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Thread: Looking for help to achieve a certain guitar tone please.

  1. #1

    Looking for help to achieve a certain guitar tone please.

    hi all,

    i'm a guitarist, and i'm looking to create a modern progressive rock tone such as used by steven wilson/porcupine tree (i'm think of the guitar solo tone on 'the start of something beautiful' from the album 'deadwing' - {i've got a good 'clean' tone' already without knowing what i'm doing}

    i'd like to ask a few questions and hopefully i'll get some answers.

    i'm returning to playing after many years away and only really have old's the list:

    * boss mega distortion MD2
    * boss metal zone MT2
    * boss compression/sustainer CS3
    * boss digital delay DD6
    * crybaby wah wah

    * my main guitar is a Parker P42 with Parker pick-ups.

    *i'm using an 80 watt marshall valve state combo.

    Q: are a) pedals, b) amp, c) guitar or d) pick ups the most important element to recreate these tones?

    Q: if you were to recommend just one distortion/fuzz/overdrive pedal that might get me a good deal of the way to achieving this sound what would it be?

    Q: what would be the best pick -up to use in my guitar to get the long sustains i require?

    Q) can you give me any other useful pointers to help me further such as suggestions for amp settings/pedal settings?

    caveat: i'm unemployed and don't have the finances for a mesa boogie and a tc electronics rig but i do have a couple of hundred pounds to play around with courtesy of turning 50.

    any help or suggestions is greatly and gratefully appreciated.

    warmest regards.
    Last edited by peak experience; 04-04-2018 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

  3. #3
    I'm not sure what kind of amp you have, but it looks to me like you have everything you need to get something close to that tone. At the very beginning, it sounds like's he's using a pretty clean tone with heavy reverb and delay, and using a volume pedal or his volume knob to create the swells. At about 0:22, it sounds like he has a touch more overdrive (or maybe has brought his volume knob to full), and has kicked in a wah pedal.

    To get a tone like this, I'd use a fairly light overdrive from your MD2 with delay from the DD6 and some compression from the CS3 to create more sustain, and just a touch of wah. I'd use the bridge pickup. If it's a humbucker and you can split the coil, I'd go with a single coil which will create less saturation in the overdrive. The only thing you're missing is a volume pedal. Personally, I suck at using the volume knob to create swells, maybe you're better at it. But if you're not, then that may be the only piece of gear you need, and volume pedals are cheap.

    Good luck!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Sounds like a Slide (cylinder thing on your left hand) is being used while the guitar is going through a Distortion effect and a Chorus effect (with maybe some Reverb effect but maybe not necessarily needed to recreate the tone closely enough). (Hmm there might be a tad Flange effect too, I didn't listen too closely really.) Try, for example, that great Boss distortion pedal on a clean amp sound, not forgetting to put some Chorus (which you can buy a pedal for, if none of your gear has it already), and not forgetting the Slide (use a bottle or similar if you don’t want to buy one). You might be surprised to find that those 4 ingredients can turn out to be sufficient for this tone... And also, with all of this, definitely give single-coil pickup a try. I know very very little from this band and I don't know this song, but I can tell you that this tone very much reminds of the solo from their song Waiting from the Signify album, which was a solo that used a Slide I believe. This is a quick and general reply, I might get to your specific questions later, and by the way I check this Artists forum very very rarely. Cheers.
    Last edited by Yaman Aksu; 04-04-2018 at 07:10 PM.

  5. #5
    Member hFx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    To recreate the solo-tone from about 3:10, the combo would be compression (with zero attack), a light flanger, distortion and light chorus. Regarding the technique it seems like its a slide, yes. The tough part would be to find a very clean playing style eliminating any buzz and pick noise, to keep the highly sustained tone clean. The flanger would be tweaked to get that slight rotatting-speaker sound.
    My Progressive Workshop at

  6. #6
    many thanks for your contributions. i shall experiment.

  7. #7
    Leslie effect on the guitar. Easiest way to compare it is listen to the ending of "You Never Give Me Your Money" Beatles. ...except you add more "cosmic wave" to it by increasing level, rate, and depth. So if you have a basic pedal like me...which is for example...Boss Super Chorus ....think about the knobs on the pedal as a clock. So positioning all 4 knobs...level, EQ, rate, and depth at 2 0'clock is average acceptable sounding. It's not a real one hundred percent duplication but acceptable. If you want total perfection may be in another pedal . I noticed Boss Metal Zone MT-2 on your list. I run through a Fender Deville and use this pedal as it offers good options. If you position the distortion knob to 10 or 11 o'clock, you can produce the tone of Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin ( Birds Of Fire), Skunk Baxter, Al Dimeola , .many others... I'm not sure of the amount of sustain Steve Wilson is producing. I increase slightly, decrease slightly with the volume of the guitar amp and depending on the acoustics of the room. Sometimes adding a bit more reverb on the guitar amp helps with sustaining a note longer. If your close enough to the guitar amp and raise the guitar neck slightly in line with the speaker, the note will feedback and sustain. If you move the guitar neck to a different position the note will either fade...or actually change it's pitch! I believe that can sometimes be attributed to your increased level of reverb.


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