Learning guitar parts is harder when you don't have the right sound.
By Mike Levine
If you’re trying to learn a lick, solo, or rhythm part from a recording, it helps a lot to have a similar tone to the original guitarist. Otherwise, you'll run into several problems that can impede your learning process.
Let’s say you’re trying to figure out how to play a wailing, distorted lead solo from an album, but your tone is totally clean. The tonal mismatch between the original sound and yours will require your brain to work extra hard and will likely slow you down.
Why? Because in addition to the concentration you need to learn the licks, you’re giving your brain the additional task of gauging the difference between your tone and the one on the recording yet trying to ignore the difference. It can be a recipe for frustration.
Pain with No Gain
In that same situation, you've got another fundamental disadvantage: the touch and feel on your guitar will be significantly different from what the guitarist who recorded the part experienced when playing it. In particular, you'll have a lot less sustain. The original guitarist could hold a note for several seconds or longer, whereas all the notes you play will cut off soon after your pick hits the string.
Your bends won’t sound right, either, and you can forget about any tapping that might be involved. What's more, it will be virtually impossible to get the same energy into the part, if you’ve got a clean sound.
The opposite is also true. If you're playing with a high-gain tone and you try to learn a part played with clean sound, say a fast jazz run, all that sustain will wash over from one note to the next, making it impossible to articulate the notes clearly and distinctly the way the original player did.
Especially if you're a relative beginner, having a mismatched tone will make it tough for you to know if you the problems you're experiencing learning the part are due to your playing or the tonal differential.
Fortunately, there's an easy and powerful solution: BIAS MINI. Which allows you to replicate virtually any kind of guitar amplifier tone thanks to its precise and accurate component level modeling of amps and cabs.
Most large tube amps require that you crank them to ear-splitting levels to get them to sound the way they were intended. Not so with BIAS MINI! It can produce any tone at any volume. At just over five pounds it’s seriously portable, and you can even use it with headphones alone, since you don’t have to connect a speaker cabinet if you don’t want to.
But even more importantly, you don’t need to be an experienced tone tweaker to find the sounds you want with BIAS MINI. With a little help from the BIAS AMP 2 app (on your computer or mobile device), you can access the ToneCloud, where you'll find thousands of custom amplifiers, programmed by experienced guitarists, including some very well-known ones. What's more, the sounds are available for free, and the collection grows daily. Download the sounds into your MINI, and you’ve got instant tonal paradise.
The amps on ToneCloud are organized by Category (Clean, Glassy, Hi Gain, Insane, etc.), and by the Latest arrivals, the most Popular and through Featured tone collections.
You’ll also find the search bar to be quite handy. Type in the names of some famous guitarists, song titles, types of guitars, and more, and the search engine will find matches in the ToneCloud’s massive collection.
ToneCloud makes it simple to find the amp sounds you need to make learning easier, faster and a lot more fun. BIAS MINI has 16 memory locations for storing your custom amp sounds, so you can work on multiple songs at once and switch between their amp sounds at will.
And once you get used to BIAS MINI’s superbly easy-to-use editing interface, you’ll find yourself creating tones and uploading them to the ToneCloud for others to enjoy. It’s a total win-win! For more information, check out https://www.positivegrid.com/bias-head-mini-guitar/