Gear Advice

GEAR PHILOSOPHY, "...It's not the gear..."

Over the years, I've come across dozens of people obsessed with having the latest piece of gear, or "I must have these frets, or pickups, or guitar lead..." It's not the gear that makes the sound. That's impossible. It's the hands holding and playing the guitar that make the noise. It's up to you to make it beautiful, ugly, loud, quiet, resonant, screaming.

The simple truth is, it's mostly bollocks. :) That's my technical appraisal of it. Yes, having better gear helps, but it rarely will make you sound any better.

Work on your intonation, pick choking, phrasing, timing, get to know the gear you already have, inside out. I don't recommend swapping gear all the time.


I've heard Jeff Beck using a Fender Squier guitar through a £50 Fender transistor amp, and he sounded absolutely incredible. Don't be fooled by the latest gear releases, the best tone tool you have, is the guitar you have in your hands right now.

I've found the best way to improve your tone is to record yourself every day, then listen back. Put the guitar down, and listen how a regular audience member would listen, not as an anorak guitar troll!

There's loads of free DAW's out there, Reaper is good, which I use for my streaming, but my main DAW is Cubase. OBS and a decent webcam (Logitech C920 or the Brio 4k) are excellent too, as you can record yourself quickly and easily.

■ Bottom Line: If you have a crap sound, or want to improve your tone, then work on your technique and learn music theory. Understand what happens when chords and scales interact. Work on your ear training, and learn about note choice, pickup choice, timing, phrasing etc... A journey I am still on to this very day. I've used the same gear since the 90's, and my tone has improved dramatically from my technique, not from the gear!

■ Have an M.O. (Modus Operandi)
Knowing music theory definitely helped me. You will end up chasing your tail and wasting years searching for so called Holy Grail Gear, but ultimately, it's money down the pan. You'll end up following a bottomless pit down into depression, and most likely turn into a stroppy internet troll. 😂