Zone Recording: Are You A One Tone Johnny?

Welcome Guitar Nine readers. Dave Martone here. I am talking to you from the road at the moment. I am in Connecticut doing clinics and seminars for the National Guitar Workshop. And it is damm hot here!

This heat somehow has made me come up with this topic.

How many sounds do you use as a guitar player? One, two...? There are quite a few players out there that I consider one tone Johnnys. This is where you only use one sound for clean and dirty and just roll down the volume for the clean tone. Is this you? Well, it used to be me. I remember seeing Steve Morse play in New York City and I remember being just shocked at the amount of sounds that he had coming from his guitar. First off, I think that he has something like six pickups in his guitar and tons of pedals on the floor. He was constantly switching something all of the time while he was playing. This sure kept my interest as a listener.

I have seen many great players, but my attention wanders after a while if the tone is the same all of the time. This is quite interesting because not enough players have thought of this. They just focus all their technique on the guitar but not enough time on the actual sound that they are using to represent themselves.

On my last album that was just completed, entitled "A Demon's Dream", I really started to experiment with different sounds. I have used quite a few Digitech products to get some great sounds on the latest Martone album. I say, try the strange ones because they have not been heard before on the guitar. We are trying to be individual and this is one of the ways that we can still do it! There are some great uses for ring modulators, tone filters etc.

Have you ever heard of Wayne Krantz? This guy has some great stage sounds. He has this pedal called the Mooger Fooger! It sounds killer! I have borrowed some ideas from him on his sound. It sounds like a satanic computer vomiting. Quite individual and interesting, actually.

I really like the Whammy pedal from Digitech. You can get so many screwed up sounds with it. For instance, if you set the interval to a major 7th and put distortion through it, you get this Mooger Fooger sound. I love it!

I also use the Pulsar card for my computer which is made from Creamware. They have some amazing plug in insert effects that just make the guitar sound wacked. I am just trying to inspire you to try new sounds that may just sound strange at first, but could change guitar for the future. I think that any rock or fusion player should have approximately five different tones:

  1. A great clean tone with delay, or without
  2. A great chunky rhythm tone
  3. A great lead tone.
  4. A great screwed lead tone (eg. Mooger Fooger)
  5. A secret weapon tone that will leave people just freaked!

This is what I think, and it seems to be the new way.

May the tone be with you.

David Martone is a guitarist from Vancouver, Canada who has released seven solo CDs which showcase his musical diversity and brilliant guitarmanship.

His 2007 CD is entitled "When The Aliens Come", which features a progressive sound incorporating jazz, rock, fusion and metal influences.

David Martone