If you want to improve your guitar’s tone, the best place to start is at the source—the strings. In recent years, almost every major string manufacturer has made enhancements to its products—from more precise windings to advanced coatings—that can make your guitar play and sound like an entirely new instrument. Here are six recent product breakthroughs worth checking out.
In the following video, Guitar World's Paul Riario checks out the curvaceous new Dean Custom 550 Floyd, which featues active EMG 81 and EMG 85 pickups along with a Floyd Rose 1000 locking vibrator unit.
Sometimes a pedal is just a special effect that provides a certain texture or sonic surprise that is best used sparingly. Other pedals are designed as practical tools that can form the core of a guitarist’s sound. The Pigtronix Fat Drive and Philosopher’s Rock pedals fall into the latter category and have already earned permanent places on many pros’ pedal boards thanks to their excellent sound quality and no-nonsense designs. Best of all these pedals are sensibly priced, making any player’s quest for the ultimate tone a lot easier to reach.
The Fender bass. I love it, probably more than most, but like the Stratocaster, it is heavily copied. The classic feel and sound have kept those instruments current, even after 60 years. Speed things up to today: Technology says, “Hey, we can make a few minor improvements,” and, with money being tight, sometimes buying a cheaper instrument to upgrade later is the best route.
Everyone from White Zombie to the Allman Brothers Band pulls out the ol’ bottleneck in pop music. When you think about Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Free Bird,” are you humming the lyrics or are you humming the slide guitar line while fumbling for a cigarette lighter to hold in the air?