I’ve never really fiddled with my amplifier settings. Since buying my amp, bringing it home and finding a configuration I liked, I have seldom touched its various knobs and switches.
However, my drummer buddy, who I’ve made mention of quite a bit lately said something which set off a light bulb: “Different sound settings change the way I play”. At this point, the idea seemed so foreign but it was certainly worth a try.
My guitar and amp together have long produced a sound that can be described as bluesy – great for the soulful pentatonic scale but quite limited when you consider the entire spectrum of music and emotion.
I’ve since turned up the distortion on my amp and flicked the pick up selector over to the bridge (furthest away from the fretting hand). I’ve noticed the improvised pieces I produce are stark contrasts. While the blues sound naturally lends itself to groove-based, rhythmic patterns, a hard distorted tone works well with slow, brooding playing or even a fast, mechanical pace.
Now I find myself changing settings all the time, sometimes even within the same musical piece. Sound settings I’ve come to realise are a great way to colour and broaden the sounds you create ultimately leading to greater musical expressions.