Monday, September 24, 2007

Sound better in ten minutes!

OK, this is just partly false advertising...

We all want to sound better now, and it usually boils down to us buying that latest wiz-bang
gizmo, or a new instructional miracle book, and then doing nothing about it.

But hey, you really can sound better in ten minutes!

It's been staring you in the face all along.

Your signal chain.

(No, wearing traffic lights as a belt is not the new punk fashion. However, my hair will soon be bright enough to use as a traffic flow director...)

Check out the components that you use to make sound.

Starting with your guitar, the gauge of strings, the type of pick. They all make a difference.
You can get worlds of different sounds from just the tone and volume controls on the instrument. Changing gauges of strings will alter the feel and sound.(be careful, talk to someone before you do this so you don't mess up your setup.)

Next, check out your cable! Generally speaking, the shorter, the better. Sure, mobility may be sacrificed, but that's a pretty low level of electricity that has to flow through it. The result? The longer the cable, the more the signal will degrade. Especially with a wireless unit.

I once had a rig with sixty feet of cable, PLUS a cheap wireless unit. It sure sounded different that a ten foot cable plugged right into my amp! (I actually kinda liked the sound...)

Try fiddling with your effects next. Instead of cranking the distortion pedal, try using both it and the amp distortion to create a different sound.

Perhaps leave your wah - wah pedal half open for a crazy sound!

The batteries powering the pedals make a difference, too. Some folks prefer them over power supplies.

And then your amp is next....Experiment with volume. Do your speakers break up slightly? That's a big part of some guys' sound, and other dudes hate it.

The point is - Get yourself a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and start to geek out over your signal chain. While your sound is ultimately in your fingers and brain, it sure doesn't hurt to have a decent sound to start with.

Don't wait 'till you're on tour with Van Halen. Start today!

By the way, this book is a great help! I highly recommend it.
It's different that a "buy this pedal, sound like Eddie" book. While it doesn't
specifically go over metal and hard rock sounds, it's great for understanding how components in your rig work together to achieve a certain sound.

Rock on!

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