Guitar Amps & Effects For Dummies
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If you know what you want, sticking with the simple guitar rig can be rather Zen. It doesn’t work for everyone, and some players do need a wide range of very different sounds on tap at the stomp of a switch. But forgetting all the tweaking and adjusting and fussing by using a simple amp and just concentrating on your playing often does wonders for your connection to your music.

[Credit: Photograph by Dave Hunter]
Credit: Photograph by Dave Hunter

If you think a simpler setup may work for you, try answering these questions:

  • Do you really need to have four, five, or six or more completely different sounds available to you, all footswitchable, or are you maintaining all this variety just for something to play around with?

  • What sounds and settings are you using when you feel at your very best as a player?

  • When you make either subtle or dramatic shifts in your core sound, does it really make a difference to quality of the song? To the audience?

  • Could you get by with just one good clean or semiclean core sound and a few different flavors of overdrive and effects via three or four effects pedals?

Even if you feel you need several different core sounds from a multichannel or digital amp, try some extended rehearsal sessions using just one or two of your favorite sounds, adjusting tones and lead settings via your guitar’s controls or an overdrive pedal or two.

As with so many things in life, cutting out the variables often leads to more clarity and less clutter in your playing and to a more direct connection to your instrument.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Dave Hunter has made a career out of explaining the relationships between guitars and amp tone, and the technology that creates it. He has authored or coauthored dozens of books on guitar topics, columns in Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar magazines, and is considered a top authority on amps and effects.

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