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Forget Overdrive! What About A Wonderful Clean Tone?

Published 14 Jan 2022

In this video we revisit something so fundamental to guitar tone that we really should be doing it every week: clean tone!
What do we mean by ‘clean’? Well, no electric guitar tone is really, really clean. But in the context of classic valve amplifiers, we take a ‘clean’ sound to be one without obvious overdrive or distortion, and it’s what the seminal guitar and amp designers were shooting for before we realised that cranking it was so much fun.
The world of clean tones is probably as vast as their overdriven counterparts, but today we’re focussing on the part of the spectrum that we know and love best: a relatively simple tube amp and a bunch of pedals. For sure you don’t need the pedals if you love your amp, but that’s not the case for many people, often faced with a 'hard’ and one-dimensional experience with not a lot of note bloom and an absence of compression and dynamic range which can be a challenge to play and enjoy. If that sounds like you, watch on…

Enjoy the video!

Pedals & stuff in this episode…

• Boss TU-3S Chromatic Tuner
UK & Europe:
USA That Pedal Shop:

• Kingsley Maiden D Valve Preamplifier

• Origin Effects Cali76 Stacked Edition
UK & Europe:
USA That Pedal Shop:

• MXR Ten-Band EQ
UK & Europe:
USA That Pedal Shop:

• JAM Pedals Ripply Fall
UK & Europe:
USA That Pedal Shop:

• Free The Tone Fight Time Digital Delay
UK & Europe:

• Universal Audio Golden Reverb
UK & Europe:
USA That Pedal Shop:

• Thorpy Heavy Water Boost
UK & Europe:

Interesting bits and go-to sections…
0:00 Intro Playing
2:15 What are we doing today?
3:55 Today’s amps
5:00 Key factors in a clean tone?
6:35 Make It Wet
10:47 Try An EQ Pedal
15:25 Try A Separate Preamp
17:35 Try A Compressor
27:40 A Little Bit Of Modulation
31:30 Use Fingers & Picking Variation
48:55 Different Kinds Of Pickups
1:02:00 Concluding thoughts

Guitars in this episode:
• Fender Custom Shop ’62 Relic Stratocaster - no video yet
• Fender Custom Shop ’52 Relic Telecaster – Dan’s video here:
• Gibson Custom True Historic ’57 Les Paul Goldtop, Murphy Aged – no video
• Fender Custom Shop ’63 Telecaster – Dan’s video here:
• Gibson Custom 1958 Les Pal Standard (2002 model) – Dan’s video at:
• Karl Longbottom T16 71 with Creamery Classic ’71 Wide Range Humbuckers – no video
• 197-something Gibson SG Standard with mini humbuckers – no video
• 1961 Gibson Les Paul Junior – Dan’s video here:
• Epiphone Casino with Lollar P-90 pickups – Mick’s video here:

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