it’s in the fingers

20060319-fingersTone matters for everything – not just guitars. Voice, drums, organ, etc. Most important, it has to work for the moment and for the composition.

I often get asked about my guitar tone. My usual response is, it’s in the fingers!

Most musicians who understand this concept don’t really need to talk about the basis of someone’s tone. Others seem to think this response is some kind of inside joke and that if they just use the right piece of gear…

Listen. The gear you are using is but a small part of the formula. It’s one thing to talk about different textures one can create by using a particular piece of gear, but far more important is how you play through and respond to that gear – the connection between your heart, your fingers, the instrument and the sound you are producing.

I have experimented with many guitars and with many amp and effects setups – vintage, non-vintage and combinations in between. It is an ongoing process. I tend to gravitate towards things that are built to last (often over-engineered) except if it provides ridiculous functionality or fucked-up sound. As Les Paul once said, “You’ve got to constantly mess around with things.”

I don’t change my basic setup around much, but little things are always in flux and there are always new discoveries!