You don't always need to buy new guitars, amps, or even pedals to update you sound. Sometimes it's the smaller things that you need to take a look at. So today we're counting down 5 small things that we believe are affecting your sound, and how you can fix that.
One of the most overlooked pieces of gear is often the pick. Everyone has their favorite go to for picks, and that's part of what makes us all so unique. Yet with such a plethora of plectrums available to choose from it can be hard to just settle with one pick. Often times our subtle playing style and muscle memory is adapted around the picks we play use, so constantly switching picks and trying something new will hinder your tone in the long run. Find a pick you love, and stick to it. You can even be a little creative, the Edge from U2 holds his pick sideways using the grippy texture to strum with. It's good to have some options, but find a little consistancy.
The true sign of a good cable is silence. When you plug in your guitar (single coils excluded) and hear silence, that's when you know you have some good cables. Yet so many of us skimp out on our cables, we bend them, fold them over, step on them, and generally beat them up. Bad cables add noise, hum, buzz, and unwanted interference into your signal chain. People want to hear your guitar, not your cables.
This one is pretty simple, but the capo you use on your acoustic probably isn't the same capo you want on your electric. Different guitars require different levels of tension on their strings. A capo with the grip needed for your acoustic will likely knock your electric out of tune, while your electric's capo might not have the grip needed hold the strings down properly on your acoustic, causing buzz and dead spots. Some capos have adjustable springs, but you still need to make sure you take the time to adjust them properly whenever using them.
Strings are often the last piece of gear we thing about, until they break, then we run to the store and grab the cheapest pack we can find. Yet it our pursuit to find the cheapest pack, we realize that there are over 20 options to choose from and we can't remember which ones we normally get.
Your strings are crucial for the sound that your looking for as well as to match the way that you play. Having trouble getting those barre chords? Maybe your strings are too thick. You tone feels too thin and lacking in the punch you want? Maybe your strings are too thin. Different players (as well as different guitars) need different types of strings.
Almost every time I hear a beginner guitarist tell me that they feel uninspired by their guitar, it's because they haven't changed the strings in a year. Strings are meant to be swapped regularly, not simply when one breaks. We spend money on the best guitars, the best pedals, and the best amps. Yet the thing we are actually making the noise with (the strings) gets forgotten about. So next time you go to your favorite store for a new pack of strings, figure out what you want out of your guitar before you go.