Scott Gailor

Guitarist - Tone Junkie - Producer - Clinician - Teacher

Guitarist - Tone Junkie Chronicles - Clinician - Teacher

Filtering by Category: amps

What makes a great tone?

What makes a great tone? How do you get your tone?

Two questions that I get almost daily.

The first one is easy. What sounds good to you? Do you want a scooped mids metal tone? How about a jazzy old solid state clean tone? Maybe the good ole brown sound via Eddie?

That's where you start. I started out wanting to sound like Eddie, Randy and Jimi. I read every issue of Guitar Player, Guitar World, and Guitar For The Practicing  Musician. I asked a ton of questions to everyone and anyone who played guitar. I played all my friends gear. Went to every music store and played every amp and pedal I could get my hands on.

Then I was lucky enough to find the core of my tone when I was about 15/16. I got a used 1982 Mesa Boogie Coliseum 300 MKIIB head and a 69 Marshall Bottom.

The chase for tone got kicked up about ten notches. I was hooked. After that I owned every big name amp but alway went back to that boogie.

Hit up a local big box or if you're lucky enough to have a high-quality mom-and-pop go there and check out every amp you can.

Bottom line is if your tone inspires you and makes you feel like you play better because of it then you have your tone. It makes no difference what name plate is on the amp. Or how many pedals you have etc.

Tone lives in between your ears and manifests itself in your finger tips. I think that's why people get so emotional about it. It's the connection to the first time that sound (insert your favorite tone here) moved you.

A big a-ha moment for me was when I saw the video of me at a guitar contest in 2004. I wasn't allowed to use my own amp. I plugged straight  into a Line 6 (HD187 I think) and found a usable tone fairly quickly. When I saw the video I sounded like me. When I watch video stuff from NAMM or any of the trade shows, It still sound like me. It's almost kinda of funny. Watch the Keeley Electronics video from the Dallas International guitar Festival. Its borrowed guitar (that I never played before) and I didn't touch a knob on any of the pedals or  the amp. Robert dialed it in and it sounded and felt great. And still sounded like me.

 

For new players or parents of my students. I always recommend buying a Line 6 spider, Roland Cube or Fender Mustang (read the rest before you write me a hate filled pm lol)that way you can get a taste of effects and different tones. Once you spent a good few months with one of the above amps you can then put together a budget based on the tones and effects you like. Then it's off to the races building your dream rig. Plus you will still have a decent bedroom amp for practice. 

Guess what the chase for tone never ends. But It's such a Beautiful chase.

SG

T.J.C.

 My live rig opening for Cinderella.  

My live rig opening for Cinderella.  

Re-Amping - The Mix and "Your" Tone!

Re-Amping – The Mix – And “Your” Tone!

Some of the questions I get all the time is “How do you record your guitars tracks?” “What amps do you use in the studio?”

So let’s start with my rig. Live I use a Mesa Boogie MKV and a 1982 Mesa Boogie Coliseum 300 MKIIB. My cabs are all Mesa Boogie Rectos, one 412 slant and two 212’s with Celestion Vintage 30’s speakers.

Effects vary from gig to gig but the Hub/control center is a VooDoo Labs Ground Control Pro and 2 GCX Switchers.  I always have a wah (Clyde or Dime) a Dunlop RotoVibe and a volume pedal (Ernie Ball or Dunlop) and some sort of OD pedal. Most of the time it’s a VooDoo labs sparkle drive. Last but not least a floor tuner (Poly Tune or Boss). All of the above pedals are placed in front of the amp sans loops.

On the last two cds KIDD HAVOK – Dirty Money (Suncity Records) and my solo cd Technicolor/Monochrome (Malleable Records) we re-amped every guitar related.

“Why Re-Amp?”

Simple it lets me control the sound of my guitar tracks in mix better. Plus it makes it easier to have your “sound” on the track. The Studio I work out of has to make money first and foremost. I record mostly when there is dead time, which means at night. I can’t play wide open that late, not to mention the ear fatigue from playing at live volumes. The best part is you can tailor the tone to fit both the mix and the song. Yet still have it sound like you. Plus you could swap out amp on every track if you wanted to.

The re-amp signal path.

It starts with the guitar I want to use on the track. Then there are two ways we do this. The first way is plug the guitar straight into a Great River lunch box preamp(or any pre of your choice). From there I’ll use a modeling plug in (Line 6, Bias etc) and record the tracks, usually swapping out different guitars on every track or overdub.

The second way involves effects (stomp boxes). If I know I will be using a certain stomp box(s) I’ll run a Radial A/B box and split the guitar into two pre-amps, one having the stomp box chain and one just straight guitar. The reason for this my playing will vary with how I interact with the pedals react.

Now the fun part

The actual re amping, once all the guitar tracks are a done we have a re-amp day. We always do the rhythm guitars first. We run the signal into a Radial DI Re amp box in the Radial A/B box and split the signal into the two heads. I only use 212’s in the studio. They get mic’d with Shure SM57’s and or Sennheiser 421.  It will depend on the overall tone we are shooting for.  Then ya sit and wait. This part can be a little boring or in the case of the Song Tribal ReDux which I used 8-12 tracks of ebow to build a chord downright painful lol!

A big part of the process is moving “air”. To me that’s the one thing many of the amp sims are lacking. The amps are recorded at or about 100-110 db. This really gets the amp heated up (in a good way) and makes the speakers really push air.

 

Closing Thoughts

We like to keep the heads in the control room so we can tweak them on the fly and we don’t have to stand in the room while the amps are wide open, it saves your ears big time! For some purist this may seem like overkill or an unnecessary step. For the home studio guy, the pro consumer or a flat out big studio this adds a level of flexibility to every recording. If nothing else I recommend recording a dry signal that can be re amped so if down the line you can’t get the guitar to sit right in the mix you will then have the option of fixing it!

 

SG

 

 

Chasing Tone....... A ToneJunkie's blog

"Tone"

Now to guitar players this word takes on a entirely new meaning. This is the thing that keeps many of us up at night. The search for the perfect overdriven tone, many call the “Brown Sound”. Ask ten guitar players whats the best overdrive pedal, tube amp, tone wood and you will get ten different answers with very passionate explanations on the how and why.

 

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©Scott Gailor Music 2017