How do you improve your tone???​

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

    That's a good one. Too many options and too many tweaks can make you crazy. And your ears might perceive yesterday's tweak as not good for today and you might change it again tomorrow. In my experience 90% (or whatever value) is pretty good.

  • Improving tone?With the KPA?


    Good monitors.Good well treated room.This helps a lot.


    As for your playing?Vibratos and bendings.As players we should never stop practicing these..there is no better way to "improve your tone"..

  • can of worms this one.

    Guitar wise agree with above.

    Strings and setup is basic 1st principle

    I agree with pick choice too. I made the jump too 3mm. Took some adapting too but im glad i did.


    That said. I go back to 1mm for some clean stuff.

    Scale length and string gauge should be considered.

    Pickups should be in the ball park of what you want,

    And suit the guitars natural tone.

    Eg you wouldnt put bright sounding pickups in an already bright guitar.

    I love the kemper for not squashing your guitar sound and letting the sound breathe and sound natural.


    Profile wise.

    I like profiles that sound well defined and sit forward and sound wide with out tweaking.

    I also like profiles that are responsive to tweaks.

    Where slight changes are noticable.

    I like to tweak the definition clarity mids and presence. Ive got an mb mark v profile that sound awesome and totally different just from changing the mids.

    Changing cabs gives you different flavours to an already good core sound.

    I add abit of reverb and delay too just add a shade of depth. Space and stereo widener adds width.

    I add compression for sustain to clean and leads.

    I know when ive got a great profile when with a few small tweaks it can be good dry for clean rhythm and lead with or without effects/chorus.

    Rather than using different rigs for each.

    A good profile should be able to do them all if you want it too with much tweaking


    I only actually use 4 amp and cab combinations for everything and swap guitars to suit.

    Its nice to do that.

  • There is a definite psychological impact here as well.


    I playing on Saturday as a support band. In the main band the rhythm guitarist was using a 70's Marshall into a regular cab. I though it sounded great.


    I again questioned my sound, for some reason it didn't seem as good that night....but that same guitarist came up to me afterwards and said " I've always been sceptical of the digital amps but your's sounded amazing..."


    Just goes to show, sound is in the ears of the beholder :).

  • Exactly that.


    Thats a point ive often pondered for years.

    I personally care about my gear and sound.

    But i dont thing joe public gives a toss as long as it sounds pretty good.

    Ive never had a non guitarist ask me what pickups amps or cabs i use.

  • But i dont thing joe public gives a toss as long as it sounds pretty good.

    But every audience member is (even if it's unconscious) aware of your performance. Maybe they'll credit the whole band, doesn't matter.

    If you have a good sound live (or in a recording situation) and feed that you can intuitively work with the tones instead of fighting your gear, it'll translate into a stronger performance.

    So, yes, good tone matters.

  • 1)TURN DOWN THE GAIN!!!!!!!!!!!

    2)Practice WITHOUT a lot of effects

    2)Practice with an acoustic guitar. It will cleanup your playing a lot

    3)Did I say practice?

    4)Use strings that YOU like.........just because someone told you to use thick strings for "the tone"doesn't mean that you will sound like shit with thin strings.......it will destroy your fingers. You like 8s? Use 8s

    5)Good pickups/cabling/monitors are MANDATORY

    6)Don't use tones that are bass heavy and get lost in the mix. When creating rigs from profiles, try them in a backing track of your liking. They will sound "thin" when played alone but they will rock in a track

    7)Have the action is low or as high as YOU like. It depends on the guitar too and its limits

  • The way I always looked at it, I'm playing songs that I'm tired of because that's how you keep the audience happy (and keep getting work), so in exchange for that I'm going to do whatever I can to make it as painless as possible for me. Great tone coming out of your rig is part of that.

  • But every audience member is (even if it's unconscious) aware of your performance. Maybe they'll credit the whole band, doesn't matter.

    If you have a good sound live (or in a recording situation) and feed that you can intuitively work with the tones instead of fighting your gear, it'll translate into a stronger performance.

    So, yes, good tone matters.

    Totally agree with you Don and I think we are all saying the same thing.


    Your performance and how you feel will make a bigger difference than the actual profile you use - they are of course inter related.


    Its important to love your sound.


    I love the KPA because I believe I get a great sound...I say I believe because I don't actually trust my ears. However, because the KPA takes out some variables ( valve variances, mike placement etc.), I have a better inner confidence that my ears are tricking me again rather than anything major has changed. I can then relax and play better.


    The audience will know if it sounds good or bad but often won't know why. They are very unlikely to tell the difference between a really good sound and a really, really good sound, I believe the law of diminishing returns totally applies to guitar sounds :)

  • CrazyShred : 120% agree !


    and :


    8. use a GOOD Pick that you like, but not too thin !


    I prefer picks made of amaranth wood, approx. 1.1mm thick.

    I made them by myself on my CNC machine.

    They give great fat tone and I can play faster with more precision.

    (the inlayed maple logo is for the show only)



  • I made a pick out of solid ebony that really sounded great, but much less bright than I'm often after. Once I had the shape right, I impregnated it with super thin cyanoacrylate and then polished it.


    I ended up giving it to my niece last year, who has been touring the world for the last few years and making a name for herself.

  • The paradox for me is....

    I had a digitech 2101 & 2120 years ago

    I thought the overdrives wernt great but liked the effects.

    Which i binned off when i bought the kemper 5 or 6 years ago.

    Now im using a profile of the 2120 which someone uploaded on rig manager in my kemper.

    And i think it sounds good.

    Go figure 😂

    Im sure its the grass is greener syndrome.

    Hence why i never sell any of my guitars anymore.

    I know i will want them back before long.