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Guitar tone : Your musical voice - By “Sweet Baby” James Meston
The "tone" of a player's guitar sound is one of these things that keeps many of them awake at night. This may seem a little extreme, but remember that your tone is your "musical voice" to the world and is something that should be treated with the highest importance. If it isn't something that you have really given a great deal of consideration, or you have and you're still not getting the sound you want, here a few tips to try.
1. Make sure that your equipment is kept in good condition. Make sure that your leads, pots and input jack sockets aren't "crackling", that there are fresh batteries in your pedals and fresh strings on your guitar (I would advise changing strings every 2-4 weeks).

2. If you are using an amplifier with a transister power amp section (don't confuse with pre-amp section), I urge you to save up/trade in for an all-valve amplifier. You will never get great tone out of a transister amp.

3. Avoid using a great deal of effects pedals or cheap effects pedals. Every extra pedal you put between your guitar and your amp diminishes the quality of your initial tone, and cheap pedals generally compress the hell out of your sound. Good pedals are costly, but they are less expensive than a whole stack of cheap ones. Good ones to look out for: Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9 (warm overdrive), Marshall Guv'nor (Hendrix wall of death!), Danelectro Dan-Echo (best delay by a mile), Danelectro Tuna Melt (authentic tremolo) and Jim Dunlop Cry-Baby (Clapton wah-wah).

These are just a few tips and just the tip of the iceberg really. If you have any questions about improving tone, or anything mentioned in these columns, email me

All the best in blues,

'Sweet Baby' James.

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