The Tone Hunt 5 steps to achieving the Dream tone you want.


I always thought a great pedal company name would be Snake Oil Pedals. Just because of all the Bull-Crap marketing out there. It's like the old Medicine carts that used to travel from town to town selling snake oil promising to cure whatever ails ya. I even see a lot of companies are using similar artwork to what those old medicine bottles had. It's a cool look and yes I want more snake oil. It may not cure my sickness but that bottle looks awesome! But why more snake oil?


What about the root of our illness? The Great Tone Search..... It can be expensive and exhausting and really fun all at the same time! What exactly is "great tone" and what exactly are we searching for?


I'm going to try and help you figure that out.


I know a guy who has sold some of the most sought-after tube amps and pedals to get an Ax-Fx. It was the tone he said!!

Then sold it to put together this massively beautiful pedal board only to sell it and get a Kemper. I bet in a year or so he will sell the Kemper and move onto whatever new thing promises that perfect tone he's looking for. My friend is on a tone hunt and in the 30 years or so I've known him it hasn't changed. Maybe you are like my friend you just can't seem to get that tone you're looking for.

The hunt for "Great Tone" is a pirate treasure hunt but 99% of us have no map and no idea where to look next for that buried treasure holding the infamous "Great Tone".

You are probably asking right now, "Where is the X that marks the spot to find this treasured tone?"

First off look within yourself.

What type of tone do you want to achieve? Maybe you really want to have a guitar tone like Slash but you just can't get it. We'll you may never sound like someone else. You will always sound like you. Case in point, signature pedals, amps, guitars, etc. Don't always sound like you think they will. Think of all the signature models of gear you see on Reverb and eBay. Eddie Van Halen amps, Eric Johnson Strats, Joe Bonamassa Fuzz Faces, Jimi Hendrix wahs, John Petrucci Mesa Boogies, and the list goes on and on. You ussually see more signature model gear resold than the non-signature models. You have different fingers, different techniques. Signature gear will get you closer to their tone but in most cases never really nails it.

Ask yourself how do I want to sound? What type of tone do I want?

2nd Does the gear that you have suit the style of tone?

Case in point, in the early 90s all my guitars had Floyd Rose tremolos. I was way into metal and instrumental guitar music. Steve Vai, Satriani, Blues Saraceno to name a few.

Then Grunge happened...

I was loving stuff like STP and Soundgarden, Alice in Chains. I wanted to do some Drop D and on a Floyd rose guitar that was a chore. So I went out and got a Les Paul Studio and a Strat one-day same purchase on the old discover card at the time. Spent 1200.00 for 2 USA-made instruments. These instruments changed the way I played. I found that a Les Paul was and ever since has been my instrument of choice. It's my tone I love and I love the way the necks play.

Then the strat was cool too, I liked it! It wasn't a Les Paul but when I was learning some SRV and Hendrix licks! Holy cow that was the tone I was looking for. Not to mention those Jangly 90s alt-rock songs. Perfect fit at the time.

Then came the amp. I was playing a Mesa Mark III but for the alt-rock, grunge stuff I was playing at the time it just didn't sound right. I ended up with a Marshall JCM900 head that a friend had. The amp with those guitars was the sound I was after.

I always say your gear is your tools. You wouldn't use a Screw Driver to cut a sheet of metal you'd use some Metal Sheers. You wouldn't use a Table Saw to cut a hole in your wall you'd use a Sawzall. The right tool for the job will help you on that quest for a Great tone.

3rd although this should be first