At LegendaryTones we certainly love discussing gear, but make no mistake, the gear is only part of the equation when it comes to tone and being a better player. A great player, with excellent technique and one who has the knowledge to apply musical principles, will not only be more enjoyable to listen to, but also have better overall tone. There certainly is truth to the adage, at least to some degree that “tone is in the fingers.”
One such musician who has spent years honing his craft is Dave Weiner (www.daveweiner.com). Dave runs GUITOPIA, on online guitar education website that is packed full of resources designed to make you a better player. Dave’s philosophy is to to teach in ways that focus on effectiveness and efficiency to maximize results. He focuses on creativity and opening up ways for players to develop their own styles. He does not, however, rely on tricks or gimmicks stating that players will become experienced, pro-level guitarists in a short period of time. At the end of the day, it still takes work and practice and what you get out of it is what you put into it.
If only things were so easy that we could buy the guitar we felt comfortable with, plug into an amp, maybe add a pedal or two, and then be done. Tone Nirvana. It usually doesn’t happen this way however. The problem is that there are numerous choices for gear and, and even more options for putting together the whole rig, to create an effective system that is optimized. And just how we use the equipment (whether for live use or studio recording) also makes a difference in finding what works for guitarists.
We recently wrote about the challenges with the Internet and its opinions. You can find as many people who will love or hate any particular piece of gear. This can become frustrating when trying to dial in a tone you’re interested in capturing.
First, Some Background…
When people most often think of vintage Marshalls, the most highly regarded are the non-master volume series including the model 1959 100 watt head produced in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. It’s hard to argue against the amp that Hendrix, Page, Van Halen, Clapton and many others used.
And while I would agree that they are incredible amps, the REAL game changer in my mind for Marshall was when the company introduced its master volume series of amps in 1976. The models 2203 (100 watts) and 2204 (50 watts) heads became instant hits, and quickly began to outsell the non-master volume versions by the late 70’s. Why? Well, they sounded great at more reasonable volumes which essentially made them more practical for guitarists who couldn’t always play at full volume and crank up a non-master volume Marshall inside a concert arena.
Knowing about the details of most anything can be a curse. Really. The devil truly CAN be in the details. I’ve been on the guitar tone journey for a long time and it all started when I was a young player in my early teens. I wanted to capture and emulate the exciting tones I heard from my favorite guitarists. That’s normal.
Over the years I’ve learned that the gear is only part of the equation. There is a lot of truth when people say, “Tone is in the fingers”, but we’ll get to that discussion in detail another time. It took me a long time to live by the thought and remind myself of this fact.
We’re thankful for YOU, our readers! And to show our gratitude, we’re giving away one of Robert Keeley’s most in-demand new releases, the Keeley Oxblood overdrive pedal. All you need to do to enter is insert a comment below with a topic you’d like us to research and write about next year! It could be anything from a review request for a specific product, a tone tip or question, a profile of a favorite artist or an interview, etc. We’ll select a winner randomly on DECEMBER 18, 2015! Good luck and wish you all a wonderful holiday season!
Two months ago we posted part 1 of our project Jensen speaker rebuild for our original 1964 pre-CBS Fender Super Reverb. The amp has original transformers and used to sound wonderful – but the original Jensen speakers were in rough shape. The cones had tears, and the magnets on two of the speakers had shifted off-center, causing the voice coils to freeze and no longer produce any sound.
I recently sold an amplifier and stirred up a fun conversation with the buyer when we met in person. He was still lamenting about his amplifier choice, as he spent considerable research time – as many of us do these days – and sought out guidance online.
The problem, he discovered as he waded through countless forums, websites and video reviews, was that the opinions he found varied greatly. How could an amp be described as unreliable, shrill in tone, or lifeless and sterile in feel, while at the same time also being defined as being bullet-proof, a “holy grail” amp, and smooth with perfect overdrive bite?
The following Marshall Super Lead tone tips and tricks will enable you to get much more versatility out of this legendary amplifier. Some of these may even surprise you. One thing to note – NONE of these involve modification to the original Marshall circuit. Those looking for the true Marshall sound only need use an original, unmodified Super Lead.
We do get quite a lot of e-mails from folks asking about how they should set their tone controls on their amps and/or pedals. In fact, this "how should I set things?" question is the number one question we get here.
As a result, I thought the time was right to discuss equalization in general and offer some EQ tips. Much of this information comes from my own years of trial and error as well as from the valued insight of others. Even all these years later, I continue to learn from various people, mostly on the Internet these days, and of course I still experiment. I hope you find this information useful!
As most LegendaryTones readers know, we’re an information site dedicated to writing features, tips, and artist profiles, all in the name of great guitar tone. But what some of you may not know is that we introduced our first product, the Time Machine Boost, a little over two years ago. And other than a banner ad on the front home page in the bottom left corner, we’ve made sure that we would never use the site for overdoing the promotion of the Time Machine Boost, and we still will not.
However, with that said, there are quite a few misconceptions about how boosts work and what they are used for versus an overdrive stompbox for example. I’ve received many e-mails asking questions about boosting applications and have replied to all of them. When the last question came in that asked why they couldn’t just usual a volume pedal instead of a boost, that’s when I decided to finally take this subject and put it all into the context of an article.