Matthias Jabs on Making New Guitars Sound Old

Although it might not be apparent to the listener, the unique clean tone on the song “Love Is War” from the Scorpions’ Humanity Hour 1 album was years in the making. Lead guitarist Matthias Jabs explains.—Matt Blackett
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“That’s a special tone,” says Jabs. “I played my Gibson Les Paul that I call Leslie, plugged into two rackmounted Line 6 PODs. That sounded pretty good, but we wanted to give it some extra meat in the mix so we reamped it through my Marshall. There’s an interesting story about that guitar. I bought it in 2002 when we were touring with Deep Purple. I didn’t play it during the show, but it was always on stage—from the soundcheck on—listening to the speakers. People thought I was crazy, but I know that guitars sound much better when they have had frequencies going through them. The best way is to play them yourself, but if the guitar gets the sound from the speakers, that’s the next best thing. It also got some sun—we played outdoors a lot on that tour—and that helps the tone as well. I didn’t want it to sound so new. Everybody in the crew knew to get Leslie on stage right away.”