guitar sound

A youthful Duane Eddy poses with one of his Gretsch 6120s in this early career promotional photo.

The Gretsch 6120-bearing instrumental-rock pioneer has died at age 86, leaving behind an unmistakable sonic thumbprint and that continues to reverberate in creative music.

Instrumental rock arrived with a growl and a twang in 1958. The growl was from Link Wray’s fierce “Rumble,” which put distorted guitar on the pop charts—at No. 16—for the first time. The twang was the low, reverb-bathed, tremolo-burnished sound of Duane Eddy’s Gretsch 6120 on “Rebel Rouser,” which reached No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in May.

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Steve Albini in the control room at his Electrical Audio studio in Chicago.

Photo by Kevin Tiongson

Words of wisdom from the legendary engineer, proprietor of Chicago’s Electrical Audio, World Series of Poker champion, and, in the band Shellac, the compass for brutal guitar aesthetics.

“All day every day, we’re grinding it out,” says engineer Steve Albini of his team at Electrical Audio, the Chicago studio he built and has run since 1997. “We’re constantly in session, constantly under fire.”

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All hail the great Malcolm Young, one of my personal "tonal barometers" for great guitar sound.

Some easy tricks for coaxing primo timbres from your guitars, amps, and pedals.

Someone recently posted one of my pedal demos in a thread on a guitar forum and stated that he really liked the sound of the pedal in the demo. Another forum member chimed in and said that for some reason, everything I play through usually sounds good. Shortly after, forum member “Squank" replied, “It's a talent. Most gear can be dialed in to sound at least decent."

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