This is our Guide to Your Guitar Signal Chain and Tone Explained. One of the biggest effects on your guitar tone is the impedance placed in the guitar signal chain by using numerous guitar pedals and long guitar cable runs to amplifiers etc. The various components include different input and output impedance and this can lead to a big drop off of high end frequencies. You will hear guitar players mention “tone sucking” and this is what they are referring to. The only way to avoid loss of your guitar tone is to use a guitar buffer pedal or effects which have a built in buffered bypass. Read our guide to choosing a guitar buffer pedal as it explains this critical guitar pedal in detail and how to place it in your signal chain.
Shown below are a number of posts we have written about the guitar signal chain and how it effects your guitar tone. Hopefully these will help you choose the right gear for the sound and tone you are looking for, and bring you guitar playing to the forefront on stage. These help guides give an insight into how the technology works and how small changes can improve, or destroy, your tone by following your signal path from the pick-ups to the speaker.
Your Guitar Signal Chain Explained
When you strum the strings of an electric guitar it creates an electric current in the pick-ups. This electrical current generated by the pick-ups is very small and includes an number of frequencies and other tonal characteristics. The generation of this electrical current is the start of your signal chain. In order to hear this tiny electrical signal it must be amplified to make it loud enough for you to hear. From the pick-ups to the speakers there are many factors which will shape and modify the electrical current that was generated before it appears as a much greater, amplified, sound at the speakers and enters your ears.
Read these guides explaining how the equipment you choose will modify your signal chain and shape your overall tone.
Guide to Your Guitar Signal Chain and Tone Explained
More Musical Instrument Gear Guides
On our web site we have a number of musical instrument gear help guides and these have been separated into different subjects to help you find the subject you are looking for. Subjects covered include Guitar Amplifier Technology Explained where we discuss the different types of guitar amplifier on the market and how the different technology shapes the signal from the guitar and decides what you will hear at the speaker. There is also in-depth guides to valve guitar amplifier technology and valve guitar amplifier circuits plus how guitar amplifier valves work. Guitar Effect Pedals Explained where we go into the many types of effects that are available, the manufacturers that design and create these effects and how using different effect shapes your signal chain and affects your overall tone.
Read our guides to get insight into what each type of pedal does, what to expect when add it to your signal chain, which brands to consider buying and the models to have on your pedal board. We also cover how the guitar effects are linked together, the best order to link the pedals, the use of a effect pedal power supply, creating your first guitar effect pedal board and the difference between buying low cost cheap pedals and buying boutique guitar effect pedals. In our guides we explore and write about Your Guitar Signal Chain Explained, find out what happens when you strum the strings of an electric guitar as it creates an electric current in the pick-ups. This electrical current is very small and includes an number of frequencies and other tonal characteristics. This is the start of your signal chain. In order to hear this signal it must be amplified.
From the pick-ups to the speakers there are many factors which will shape and modify the electrical current that was generated before it appears as a much greater, amplified, sound at the speakers and enters your ears. We have created posts reviewing a number of Famous Guitar Pedal Boards. By reviewing how the famous players have set up their pedal boards, the choice of effect pedals they have decided to use and the brands they work with it is possible to see where their tone comes from. This will then allow you to make your own choices on which guitar effect pedals to buy and to start to design your own pedal board and create your own unique tone and sound.
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