Guest writer Aileen Houle examines how to improve the way your guitar sounds.
The guitar has enjoyed quite the resurgence in recent months. The BBC reports that guitar sales have risen by 80% as more and more people have started giving guitar playing a chance due to the lockdowns caused by the global health pandemic. Given the rise of new players, we're sure more people are becoming interested in learning how to improve their skills. If you're one of these people, there are a couple of ways you can go about doing this. Practising daily or taking lessons will ensure that your playing improves at a steady pace. Another way would be to make small tweaks to your rig and instrument. If you want to learn more about the latter, then we've got just the thing for you. Read on for small changes and tips you can apply to improve how your guitar sounds! Get the right strings Now, here's one tip that's pretty easy to apply. It's no surprise that changing up the strings on your guitar will drastically affect the sound and tone that it possesses. However, how does one go about choosing the right strings? Gauge is one of the most important factors when choosing strings. Gauge refers to the thickness of the strings. Light strings range from .008–.010, and everything above .012 gauge strings are considered to be heavy. Thicker strings tend to produce a fuller and more rounded tone and are generally the better choice if you want to improve how your guitar sounds. However, it's important to note that using heavier gauge strings will require that you use a little more force when playing. Keep this in mind when making the switch.
Maximise pedals Pedals are a good way to completely alter the sound that your guitar makes. Pedals unlock an entirely new layer of depth when it comes to guitar playing, and they are required to emulate some of today's most popular songs. There are many different pedals available on the market today, all of which have their own unique purpose and sound. You'll have to really understand what these pedals are used for to get the most out of them. Distortion pedals are for when you want to harness a more aggressive sound to deliver roaring riffs and guitar solos. If you want to get a fuller sound out of your guitar, a chorus pedal is what you'll need, as it can turn your lone guitar into an entire battalion. If you're looking for something that can give your guitar a bright and unique sound, then a phaser pedal might just be what you need. While there are more pedals out there, you can already do so much with these three pedals in your rig. You can also get multi-effects pedals that provide all of the most popular effects in a single unit. We encourage you to experiment and tweak the settings until you get your desired sound. Pickup height Pickups may be the most important part of an electric guitar. This is why it isn't at all surprising that you can improve your guitar's tone by adjusting your pickup height. Adjusting the height of your pickups is pretty easy as all you'll need is the right kind of screwdriver. Just tighten the screws of the pickup to adjust it lower or loosen them to have it a little higher. Now comes the tricky part: one thing you have to remember when doing this is how the height will affect the sound. Higher pickups create more output due to the pickups being closer to the strings. However, setting them too high can create a warbling sound that can get quite unpleasant. Having the pickup height set too low also has its downsides, as there's a higher chance that the pickup will fail to detect the strings' vibrations. There's no hard and fast rule when it comes to this, so you'll have to go through a process of trial and error when adjusting pickup height. If you're looking for more tips to help you with the music-making process, check out our piece on preparing for the studio!