your signature, it gets better with years of practice. Picking/strumming up and down the neck at different positions can add to your tone. Picking closer to the bridge makes your tone chunkier, while picking more around the neck mellows out your tone.

Change your strings

Fresh strings can perk up the sound of any guitar. Different string gauges dramatically affects your playing. Experiment with a spectrum of string gauges to know what you like to play with, and what sounds good to you.

Replace your pickups

Cheap pickups are a threat to most guitarists good pure tone. Single coil, humbuckers, P90s, telecaster pickups all have unique tone and react to your playing differently. If you’re playing with stock pickups, your tone is probably suffering.

Where is your signal going?

Right into an amp? If you want effects, make sure they’re quality pedals so you don’t get buzzing. Don’t buy too cheap because usually the effects will be cheap for a reason. If you don’t have the money to buy an all tube Marshal amp, you could try using something like iRig. Lower end solid state amps are to be avoided. Examples of poor, cheap solid-state amps include Line6 Spiders and Marshall MGs. This is perhaps the biggest contribution to good tone. A 200 $ guitar will sound alright through an expensive amp. A 2000 $ guitar will not sound good through a 150 $ amp

If you’re still not satisfied, perhaps it’s the guitars body

A solid-body guitar will have a different basic tone than a hollow or semi-solid guitar will have. Depending upon your finances, purchasing a different electric guitar may bring you closer to the realm of that great tone that you have in your mind.


  • When playing single notes, mute the other strings. This will give a more percussive, explosive feel to solos.
  • Practice scales to strengthen your fingers. The stronger your fingers are, the more your bar chords will ring true.
  • Using effects like reverb, delay, and chorus can help change your overall tone
  • Don’t be afraid to use less distortion, depending on the style.
  • Start with your amplifier’s Low, Mid, and High settings all about middle. You can try experimenting with turning them up or down.
  • If you’re not willing to put some money into your tone, you won’t get very far with it.
  • Make sure you’re in tune, if you’re not tuned up, you can’t sound good.
  • A large part of electric guitar tone is subjective depending on taste and style. Do not be afraid to find and love your own sound.
  • Learn to use effect pedals with taste. A touch of delay or chorus can enliven your guitar sound, but too much will ruin your tone, maybe even your song. Think of effects like salt: a pinch in the right place tastes great, but too much makes the food painful to eat. However, some styles are built on extreme reverb (rockabilly, surf) or distortion (metal).
  • The equipment you use will greatly affect and color your sound. Having a good amp and good pickups will help, but only to a point. Your tone truly starts in your fingers, so make sure it’s not being ruined before it makes it to the pickups!

If you need any help selecting the right Guitar, Pickups, effects, amp, Cab, Cables for you, please contact us.

27 Responses

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Chiaira // shredguitar101
  1. Chiaira // shredguitar101
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