Miscellaneous Rumbles

What do you need to get “Your Sound”?


I asked a friend of mine who is a very nice player, if he would like to sit in for a couple of songs at last week's gig. I chose two songs that he could easily solo over using a minor pentatonic scale. I offered to him that he could plug into the second channel in my amp, or there are a couple of other tricks I could use to get his electric guitar sound added to the mix.

Glenn politely declined and was concerned that he wouldn't be able to get "his sound" without bringing his latest iteration of effects/amps, etc. Glenn came to the gig and we talked tone and gear during the breaks. Glenn and I always like to talk about gear anyway.

So that got me pondering, what is it that we feel we need for our particular sound? Let me first put out that the concept of x percent of a person's tone is in his/her fingers/technique is a given in MHO. So moving beyond that, I thought of some of the greats: Duane, SRV, Harrison, Setzer and others. It seems that their gear all changed and evolved over time, yet for certain periods, there was some consistency in their equipment that helped with a particular type of sound.

There's been some discussion on this forum as to how people like to hear their own guitar, and often times the response is a picture of a guitar, amp and cord. Other times there have been threads about using reverb, echo or one of Tavo's mystery seltzer brain products as a kind of baseline. I've talked with Proteus about compression.

As for me, I don't know if I have a particular sound other than sloppiness. Lately I've been trying to incorporate some jazz/standards into my vocabulary. For that, I roll off the treble to find a tone I like and use a little reverb. When I'm playing covers, I'm either clean with a little verb, or I add effects such as echo, chorus, distortion or grit to get the sound I'm looking for for that particular tune. I like some overdrive for bluesy type stuff. I never try to sound exactly like anyone else (even if I could), but try to get a sound and tone that captures the spirit or mood of the song. It's all about communication of an idea to me.

So what do you need to get your sound?


A little dirt, a little slapback, a little reverb and I'm good to go, but could easily do without any of them if I was just guesting.


A two-pickup single-coil guitar, a clean Fender tube amp with reverb, a medium gain overdrive - and I could play the gig.


A Dyna-Comp,and a volume pedal (prefer Ernie Ball) into a clean amp, and I'm good to go. The guitar doesn't really matter,as long as it's a Pro-Line or Fender/Gibson equivalent.


Just can't get "my sound" unless I have a first-generation Zemaitis running through a bank of 4 Eventide Harmonizers into a Dumble amp...

Seriously though, I don't think of myself as having a personal "sound". Unless it's the sound of elephants tiptoeing through a room full of cornflakes.


I feel sorta bad for dudes that decline a fun opportunity to play cause they are all eaten up with their sound. Signature sound can change over time. I liked Roy Buchanan's early 70s sound .. Tele/no fx/cranked Vibrolux = sustain no one else could get but he moved on, saying he had gone as far as he could with the signature Tele sound he had.

For me now, just amp reverb is all that is sorta required. Not everyone uses it tho. but my intense purist days have been over a long time and l like going in/out of slapback and Boss (or kool Magnatone) vibrato. I have a massive pedal board! 3!!! Boss delay, trem and vibrato.


For electric, Tremolo, Delay & an Atomic Brain.

For acoustic, eq on the PA, Delay, & Tremolo


I love this Strat setup with a single Gretsch Blacktop Filtertron...

Best Filtertron sound I've ever heard.


I’m a moderate player at best, but here’s my two cents. Name any great guitarist and I could put an acoustic guitar in their hands and you’ll hear their sound no problemo. The amps you use, the settings and effect pedals are akin to a lady’s use of makeup. It’s a personal choice that reflects their personalities. Same with us musicians, except we obsess far more than the vainest woman ever did.


And yes,I’m one of those who is never satisfied 100% with my equipment but it never stops me from making a racket anytime someone hands me a guitar.


I like twin 6L6 Fender amps with 10" speakers, spring reverb, and hollowbody guitars with two fat single coils. I've been playing a rig like that for so long that it feels like home.

That doesn't mean that's the only gear I'll use, I like solidbody guitars for a lot of things too. And I do use pedals, but that's just sauce, or spice or syrup or whatever, don't need them if the size of the amp matches the band and the room/stage


As long as i have a Fender amp ,a Gretsch guitar and some echo ,i'm good to go.


Just can't get "my sound" unless I have a first-generation Zemaitis running through a bank of 4 Eventide Harmonizers into a Dumble amp...

Seriously though, I don't think of myself as having a personal "sound". Unless it's the sound of elephants tiptoeing through a room full of cornflakes.

– Tartan Phantom

Rob, you play with a Tennessee accent.


To the point raised above, yeah I can probably wring 90% of what I like out of most anything by adjusting tone controls, palm muting, and pick attack. But boy oh boy that last 10% I get from a decent small fender combo amp and a telecaster is how I actually do what I do as a performer.


A friend invited me to a “jam” about a year ago and told me to not Worry about bringing any gear, just my guitar. When I got there I was kinda horrified when he showed me what to plug into..... a little Radio Shack amp. I almost turned around and went home. I played a handful of songs and was met with much praise on how good I sounded. Other musicians told me they couldn’t believe I made that Weak little solid state Radio Shack amp sound good.

I still scratch my head on that one.


I haven’t reached a point on guitar where I have a single sound in my head. Unlike on drums where I have a well-defined vision of “my sound”, IOW, making my kit sound the way I think it should. (But even then, I wouldn’t use the same snare sound on everything, either. I guess my noncommital lessons are paying off.)


The guy is being a bit of a Grandiose artist, isn't he?

If someone were to offer me a spot on the stage for a moment, I wouldn't worry about it making me possibly sound different. (Oh Jeez...My career...what have I done?)

Heck, Proteus offered up a spot on the stage during his break at a local pub once. I reluctantly climbed up there for a short impromptu performance and I'm sure I didn't sound like him.

As well, NitroG(Wheelgrinder now) was kind enough to hand me his vintage Duo Jet in Clarksdale and I know I didn't sound like him either.

If he's that concerned I guess offer him a comeback later offer with his own rig, if he'd care to drag it all out.

i was actually excited to hear what I would sound like through their setups.


For me, my 'sound' is what I create, my style, not a specific tone. That's not to say I don't strive for a Chet style tone with my electric through either of my 3 Fender amps or Executive. With all my guitars, acoustic and electric, I get the most out of them when they have the wider fingerboard, with low frets and low action. My 'sound', the final product as it were, is a combination of Chet's and Merle's style.


I can pretty much dial "me" in on just about any rig, That said, a HiLo Tenny and a Deluxe circuit amp is the me-est me I can get


Give me tubes, single coils, a touch of reverb, and I can work with it.


Delay and an overdrive.


My Double Jet with Alamedas and my 5E3.


What do I need to get "my sound"?

20 more years of practice would probably do...


And just to be clear, I was not criticizing my friend. He does not play out often at all, although he is a gifted player. I think it was more of a comfort zone for him. Prompted me to start thinking, though.

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