Five Cheap Tone Tips!

December 11, 2013

We're always on the hunt for tiny tips to help shore up our sounds, from the super obvious to the under the radar. Today in the Corner we're looking at five ways to help ensure that you're getting the best tone possible. As always, share your tips in the comments!



Pickup Height!

It’s easy to overlook this one—a lot of times we get our guitars and just plug in to start ripping without taking a minute to evaluate pickup height—and it can make quite the difference! Though there is sort of a standard method for setting pickup height (the typical advice is to raise the pickups as high as possible but just shy of raising them to the point where the magnetic field they create starts exerting pull on the strings, which interferes with the strings ability to naturally vibrate)—there are definitely other factors to consider.

Lowering the pickups a touch may give your guitar a slightly reduced output, but it will also give your strings plenty of room in which to vibrate fully, producing a richer, more resonant tone. You can always add gain with pedals or amps (or both!) to bring that rich tone to life. Lowering them too much, of course, will dramatically weaken your tone, so play around til you find the sweet spot.



Keep It Clean!


Does your amp have two inputs? If so, one is likely high gain and the other is low gain… people have a tendency to always run in to the high gain input so they can get a lot of punch, but guess what?! Using the lower gain input can help clean up the high output of humbuckers and give you more overall control of your tone.


Better yet, use an ABY switch to use both inputs—you can bounce back and forth between inputs and even use one input as a sort of boost, not to mention selecting the Y setting which will blend both inputs for a sweetened tone.



Pick the Right Pickup!

Pickup manufacturers have been riding the tide of “high output” for years, constantly striving to produce higher and higher output pickups. That might be good for the metal bands of the world, but you don’t necessarily need the highest gain out put to get the right tone.  Lower output pickups respond better to the nuances in your playing and can really help deliver an articulate tone representative of your playing. 


Use the Right Cable for the Job!


It’s easy to mistake cables… in our line of work, most of them are quarter-inch cables that look exactly alike, but there are differences… speaker cable and instrument cable are NOT the same thing.

Speaker cable actually has two cores, versus the single core of the instrument cable. A correct “speaker cable” delivers the amp’s output to the positive and negative terminals of the speaker equally; a single core guitar cable potentially creates an impedance mismatch between your speaker and your amp. Additionally, speaker cores are typically of heavier gauge and can better handle the load than the thinner wire of an instrument cable, which could then get overloaded and short out (which could even blow your output transformer entirely—a repair that is a lot more expensive than just replacing a blown cable)…

Here's a great pic by to help you identify the differences between the two types:


Treat Your Tubes Well!


Most of us love our tube amps til the end of days and most of us know that tubes can be a bit fickle. There are just a couple tips to help you keep your tubes in tip top shape.

Are you:
Letting your tubes warm up? Give them at least 60 seconds to warm up before you take the amp off of standby—it will help preserve the life of the tubes by preventing the DC current of the amp from overwhelming the tubes before the AC current has a chance to heat the tubes up first.

Letting them cool down? Inversely, you should switch your amp to standby for at least a few seconds before powering off the amplifier.

Treating your amp with kid gloves? Tubes can be damaged by every day jostles, bumps, or vibrations—so make sure to treat it gingerly. Even if your amp or it’s case has casters, try to avoid rolling it on bumpy terrain (pavement, typically).

Keeping your tubes cool? If your tubes run too hot, their life expectancy will dwindle. Ensure adequate air flow to your tubes. Some people go as far as installing fans to cool the output tubes, sometimes greatly extending the tubes’ life time.

Using the correct speaker impedance? If you mismatch your amp’s output and your speaker’s impedance, you can strain the entire system (output tubes and output transformer, particularly) and cause: FAILURE! Though many tube amps can tolerate a mismatched impedance of 100% in either direction, it’s best to keep your ohms matched up: use an 8 ohm cab for an amp with an 8 ohm output and so on and so forth.


  1. Roman Jones says:

    what about ‘biasing’  a tube amp?

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm
  2. Dan says:

    Always thought the 1 and 2 inputs on a Fender tube amp both became the lower gain version when both had a plug in them. The ABY trick wouldn’t work in that case. Of course, maybe I’m wrong.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm
  3. ron grande says:

    Keep the chain short and simple and learn to play well.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm
  4. Keef says:

    Picks can alter the tone when playing; string gauges; brands of cable; speakers in the amp .... so many different things go toward creating your tone. Good article though and again thanks for a great forum.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm
  5. B Hicks says:

    change your strings frequently, especially if you are paying paid gigs…. thats the only time I can afford to do it!

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm
  6. SlopeRocker says:

    Notice the overwrap string installation on the top LP pic!  Yet another way to influence/improve tone!

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm
  7. GunnerG says:

    Great source of cables…

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm
  8. Don Myers says:

    Dan, above, is correct. If you plug two cables into the two inputs of a blackface Fender, or similar, amp, BOTH inputs are reduced 6 dB. The first generation of Tube Works amps were an exception—if you Y-cord into both inputs, you actually get MORE gain.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm
  9. C Clay says:

    Wondering if someone would answer “Dan’s” question. I have a Fender amp and I plan on trying the tip. Was very interested in the idea. I am sure I can try it and just see how it sounds, but would appreciate clarification on Dan’s comment. BTW good article, Thanks

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm
  10. CBJ says:

    Who’s tone?
    What tone?
    Glad you didn’t use the term ‘good tone’.
    The first step would be to define what ‘tone’ you are looking for.
    The Ramones had tone and so does Link Wray but they are not at all remotely close to George Benson or Joe Pass or who ever the current guitar hero is.
    Some companies go as far as to make pedals that hash the sound (lo fi junky comes to mind)  as do some of the Devi Ever pedals.
    So, again the first thing is to discover what tone you want.
    Break the rules, run with scissors, don’t look both ways . . . whatever . . . just do it because frankly, if you are amazed that changing strings will have an effect on tone you need more help than following someones ‘tips’.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm
  11. joe says:

    1. Use a buffer if you have pretty much any pedalboard at all.
    2. Put fuzzes (esp germanium), and maybe vibes, before the buffer.

    Keep the overall cable length from guitar thru fuzz pedals to buffer as short as reasonable (not over 18 feet, 10 is better).

    Then put the buffer (or a buffered pedal like all Boss’—maybe a clean boost or OD) next in the chain.

    Finally, daisy chain your remaining 80 pedals ;)

    Now you have all your tone back, almost as if you plugged guitar into amp.

    And… not exactly cheap, but use high quality cables, including 6” patches. There may not be much difference between a $100 Mogami and a $40 Planet Waves, but either is light years better than a no-name $10 cable.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm
  12. Franc Robert says:

    Another tip: Let your tube amp sit for 10 minutes AFTER completely turning it off, to let the tubes cool down. If a tube is jostled while it’s still hot, it can cause a misalignment (bad sound) or short out a section of the tube (real bad!). Think of tubes as old-style light bulbs, if you ever moved one of those while hot, you often broke the filiment…

    For the same reason, I get my tube amp in position on stage BEFORE I turn it on-less movement while hot=longer tube life…

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm
  13. CBJ says:

    Don and Dan, you may want to try the input jumping trick for some kicks.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm
  14. Cliff says:

    I have found that speakers never seem to have the correct OHMS they are supposed to have like an 8 Ohm speaker can vary some are 6 Ohms some are 7 Ohms & etc. You would think company’s or manufacturing speakers would keep their tolerances much closer than they do. If I buy a 8 Ohm speaker I expect it to be 8 Ohms not 6 not 5 or not 7 but 8 OHMS.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm
  15. Red Cedar says:

    What’s y’all’s feeling on raising hum bucker pole pieces to match the arc of the strings? I do it and feel the tone is fuller, but I notice plenty of LPs (including in your photo above) with flat pole pieces.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm
  16. KstmGtr says:


    Keep in mind that speakers are sold at 8 ohms impedance, which is different than 8 ohms resistance.  You can’t measure impedance with a multimeter because impedance refers to a circuit with alternating current rather than a direct current.  A multimeter uses DC to measure resistance. 


    posted on December 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm
  17. dave davis says:

    Just to reinforce what Mr. Hicks said above, “vintage” does not apply to strings, especiall on an acoustic.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm
  18. William T Branch says:

    I think the best tip for finding the “Perfect Tone” is to know what YOUR “Perfect Tone” is.  Some people consider the Van Halen “Brown Sound” to be “IT” Not me!  It was GREAT for Eddie,but.  I think this probably goes without saying.  I am NOT Eddie. Try as I may I will never be Eddie.  Not that I want to be Eddie, just posses his skills but with MY tone.  If I were to label my tone.  It would be a cross between Jimi, SRV and Billy Gibbons. Wow that sounds pretty good, huh?  Well I am nowhere that good.  But I can strive to be that good, RIGHT?

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm
  19. Benjamin says:

    There’s no reason to switch the amp to standby before turning the power off. It does nothing but (maybe) makes the “pop” quieter.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm
  20. Mikeb57 says:

    I’d add change your strings!

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm
  21. Ernest says:

    U say raise pickups highest possible until oscillation occurs.. What if you have too much bass or treble.. You lower it..

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm
  22. fauxsuper says:

    Cliff,  Speaker impedance is more correctly “nominal impedance”, which means “in name only”, and the impedance load the speaker presents to the amp will also vary with frequency.  So, if you try to measure impedance with a meter, you’re never going to get an exact 8 ohm reading, nor should you expect it.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm
  23. Kelly Patterson says:

    Roman Jones ... for biasing an amp, go to a pro ... it’s a dangerous thing for an amateur to mess with and you can get electrocuted, dead that is ... amps hold a lot of their charge even after being unplugged so it’s best not to mess with the innards unless you really know what you’re doing

    just what i’ve always read and been told ... a luthier school site even has a warning that students building amps can be killed or seriously injured as a warning ... something to keep in mind

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm
  24. GuitarMN says:

    Tubes, tubes, tubes! Yes, amps are dangerous and should be as respected as a loaded gun, but learning to bias your own amp opens up unlimited potential for better tone. It’s a basic rule of law that the stock tubes you get in a new amp are crap, bought in bulk, and probably not even close to being correctly biased. Learn the difference between a EL34, 6CA7, and a KT88 if your amp is EL34 based, same for a 6L6 based amp. Learn the differences of tubes that will work in your amp. As a rule of thumb, remember no two tubes will sound the same, I don’t care if they were manufactured moments apart and are supposedly matched to perfection, expect a difference if you replace them with what you think are the same thing. And DO pay close attention to the pre-amp tubes. In a lot of amps, that little first stage 12AX7 tube will make a huge difference in the tone. You could fumble through different brands and NOS 12AX, AT, or AY7 pre-amp tubes, and they will all have a different sound and effect the power tube voltage, but once you hit on a special one, it will be inspiring.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm
  25. Mister Persnickety says:


    Tone, as a function of the simultaneous sum of all the overtones, is VERY dependent on precise tuning, and the reinforcement of specific harmonics.  I strongly suggest spending some time listening to the improvement in attack, decay, and especially timbre and clarity, when each string is accurately pitched.  Learn to tune by ear - check the pitch of not just adjacent strings, but all strings against each other.  It takes a little more time, but the improvement is substantial.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 7:05 pm
  26. Blues Overdrive says:

    Tone made easy:
    1st) Choose an amp that has the tone you’re looking for.
    2nd) Choose a guitar with tone in mind, going for single coils, humbuckers or both.

    And you’re almost done.. use good cables, good maintance of equipment, change strings, tune your guitar and go!

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm
  27. Learn Guitar in Farnham*Alton*Guildford*Aldershot* says:

    @Benjamin - there IS a good reason for turning your amp back to STANDBY before turning off - so that next time you power-up it is already in STANDBY! and thus filters any surge…

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 9:25 pm
  28. tedt says:

    The cheapest mods are heavier gauge strings and experimenting with different pick materials and thickness. Get a sample pack.

    posted on December 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm
  29. Gilly Ribeiro says:

    You missed the perhaps MOST important aspect: TUNE! TUNE! TUNE!
    This is the most overlooked aspect tone-wise and *the one* that is a real make or break.

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 12:35 am
  30. Red Klaydert says:

    Routinely clean every contact in your signal chain with contact cleaner such as Deoxit.

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 1:20 am
  31. kj says:

    almost, if not equally, as helpful are some of the readers’ comments—really—no sarcasm—insight from just about any player can be useful

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 1:52 am
  32. Voxter says:

    Ron G. had already nailed it by the third post .

    secret of sounding good ( I’m not going to use the ‘toooooooohn’  word) is simply to know your gear and how to wring the last drop out of what you settle upon.

    Sure the ‘rig’ can evolve, but since the marriage of teh interwebs gear forums, easy purchasing in the sonic sweetshop and aledgedly incurable ‘GAS’ people are spending way more time obsessing over gear than learning to use it creatively.

    Strat or Tele , a decent but not ridiculous cable - into an AC15 is all the (‘t-word’) that I need.
    Ocasionally a carefully chosen pedal or two. Usually not.

    Pickup hight, string gauge, experimenting with tunings, varying the amp settings, using the vol and err ‘toooohn’ control on the guitar. And playing a lot.
    All much more gratifying than conspicuous consumption of gizmo after gizmo.

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 3:28 am
  33. dmp says:

    Great idea for a column.  I have a Fender Blues Jr., which does not have “Standby”.

    Are there any precautions I can use to utilize the suggestions you make in the “Treat Tubes Well” section?

    Also,  I have used microphone interconnect cable (not instrument cable) to run between my studio powered monitors and my recording desk.  Based on your suggestions for “Using the Right Cable” , will this cause a problem?  Should I use speaker cable?  The monitors and the recording desk both utilize XLR connectors so that is why I used the “three wire” microphone cable.  I have very good sound to my monitors so it does not appear to be a problem. 

    Thanks for the forum.

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 5:02 am
  34. Elias Simon says:

    @Roman Jones: Kelly Patterson above has the right idea. DC bias is an aspect of amplifier design. Messing with it isn’t a “cheap tone tip”. It’s a complicated mod that should only be handled by a professional.

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 6:32 am
  35. Jay says:


    1. Just let it warm up and cool off and treat it well like all equipment.

    2. The speaker cable referred to is between the amp and the speaker. Since your monitors are powered, the amp is located inside the speaker and wired for you. The XLR cable you’re using should only be carrying a line level signal and should be just fine if you chose the correct outputs from your recording desk. Since you indicate it sounds good, I think you’ll be just fine.

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 7:08 am
  36. Bob W says:

    Ya’all are CONTROL freaks !!!  While I would love to control everything about MY tone,,,, I would rather play.  MY advice is ,,,,,,  accept what the equipment “gives” you and play your ass off.
    It is important to choose what you use and when. It is important to adjust your Guitar for playability and intonation. It can contribute to a decent tone when you adjust amp settings or choose what amp via how it “feels” when you play through it ,,,,,,,  but ,,,,,  if you don’t play your best ,,,,,
    you are gonna suck !!!  I refuse to OBSESS over details when it is FAR more important to play your best when it is called for. Besides, MOST of YOUR TONE comes from your fingers !!!  Not the Guitar or your amp !!!  JUST PLAY DAMMIT !!

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 9:50 am
  37. CBJ says:

    Blah, blah, blah, do this.
    Blah, blah, blah, do that.
    Blah, blah, blah, if you don’t follow MY blah, blah, blah, than you suck.
    Blah, blah, blah, this and ONLY this is how it should sound.

    Then there is the ‘talent’ argument.
    Blah, blah, blah, learn scales.
    Blah, blah, blah, play in perfect pitch.
    Blah, blah, blah, more notes equals more skill.
    Blah, blah, blah, look ma, no hands.

    Gee, how much skill does it take to play a Kinks song? What tips did Eric Clapton follow? What rules did the Edge study?

    You get my drift?
    Play and experiment and do what makes you smile.
    Anyone tells you what it should be and what you should do?
    Spit in their eye!


    There are so many super talented guitar players who can’t wait to poop on your vision.
    This is why we have so many ThreeDoorsNickleCreedBackDown bands.
    Don’t listen to anyone (not even me) just play, play, play. . .  tune to C#, find the lost chord, saw new grooves in the fretboard and add some frets and play beyond the limitations of the Western 12 tone scale (believe it or not but it was the rebellious accordion that decimated the non 12 tone music world).

    Paint OUTSIDE the lines.

    Or just follow someone else’s vision

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 10:29 am
  38. Smokey in MN says:

    Find a great tone during your search for same? Write the particulars down in a journal. If you are an older person like me, you’ll be able to replicate that tone without much trouble. (Unless you forget where you’ve left your note book).

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm
  39. Michelle Rose says:

    I’ve never found the “perfect tone” on my Strat and Princeton Reverb. (for one thing, the amp is solid state) The Catlinbread DLS MkIII helped a lot in getting a good kick-ass Marshall/Fender sound, but I’m still fussing with the whole rig after many years. What the hell: it’s a work in progress.

    My bass, on the other hand (sshh! Some of us play BOTH. Gadzooks!), is damn near perfect in tone. It should be; it’s a Rick 4001 (1977, single owner which is me) with extensive mods on the bridge, nut, frets, pickups and wiring. When I got it back from the shop, I plugged it in, did a quick scale and screamed “Yes!!!!” Since then (1979), I haven’t done a damn thing to it except change strings; Rotosound mediums. That’s all. It sounds GREAT through any amp (just bought a little Ampeg BA115 for jamming and it’s perfect, too) and rarely needs to be tuned, even though I do a lot of pops and snaps.

    The perfect tone is out there, but like CBJ sez, it’s a combo of experimentation and just playing outside the box. I agree with CBJ: ALWAYS play outside the box. Remember that the rules are there to be broken, else we would not have had people like Jimi to show us a different path.

    posted on December 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm
  40. Al says:

    A lot of comments about the impotance of ‘standby’. Small amps such as my Fender Princeton do NOT have a stanby switch. It’s been running fine for 20+ yrs so it can’t be all that critical.

    posted on December 13, 2013 at 4:16 am
  41. Al says:

    Where in the world are these posts going? It’s Dec 12th @ 1:20pm where I am. The post date and time are tomorrow??

    posted on December 13, 2013 at 4:22 am
  42. Keith says:

    Fender Input Jack - The only difference between the two inputs is a different value resistor.. you can get that using your gtr’s output volume knob which is… a resistor.  Resistance is futile.  I don’t agree with that ‘tip’.  (Oh, and they are switched so if you plug in two guitars on a Twin they do the same thing)

    Standby Switch - At the moment before you turn off your amp, every capacitor and inductor in your amp is loaded with a charge… the transformers are also sitting inside a pulsing magnetic field (that’s how they inductively ‘transform’ voltages from one value to another).  When you switch off your amp without using the standby switch you’re dumping the electrical contents of every inductor, capacitor, and transformer down the circuits pathways to ground SIMULTANEOUSLY.  Hence, the ‘POP’.  This can blow a component if it’s not in ideal shape and weaken components that are in ideal shape.  That switch cost money for the amp builder to put it there and it’s there for a reason, USE IT (or keep pretending you know more than the guy who built your amp).  If you have an amp without a standby, simply turn the volume down before turning it off.  If you have a low wattage amp and you’ve had no problems for years, it’s just because low wattage amps have smaller inductors, caps, and xformers, so chance of damage is less.  Still not very smart to not use your standby switch if you have one on the amp.

    Tube Biasing, Cables, Contact Cleaner, Pickup Height, buffers, and speaker cables… Ok, if your gear is set up anywhere close to ‘correct’, don’t spend much time obsessing with that stuff.  It’s always fun to twiddle with that stuff but remind yourself that it can be an OCD black hole of time that won’t return any rewards compared to practicing.

    Stomp Boxes.. Get a TS9, a Big Muff, a Wah, and if your amp doesn’t have them built in, a verb and a vibe.  Same as above.. keep it basic and as long as they work, it’s all good and over obsessing with GAS on stomps is also fun but not going to make you a better guitar player.  You don’t need more stomps than what Jimi/Eric/SRV/BFG used back in the day. 

    Strings - Billy Gibbon plays 7’s.  SRV played 12’s(?)  Go figure.  SRV had strong hands though, so unless you have hands like an orangutan I suggest following the Right Reverend Willy G’s lead and lean towards the lighter gauges.  (I play 10’s FWIW.. YMMV)

    Bottom line, I find that my tone gets better the more I practice and the more I noodle with learning how to play classic songs.  Some say doing covers is for the birds, but can’t name too many famous players who didn’t get their start copping licks from those they admired, so no shame at all in wood shedding the works from your fave players.  For me the Lick Library DVD’s have been a refreshing departure from searching for Youtube tutorials which are often half-axx.  Anyway, Class A low wattage amp and a few basic FX pedals and a lot of time jamming the tunes you love, and you’ll find the tone starts sneaking in there.  ;-)

    Enjoyed reading all the comments… Rock On PGS!!  Sorry for the rant.

    PS: No shame in wanting to own a Tele, AND a Strat, AND a LP…. they sound and play different, and that’s a fact.  (Haven’t been able to convince my old lady of this, but meh.. she’s gotten over it). 

    posted on December 13, 2013 at 9:22 am
  43. Andrew Waugh says:

    CBJ, break all the rules you like with your playing, and if you’ve still got an audience after that, so much the better. However, a lot of this article is about the laws of physics. Ignore THOSE rules and your amp will probably die, with the result that no-one will hear you pushing back those artistic boundaries.

    posted on December 14, 2013 at 1:40 am
  44. CBJ says:

    @Andrew Waugh

    Spoken like a true follower destined to always be standing in the shadows.

    You DO realize that all of the distortion effects are designed to emulate torn speaker cones, damaged tubes and general deviant circuitry, right?
    You DO also realize that all the true guitar pioneers were shunned and basically ‘audience-less’, no?

    As to the laws of physics? What on earth are yo on about? The few comments about making sure you use the ‘stand by switch’?
    The ‘stand by’ switch is intended to keep the amp in a waiting mode, like between sets. It keeps the tubes nice and toasty so you don’t have to wait for them to come up to temp.
    The popping noise one hears will most likely damage a speaker before it damages any so called ‘weak component’.
    Again, one uses the stand by switch so that if one takes a break one can simply return to the amp, flip a switch and the volume is already where you left it.
    Remember, most of these designs are really based on 1930’s tube handbooks and the embellishments made to them were for ‘gigging’ musicians of the day. That meant one band playing several sets for the entire evening where they would take breaks and try to pick up girls.
    Stand by simply allow the tube filaments to heat the plates up close to “operating temperature” (or maintains this temperature), which means less stress is put on the tubes when the high voltage is applied, which quickly heats them up to full operating temp.

    It really is that simple.

    BTW Jimi Hendrix had to go to England to get a fan base,  You do realize he started off with Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and others. He went out on his own because he was frustrated FOLLOWING bandleaders (he was fired by Little Richard).  He was even recommend to the managers of the Stones who failed to see any musical potential, and rejected him.

    Yeah, I guess following ALWAYS pays off.
    Me, if I’m going to go broke I’d rather do it playing my stuff my way.

    posted on December 14, 2013 at 10:55 am
  45. Lester Goff says:

    Can someone answer why the strings on the LP in the Picture are going over the bridge?

    posted on December 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm
  46. CBJ says:

    @Lester Goff,

    “Can someone answer why the strings on the LP in the Picture are going over the bridge?”

    1) I can only assume that you are misidentifying the ‘stop tail piece’ as the ‘bridge’ .
    2) It’s called ‘top wrapping.
    3) It doesn’t cost anything so why not try it and form your own opinion? Or are you waiting for approval from a higher authority?
    The proof is in the pudding, if it sounds good to you that that is all that matters.

    posted on December 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm
  47. Andrew Waugh says:

    CBJ, I actually agree with your comments about defying the conventions of writing and playing. They would make more sense if you were responding to an article in which Pro Guitar Shop were trying to tell us to stick to a bunch of set rules on writing and playing.

    Regarding your use of Jimi Hendrix as an example, we know his name today because, yes, he broke loads of rules about playing. Meanwhile he probably cared about pickup height, how much gain he used, not confusing speaker cables with signal cables, and not mistreating treating his amps’ tubes. I’d include the article’s third paragraph but I’m guessing he didn’t have the choice of pickups we have today. This stuff may be a load of blah blah blah to you, but I imagine other readers have found it helpful.

    Best wishes from the land of shadows!

    posted on December 16, 2013 at 8:55 pm
  48. CBJ says:

    @Andrew Waugh

    “Meanwhile he probably cared about pickup height, how much gain he used, not confusing speaker cables with signal cables, and not mistreating treating his amps’ tubes. “

    Don’t know and don’t care.
    I imagine he didn’t care what the actual pick up height was as opposed to setting them until they sounded good to him, to HIS ear.
    Dude, he set his guitar on FIRE, pretty sure mistreating gear was somewhat lower on his list of priorities.
    Point of fact on speaker cable vs guitar cable, I would hardly call that a ‘tone’ tip, maybe there should be a bit of Darwinism involved.
    I would imagine that most people who post their so called tips do so in order to show that ‘they’ know some of the ‘secret inner mysteries of the guitar priesthood’ . . . it’s just plain silly.
    I guess it shows that so many guitarists need their egos massaged.

    Also, if tubes are so fragile how were they ever used in WWII bombers and with the virtually unregulated power provided at that time?

    posted on December 16, 2013 at 11:50 pm
  49. Andrew Waugh says:

    hi there CBM

    I agree that Hendrix probably set his pickup height until they sounded good to him. The article gave the pros and cons of high and low pickup positioning, and then encouraged us to play around until we found the sweet spot. Sounds like we’re all on the same page there.

    Regarding setting his guitar on fire, that’s showmanship. It doesn’t rule out the possibility that he cared about his tone.

    Good point on the speaker-cable tip, it’s more about reliability than tone. Still a good tip though.

    I enjoyed the question about WWII bombers but won’t bore you with my thoughts on that. Meanwhile if you want to mistreat your tubes, no-one’s stopping you.

    Likewise, if you think Pro Guitar Shop write these free-of-charge articles simply to show off, that’s up to you. To me it comes across as a genuine desire to be helpful to their potential customer base.  Best wishes…

    posted on December 17, 2013 at 6:54 pm
  50. Mark says:

    Perfect practice - If you are not practicing slowly and perfectly than you are only reinforcing sh!tty playing and technique.

    Lighter String gauges that are properly stretched/tuned (I use 10-38). Easier to fret, stands out in a mix, longer sessions due to less hand fatigue is a win-win-win!

    A properly set up guitar (intonated/action/good nut) - An improperly set up guitar will NEVER sound good…

    Good cables - As stated above, spend a few extra bucks, you will be amazed!

    Pedals - They are fun, do cool tricks and, like most things, you get what you pay for.

    Low wattage tube amp - If you value your hearing, like your neighbors and want the best sound. There is a reason low wattage amps are the primary choice used in studios… If you want to summon aliens from planet Nezgur-21B, by all means the Champ 1000W will do the trick. Just don’t be surprised if Greenpeace comes knocking due to the resulting global mass whale beachings.

    posted on December 29, 2013 at 8:47 am
  51. Tom says:

    Ah, but you digress, this was about CHEAP tricks.

    posted on January 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm
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