Neville’s Ad­vo­cAte

This month opines how tone is as much to do with ears and fin­gers as it is to do with gear…

Guitarist - - Opinion -

The other side of that is if Jeff Beck were in the next room play­ing the cheap­est gui­tar through the most rub­bish ped­als and amp, you’d still know it was Jeff Beck. This un­der­lines my thought that it’s in the ears and the fin­gers. Jeff knows ex­actly how to get ‘his’ tone out of any setup, and of course he plays in a cer­tain way and goes for cer­tain kinds of things. I think we all do, be­cause we can’t hide the essence of ‘us’. But with bet­ter gear Jeff would have just sounded like a bet­ter ver­sion of Jeff.


When it comes to choos­ing qual­ity equip­ment it’s the top 10 per cent of dif­fer­ence that we pay for. And it’s that dif­fer­ence that makes us feel bet­ter on stage, just know­ing you’ve got the best you can af­ford. It lessens the chances of a rub­bish sound and a night­mare gig (so many other fac­tors creep in when play­ing live that any safety net is good). Plus, who doesn’t feel bet­ter with some­thing amaz­ing strapped round their neck, some tasty stuff on the floor and on stage be­hind you?

At this re­hearsal I used my ’52 Reis­sue Tele through a Full­tone OCD into a Blues Ju­nior for both the Cream and the Hen­drix songs, and got tones that were close enough for the devil in me to want to use the Tele for the ac­tual gig. But for au­then­tic­ity and that feel-good fac­tor, it was my Strat and ES-335. I was go­ing to go against the grain and de­ploy my Line 6 He­lix, but a mal­func­tion be­tween me and my car keys meant it stayed locked in the boot so I used a Match­less King Co­bra, an OCD pedal plus re­verb and de­lay. I used the same tone for both the Jimi and Eric parts, and it was sim­ply the dif­fer­ent gui­tars and play­ing ap­proach that gave each set its own voice.

The gig went great de­spite nerves mak­ing us mess up things up a lit­tle, but mis­takes are fleet­ing things and the over­all vibe was so good it didn’t mat­ter.

But back to tone and gear. In the end noth­ing is gospel. It’s all re­ally spec­u­la­tion based on ex­pe­ri­ence and de­vel­op­ing a feel for what suits us. And if you came to our gig, thanks so much – I just hope our tones lived up to any ex­pec­ta­tions.

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