Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tones Continued

A tone is not a solo. A tone is the sound that accompanies it.  Sometimes the combo is godlike, one of a fucking kind . Tones are a guitarist's signature or an experiment gone wonderfully wrong. This, when executed with love and mad scientist precision will transport you man. You will glide on your goosebumps to sweet pillows of sky high bliss, fists clenched, lips puckered, tears rolling sort of a sounds will get you there.  Now I continue with my list of favorite tones.

1) Impossible Germany solo by Wilco- Nels Cline   Look him up, he's a genius.

2) Cheap Sunglasses by ZZ Top -Billy Gibbons: Sure you've heard it a gazillion times, but have you ever heard a tone like it before or since? No you haven't. Gibbons is a tone MASTER.Not just for his perfected dirty Texas blues, for ALL genres.

3) Sound Chaser by Yes- Steve Howe. : Inexplicable, extraordinary.

4) Ball and Biscuit solo by The White Stripes-Jack White  :  Great white hope for a new generation, no Gibson needed.

5) And The Cradle Will Rock
     Hear About It Later
    Atomic Punk- Van Halen by Eddie Van Halen.  The Brown Sound WILL NEVER BE DUPLICATED. A sonic master of masters.

6) Wire
     Bad-by U2. The Edge's trick box of subtle sonic swatches and warm tone blankets is truly one of a kind.

7) Teaser-Tommy Bolin- one of the gone too soon greats.

8) Flower by Soundgarden-Kim Thayil. Weird High end shots of early echo-ey Seattle rock.

9) Geek USA by Smashing Pumpkins-Billy Corgan.  Bundles of dirty guitar tracks pressed together in an unbelievable distortion sandwich.

10) See No Evil by Television-Tom Verlaine: Godlike downtown tone by a New York legend.

11) Breakdown  verses/solo by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-Mike Campbell- Another classic rock rusty nugget, but that tone mesmerizes to this day. I'm always floating through the song with a tired grin.

12) Life's a Gas by T. Rex- Mickey Finn? Mark Bolan?- Its an octave pedal, used in a glam ballad. Genius.

13)  Song For the Dead by Queens of the Stone Age-Josh Homme: Along with Jack White, Josh uses an almost un-equalled knowledge and prowess for blending pawn shop guitars and obscure amps for mammoth, unique tones. Like a punch in the face repeated at 3/4 strength.

 Yeah, that's it for part two.


  1. Zappa's tone was in a class by itself-San Ber'dino comes to mind

    The beautiful noise that Roy Buchanan wrenched from his telecaster on The Messiah Will Come Again (and just about everything else he did) was and is phenomenal.

  2. I've been hopelessly lost in re-re-discovering the Stones and am completely floored by Keith Richards. Some of the shit he did with his guitars tone - and how he achieved them - show the love and passion of a hard working pro.

    The two that stand out most for me are as follows, and a lot of it is due to the opening few notes on both of them. So iconic.

    "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"
    Keith had some gems written in Open G (with only 5 strings on his guitar, an old Blues trick), but this is my all-time favorite. The opening riff is what plays whenever I get a text message. I love getting text messages now.

    "Street Fighting Man"
    Most people don't realize this is an acoustic guitar. He shoved a mic from one of the original tape recorders in there which basically overloaded the playback giving it it the distorted tone you hear. This wouldn't work now because of the governor's they have on tape recorders, but then, it worked perfect. That's a tone NOBODY'S come close to touching, so real.

    Both of these are a result of him constantly tinkering, being lucky, and persistent. All hail Keith.

  3. I can actually hear most of those songs in my head right now. Not allowed to listen to music at work (isn't that against the law or something!).

    Great post. Love tones :)

  4. cool post man, i will tell my friends to check you oout.

  5. thanks man, nice to meet u