My top 10 favourite guitar tones
I've been doing a few Top 10 lists recently (anyone seen the movie High Fidelity?) and now I have one more, the Top 10 guitar sounds of all time.
10. Where Were You, Jeff Beck - This grammy award winning performance from 1989's Guitar Shop, is a classic combination of Fender Strat, overdrive, no guitar pick (just fingers) compression and delay. A killer sound that helps define an amazing technique and an overall jaw dropping performance.
9. Sultans of Swing, Dire Straits, guitarist Mark Knopfler - The classic "in between"/ "out of phase" Strat sound, for some, nothing beats plugging a Fender guitar into a Fender amp - Mark hit one out of the park with this Fender Strat/Fender Vibrolux combination, Mark also plays without a pick and there is a lot of tone in your fingertips flesh - try it. Mark jammed a match pick in the pick up selector to achieve this classic sound (though he certainly wasn't the first to do it - did you know that it wasn't until the late 70's that Fender actually made the 5 way switch standard?)
8. Highway to Hell, AC/DC, guitarists Angus & Malcolm Young - The opening 3 notes of this riff sums it all up for me - the crunch, the bite and 2 guitarists that have the most simple set ups out there - guitar into amp. Angus plays Gibson SG's and Malcolm plays Gretsch's into vintage Marshall amps.
7. Sleepwalk - Brian Setzer - Classic 50's gear set up - Gretsch Chet Atkins G6120, Fender piggy back Bandmaster amplifier and tape echo, classic track and Brian's version has a classic sound, that enables him to makes it his own.
6. Stevie Ray Vaughn - I had trouble picking one Stevie Ray Vaughn track, SRV used many different amps (and other gear) but a Strat strung with 13 gauge strings, Ibanez tube screamer pushing a Fender Bassman or Super Reverb into submission all equates to killer tone. I hadn't listened to Stevie for a while - what a player! Passion, soul, fire in the belly and tone.
5. Star Spangled Banner, Jimi Hendrix @ Woodstock - What can I say? Fender Strat, Marshall Stacks, Wah Wah, Univibe, Fuzz Face - Jimi destroys the American national anthem, makes a bold political statement, influences thousands and changes the future of guitar hero's forever!
4. Master of Puppets, Metallica, guitarists James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett - This metal classic redefined the genre, Kirk playing a Jackson Randy Rhodes and James with his Gibson Explorer both into Mesa Boogie Mark 2C amps, fire, aggression, 2 part harmonies, heavy and mellow (cleaner) passages, speed and tone to kill for - brutal combination!
3. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns n Roses, guitarist Slash - One of the greatest guitar riffs of all time, memorable, fluid tone that Slash created to let his guitar just sing. A Gibson Les Paul and JCM 800 era Marshall amps. I had just started playing guitar when this track first hit the airwaves, I have to learn that!! The intro is legendary but the solo……WOW!
2. Layla - Derick and the Domino's, guitarist Eric Clapton - Another Simple Set up, 50's Fender Strat into a 5 watt Fender Tweed Champ - oh and the volume knob of the guitar to control the drive of the amp. Classic album, classic player and a classic gear set up. We currently have this set up in-store, drop in and take it for a test drive.
1. Time - Pink Floyd, guitarist David Gilmour - My personal all time favourite guitar solo, 100 watt amp, Fender Strat, fuzz box & delay. A killer tone that sounds like it is destroying your speakers, add in David's melodic and epic solo, tasty string bending, perfect note choice and this is a guaranteed show stopper.
0. Eruption - Van Halen, guitarist Eddie Van Halen - I had just about finished when I realised that I'd left EVH off the list (give myself a upper cut!). Like Hendrix a decade earlier at Woodstock, Eddie floored everyone with killer tone, technique and excellent choice of FX. Home made Strat, Marshall amps, Tape Echo & Phaser - Ed single handily sent every guitarist out there back home to practice and launched the 1980's era of the Shredder.
Who am I kidding, theres no way I can create a list of the top 10 guitar sounds of all time - there are too many, these would be more like my favourites, that would be different from yours or your friends. Thats what makes the guitar so great, no matter what style of music, it all starts with the tone and you can try a new guitar, or amp or FX pedal and all of a sudden your on a different path and writing a new chapter in tone. Go for it!