Not satisfied with the sound coming out of your rig? Don’t got money for new gear to make it better? No problem! Attaining amazing guitar tone doesn’t require you having to spend thousands of dollars, rather there are a few simple ways that may not cost you anything at all! Below are 5 inexpensive ways to better guitar tone.
1) Change those strings!
If you feel like your guitar is sounding dull all of a sudden, it is likely that your strings are dead. As well, used strings are more difficult to sound in tune. Put on a fresh set of strings which can be done for $5, and all of a sudden that chime will be back! How often should you change your strings? It depends how often you play, though once every month is a good rule of thumb.
2) Make sure your guitar is well tuned
That’s right, guitar tone is not only in the signal path, rather it is the harmonization of tones that bring it to life. But they cannot come together if your guitar is out of tune. Even if your guitar is slightly out of tune, it will not sound as good as it can. Make it a habit to tune up before you start playing. One of the great benefits is that it will help you develop an ear for tuning and you’ll know when something sounds off very quickly. Make sure you use a good tuner to get the baseline down, and you can get a very inexpensive one for a couple of bucks on your smart phone.
3) Adjust the EQ on your Amp
Your guitar amp is responsible for a whole array of different tones, so it is up to you to experiment in order to discover them. If you are unsure of how to adjust the amp settings, the best thing to do is set everything neutral (all knobs to 12 o’clock) and then play your guitar to hear what is either missing or overbearing. Does the tone sound too bassy? Turn down the bass knob. Too scooped? Turn up the mids? Too bright? Turn down the treble. And so on. Once you get the hang of it, adjusting any amp to get your desired tone will be easy. Learn more about amp settings
4) Use the volume and tone controls on your guitar!
They are there for a reason. Your tone can vary so much with these controls, and some pedals can even be controlled by them. For example, some fuzz pedals will clean right up when you roll your guitar’s volume knob back. Knowing your guitar controls comes in handy, especially in a live environment. Sometimes mid-song, you’ll notice your guitar is too bright. No problem, adjust that tone knob on your guitar and you’ll find the sweet spot in seconds!
5) Keep practicing
Yes this last tip seems like a cop-out, but in actuality it may very well be the most important. Have you ever heard the saying, ‘the tone is in the hands’? Well it is true. If you are an amazing player, you can make any guitar sound good. So keep practicing every day, work on your technique, play with other musicians and you’ll find yourself sounding better in no time, at no cost!
For more guitar tone tips, please visit Guitar Tone Talk