Category Archives: Tips

How to have a unique lead guitar sound

Do you want to have a unique lead guitar sound? Want a hot tip?

If so, steal. However, don’t steal from just one source. If you stole from just one source, you’ll sound exactly like the person you stole from. Others will say “you sound just like…”

To get a unique lead guitar sound…

…steal from as many people as you possibly can. And you don’t even have to limit your influences to other guitarists. Steal from other musicians – violinists, saxophone players, whatever! The more, the merrier, since the more musicians you steal from, the more unique your lead guitar sound will be!

I’ve stolen from everyone from Randy Rhoads to Tchaikovsky. I strongly suggest you at least pick your top 10 songs. They don’t even have to be guitar related. Learn to play those songs. That exercise will do wonders to help you gain your own unique lead guitar sound.

I’ve taken from other genres too. I’ve stolen a lot from the Blues to Classical music and everything in between.

Roman from Astral Eyes explaining how to get a unique lead guitar sound

You do have time to practice guitar

Yes, you do have time to practice guitar. I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you have a day job. If this isn’t a complaint of yours, you can safely ignore this article. If however, you feel like you do not have time to practice, read on.

To make time to practice guitar, you need to make time to practice. You need to start creating the right habits. One thing you’ll see in life is that people who are good at anything have consistently good habits. People who are bad at everything tend to have very bad habits. Luck actually plays a small part in life. You might hate me for saying this, but it’s true. Some folks are consistently unlucky, but with the right habits, they can make the best out of bad luck. But that’s another rant for another time. Let’s talk about practicing guitar.

Pick up a guitar first thing in the morning

What do you do the very first thing in the morning? Pick your nose? Drink coffee? Check your email? OK, if you didn’t answer “practice guitar” or anything equivalent, you gave the wrong answer. Very first thing you should do in the morning, before the coffee and before checking your email is pick up your guitar. Even if it’s for only five minutes, pick up the guitar and practice scales.

Yes, you don’t want to be late for work. I get that. Then only do it for five minutes. At least you got your scales in for the day.

You need to do that daily. Every. Single. Day. Wake up, grab your guitar, and do scales. If you got ten minutes, even better. Practice first thing in the morning. Always. No excuses.

Find time to practice guitar while watching TV

Second, do you watch TV? If you answered no, then you have time to practice. If you answered yes, then practice guitar while watching TV. It may drive your girlfriend or your boyfriend nuts, but that’s their problem. They’ll get used to it. Grab the guitar, don’t plug it into the amp, and practice while watching TV.

You can multitask. Your ancestors did it. If you’re watching an hour show, get an hour in. You’ll still absorb the show but more importantly, you’ll get your hour of practice in.

Every chance you get, practice. Coming home for lunch? Squeeze in five to ten minutes of practice. You cooked and the food is in the oven? Good. That gives you time to practice guitar. Doing laundry? Let the machine do the work and practice your guitar.

Every chance you get. Make time to practice guitar. Get those good habits going and within only a few years, you’ll be a pretty good guitarist. It’s all about time. The more time you practice, the better you will be.

Roman

Roman from Astral Eyes
Roman is the Guitarist, Pianist, Composer, and Orchestrator for the world’s first Romantic Metal band – Astral Eyes. Their first album “Another Sacrifice Gone Wrong” is available now!.

Image of Roman shot by Kate. Thanks Kate!

How to get a Killer Metal Tone

How to get a Killer Metal Guitar Tone

I’m going to give you some pointers on getting a killer Metal guitar tone. Now keep in mind, guitar tone is subjective. What might be music to one’s ears may be noise to another. But for Metal, the majority of guitarists with over a decade experience will agree with at least half of what I say for a reason.

The honest truth is tone is about half technique, half equipment. You can have a guitarist with the best equipment, but if she’s a shitty guitarist, she’ll get a shitty guitar tone. I’m not talking about performance here, I’m talking straight up tone. Now, take a technically proficient guitarist with mediocre equipment, and she’s getting some pretty good tones out of what she has to work with. So first off, work on your technique. Equipment is secondary.

Guitar tone depends on several physical things – the guitar’s body, the guitar’s pickups, and the amps. There are even minor things that will affect your tone, like old dirty strings will sound like old, dirty strings. And of course, a bad chord will make the worst sounds at the worst possible moments.

But assuming you have decent, relatively new strings and working chords, you want a heavier guitar. Heavier guitars tend to have better sustain and they are less likely to have muddy sounds.

tube amps help considerably in how to get a killer Metal guitar toneThe second thing you want is a tube amp. We could argue until we’re blue in the face which tube amp is best for Metal, but 9 out of 10 Metal guitarists who have been playing for awhile will go with getting a tube amp over a solid state one. Now, you can get good sounds from a solid state modeling amp. You don’t absolutely need a tube amp to get a killer Metal tone. But solid state amps break up at higher volumes, whereas when you push a tube amp to its limit, that’s when it sounds great. And, I’m assuming you’ll be playing in clubs or recording in a real studio. So you’ll want to turn it up.

And lastly you need good pickups. I used to be a Seymour Duncan fan boy. I love the pickups Randy Rhoads used. But I have one guitar with DiMarzio’s and you know what? They’re just as good. Pickups are another thing that we can argue until we’re blue in the face on which pickups help you get that killer Metal tone, but once again, it’s subjective. Don’t cut corners here though, because 9 out of 10 Metal guitarists who have been playing for awhile will agree that cheap pickups are cheap for a reason – they tend to suck.

Now, all that said, assuming your technique is really good, for some odd reason, some amps don’t work well with some guitars and some pickups don’t sound good with some guitars. You absolutely have to bring your favorite guitar into the guitar shop and try her with different amps. This is a MUST. You’ll have to find a combination that fits together.

Lastly, this is my personal opinion. I do not like using too many effects. I prefer to go guitar straight into the amp 90%+ of the time. That’s just me though. The more you cut the signal, the more you affect the tone.

And one last thing – I don’t like active pickups. I just don’t like them. Yes, there are absolutely awesome guitarists out there who use active pickups. Not denying that. I’m just saying that I don’t like them.

If you actually want to hear my playing, go here. For these songs, I used various tube amps. Each amp is different, but generally for rhythm tones, I have the bass around 80%, the mid-range around 40%, and the treble around 90%. For lead tones, I generally have them all around 60%. But keep in mind, like I said for getting a killer Metal tone, there are a lot of factors. Each setup is different and you’ll have to adjust accordingly. Keep fiddling around with the knobs until you find something you like.

-Roman (the guitarist from Astral Eyes)

Roman Astral Eyes guitarist composer

Roman is a Classically trained Composer. He plays Guitar and Piano for Astral Eyes. He’s also an amateur historian, a gun nut, and a fan of the Green Bay Packers who still has a soft spot for Brett Favre, despite the harsh breakup.


Article and image reprinted by from astraleyes.com by permission from both Vampiress Records and Astral Eyes

Photograph of amp tube by Olli Niemitalo. Photographer licensed this image for public domain. Thanks Olli!