Tone Jedi

I will be a jedi!

An electric guitar’s tone can be broken down into four parts – player, guitar, effects, and amplifier – and for the past 15 years, that’s pretty much been the order of priority in my playing. I’ve been obsessed with perfecting my playing style – first by imitating my heroes (Jimmy Page, Slash, etc.) and then trying to formulate my own thing. After that, I’ve always loved trying out new guitars but I’m fairly confident I’ve found my favorites (I’m not even sure I need another #1 ever unless Murdock breaks). I’ve never cared much for effects … I know they can help color songs, but I’ve never found them all that appealing, in general.

And then we get to amplification. Well, I know nothing about it!

I decided to do something about that when I was trolling the craigslist ads for a rhythm guitarist last week. I came across one that said “tone consultant.” The poster described himself as a session guitarist/producer/songwriter, but spent his spare time helping other guitarists decode the secret language of amplification and effects. It was pretty cheap – and it wasn’t like I was finding any rhythm guitarists – so I figured, what the hell, and headed over to Park Slope last Saturday (an hour away with a 40-pound guitar and effect pedal … exhausting!).

I didn’t know what to expect but Mark was a great guy and taught me a lot. I met him at his apartment (basically a giant, converted warehouse) where he had several amps and a slew of pedals. He plugged me in and we just went down the line. He’d ask me to describe what I liked and disliked about each sound until we got closer and closer to what I was looking for. All the while he was also showing me how different string gauges, cords and even guitar picks affected your sound. It was really eye-(ear?)opening!

We never really attained the exact tone I was looking for, but I left knowing I now had a direction in which to head in the sea of sound. I’ll keep you updated on any tone updates (because I know that’s why you came here in the first place)!

    Site Updates:

  • Gave up on those review blogs and added the Currently Enjoying section to the sidebar
  • Added Catch-22, History of Howard Stern: Act III, Mega Man 9 [PS3], Lost: Season 5, Rock Band [PS3], Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Safe As Milk (1967), Batman and Robin: All-Star, The Rolling Stones -Black and Blue (1976), and The Beatles Stereo Box Set (2009) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Stoked! emoticon Stoked!

  • Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 18:06 | #1

    What are you going to call the “new apartment” when you’ve lived there a few years/move away?

  • Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 11:29 | #2

    I’ve always liked naming my places: “The Pink Sock,” “The Red Butt,” etc. I wrestled with a name for a while on this newest apartment, but I’ll probably just end up calling it the Hampton House which is the name of the building.

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