What’s In Your Tone

What’s in your tone? All of the below (please note any omissions!) affects your tone – IS your tone. It all matters. They’re all bricks and mortar for the tone you’re building. Even if you “luck out” – you plug-n-play and it’s there – everything in that chain matters. Change something, anything, and you might lose your tonal inspiration.

Note: The below assumes a classic signal chain: guitar > pedals > amp.

Guitar body wood, scale length, neck wood and shape (mass), fingerboard wood and depth, fret size, fret material, nut type, tuner type, bridge type, composition of bridge and/or tailpiece, pickups (all components), pickup placement, pot values, wire type, solder type, capacitor type/value, string gauge and metal.

Hands: left-hand fingers used (e.g., third finger instead of pinky), fingers and/or pick, pick shape, pick thickness, pick material, how you hold the pick (i.e., thumb-first, thumb-first-second, thumb-second).

Cable materials and jacks, possibly cable length (may not be able to hear a difference).

Pedals/stompboxes, power to pedals, what order they are in, cables.

Amp type, amp components (all), amp tube type and brand (preamp and power), amp knob settings and any channel-bridging/switching, ohms to cab/speakers, cabinet type, cab materials (all, including tolex/no tolex), cab construction (materials used and how put together), open or closed back, ported/not ported, speaker construction (all materials), speaker efficiency, speaker age/break-in, speaker ohms, cab ohms, ohms of cab relative to amp, speaker pattern (4×12), speaker/cab wire type (gauge), power to amp from wall.

Attitude/Touch (‘Tone is in Your Hands’)
All of this is a platform for what you bring to the music: Attitude/aggressiveness = left-hand touch and right-hand touch/attack.

TONS of time F-ing around with all of this stuff.

This doesn’t even get into recorded sound (mic type, mic placement, board, etc.).