Let’s talk tone.
Is it the most important factor in your playing?
That’s a pretty big claim, but it’s one a lot of people make.
That’s why they spend 10,000s on equipment over the years.
Hunting for the perfect tone, getting the ideal amp, searching for the acoustic with perfect resonance.
Yeah, some gear is about getting the right guitar to play, but these days finding a suitable guitar that is comfortable is not that hard, even on a budget.
A few years ago, before everywhere shut down and getting to a guitar shop became harder than getting through the gates of Mordor (that’s for the Lord of the Rings fans like me), I went to a shop and was very pleasantly surprised at the playability of some of the budget guitars.
For me, some cheaper ones (less than $300) played nicer than some in the $500-$1500 bracket.
It’s not that they were better, but that they just suited me better.
This allowed me to really play without restriction and the nagging feeling that I need to be precise.
It’s hard to let go when you feel you need to be precise and “on the money”.
That’s why getting the right guitar is ideal.
It will let you play with a freedom where you can get great tone…
…but if you think tone is not that big a deal because you are struggling to play basic things or your guitar sounds okay enough, think of it like this…
- Poor tone on the guitar is like listening to music through a tiny 2-inch speaker which is crackly, distorting, and buzzing.
- Great tone is like sitting in a cinema with Dolby 5.1 surround sound or listening to a wonderful and majestic piece of music in the Sydney Opera house.
That’s exactly what I think about tone.
If you play with an awkward, scratchy, weak tone that grates your ears at worst, or just plain doesn’t inspire you at best, get to work fixing it.
…Because at the root of weak tone is technique. Get your basic technique right, and playing becomes easier and tone improves, often right away.
Plus, the improvements in technique have a knock-on effect with all your playing.
Not only that though, if you keep perfecting your tone, you will also be more inspired to play, your playing will sound more professional, and you and others will likely be far more immersed in, and impressed by the music.
That’s why I say, do what it takes to make your guitar truly sing.
Make each note resonate with cries of anguish when the music calls for it. Let the notes march like a medieval army when the passion is needed. Feel the notes sing with a tranquil beauty when playing a piece of music full of love.
It’s not easy.
Tone takes work.
It takes precision and a focus on the details, and it’s certainly a game for the long-term, but if you want to make beautiful music, hunting for great tone is something you must do.
Best of all, anyone can achieve it with a bit of focus.
In the new Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons for April, I share 10 of the most powerful tips I’ve come across over the years to improve your tone if you’re a fingerpicker or you want to learn how.
Some are long-term tips but some will give you an instant bang for your buck and will help you improve your tone probably even as fast as today (especially tips #2, #5, and #9).
If you want in and you want to start having much more fun making your guitar truly sing, hit this below:
Have a fun day
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.