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Zakk Wylde’s Simple Rule for Great Live Guitar Tone

(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

Zakk Wylde has a simple technique for dialing in a good live tone, and now you can use it too.

“To me, it’s always less is more,” Wylde tells Guitarist magazine. “It’s the art of simplicity. It’s like, there’s only two types of human being: Either you’re a douchebag or you’re a good dude.

“It’s the same thing with amps. It either sounds like a piece of shit or it sounds great.”

Zakk’s technique goes like this: “You plug it in and you turn it on,” he says. “You turn up all the knobs. And then, whatever’s sticking out that you don’t like, you just turn it down.

“If you need to read a manual, or you need a degree, or to have studied at NASA to operate an amplifier, then we got problems, y’know? Just get a good amp.”

To that end, Wylde tells Guitarist he is using his own Wylde Audio guitars and amps onstage. Though Wylde Audio’s webpage shows no amps, Zakk has been shown in photos playing through a head designated as the Master 100. “They sound stupendously stupendous, and it makes me feel good inside,” he says.

“Right now, I’m in the process of making my Wylde Audio acoustics, so once those are ready, I’ll be retiring my Epiphones and Gibsons. I’m using my signature Dunlop pedals, but I’m making my own stuff as well.”

  • Wylde says his live sound is a combination of the amp head, his 300-watt signature Black Label EVM speakers, pedals, Wylde Audio guitars and EMG pickups.
  • “Those are the ingredients for the soup,” he says. “I just like stomp boxes and going straight into an actual amp head. That's as pure as you can get. I want to hear the tubes of the amp and the wood of the guitar.”

To read the entire interview, head over to