Being a company which produces vintage boutique amplifiers and effects, we at Baroni Lab are always searching for different tones, as well as experimenting with different combinations of equipment in order to constantly increase the quality of our products.
This, however, is no easy task to accomplish. The world of tone and guitar performance is a veritable labyrinth, with myriad twists and turns involved in achieving the ultimate goal of a sought-after sound. There is an intimidating amount of variables to consider.
For example, say I want to create the classic sound of Cream-era Eric Clapton. For the famous ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ guitar riff, Clapton used his famous ‘Fool’ guitar – a 1960s Gibson SG which later came to be a symbol of the era – going through a wah pedal and into a Marshall amp. Variables with the guitar include the wood condition and paint-job, the pickups and selector switch, the tone control and the volume. The angle of the wah as it filters the sound is another important variable. Then you have the amplifier and speakers: model? Year? Bass level? Middle level? Treble level? Gain? Volume? Presence? Reverb? Size? Speaker cones?
Obviously, it is challenging to reproduce certain tones, the ‘Woman Tone’ being a great example. This is why a lot of players wishing to cover ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ get lazy, and will buy a digital effects system and model the sounds electronically, using samples of famous distortions and speaker cabs or, even worse, just stick any old overdrive pedal in the line and crank up the volume on the guitar. These methods will never even get you close to the desired tone. It is a process which takes time, thought and, above all, careful listening. Real Italian-designed vintage tube amps also help a great deal 🙂
One thing which I have become increasingly more aware of is the importance of the pickups used. They come in many different shapes and sizes; single coil or humbucker, covered or bare, active or passive, and they all have their own unique ways of processing the string vibrations into electrical signals.
The latest product video I made (YouTube link below) was for the Baroni Lab ‘Moon Sound’ distortion stompbox. Its a great little effect, designed to recreate Dave Gilmour’s lead tone on the famous Dark Side of the Moon album, and it does a great job. While producing this video, however, I was confronted with the issue of pickup selection. Gilmour used the bridge pickup on a strat for the much of his solo work, and so it seemed the perfect place to start. The Moon Sound was set up to give the perfect tone for the solo from ‘Money’ with this pickup, and the result was amazing. It sounds just like the original in every way, and I posted the exact settings to achieve the tone on the video.
The pickups on my strat are passive, but our guest player for the video played with active pickups. The higher response from the active pickups meant that, in order to achieve the same Gilmour tone, The ‘Moon Sound’ had to be set up differently to accommodate the different pickup types.
This shows exactly how much care and attention is required to produce a great tone – or to recreate a classic one – and can be a lesson for many aspiring rock stars. Equipment selection and setup is vital to a good sound, and is as important to study as learning to play the guitar itself. We take pride in delivering top of the range boutique amplifiers and effects, and every one of them is created with amazing quality of sound as the main goal. Sometimes it can be hard, sometimes nearly impossible, but it is always rewarding, and there is nothing quite like that moment when you strike a chord and hear exactly the tone that you have been trying for days to transfer from inside of your head to the amplifier.
The ‘Moon Sound’ did a great job at crafting the Gilmour sound with two completely different kinds of pickup, and so it truly passes the test for being a wonderful and versatile effect. Check it out at http://www.baroni-lab.com.