“It’s a piece of wood and metal and strings – the core of the sound and expression comes from within you”: Gus G says tone comes from the player and not the gear
“I remember picking up Joe Satriani’s guitar, I was like, ‘Wow, it must have that Satriani tone.’ And I picked it up and it definitely didn’t sound like Joe Satriani.”
Image: Gary Wolstenholme / Getty Images
Having the master’s tool won’t give you the master’s tone, at least according to Firewind and former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G, who’s of the opinion that tone comes “from within you”.
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Discussing his setup in a recent chat with That Metal Interview Podcast, the virtuoso admits to having a “super simple rig” made up of just an amp and a few pedals.
“Live, I use a Blackstar St. James amp. It’s a brand-new amp. It’s a 50-watt head. It’s tiny,” says Gus [via Ultimate Guitar]. “It’s like a lunchbox type of amp and sounds massive. That’s the main tone for me.”
“And I have a small pedalboard that I use that basically has three pedals on there, or four,” he adds. “A tuner, I use an overdrive by J Rockett [Audio] Designs. It’s called the Archer. I use it to boost my signal, my distortion, and that’s the core of my tone. And then I use a delay pedal and a wall pedal only.”
On the guitar side of things, it’s pretty much equally straightforward: “I use my Jackson signature Star guitar. And that’s about it,” Gus says. “I have a very simple rig.”
For the guitarist, the focus is on “how you approach” the instrument more than the instrument itself, something he describes as “very personal”.
“The guitar is not gonna play itself and sound like the person that owns a guitar. It’s a little bit of a myth,” he says.
“I remember, when I was a kid that I used to look at Joe Satriani’s guitar, and I picked it up, I was like, ‘Wow, it must have that Satriani tone.’ And I picked it up and it definitely didn’t sound like Joe Satriani. [Laughs] Only he can sound like him.”
“The sound, the tone comes from within – from your fingers. It’s how you touch the guitar. Because it’s a piece of wood and metal and the strings and stuff like that. But it’s how you approach, how you pick.”
He continues: “Like I said, it’s something that comes from within. Like the feeling that you put in your playing. That’s something very personal, like the vibrato, how you express yourself with the instrument.”
“Sure, the tone might change. If you play with less gain or more gain, or this tube or whatever. That stuff – yeah, it will give you a different colour. But the core of the sound and the style and the expression comes from within.”