All about the tone….

Greetings readers, I hope this post finds you well. This year, well starting the end of last year, has brought many opportunities in terms of live performance and music production. Some have materialized, and some haven’t, but either way, they began making me look at my skills as a guitarist AND a recording engineer more closely. Coincidentally, being the YouTube fan that I am, I started watching performance videos, specifically of guitarist doing smooth jazz pieces to backing tracks and loved the tone they were getting. Most either shot their video in studio or just of them playing on camera. This started my such to obtain such tone.

I had three choices, the two most obvious: either mic my amp and record in my DAW (Logic Pro), record direct into Logic, but by way of my Line 6 Pod XT Live, or go record straight into Logic and make use of it’s effects plugins and amp simulators. I decided to search the net for articles and forum activity that would help me understand how to achieve my goal for choice #3. To my surprise, I found many references on how to achieve a certain amp sound (amp sims have been big in software recording apps for the past few years now), or certain rock guitar tones, but nothing for that mellow smooth jazz guitar tone. I turned to magazine articles, still nothing. I like using my Pod XT Live for live performance and have found a few non-stock patches online that have really good clean tone.

Fortunately, I reached out to a great guitarist on YouTube Joe Washington, who kindly gave me insight to the effects chain he uses to achieve his tone. It’s really understanding the building blocks or elements needed to get any tone your are looking to use. Joe gets his town via a combination of different hardware effects, whereas I am trying to do the same via software (at least for now, since I still own my amp and a Roland GP-100. While the GP-100 is old school, this unit has some great user created patches I’d like to try out soon.

Fast forward to the last few weeks… a good friend and superb smooth jazz keyboardist asked me to provide the guitar solo for his upcoming CD’s title track. Needless to say, this has been an awesome opportunity and I’m pretty excited about it. With that, I realized I REALLY needed to get that tone for this track… a need for something not TOO smooth but definitely jazzy. After recording a rough of the solo tonite using my Epiphone Sheraton II, I think I am close to finding what I’ve been imagining for a few months. Looking forward to trying this out with my Emperor II after she gets a good setup.

The image above shows a channel strip in Logic Studio 8 with an amp simulator (Guitar Amp Pro), EQ, compression, reverb, and a dynamic stereo spreader (mix of LPF and HPF), giving me a nice jazzy tone. I’m definitely liking it and once I get it to where I really like it, you may see me record and post a few vids of my own.

In any event, I should have BEEN sleeping, but would love to record some more…THAT…is not a good idea at 12:59am.

’til we meet again…peace!