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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. :)  To get technical for a minute :) Yes, having better gear helps, but it rarely will make you sound, or more importantly, play 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. It's a quest I'm still on to this day.


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. 

Another good way to improve your tone is to record yourself every day, then listen back. Then, put the guitar down, and listen how a regular audience member would listen. Be objective, and make notes. Find the gold within your playing, and get rid of the dead wood. 

We all have our "stock" bag of licks, after a while our fingers naturally fall into the same places, but try and work on adding new things every time you play. 

Use The Tech: 

There's loads of free DAW's out there, Reaper is good.  My main DAW is Cubase, only because I've used it for years. 

Recording yourself every day and objectively listening back, without the guitar in your hands. This will help you drill down to the specifics. Also OBS and a decent webcam (Logitech C920's for the money are good) will let you record video too. 


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!

Knowing some music theory definitely helped me. You will end up chasing your tail and wasting years searching for so called Holy Grail Gear, but ultimately, most of it will be money down the pan. You'll end up following a bottomless pit down

The quick minded will have spotted that in July 2022, I bought an AxeFx FM3. I bought it as a direct replacement for my failing JMP-1 preamps. As of 2022, I solely use AxeFx gear to replicate and replace all my old valve amps/pedals and gear. Nuff said!