As part of my musical composition self-learning effort, I am trying now to compose some synthwave songs, which are, musically speaking, simple.

The problem is that I have no knowledge whatsoever about electric guitars, amplifiers, pedals, etc.

Some synthwave artists use a lot of guitars in their songs, I really like the epic feeling that it evokes, I wish I could add it to my compositions as well.

Does anybody have an idea of how to replicate a lead guitar like the one from this Dance With the Dead song?

Any insights will be appreciated, I don't want to make the guitar sound exactly the same as the one in the song, I just want to know what are the usual techniques that they use in this type of genre

1 Answer 1


The guitar you hear come in at 0:47 is, as you rightly noted, a pretty simple solo--though with lots of note bends--just using basic distortion and reverb. Many amplifiers have these effects built in, but often people use distortion pedals. Here's a shootout video demonstrating several Boss (common; perhaps considered "low-end") pedals. Using just about any of these, adjusting the tone knobs, and adding some reverb (later in the chain than the distortion), you could probably closely replicate the sound in your example.

However! The tone you hear at 1:01 and 1:48 is an artificial harmonic, a technique where the thumb of the picking hand lightly brushes against the string as it's plucked. It's not trivial to learn and takes some practice, but once you get the feel for it, it's not too difficult. Here's a video lesson showing how to play them. (Full disclosure: I dislike the sound of them so I didn't watch the entire lesson.)

I don't know about synthwave as a genre, but the above applies to the example you gave.

  • Thank you so much for the reply and for the orientation! As a flute and keyboard player I really miss the knowledge to make a more ellaborated guitar work. Since I am doing everything inside a DAW, I will try to find the appropriated plugins in order to do these things you showed.
    – Zuchis
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 11:06

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