Tips to finding your perfect guitar sound
BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Gilmour – they all had one thing in common. And that one thing was individuality. If you want to become a great guitarist you’ve got to be willing to spend time investing in finding your own perfectly unique guitar sound.
Whatever genre or style, no matter if you’re a shredder or an atmosphere kind of guy, there’s no set way to finding your sound. That’s one long journey of self discovery – here are a few pit stops that might help you along the way.
Focus on what you’ve got…
Don’t fall into the trap of spending millions of dollars on the latest guitar tech. If you want to find a sound that is totally unique to yourself, first you need to be focussing on what comes from the heart (man)! Sure, there are some awesome pedals out there, and sure, you should eventually be investing in them to compliment what you’ve got. But how can you be sure that you’re spending you’re money on the right tech if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve.
It’s a much better idea to start off by playing around with what you’ve already got. So long as you have a good guitar and a good amp, maybe one or two pedals, then you’re ready to start exploring. You certainly don’t need a gargantuan pedal board to start finding your sound.
Work with the worst to get the best…
It sounds strange but one of the best ways to find your sound is to get to work with a tone you don’t like. Turn down the volume and tone knobs on your guitar and spend as little time as possible messing with your amp so that you have a muddy tone you can’t stand, then start playing.
Sure, you’ll sound awful to begin with, but it’s the best place to start working your attack and fingering to get a sound that you like. If you try to get the best sound possible out of the worst tone then you’ll sound absolutely awesome with a tone you love!
Don’t be afraid to emulate your heroes…
If you’re trying to discover your own unique sound then it’s easy to get a little bit wary of sounding too much like your influences. Truth is that your sound isn’t likely to just drop out of the sky onto your axe. Creation is all about development – and every great guitarist has a selection of other great guitarists that have shaped the way they play. Whenever you do play like your influences, try to add something new. Be willing to let your creativity take you away a little. That exploration is often the key to ending up sounding awesome.
Explore what you like to play…
If you feel lost, try finding something that feels right and developing that. Whatever it is, that exploration is where you’ll start to see improvement and the beginning of your sound. Don’t get to thinking that you need to be loved by everyone else – when it all boils down to it, you need to be your number one fan.
And yes, practice.
Seems like a no-brainer really. You need to get serious about practicing. If you struggle with finding a natural rhythm for your practice, check out Guitarability – it’s designed to keep you playing and developing your method and sound. Have fun!