I've got an American ESP, 2 humbuckers through a tube screamer and Fender Hot Rod Deluxe tube amp. Though I can get a great tone with just these, my tone lacks a bit of cream audible when this guy rocks an over driven bend or vibrato. The sounds he gets is a bit creamy, almost on the mid range sound while my tone with the above gear is a bit more edgier/trebly.

There must be a certain element to his tone that adds this cream and boosts those bends as if someone were singing almost. Wah?

  • When you say 'cream', are you referring to the band or the dairy product?
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 21:05
  • @Time4Tea a sort of warmth combined with clear mid-range tones sounding almost vocal (my approximation to a definition). In other words, imagine the sound of a distorted tube amp from humbuckers and compare to the one in the video. Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 21:12
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    @Time4Tea, You beat me to it.
    – user50691
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 22:56
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    @ggcg I was going to answer 'Eric Clapton', but thought better of it ...
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 23:57
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    @Time4Tea, my first thought was Clapton, no joke. Because a lot of famous guitarists have signature series guitars or electronics. Milk came second.
    – user50691
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 10:58

4 Answers 4


It might seem obvious, and I'm sure you know it already, but the choice of pickup can have a big effect on the tone of an electric guitar sound (one of many factors, of course). The neck pickup tends to sound noticeably fuller and warmer; whereas the bridge pickup, by comparison, tends to be thinner and a little 'colder' (but also 'tighter'). I have 3 pickups on mine - if I'm playing a clean-ish tone then I often use neck/middle, but if I'm playing something very distorted and metally, I tend towards the bridge pickup for more tightness.

To use your milk analogy: neck pickup is full fat/cream and bridge is skimmed ;-)

So, to get a a richer sound like that, he may using more of the neck pickup. He is switching pickups and tweaking the tone control knobs quite frequently as he is playing, so it seems likely that is at least part of the answer.

Have you tried asking him through YouTube what gear he is using? Also, it might help if you post a sample of the sound you are getting, so we can hear the comparison.

(btw, that guy is really good - wish I could play like that! :-) )

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    That is a thoughtful answer, +1. Though the use of adjectives "rich", "full" and "thin" always confuse me in this context. From a physics point of view the neck pickup cannot "pick up" as many overtones as the bridge pickup. So the bridge pick up raw spectrum usually has more frequency content which I would call "rich" and "full". Whereas the neck pickup I would call empty or dull (dull being "smooth"). It has more fundamental. This also depends on where you apply the pick. Pick closer to the bridge = twangy, closer to the neck = warm and smooth. It is a very complex system.
    – user50691
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 13:44
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    "he may be switching the pickup mix" he is switching the pickups, adjusting volume and tone knobs and fiddling on the amp controls almost constantly.
    – Yorik
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 13:56
  • @ggcg I agree those terms are a little subjective. I was trying to answer more from the point of view of the sound I hear, as opposed to the physics, and was trying to link it to the 'milk' analogy that the OP used.
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 15:48
  • @Yorik good point, I will adjust my answer. Thanks
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 15:49
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    I was not criticizing the use of the terms by @Time4Tea, but a general mismatch between music jargon and physics jargon. I've heard others do the same, and being a musician and a physicist I get to each group butcher the vocabulary of the other group. Just an OCD pet peeve of mine. An item of interest.
    – user50691
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 16:50

I'd say the guy in the video gets his "cream" by digging in hard with his pick, pressing fairly hard with his fretting fingers and synchronising his hands well. Plus his bends and vibrato are grounded in good technique involving not just the wrist, hand and fingers but the forearm as well.

After all, tone IS in the fingers (and other body parts).


I would disagree with the first answer. It is clear that he's using effects, either pedals or channel switching in the amp. He seems to be picking the same on clean sounds and "digging in hard" can have the effect of killing the sound. That depends on a lot of factors. I think the unique sound the OP is searching for is in the electronics. I doubt that the OP doesn't know how to vibrato or end a string. The question is why can't I get the same tone (tone is the creamy part). While tone is somewhat determined by the hands (on a clean guitar it is determined more by the hand than electronics and on a classical guitar it is more in the hand and the quality of the guitar), with such an over processed sound the electronics start to take over.

I think a better wording of the question is "Can someone identify how to get the tone this guy has in the video at time = 1:30 min" or elsewhere. Since there are so many sounds it isn't fair to have us watch the video and guess what tone the OP is referring to.

  • Shouldn't this be a comment to the first answer, since it doesn't answer the question?
    – coconochao
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 13:20
  • Perhaps but I disagree. I did posit that the tone was due to the electronics. If you're suggesting that I should identify the electronics then you have a point. That I cannot do. But I'm at least offering the advice that the OP author play with effects to achieve that tone.
    – user50691
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 13:39
  • You are right. Maybe split it into a comment to the first answer, an actual answer, and a comment to the question (last paragraph)? Would this be clearer?
    – coconochao
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 13:45
  • Thanks. I'll think about it. I did use my critique of answer one as a lead in to my thoughts. I'll apply some deconvolution later.
    – user50691
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 13:46

Everything in the chain starting from his technique and the strings on his guitar, the pick-ups, the tone settings, the amplifier, the stomp boxes, the type of loudspeakers and more. It all affects what you hear in the end. If you're looking for a quick easy answer, I wish you luck in finding one.

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