How do you improve your tone???​

  • I dont talk about subtle adjustments here, but effective tricks to make a ''day and night'' diffrence. How do you improve your tone???

    Let's share our best ''tricks'' here is mine:


    - Maybe my guitar pick ups suffer from a lack of mid, but I always end up with sounds that got good highs and lows and a hole in the mids... So bwhen i fine tune and before I save any sound , I jump on the graphic Equalizer and Studio Eq of the Kemper. (The EQ in the front is not enough for me) I need to boost precise frequencies. I always end up saying ok thats better. Of course we need to take care of sounds also in the context of a mix. Boosting lows can be very cool for a guitar alone but in a context of a mix it will fight with the bass tracks and Bass drum . I try to find a mid freq and a Hi freq too, that will give my guitar sound a perfect touch so we can hear it. Of course it depends of the style and other instruments if its an arrangement with a lot of keyboards synth overdub pads the guitar needs the right eq. If its a guitar rock blues tune or metal the eq will be different of course.. But I never save a sound without trying to get better EQ and generally it makes a great difference.


    Paul :love: (goodadvice)

  • I'm a clean to mid-gain player with an opinion. Nothing more.

    Unless the style of music calls for it, I look at adding EQ much like polishing a turd. No matter how 'good' it may seem.....it's still just a turd. So, I stay away from adding an equalizer to try and create a 'good' sound. It's useful to get a specific sound or to 'notch' the guitar into (or out of) a mix. But if I *have* to EQ a profile to reach 'good' I look for something else.

    Before touching anything else, the first place I go with a profile that has promise is the Definition control. Here again, if I can't get dang close I move on. If I have to make big swings (say 5 to 1, or 4 to 7), I tend to move on.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Fresh strings - I don’t mean that in a snarky way either. They effects of string deadening are very subtle and degrade slowly... but put a new set of strings on and voila!


    I find I don’t tweak the profiles much - just find a good one and stick with it. If after a little jamming it doesn’t sound good I move on to a new one. The only things I usually tweak are a bit of presence or gain (usually turning it down) before I add on effects.


    Practice never hurt either! 😉

  • Another issue of course is does your tone = good tone in the context of your band / recording? Many times over the years I've found that my killer tone doesn't fit well in the mix and I have to compromise. A good example of this is how we rock guitar players tend to like a tone with plenty of thump / bass which is fine on your own but tramples all over the bass players sound.

  • With some profiles I need to lower the mid a little if it's too much of it. But it all depends on which guitar and pickups I'm using. And less distortion on most high gain profiles becuase most vendors aiming for metal guitarists seems to believes you can't have enough gain. The more the better. X/ Yeah right.

  • Another issue of course is does your tone = good tone in the context of your band / recording? Many times over the years I've found that my killer tone doesn't fit well in the mix and I have to compromise. A good example of this is how we rock guitar players tend to like a tone with plenty of thump / bass which is fine on your own but tramples all over the bass players sound.

    THIS... Never underestimate a good arrangement with a tight band playing together as well although I think we’re getting away from the OP’s question a bit in that area. I think his point was more “how do you sound the best” although I think it’s one I the same. Good players help each other sound good in my opinion.


    I like the general ideas stated prior about using definition and EQ - good starting points!

  • I also use very little EQ. I use different profiles, guitars and pickups to alter the character of the sound. Unless I'm trying to make a Strat sound like a LP...


    I always use high pass and low pass filters to chop off the top and bottom end to some degree.

  • - reasonably new strings

    - decent setup on the guitar, this includes neck relief, string height, pickup height and pickup angle

    - also play pickups you actually like instead of trying to get them to do something they simply aren't

    (for example trying to make low output Strat-like SCs sound thick and powerful with lots of mids - use P90s for that)

    - record yourself often and listen back a few days later (!)


    - personally, I also like to play/practise unplugged sometimes, really listen to your pick attack etc. so that going back to playing amplified will almost feel like cheating ;)

  • Fresh strings - I don’t mean that in a snarky way either.

    OMG..... I did a simple repair on a friend's guitar last week and ran my fingers under the strings to check their age. Some of the deepest flat-spots on a string I've ever found.

    "It sounds like crap!!"

    Well.....duhhhhhh........when you haven't changed your strings since Bush was in office.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • I think a lot of players have their action a hair too low. When it's set too close to the limit, the frets buzz when you dig in a bit, stealing the string energy exactly when you need it to sing out unimpeded.

    It's a fine balance and compromise based on how you play, but generally I find the existing action a bit low when I get asked to do a setup.

    Similar with pickups - they're almost always too close to the strings and not in their sweet spot.

    Guitar pick stiffness make a massive difference in tone. Try recording a part with a .50 pick, then the same with a 1.0-2.0. The brightness and attack are dramatically different. This and choosing the guitar is where I start when I'm searching for a sound.

  • I think a lot of players have their action a hair too low. When it's set too close to the limit, the frets buzz when you dig in a bit, stealing the string energy exactly when you need it to sing out unimpeded.

    It's a fine balance and compromise based on how you play, but generally I find the existing action a bit low when I get asked to do a setup.

    Similar with pickups - they're almost always too close to the strings and not in their sweet spot.

    Guitar pick stiffness make a massive difference in tone. Try recording a part with a .50 pick, then the same with a 1.0-2.0. The brightness and attack are dramatically different. This and choosing the guitar is where I start when I'm searching for a sound.

    couldn't agree more.


    also as a bit of a pick junkie, it's not just thickness, but material and edge shape (and flex and 'handling' and so on...)

    for example two of my favorite picks, the (finally reissued) D'Andrea Ultra Plec 2mm and the Dunlop Max-Grip Jazz III Carbon have a similar thickness but produce totally different results.

  • My views:


    Well set up guitar ( which includes strings)

    Good signal chain ( leads, buffers vs bypass if using external effects etc.)

    Choose amps you already like and know - I have foudn I graviate to sounds I'm used to. I sold my ENGL to get a KPA using ENGL profiles ( yeah daft I know).

    Test your sounds at full volume, with a band and via FRFR if going FOH. In other words closely mimic the live set up (if for live).

    Care less about your tone - sound is important but 90% of our sound is from our hands and the only people in the audience really listening to your guitar tone are other guitarists...who won't like what you play regardless. Plus your ears/perception change constantly, even if you sound stays consistent

    Avoid analysis paralysis - don't search for sonic nirvana, it leads to endless disappointment. Settle for 90%..


    I rarely use eq, as said by others I tend to go for a good sounding profile and stick with it.

  • I'm a clean to mid-gain player with an opinion. Nothing more.

    Unless the style of music calls for it, I look at adding EQ much like polishing a turd. No matter how 'good' it may seem.....it's still just a turd. So, I stay away from adding an equalizer to try and create a 'good' sound. It's useful to get a specific sound or to 'notch' the guitar into (or out of) a mix. But if I *have* to EQ a profile to reach 'good' I look for something else.

    I am afraid that I can't agree with this. I find that a lot of profiles need a bit of mid to add a little body. If it sounds good it is good, it's all subjective anyway and I certainly enjoy the profiles I have created/altered. Having said that I never use an insert EQ and only the amp mid control.

  • I think a lot of players have their action a hair too low. When it's set too close to the limit, the frets buzz when you dig in a bit, stealing the string energy exactly when you need it to sing out unimpeded.

    It's a fine balance and compromise based on how you play, but generally I find the existing action a bit low when I get asked to do a setup.

    Similar with pickups - they're almost always too close to the strings and not in their sweet spot.

    Guitar pick stiffness make a massive difference in tone. Try recording a part with a .50 pick, then the same with a 1.0-2.0. The brightness and attack are dramatically different. This and choosing the guitar is where I start when I'm searching for a sound.

    Low action is overrated. Most guitar players want a as low action as possible and believe a total straight guitar neck is a sign of a well set up guitar. If that was the case we wouldn't needed a truss rod. There have been some complaint about the sustain of the kemper before but that has nothing to do with the kemper. It's all about too low action. If anyone want lower action, well thicker strings is the answer. If not, unless your'e a very light picker, forget that insanely low action if you want great tone.