You can be the greatest guitar maestro of all time but if your sound isn’t right then it is not going to portray well to anyone. I am pretty sure that Hendrix would not have got the same reaction at the Winterland Ballroom back in 68 if his equipment and guitar was not set up correctly. Many different factors come into sounding great when it comes to a gig or even a jam with friends. It is just as important as playing abilities when it comes to making sure you have the right sound for your performance. If you are struggling with your sound or want to improve it take a look at a few tips I have put together and you will be crystal clear in no time at all.
Pretty much one of the first steps you need to consider before playing is making sure your tuning is spot on. Without the correct tuning, whilst you are playing notes can sound off and you can expect a fairly whining performance. There are many different ways to make sure that you have the correct tuning, an old fashioned way of doing it by ear is impressive and certainly skilful but there are ways that can quicken the overall process for you. You can pick up tuners easily online, from your local guitar shop or alternatively with your smartphone/tablet there is an array of free tuning apps that do the job just as well.
Manage your Strings
The last thing that I ever thought about when picking up the guitar for the first time was managing, rewiring or maintenance of my guitar strings. I found this out the hard way when jamming with friends and snapping a couple of strings unfortunately, so make sure you always have some spares with you just in case. When it comes to strings I like to change mine at least once every 2 to 3 months depending on how much they have been used. If you overuse the strings it can have an overall effect on the sound they are making, over time overuse can depreciate the sound quality.
I have been speaking to and old friend of mine Tom Hess about this recently and how important it is to make sure the clarity of your amp is spot on when playing an electric guitar. Tom has been playing now for over 3 decades and knows the importance this has when it comes to his performances. He has had success with bands such as Rhapsody of Fire and Holyhell whilst in the midst of that also picking up two music degrees. With all of his experience and knowledge Tom also online tutoring and mentoring lessons for guitar players from all over the world. We discussed not being lost in the mix when it comes to playing live, you can do this by refraining from using too much gain and bass with your amp.
I have witnessed many a time a talented guitar player worsen his sound by holding their pick incorrectly. Always try to hold your pick at a slight angle when playing rather than flat on the string, doing this can help avoid unwanted sliding on the string and gives your sound and extra touch of clarity.