The Two Keys to Perfect Guitar Tone


PHOTO:Feliciano Guimarães|Flickr Creative Commons (photo cropped)

Whether you think guitar tone comes from your hands, your gear, your guitar’s tone wood or some mix of these or other factors, there’s one thing you will probably agree with: the issue is everything but settled.

Guitar instructor Tyler Larson weighs in with this video that focuses on what he believes are the two key ingredients for perfect guitar tone: intonation and finger tone.

“What I consider to be proper intonation is of course bending in tune, but also the quality of the pitch that you reach,” Tyler says. “It’s one thing to just bend in tune, but it’s another thing to bend in tune with some kind of authority—not necessarily an aggressive authority, but something that is characteristic of your own guitar playing. Something that when people hear it, they’ll go, ‘Oh, I know, it’s that dude bending.’”

As for finger tone, Tyler says, “Finger tone is something that’s so subtle and overlooked by most guitar players but something that great guitarists all recognize.

“What I mean by finger tone is the quality of the note that your finger produces. The best way to hear where your finger tone is at is turning off your amp and just using an unplugged electric guitar. Based on how the quality of the note sounds without any audio enhancement—amp or pedals—you can start to really, really dissect what the note sounds like. You wanna concentrate on every note and really make them as rich and full when the guitar is unplugged.’”

Watch the entire clip, below to get the full story.

For more of Tyler’s videos, check out his Guitar Is Win channel at YouTube.