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If you downloaded this ebook, you obviously care about your guitar tone or want to know how to get

great guitar tone. There are a few things that you must be aware of in order to have great guitar tone without empting your bank account. In this book, we will explore some valuable tips that many guitarists overlook. NOTICE: I do not consider myself a professional guitarist by any means, but I will share some advice in this book that I have learned over a few years of playing.

Table of Contents
Your Guitar Choice Matters!........................................................3 A Guide to Buying Effects Pedals6 Deciding On a Great Sounding Amp.. 8 How To Plan a Basic Pedal Board... 11 All About Guitar Strings.. 13 Controlling Your Gain.14 Equalizing Your Gear. 15 Reverb and Delay 101 17 Dont Get Caught Up In Gear 19

I am really passionate about guitars. I do not just enjoy it because it is an awesome hobby, but also I enjoy it because it is one of the many ways I can serve God. Guitarists play an important part in worship. Your tone and playing can either help or distract others in worship. Every guitarist wants his tone to open the heavens from striking a chord, but you can only have great tone if you follow certain tips. There are certain things you must do in order to get great tone out of guitar gear. You can go the route of a Ivegot-tons-of-money-so-Im-gonna-buy-the-most-expensive-and-mostawesomely-great-sounding-gearguy, or you can learn a few things and spend the least amount of money to sound great. It all starts with the guitar.

Your Guitar Choice Matters

This is a very important thing! No matter how many special thousand dollar effects you think will help your tone, if you do not have a good guitar, it will not matter. I first started out playing acoustic guitar. After about two years of playing acoustic fluently, I decided that I wanted to move to the electric guitar. I had no clue where to even begin! I did some research, and I had no idea what I was looking for. I ended up buying a cheap stratocaster for $83 used from a local guitar shop. This guitar was not terrible; it just was not good. I got me through my first few years, but I had no clue what kind of great tone I was missing! A few months ago, the cheap guitar broke. I was sound checking for worship, and it totally stopped working. I got a replacement guitar for the night from a friends dadand behold- I discovered humbuckers! When you are looking for a guitar, there are some things you want to consider.Whether it is electric or acoustic the same things apply. 3

Your Guitar Choice Matters!

The Price Obviously, the price of a guitar is going to be a major factor for many of us. I would recommend getting a guitar anywhere from $250-$500. Any more than that is not really worth it. They are a lot better, but it is mostly cosmetic and some minor electronic things. if you are not a professional, you dont need a $2,000 guitar! I bought my guitar (an Epiphone SG-400 Faded) for $300. You do not want to settle for a super cheap guitaryou will regret it! Some people say, If you are just starting out, get a cheap guitar to learn with! I say that is ridiculous! If you are serious about learning electric guitar, get something that you can play even when you are experienced. You can always take a good guitar and make it professionally custom if you desire. You can not take a terrible guitar and make it great without replacing basically everything. Do not settle for cheap! The Body Style There are many different types of guitars! Each one will get you a different sound. The two main types of guitar are: hollow body and solid body. Hollow body guitars are a lot bigger and sound warm and acoustic-like. Solid bodies, however, are a lot different. and are played by a lot more people. The main types of solid body guitars are:

Telecaster-is a very thin guitar. It has a nice twangy tone. Stratocaster- a stratocaster is a very common guitar among various players. It is known for its high end tones. Les Paul- very thick sounding guitar. It has a nice bottom end to it. You can get great sustain! SG- these are very similar to Les Pauls except they are not as heavy. This causes it not to be as thick sounding. Very similar though! 4

Your Guitar Choice Matters!

My personal favorite guitars are the SG and the Les Paul. I have played all of these guitars, and I just love the tone of them! They sound very similar and they are very versatile! You can get strat tones very easily if you set everything rightbut I love the nice thick tone that these two guitars have! The Pickups When I was first buying my guitar, no one eve told me about thisand it is importantthe pickups! There are two main types of pickups popularly used currently: humbuckers and single coils. Single coils are a lot noisier and generally do not have as much gain output. If you have great single coil pick-ups, they sound really great! On cheap guitars, they soundnot so great! Humbuckers are basically two single coil pickups in one pickup. They are louder and produce more gain than the single coils. I personally like them better because they are warmer, do not produce as much noise, and can produce a nice natural amount of gain. It is best to try these different pickups out to see what you personally like. I really like humbuckers though! As you can see, there are many choices to choose from in an electric guitar. Acoustic guitar is the same way (you just dont have to deal with the pickup styles as much). It is best to not settle for a super cheap guitar, and it is important to try out a few different types before you buy one.

A Guide To Buying Effects Pedals

In the last section, we discussed guitar choice. Now, it is time to talk about effects pedals! I am a huge fan of effects pedals and there are certain things you need to know before buying them. Now, this chapter is strictly on a guide to purchasing effects pedals. In a few chapters, we will talk about what pedals you will actually need to complete a basic pedal board. Now.effects pedals. Research There are many pedals out there that are terrible! It is important that you do your research on them. When you realize that you need a pedal, check out videos, ask more experienced players, and try them out yourself at a guitar shop. Investigating pedals also helps you develop a better knowledge of effects pedals. Price I believe that this is what most of us are concerned about. If you want a great sounding board, you can not go cheap. Just like selecting a guitar. I have made this mistake too many times in my guitar playing journey. When I first started out with effects pedals, I bought a Zoom G1x multi-effects pedal. This was a decent sounding multi-effects system, but I needed pedals because I had to be able to adjust settings and delays on the fly. For this reason, I sold my Zoom to a friend and started my board. When I first started, I went for the cheapest gear. I now regret this. I could have gotten a nice guitar, a nice amp, and a nice overdrive and delay.but I didnt!

A Guide To Buying Effects Pedals

I first bought a Danelectro Fab Tone distortion pedal. This was not terrible sounding, but it was not nice. It was very noisy! Next, I bought a DeltaLab Overdrive. This was not terrible sounding either, but it was not great. After I bought these, I needed a delay pedal. I did some research and decided on a Visual Sound Axle Grease Delay. This pedal really did sound great, but it did not have tap tempo. I had to manually set everything and remember the settings. I had to play a 12 song set just last year with this pedal, and I will never do it again. I had to cut little strips of tape to remember the settings! All in all, I spent about $180 on cheap effects that are not even on my board now. So this is the main point of this postdo not go cheap on pedals. Now, I would say that you do not need to go above $200 for a pedal. Anything above this is just way too expensive, and they sound almost the same. Sure there might be a little more sparkle or sustain, but the average person will not tell a difference. Try To Buy Used Effects pedals are durable. I would recommend buying used. You can get some of the really expensive pedals for almost half the price if you buy used. I did not figure this out until a few short months ago The first pedal I bought used was an Ibanez Ts9 Overdrive. These go for $100 new. I bought it for $55. Thats a lot better! Plus, it looks brand new. There are a lot of people out there (like me!) who take really good care of their pedals. From now on, I always try to buy used!

How To Decide On A Great Sounding Amp

When I was starting to get serious about my guitar tone, I really wished that someone would have written this kind of book. I was clueless about guitar tone. In the previous chapters, we discussed how your guitar choice greatly determines your tone. We also listed a guide on how to buy pedals. Although we will talk about the details and awesomeness of pedals in the next post, I believe that your amp is extremely important. The guitar is the most important because it is the instrument, but the choice of your guitar amp will basically determine your guitar tone- either good or bad! Some Differences Between Solid State and Tube Amps Without writing a huge research paper about the differences, Im going to briefly explain the major tone differences between the two. Solid state amps- these amps have no tubes in them. They are not as warm, bright, and sparkly as tube amps. Also, these amps sound more electronic or boxy. The pros of solid state amps is that they are a lot cheaper! They are also more reliable. You do not have to replace tubes and worry about tubes shattering during transport, but you do suffer on the most important thing- you guitar tone! Tube amps- these amps have tubes in them for power. The tubes create a warm, bright sound that is only distinct for tube amps. They are a lot louder (in terms of comparing the same wattage) than solid state amps. You can also get them to break-up. This simply means that you get have a nice natural amp distortion from the amp without using any pedals.

How To Decide On A Great Sounding Amp

You need a tube amp! I really dont know how else to say this, but you need a tube amp! Many people can make solid state amps sound decent, but it is still not great. The difference between the two is massive!

Ah...look at the tubes from my Fender Blues Jr! When I first started on guitar, I bought a cheap guitar, some cheap pedals, and used a cheap solid state guitar amp that came with my Esteban classical guitar. I got some decent sounds out of it (because I eventually upgraded the guitar and the pedals), but it was still not incredibleor at least where I wanted it to be. Dont Let The Price Turn You Away! Now, tube amps are extremely expensive. They can range from a few hundred on up to thousands of dollars! You dont have to go after the mega insanely expensive tube amp because you can get some great sounds out of the cheaper ones. For example, I bought a Fender Blues Jr. 15w tube amp. This thing is loud! I currently set it at volume 3 out of 12 at church! These run for $500 new, but I bought it for $299+tax=$347. If you think about it, that is not a bad price for a tube amp that sounds incredible! 9

How To Decide On A Great Sounding Amp

I really wished that I would have purchased a tube amp and a nice guitar before I ever started buying pedals. It would have saved me a lot more money and time. Most guitarists you see playing in a touring band have a tube amps! Of course, this shouldnt be the reason you decide to buy one, but it should begin to show you that tube amps sound better. Then, you can compare the amps yourself and realize that tube amps do sound better!

So please save up to buy a tube amp! It is really the best option! You will not regret it! They are expensive and require maintenance, but the tone that comes out of them is so worth it!


How to Plan a Basic Pedal Board

There are so many things that a guitarist needs to know about pedal boards. I am still learning a lot. Throughout researching and learning from more experienced guitarists, I have learned many tips and tricks about pedal boards. Before we get into the small details of pedal boards, we must understand the basics.

What Do I Actually Need? This was a question I had flowing through my brain when I first started getting series about my guitar gear. I did some research, but I really didnt find anything on how to build a basic pedal board set-up.

The first thing that you need to have on a pedal board is a tuner! This is one of the most important pedals you could ever invest in! It doe not matter which tuner; it just needs to work well.

Second, you need to start looking for a decent overdrive pedal. Like I mentioned in the previous posts, I bought cheap overdrive and distortion pedals and expected them to sound incredible. I spent more money trying to find out which pedals sound great than if I would have just saved up a little more money to buy a nice overdrive pedal. I currently have an Ibanez Ts9, but there are other great ones out there. I would personally recommend the Ts9 or Fulltone Fulldrive 2. There are some other great ones out there, but for starting a pedal board, I would start off with these because they are incredible, and you will not need to ever buy another overdrive to replace it.


How To Plan A Basic Pedal Board

Lastly, you will need a delay pedal (preferably with tap tempo). Delay pedals are interesting. I love delay! I use it on every song in worship now, but when I was first starting out, I never used it because I did not know what it was. Besides a tuner, this is probably the most important investment! Delay pedals take your tone and make it bigger. In other words, it sounds like a guitar ensemble playing instead of just one guitar. You can also get into some cool dotted-eighth delay and stuff like that. We will discuss the different things you can do with a delay pedal in the future posts. When I first bought a delay pedal, I got a delay pedal with no tap tempo. It sounded great, but I was always having to remember where the knobs were. It was painful! I highly recommend that you get a delay with tap tempo to start out with. I have the Boss DD-20 now, and it is one of the best delay pedals out there! There are other options. You go a step down from the DD-20, and you could get a Boss DD-5 or DD-7. These both have tap tempo, and are basically the same as the DD-20 except they dont have as much presets and delay options. Unless you want to spend a fortune on boutique Strymon delay pedals, such as the Timeline, the Boss delays are the best options. For the past few chapters, we have discussed how to select a nice guitar, to choose some quality pedals, and decide on an awesome amp for as little as possible. Once you have established the foundations of your guitar rig, there are some minor things you need to know that can make a huge difference in your tone. One of the common over-looked things is the guitar strings. It seems simple, but a lot of guitar players completely forget about the strings. When trying to find a set of strings, it is important to know a little bit about them.


All About Strings!

Gauge (String Size) String size is important. If you get sets that are too thin, it is a problem. If you get strings that are too heavy, it is a problem. Finding the right balance for your specific guitar and playing style is important. When I first started out, I played factory stock strings. These are usually .9s. The number refers to the size of the bottom e string. The lower the number is , the thinner the string. These strings are extremely easy to play, but they wear out super fast, have thin tone, and do not stay in tune nearly as long as heavier strings. I am currently switching between .10s and .11s. These are heavy enough to stay in tune longer, and they do not break as easily. I would recommend a string gauge ranging from .10s to .11s. Brand There are certain brands of strings that give optimal tone, and there are some that are just average. I am not going to specifically identify any of these string companies that fall a little short, but I have found a few brands that make great strings. The best way to find out which ones work best is to try them out your self. I am currently going through all of the top string companies and comparing them.

Type and Style Aside from brand, there are different types of strings that are made out of different materials. Each of these different types of strings produces a unique sound. For example, if you get pure nickel strings, they will sound very bright. I personally love these strings! There are also strings that produce a darker sound. These sound great as well. It all really comes down to a matter of opinion. Thats what makes guitar tone awesome: no one can replicate your unique tone!


Controlling Your Gain

When I first started playing, I did not know how to control my gain. I look back on my tone, and although it was not incredibly terrible, it was not great. Besides playing out of a solid state amp, a few cheap pedals, and a cheap guitar, I did not know how to properly control my gain (distortion). Lets go ahead and discuss some concepts about gain. Dont crank the gain! Some of you reading the subtitle of this chapter might be thinkingWhat!? I thought you were supposed to have gain in some songs? You are absolutely correct, but we need to control it. Gain (distortion) is what makes your clean guitar signal dirty. This is perfect for lead lines and some choruses, but too much can be a major problem. So many beginner guitarists like to purchase extreme distortion pedals and blast their amp with them. Although this might seem logical, it is not the right way to get great overdriven tone from your gear. Instead, it is best to boost your amp with overdrives. This is one of the reasons a tube amp must be purchased! With a tube amp, you can push the tubes to get a natural overdriven tone. I like to set my amp close to the break-up point. This is my clean signal. I then use overdrives to crank it for choruses and lead solos. This not only sounds better, but it keeps all of your chords together. You can actually hear each note instead of just nasty gain resembling the chord. Controlling this aspect of your gain is extremely important. If you are just blasting ridiculous amounts of gain without using the tone of (hopefully) a tube amp, then you are doing your tone an injustice.


Equalizing Your Gear

For a while, we have been discussing things about the necessary pieces of guitar gear. In the last chapter, we discussed how to properly control gain. It is now time to talk about equalization. I believe that this is really one of the vital pieces of the puzzle to finding great guitar tone. Equalization takes the good tone to amazing tone! There are a few tips that we need to know about equalization (EQ): It is trial and error When you are trying to EQ your gear, there is not special formula. Everyones gear is different; therefore, you must experiment with your gear. The best way to do this without completely messing up your tone is to remember your previous setting. I usually take a picture or use tape to mark off the settings. On amps and pedals, this is pretty simple. However, the guitar is a completely different story. We will get into that later! You need some bass Some guitarists dont put enough bass into their tone. The bass really helps bring out the lower register. This seems like a no-brainer, but if someone does not have enough bass in his signal, you will really be able to tell. The bass adds thickness and sustain to the guitars tone. The right amount of bass needs to be in the signal. Dont leave it out! Do not put so much treble into the mix This is a critical component of basic gear equalization. So many people love to crank the treble and hear the tone shine. This might sound good because they are standing above the amp, but the signal coming out of it is way too bright. Sometimes, you need to have your tone bright, but there is a difference between bright and ridiculously-bright-ear-piercing-treble. I run my amp with the treble and middle register at the same level. This is because the Fender Blues Jr. runs bright to begin with. Having the right amount of balance is important. 15

Equalizing Your Gear Stand level with the amp Although you might have equalized everything perfectly from standing over the amp, it might sound entirely different when you mic it or play at you next venue. I did not realize this until some of my friends told me. I would show up to set my gear up for worship, and I would EQ everything from standing over my amp. I thought that my tone was great, but when I listened to a recording, it was entirely different than I thought. It was not because I was in denial about my tone or anything; I was just ignorant to this fact. In order to equalize your amp and gear properly, you need to stand with your ear level to the amps cone of sound. This is what everyone else will be hearing. Now, the first time you do this, the tone will sound terrible when you stand up after adjusting everything. Do not be freaked out! This is normal. It is better for others to hear a better sound than for you to hear it on stage. In order for you to get the great tone that you desire, you must stand level with the amp while adjusting it. Order of operations: 3 Steps for Equalizing Your Gear No, Im not talking about the elementary mathematical acrostic PEMDAS. Im sure many of you remember the infamous acrostic! However, we are talking about tone! After you have a basic understanding of equalization, it is important to note the order of operations for equalizing your gear. Im not saying that this is the only way to EQ your gear, but it is the way that has worked best for me. 1. EQ the guitar 2. EQ the amp 3. EQ the pedals Doing this, you maintain tonal accuracy by starting with the most basic components of your gear, and working your way towards the most complex. 16

Delay and Reverb 101

Out of all of the effects you can have on a pedal board, delay is my favorite. I also really enjoy reverb. In fact, these effects can separate great tone from awesome tone! In this chapter, we will discuss a few ways to use delay and reverb to make your guitar tone sound bigger. One of the hardest parts of being the only electric guitarist in a set is trying to make everything sound full. When you are the only electric guitarist, you have to frequently combine rhythm and lead lines together to make everything sound ok. If you only play lead, it will sound empty. If you only play rhythm, it will sound empty. Finding a balance between these two is important. The one way to complete both tasks is to add delay and reverb to your guitar effects chain. I have reverb built in to my amp. If there is no reverb on your amp, you can always purchase a reverb pedal. Reverb Reverb is an effect that adds air to your tone. It can take your guitar signal, and make it sound like it is being played in a huge arena. It is really a cool effect! By adding a little bit of reverb to your gear arsenal, you can fill out the dead space that so often accompanies many guitarists. Reverb adds a more natural complexity to your tone. I use only a little bit of reverb normally, but you can also get some really cool sounds when you crank the reverb. This depends on your setting, of course, but it can sound really nice if you add some color to your reverb. There are many reverb pedals that have cool setting to help you get these unique sounds!


Delay and Reverb 101

Delay I could literally spend years on writing about delay, but I am only going to discuss some of the basic concepts of it. Delay is an effect that repeats your guitar tone in a schematic way. If you have a tap tempo delay pedal, these repeats are designed to go along with the beat of the song. This is known as the beats per minute (BPM). On my Boss DD-20, you can set the BPM to the desired setting, and you can control how the delay repeats. For example, you can set it to repeat in quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes, whole notes, etc. Using delay, you can fill out the empty space in the mix of the music. Delay also does not just fill out space. It can do some really cool things. I like to use dotted-eighth note delay a lot. This delay makes it sound like you are strumming or picking twice as fast as you really are. It is great for lead lines or important rhythm lines. When I play guitar, I have some sort of delay and reverb on all the time. It adds a whole lot to your tone! I am still learning of new uses for delay. By using delay, you can add your own twist to a song. There are numerous options you can have if you experiment with your delay effects.


Dont Get Caught Up In Gear

For the majority of this book, we have been talking about how to get the most out of your guitar gear. We have talked about the guitar, the amp, and the pedals in some detail. Besides getting to know your gear to get the most out of it and also learning about guitar gear so you do not have to spend a fortune to sound great, it is important to not get caught up in guitar gear. So many people are so caught up in the technical side of playing guitar that they miss the true blessing of playing. As a youth worship leader, I need to remain focused on God. If I were constantly concerned about my guitar tone and what gear I could get to sound the best, then I would be missing the boat. My whole purpose for playing guitar is to bring all the honor glory to Jesus Christ. Obviously, I do care about guitar tone and how to get the best out of it, but as soon as I step on the stage to serve and worship God, all of that goes to the back on my mind. Our tone is not always going to sound as great as we would desire. That is just part of playing guitar: figuring out what works and what doesnt. It is great to know all about guitar gear, but if that is our main focus for playing, than we are not playing for the right reasons. I hope that our passion for playing would overflow into what ultimately comes out of the amp. I continually seek to perfect my tone so that God would be glorified through it all!


A Thank You

Thank you for downloading this ebook. I am thankful for the privilege to write this book based on the response and questions that came from the guitar post series on my website ( I hope that this ebook encouraged you. I also hope that you learned a few new things that are essential to getting great guitar tone. Please visit my website at to join the community and stay up to date on posts about God, worship, guitars, leadership.

About The Author:

Brandon Gilliland is a 17 year old teenager who is passionate about serving God. He is a worship leader who continually seeks to glorify God through his life. Brandon runs a website titled Big B that is Amplifying Gods Kingdom! On the blog, you will find posts on anything related to God, worship, leadership, and complete randomness. He is also currently pursing a degree in medicine at his local state college before moving on to medical school.

I continually seek to perfect my tone so that God would be glorified through it all!

Copyright by Brandon Gilliland. All rights reserved.