“The ‘tone stars’ of tomorrow are going to be the ones who can do the most creative programming”: Why digital modeling and AI will be more important than big-name players in shaping the future of guitar tone

Neural DSP Quad Cortex
(Image credit: Neural DSP)

I was just programming some sounds in my Quad Cortex for an upcoming workshop and was thinking about how much things have changed since my first amplifier – an awful-sounding Gorilla. I was buying pedals and trying to get it sounding better, but it was a lost cause. I eventually saved up and got a Marshall stack, my tone quest began and the money pit was dug.

“Kids these days don’t know how lucky they got it,” I hear myself saying, and feeling old beyond my years. But it’s true. When I grew up, amps that sounded good were expensive – and heavy, and loud. These days you can pull a pretty good sound out of an iPad. Whaaaat?

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Justin Sandercoe

Justin Sandercoe – aka JustinGuitar – is one of the world's foremost guitar tutors. His learning platform, JustinGuitar, was founded in 2003, and its launch on YouTube in 2006 quickly made Justin's lessons some of the most popular on the web. Today, JustinGuitar has over 1.5m subscribers on YouTube, and the website is home to over 1,300 free video guitar lessons. Tommy Emmanuel, Mark Knopfler, Steve Vai and Brian May are among the A-list names who recommend Justin's guitar courses.