So if you play the guitar you are bound to have people you like the sound of the most. You are listening to the sound of the guitarist you like, whether it is Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Gary Moore or any other kind of guitarist. And you are wanting to emulate their sound and you could be thinking that if you buy their gear you will sound like them.
While this may bring you closer to sounding like them this is not the only thing you need to focus on. What guitars they used, what pickups and specific woods they used, what amps they used and what pedals they used are only tiny factors into getting their sound.
I am going to tell you some things you need to work on so that you don’t become disappointed when you save up all the money to get the equipment but then you don’t sound anything like the guitarists you look up to.
The Meaning Behind The Tone Being In The Fingers
You may have heard this often. This is however quite unclear, because it gives no real actionable step to get closer to sounding like your influences. Now to be clear, you will have your own unique sound as you are a different person than the guitarist you listen to. But you can have very similar sounds to the guitarist you look up to. How do you do this?
Work on your phrasing.
Things like how you bend strings, how you manipulate your vibrato and how you use slides is a good place to start. Mixing these things together would come next and you would add articulation and ornamentation elements to this later. When you listen to the guitarists you listen to, they have the ability to sound really good even with these basic techniques.
This is what it means when you listen to one guitarist and you like them over someone else. You prefer how they play from someone else. This is why when you first play the guitar or when you first work on your phrasing you don’t sound that good, whereas someone else who has better phrasing can play the same notes and techniques but sounds so much better than you.
This will bring you much closer to sounding better as a guitarist than if you were to get the equipment that your guitarists use. I won’t go deep into phrasing as this is huge but this is the actionable meaning behind this commonly heard phrase “the tone is in the fingers”.
“So does that mean I shouldn’t get the equipment that my favourite guitarists use?”
No it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do this. In fact I recommend that you do start here for equipment since the equipment that they use is an indication of the kind of tone that you like. Later you can experiment with other amps, guitars and pedals since you also will find things that you like that other people do not use.
I am merely saying this is not the be all end all solution to sounding better on the guitar, and this alone will not help you sound good just like your favourite guitarists.
So what should you do from here?
1) When you next listen to the guitarists you listen to, observe how they are playing if you are able to. If they play phrases that contain bends, vibrato or slide, listen to how they are playing these techniques.
2) As you advance, observe what kind of techniques they use for articulation such as tapping or if they do a lot of speed picking.
3) At the same time you do this you can get the gear that your favourite guitarists use and later experiment with different pedals.
Jake Willmot is somewhat of a rarity as not many people like playing guitar as much as he does. When he was at school he would spend a lot of his time alone practicing. Jake Willmot is one of those people who really likes guitar music and he also teaches guitar lessons in Exmouth. He likes Pantera and Megadeth and he is also into solo guitarists like Joe Satriani.