Whether you’re a professional musician on the concert stage or an amateur in your garage, a good guitar sound enhances the overall experience of listening to music and makes playing all the more rewarding. In this workshop report, you’ll find tips and tricks on how to improve the sound of your guitar – and often with simple tools.
Quick tricks for a better sound
Sometimes your sound just needs a little push in the right direction. Here’s what you can do quickly: Use different picks for different sounds. Thick picks produce a firmer sound, while thin ones produce softer tones. Experiment with the string action. Lower string action can improve playability, but it can also lead to string buzz. Find your sweet spot! Pill with your fingers too. The sound of a guitar is strongly influenced by the way you pluck or strum the strings.
Improvements via the amplifier
The sound of an electric guitar stands and falls with the right use of amplifier, gain and tone control. You should not just turn up the gain, because too much distortion can make the sound muddy and undefined. Instead, look for a harmonious interplay between gain and tone control. The mid-range control can often work wonders here.
The position of the amp
The placement of your amp can have a significant impact on the sound. An amp pointed directly at the floor will usually sound more bass-heavy and direct, while an amp pointed at the listener will deliver a more balanced and spacious sound. The distance to the wall can also influence the sound. Experiment with different positions!
Sound enhancements over PA and studio
Good miking is key when it comes to improving guitar sound in the studio or over the PA. Pay attention to mic position and direction, as well as the mic models you choose. Also experiment with different mic positions on the amp.
About reverb – or leaving it out
Reverb can add depth and space to your sound, but it can also detract from the clarity and definition of the sound if used too much. Use it sparingly and selectively and remember: less is often more!
The separation of effects
Avoid an overload of effects. Try to separate them and use them selectively. By separating effects, you can create a clearer and more defined sound. Remember that any additional component in your rig will affect the sound.
Improvements on strings, pickups, tubes and speakers
You should change your strings regularly, because worn strings sound dull and lifeless. Try different string gauges and materials to find the sound you like best. Pickups can have a significant impact on the sound of your guitar. Different models produce different sounds, so it’s worth experimenting. If you use a tube amp, remember to change the tubes regularly too. Speakers can also have a big impact on the sound. You may also want to try different types.
Overall, there are many ways to improve the sound of your guitar. It is always worth experimenting to find your own unique sound. We hope this workshop report has given you some ideas. Keep playing!