Everyone likes their guitar sounding differently, and after you have built up some skill with the instrument you will likely have your own preferences too. If you are interested in learning how you can adjust your guitar tone to more closely match your preferences, you should familiarize yourself with the instrument’s structure and how it works, and in addition, if you are using an electric guitar you will have to find out a little bit about the extra auxiliary equipment you can invest in too. Here are a few general tips to help you get started:
- Play away from the bridge – the way an acoustic guitar produces its sounds is by vibrating the strings over the sound hole; therefore, playing with your fingers/guitar pick a bit farther away from the bridge of the guitar – say, right over the sound hole – is going to result in a nicer, smoother-sounding tone that sound better to most players. If you are playing on an acoustic guitar, this is the first thing you should consider doing as it has the greatest potential to have a positive impact on your playing.
- Play with your amp settings – electric guitars are affected a lot by the settings of their amplifiers – you should try adjusting the “tone” dial for the pickup you are currently using, as this will either increase or decrease the overall warmth of your tone. In addition, you can play with the high, low and mid settings on the amplified which will also result in an improved tone. On the other hand, don’t overdo the treble as this will have a negative impact on the sound quality.
- Use your neck pickup – it is surprising to some players when they realize how much warmth their tone can gain by simply using the neck pickup instead of the bridge one!
- Increase the reverb – doing this will also result in a warmer sound, and musicians tend to ignore this adjustment – which is very wrong considering how much you can gain from it! More reverb results in sound that lingers in the air even for a little while after you have stopped playing, and the overall sounding of your tone will be much warmer and smoother. Make sure you don’t turn up the reverb too much though, or it will make your playing noisy and not appealing at all.
- Consider a tube amplifier – if you’re using a solid state amplifier, you may want to look into a tube model, as this can have the largest impact on the quality of your sound when playing an electric guitar. Tube amps are commonly recognized for their better sounding tone compared to solid state amps, and they offer a greater range of tones with which you can experiment. This may be just the purchase you need in order to get a significant boost to the quality of your playing, so don’t disregard this option in any way! It may cost a little bit, but it’s definitely for a good cause.