1) Basic tone on neck pickup: untouched
2) Pick by bridge, over fretboard
3) Bridge pickup
4) Turn down guitar volume, neck pickup
5) Fingers: spank
6) Fingers: soft touch
I hope this tutorial has made you realize how much of your tone comes down to how you dial your gear and how you play. It so often happens that people spend a fortune on fancy cables, vintage pedals and instruments, and then some other player shows up with a 100 practice amp and a cheap guitar makes it sound much better. Why? Because they are good at dialing in their basic tone, and know how to play to bring out certain tone.
And at the end of the day it all comes down to what inspires you when you play. Personally, I could have the most amazing metal tone and be unhappy, because it's not what I wanna hear when I play a note. In the same way I could have what gear enthusiasts consider "bad tone"; but if I like it, it will inspire me and make me play cool stuff and therefore people will like it.
Good tone and good gear is a very individual thing, and the best way to go about it is to be very conscious of what guitar sounds excite you on records and live shows, and with that in mind, fully explore the gear you have and work hard on the details of your playing!
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I find it quite easy (so far!) to navigate, and found the "where do I start" to be very helpful! I'm getting there!!
I LOVE the forum, too. I've never been one to use forums, but the GT forum is full of great people and helpful information at ALL levels! Congrats on a WONDERFUL site!!Good job!