Not including amps and pedals, what's one piece of gear that I can buy to have a better guitar tone at home?

Benzene

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I have tried a few amps and various pedals and have decided to not buy anymore gear unless it improves my guitar tone like one you'd hear on the radio/record. I've never bought any mixers or racks, but as someone who does not own a kemper or an axe-effects, is there something aside from amps and pedals that can improve the quality of any guitars tone to make it sound more like it does on a professionally mixed album or even a live recording? If you've read this, then yes... you are right.. I really don't know much about gear.
 

Benzene

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Spending time working on playing (ie, learning songs, new techniques, etc.)
I've been playing more classical guitar over the last couple years than anything else. But when I plug into my 7 string electric guitar, it sounds like it needs an EQ or something to balance out everything.
 

Kyle Jordan

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EQ.

Having two high quality EQs that you can place in front of your amp and in the loop will give you a ridiculous amount versatility. Subtle shifts to radically altering the tone and the texture of the distortion.

If you want to start cheaply, pick up a used 7 band graphic EQ pedal to see if you like it. I still have two old Danelectro Fish n’ Chips EQs that are basically cuter, cheaper ripoffs of the Boss 7 band. They sound good. Not enough headroom though, like pretty much every EQ pedal on the market that I’ve tried.

But for anywhere from $35-$80, depending on new/used and buying one or two, you’ll be hard pressed to do better for tone shaping and changing. After trying, you can move on to tracking down genuinely great EQs like the old TC rack units or go apeshit and enter the realm of other studio units.

And as an outlandish suggestion, start doing things to keep your ears cleaner and sinuses clear. I have terrible sinus issues and ear troubles follow. I’m always kind of surprised just how different things sound some days just based on what’s physically going on in my head.
 
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Crungy

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What gear do you have now? Or are you looking at starting from the ground up?
 

Shask

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EQ.

Having two high quality EQs that you can place in front of your amp and in the loop will give you a ridiculous amount versatility. Subtle shifts to radically altering the tone and the texture of the distortion.

If you want to start cheaply, pick up a used 7 band graphic EQ pedal to see if you like it. I still have two old Danelectro Fish n’ Chips EQs that are basically cuter, cheaper ripoffs of the Boss 7 band. They sound good. Not enough headroom though, like pretty much every EQ pedal on the market that I’ve tried.

But for anywhere from $35-$80, depending on new/used and buying one or two, you’ll be hard pressed to do better for tone shaping and changing. After trying, you can move on to tracking down genuinely great EQs like the old TC rack units or go apeshit and enter the realm of other studio units.

And as an outlandish suggestion, start doing things to keep your ears cleaner and sinuses clear. I have terrible sinus issues and ear troubles follow. I’m always kind of surprised just how different things sound some days just based on what’s physically going on in my head.

The MXR 10 Band EQ has an 18 volt adapter, so it has more headroom than the others.

An EQ is a great suggestion. Great way to sculpt tones. Heck that Behringer EQ that is a copy of the Boss is only $14 right now at Sweetwater for Black Friday. That is a great deal. Maybe I should pick one up also, lol.
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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If you’re comparing your tone to that of a professionally mixed album, you need to hire a professional mixing engineer. :lol:
Pretty much lol
Isolated guitars can sound pretty boring on their own. Once you get an engineer to multi-track, EQ, add some compression, and throw in the bass guitar tracks, THEN you get those recorded tones.
 

broj15

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As others have said, trying to chase studio quality guitar tones (mixed, mastered, double, or even quad tracked, etc.) in what is essentially a "live" setting is a fools errand, but there are still things you can do to improve your overall tone.

The suggestion about getting a couple EQ's is a good option. A pedal format EQ either at the beginning or end of your signal chain and a rack mount unit to go in the effects loop would be a great & versatile set up (rack mount units sacrifice the small form factor for having more bands to adjust & thus more versatility so they're perfect for setting on top of the amp and running in the loop). Also parametric EQ's are great for altering your tone in really good (or really bad) ways depending on how you set it up, or for eliminating "problem frequencies" that live in the higher registers.

Barring that, speakers are also a good thing to look at. It's the last thing in your signal chain, and often ignored by alot of people when putting together a rig, when it's probably one of the most important pieces of the whole puzzle. You can have the nicest guitar/amp/pedals and they'll all sound like shit if you run them into a shitty speaker.
 

Hollowway

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what are you usually playing guitar into?
- a computer/DAW?
- a solid state practice amp?
- a line6 device?
This is my question, too. If you’re playing through an amp just for fun you’re going to have a completely different answer than if you’re recording.

For me, when I’m playing and want to sound like a rock star, I plug into a modeler (literally my POD 2.0 on patch 4D) and jam away, because it’s meant to sound like the recorded guitars in an album. But it would sound like ass if I ran that into a daw because the EQ is all wrong.

If you don’t want to get a modeler, you can scoop the mids a bit on your amp, and that will simulate the recorded tone, because it adds a lot of low end. (And again, you’d want to do the opposite for a recorded tone).
 

Benzene

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The MXR 10 Band EQ has an 18 volt adapter, so it has more headroom than the others.

An EQ is a great suggestion. Great way to sculpt tones. Heck that Behringer EQ that is a copy of the Boss is only $14 right now at Sweetwater for Black Friday. That is a great deal. Maybe I should pick one up also, lol.
I appreciate all the input in this thread. I'll be looking into a good EQ pedal or a better speaker for my amp.
 

Sylim

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pickups. way more important than you´d think.
 


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