When I started to play guitar back in 1988 all I cared about was turning everything up to 10 and turning on a distortion pedal (Boss MZ-2) with the gain cranked until the amp started to squeal, I became immune to hiss. The older I get the more obsessed I get about guitar tone to the point of obsession, my guitars, my amp, me pedals, my pickups and even my cables and picks… I am constantly looking to improve every part of my signal chain. I think this is a natural evolution for guitar players but where do you start to tweak? Well Mitch Gallagher has collected years of information and written a bible to help you with your pursuits, ‘Guitar Tone: Pursuing the Ultimate Guitar Sound‘. This book is packed full of information, it is A4 sized with 350 pages scrutinising each part of the guitar, amp, speakers etc. and I think is a must have for every guitar player.
The book has a chapter on everything you can think of, guitar tone woods, different types of amp tubes, the difference between coil tapping and coil splitting, types of capacitors and how their values and voltage ratings affect tone, cabinet coverings, a huge section on effects explaining each in detail etc. etc. Like I said Mitch leaves no stone unturned!
Toward the end of the book my favourite chapters, Iconic Guitars, Iconic Amplifiers, Iconic Effects and then a few sections on iconic guitar players called Icons of Tone. Iconic Guitars covers a range of classic guitars (Strat, LP, 335 etc.) including the specifications for each and a list of players who use them. Iconic Amplifiers does much the same with some of the most famous amps in history (Fender Blackface, Marshall Plexi, Dumble Overdrive Special etc.), Iconic Effects does the same thing and covers such effects as the B.K. Butler Tube Driver, Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, Roger Mayer Octavia etc.
Icons of Tone takes guitar players such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, The Edge, Robben Ford and Stevie Ray Vaughan and analyses which guitars, amps, effects, benchmark recordings and a quick guide on how to achieve a similar tone.
There is so much information in this book I simply can’t do it justice with my review and for just over $20 it is an absolute bargain, I will certainly be referring to this book from time to time as it is a great reference book.