How to get better Clean Tones – Simple ways to IMPROVE your guitars clean tones!
For something that sounds so simple it can be so complicated to get a good clean from your guitar amp. Are you finding that when you select the clean channel on your amp it just doesn’t sound right? Do you find it stale and bland? Want to be jazzed up a bit? If you want a better clean tone then this is the article for you
This article will be giving you some tips and tricks to help you get a better clean tone out of your guitar amp. So grab your guitar, grab your amp and grab a few extras you might need and let’s get stuck into this article and get you the best clean you can get!
Chorus: Make it Wetter
The issue with a super clean sound is that it can be stale and harsh. Don’t get me wrong, a super clean guitar sound has its place, but for most people that want a nice clean sound. The thing I always add to a clean sound is Chorus. Adding a chorus to your clean sound is a great way to get almost make your clean sound cleaner! Sounds crazy I know but try it! Throw some chorus on your clean tone!
Now, you have to be careful adding a chorus so that you don’t overdo it and go into that cheesy washy sound! Keep it subtle, Turn the depth about halfway and the rate way down! This will give your clean sound a bit of movement and make it interesting and almost alive. For chorus pedals, I would highly recommend the Boss CE-2w pedal.
Compressor: Control those peaks
Compressor pedals are often overlooked! I think this is because they can be tricky to set up and can come with a steep learning curve. Meaning starting with compressor pedals can be a tricky thing. However, once you get to know a compressor and figure out how they work, they can be magical things! Allowing you to smooth out your transients and give you huge sustain! Finding that when you finger pick it looks like it snaps or drops in volume? Put a compressor on and all will be better!
If you are after getting into compressor pedals and want a simple one to try out. I highly recommend trying out the JSA Eureka pedal. He has a full review here. This pedal is great for beginners and also experts in terms of compressors. For a great price as well! We highly recommend it!
Delay: Fill out that Space
Always use delay! The delay is good! I may be biased because it is my favourite effect! Allowing a note or phrase to repeat and continue after playing helps fill out space and silence when you might not be playing. For single-note phrases or picked chords, delays can help fill out the space while not swamping your sound!
If you are trying to create ambience within your track and tone then using delay is a great way! Play around with delay settings can create some amazing results. I highly recommend the Tapescape by Bleak District! It has so many lush and ambient sounds in it!
Reverb: Play in that cave!
All sounds could benefit from some reverb, Once you get used to playing with reverb it is hard to go back. Of course, there are many types of reverb, and buying a reverb pedal can be a fun and deep dive. However, most of the time I just use a spring reverb. adjust to taste and away you go.
If you are just looking to add that special touch then add a slight spring reverb and you will be laughing! You will notice a huge difference in your finger-picking chords if you have a touch of reverb (and also delay as mentioned above). It always feels nice to play with a bit of reverb and also helps to give a better Clean tone.
Add some Gain!
If it sounds counterproductive, you could be right! However, when people say they are trying to get a clean tone, they aren’t! They are after a very low gain sound. Bringing a slight amount of gain into your tone will make it sound so much more dynamic.
You want to set up your tone (either using your amp or a pedal) on the edge of breakup. So when you pick lightly it is sparkly clean but digs in and sends the amp into a light overdrive. This is the sound most people are after when they are after a clean sound. Just add a little bit of gain into your sound! You can use a pedal like a Tube Screamer or even a fuzz pedal then roll off the volume to clean it up. A fuzz pedal like the Bispell Gleam is perfect to do this job!.
One thing I have been doing recently for my clean tones is using a boost pedal, I am using the Thorpy Heavy Water (Review Here), to really drive my amp at full volume, Then turning the volume down until I get my desired tone! Takes a bit of getting use to and messing around to find the tones you like!
So that are some tips to get a better clean tone! Hope this helps some of you out there! Have a play around and mess about with these tips! Remember there are no rules, so try things out and have fun, see what you can come up with. As I said above you will quickly find your preference on what you like, for me, it’s a delay! Love me a delay sounds, but you have to experiment
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