How to Get a Blues Rock Guitar Tone

Written by carl hose
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How to Get a Blues Rock Guitar Tone
Fender Statocaster style guitar (Guitar player #1 image by Warren Millar from

Blues-rock guitar players combine style, technique and sound to create a musical genre heavy on blues music with a hard rock edge. The musical genre includes the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton. Learning the blues-rock technique is part of the process of becoming an accomplished blues-rock guitarist, but getting the thick, rich tone so often heard in blues-rock is an important part of achieving the complete package.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Solid-body electric guitar
  • Amplifier

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  1. 1

    Listen to several blues-rock guitar players and find the general tone associated with blues-rock guitar; you'll find the tone varies among players. Because a guitarist's tone is part of what distinguishes him from other players, regardless of genre, there isn't a right or wrong way to get a blues-rock guitar tone. The best way to start is by emulating the tone of the players you admire.

  2. 2

    Choose a guitar that is right for the sound you want. With the proper amplifier settings and guitar tone settings, almost any guitar can be used. Any good solid body guitar will do. Consider using a thin-body guitar for higher, crisper tones and a thicker body guitar for deeper, richer tones. Considerations in choosing the right guitar include the type of wood the body is made from and the number of pickups and type of pickups. A pickup is a device on the top of the guitar that captures the vibration from the strings and turns them into electrical signals an amplifier can pick up and reproduce. Humbucker pickups (two coils) are best for a blues-rock tone.

  3. 3

    Purchase an effects pedal or two if you can afford it, but don't go overboard. Blues-rock is often characterised by a lack of special effects. A wah-wah pedal or reverb is enough; reverb is often one of the settings on an amplifier.

  4. 4

    Plug in your guitar, turn your amplifier up as loud as you can get away with, and practice working with the tone settings. Lean more toward a deeper bass setting. Bass is a deep tone, as opposed to treble, which is higher in pitch and can often lead to screeching. Try setting the bass on your amplifier to a number seven setting and your treble around five. Turn your reverb all the way down to a zero setting, then gradually bring it up. Don't let the reverb overpower your sound. Stay on a clean channel for clear, ringing tone as opposed to the crunch of heavy rock.

  5. 5

    Adjust the tone controls on your guitar, especially the tone control for the pickup nearest the neck of the guitar. Bring the bass tone knob to a five and keep your treble at a three or four. This will give you a warmer tone, characteristic of blues-rock.

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