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Do you have "your own tone"?


Silver Supporting Member
I don't think my tone is all that unique but I definitely will gravitate toward the same tone when possible. I use a Fractal Axe FX so it's easy to get a variety of sounds.

Clean -> usually a BF Fender clean tone with a little chorus and delay
Breakup -> usually a Vox type tone that's turned up until the amp starts to break up
Crunch -> usually a Marshall Plexi or 800 that's typical for a classic rock tone
Heavy -> usually a Friedman BE-100 type higher gain with good saturation and a chunky tone
Although there are certainly lots of examples of where my next statement doesn't apply, I think that signature tones are a lot more noticeable and forward when people are solo'ing / playing lead than in rhythmic guitar playing 90% of the time.

People know what Page sounds like. They know what May sounds like. They know Clapton. They know BB King. There's nobody like Django. Van Halen, etc etc. If you think of "signature tone", lead and solo'ing is really what brings someone's unique sound out in the forefront the most.

With that said, yes I do have my own tone. The music I write and record is highly influenced from vintage music yet is quite modern / alternative in terms of sound... like a mash of Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Radiohead. My thing is that I very strongly feel that there is still a place for lead guitar and guitar solo's amongst this type of music, when done right.


Yes, I do. I need a Strat/Tele and a Marshall and I'm doing me, as long as the rhythm is in my comfort zone (can't be me if I'm playing an Alternative Rock song, for example).

The thing with a lot of players who have their own tone is that:
A. They play their own stuff or adapt covers to their style. It's not what cover players or diverse session players should excel in.
B. They use less compression. Yes, there are a lot of exceptions but if you listen to modern Metal players they are all very precise and need a lot of compression for everything to sound even. Being so accurate and compressed kind of makes a lot of players sound the same (some of these players are still very impressive).

So while I really do like modern music it's annoying that so many musicians are more session players than band members with distinctive personality. I never know if they will sound the same on the next song or do something completely different to "serve the song" (or someone will replace them).
With modern Metal it's the opposite: a lot of them just sound exactly the same....


Silver Supporting Member
Yes, I sound the same on an acoustic archtop playing Bop or Gypsy Jazz as I do playing blues with a P90 Goldtop in a cranked amp. My pick attack comes through and even though I’m playing different styles and over simple or complex changes the way I use my fingers on the fret board translates to the ears to be able pick out “my sound” so to speak. When I **** up I tend to do it the same no matter what I’m playing too, it is usually in the picking side of things. Rhythmically I tend to have a “sound” as well. I’m not a great player or a bad player but after 37 years of playing live music you fall into a grove weather you are aware of it or not, it is your signature.

TP Parter

Absolutely. I use Gibsons with P90's and other single coils which I run into a Treble Booster and Systech Harmonic Energizer clone into a modded Mesa Tremoverb running EL34's into a smorgasbord of speakers, both vintage and modern. Not too many people running that set up. I also utilize a good bit of fuzz at times, a Ramble FX Twin Bender is my current fuzz. Covers a ton of ground and sounds awesome at most all settings

I use said set up to cover anything from pristine chiming cleans to super heavy '90s-'00s metal tones. It sounds even better when I split the Mesa's FX send between it and my KMD's 4x6550 poweramp.

The Sabbath tones are sick af. :dude
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Silver Supporting Member
I don't think I do. When I listen to our band recordings, I often like my tone. It just doesn't sound all that unique.

My tone is fairly consistent tho'.

David MacNeill

Silver Supporting Member
I don’t think my lead tone is wildly unique, but my phrasing and note choices are distinctive. It’s a kind of broken melodic tantrum, or at least that’s how it feels to me when I’m doing it. When I’m at my best, you’ll never know what I’ll do next but you may find yourself humming it to yourself later.


Silver Supporting Member
The frustrating thing for me is that no matter what guitar, or what amp I play, there's always this upper-mid thing going on.


Gold Supporting Member
Neck pickup 85% of the time; p90, Tele neck, or vintage voiced HB. Middle position for chimey bits or Tele bridge for super punky aggression.

Silverface non master Fender amp with a Klon pushing it a bit so that beating the guitar gives me a bit of break up. Gain is a Timmy or a TS mini, stacked for madness sections, and I use a SHO style boost at the end of the chain for solo bits.

I use amp trem or my secret cheapo trem pedal (amp depending). A touch of spring reverb depending on the room, slapback delay for some parts.

Mostly, though, it's my hack hands squeezing the life out of an innocent guitar. I might sometimes play intricate or beautiful parts, but my soul is the sneer on Joe Strummer's face in the middle of a Clash set.



Silver Supporting Member
Yeah, but sort of a split personality tone. My favorite guitars are Strats & Rickenbackers...and each type tends to pull different musical things out of me and I seldom cross over. With my Strats, I think workhorse & covering the bases but my Strat sound is very specific in that I can play 100 off the racks and might like only 1. With my Rics they sound pretty similar to me and I feel like I'm having fun when I play them, and like I have a blank canvas in front of me waiting to be painted.
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i pretty much sound like me through any rig. about 20 years ago, i was working at chemical plant. i came in 1st thing in the morning, and the night shift had an area country station going in the background. as i was making relief with the other guy working the area i was, i could barely hear the radio, but something sounded familiar to me. after we got done talking i started paying close attention, and realized it was a local songwriter, and i had played on an album he had recorded.

after that, i really started listening back to a lot of stuff i had played on at a friends demo studio. i used a ton of different gear on the stuff, but it still sounded like me.

i had a discussion with a drummer i've worked with a ton over the last 25 years, both live & studio, and he was talking about he was wanting a certain kit because he didn't have a certain wood type. i basically told him the same story, and that it didn't really matter what he used because he would keep tweaking til he got it sounding like what he wanted anyway, which would sound pretty much like what he had now!

i think most folks that have spent a certain amount of time playing have their sound in their head whether they realize it or not. they just tweak whatever gear they are playing through til it gets close.

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