Getting Your Guitar Sound

Author: Dan Bowden | Course Code: OGUIT-223

Having a command of scales, chords, styles and techniques is fundamental for any guitar player who wants to play better. Getting Your Guitar Sound provides you with the skills to actually sound better by teaching you to use your ears, hands, and the tools of the trade to play jazz, rock, blues, country and other genres, with a hi-quality, authentic and persuasive tone.

In Getting Your Guitar Sound, you'll examine how a guitar's individual components and overall construction determine it's sound characteristics, so you can maximize the strengths as well as work around the limitations of any particular instrument. You'll learn about amplifiers, speakers and cabinets, and gain expertise using the amazing modeling software, AmpliTube. By working closely with individual amp models (including emulations of Fender, Marshall and Mesa), as well an array of virtual stompbox and rack effects, you'll learn to configure the right setups and to properly work the controls to get the tones you'll need for class projects, as well as real-world performances.

The course covers a wide range of musical styles, teaching you to sound convincing when playing inside, and outside your comfort zones. You'll build customized rigs and recreate the exact guitar parts from a wide range of landmark recordings by artists including, (Blues) Magic Sam, Buddy Guy, (Jazz) Kenny Burrell, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, (Country) Brent Mason, (Rock) Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Carlos Santana, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Robin Trower, Andy Summers, U2, Joe Satriani, Soundgarden and Pantera. Hi-quality play-along tracks are provided for inspiration as you prepare your assignments.

By the end of the course, you will have gained the ability to best utilize your guitar, amps, effect pedals and rack gear to zero in on the tones you'll need for the music you'll play for years to come.

By successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Play music in a wide range of styles with an authentic and convincing guitar tone
  • Understand the factors that determine a guitar and amplifier's tone characteristics
  • Work the controls of leading amplifiers, effect pedals and rack effects by using the amp modeling plug-in, AmpliTube
  • Identify how effects are categorized, combined and how each pedal and rack module works to change your sound
  • Develop your own personal setups for recording and live performance

Lesson 1: Guitars and Tone

  • Electric Guitars Are Acoustic Instruments
  • Wood and Tone
  • Pickups
  • String Gauges, Setup, and Picks
  • Electric Guitar Bodies

Lesson 2: Amplifiers

  • Sections Of the Amplifier
  • Tubes
  • Why Guitarists Love Tubes
  • Speakers
  • Putting It All Together

Lesson 3: Introduction to Amplitube

  • Installing AmpliTube
  • AmpliTube's Interface
  • Using AmpliTube's Tuner 
  • The Amp Module
  • Amp Module Controls
  • AmpliTube's Amp Models
  • The Preset Manager
  • Clean Tones
  • Getting a Crunch Sound
  • Lead Tones

Lesson 4: Effects By Category

  • Effect Categories
  • Gain-Based Effects
  • The AmpliTube Stomp Module
  • Modulation Effects
  • Ambient Effects
  • Wah Effects

Lesson 5: Using Effects

  • Standard Pedal-Connection Order
  • Common Pedal Combinations
  • Alternate Setups
  • Comprehending Compression
  • The Details Of Delay

Lesson 6: Defining Your Sound

  • All About EQ
  • Using EQ
  • Country, Blues, and Classic Rock Setups
  • Jazz Guitar Setups
  • Contemporary Rock Guitar Setups
  • Progressive Rock and Metal Setups
  • Getting Your Sound

Lesson 7: Rack Effects

  • AmpliTube's Rack Effect Module
  • Modulation Rack Effects: Digital Flanger
  • Modulation Rack Effects: Analog Chorus
  • Digital Chorus Rack Effect
  • Rotary Speaker Rack Effect
  • Delay and Reverb Effects

Lesson 8: Jazz, Blues, and Country Setups

  • Pitch Effects
  • Pitch Shifter
  • EQ and Dynamic Effects
  • Jazz, Blues, and Country Setups
  • Getting a Classic Blues Guitar Tone
  • Getting a Nashville Guitar Tone

Lesson 9: Classic Rock Setups

  • Getting a Rockabilly Guitar Tone
  • Getting a 1950s Rock and Roll Guitar Tone
  • Getting Late 1960's American Rock Guitar Tones
  • Getting Late 1960's British Rock Guitar Tones

Lesson 10: Alternative and Contemporary Rock Setups

  • AmpliTube's Cab Module
  • Getting 1970s Psychedelic R & B Lead Guitar Tone
  • Getting Andy Summers "Walking on the Moon" Tone
  • Getting Robin Trower's "Bridge of Sighs" Guitar Tones

Lesson 11: Progressive Rock and Metal Setups

  • Getting Joe Satriani's Guitar Tone
  • Sound like The Edge on U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)"
  • Getting Dave Gilmour's Guitar Tone
  • Getting A Pat Metheny's "Phase Dance" Guitar Tone

Lesson 12: Contemporary Sounds of the Electric Guitar

  • Getting Buddy Guy's Tone on "Damn Right I Got the Blues"
  • Getting the Tones from John Scofield's "Acidhead"
  • Getting a Tone Like Dimebag Darrell's on "Revolution Is My Name"
  • Getting Tones from Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun"

Dan Bowden

Author & Instructor

Dan Bowden is an unusually versatile guitarist and teacher, specializing in a wide range of styles including rock, jazz, blues and R'n'B. With over a dozen instructional books for the guitar to his credit, Dan has reached guitar students worldwide. His best-selling titles include: Wes Montgomery: The Early Years, Mel Bays Complete Accompaniment Method For Guitar, and Electric Blues Guitar Workout. Along with doing freelance performing in the Boston area, Dan plays and records with the blues, roots and originals group: Stingy Brimm. He has taught guitar at Berklee since 1989, and is himself a Berklee graduate. Dan's first guitar effect pedal was an original 1960's Maestro Fuzz-Tone. He has continuously used effects since that time.


Completion of Guitar Chords 101 and Guitar Scales 101, or equivalent knowledge, is required.  Students should have intermediate playing skills and be comfortable using open position chords, power chords, and executing simple single-note leads.

Required Textbook

None required

Software Requirements

  • AmpliTube 4 Deluxe* recording software with real-time plug-in functionality, such as Logic, Digital Performer, Pro Tools, SONAR, Cubase, GarageBand, Music Creator, Reaper and FL Studio. If you do not own one of these programs, AmpliTube's built-in multitrack recorder can be used.
  • Mac Web Browser: Chrome, Safari, or Firefox
  • PC Web Browser: Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Firefox

*Berklee Online and IK Multimedia have come together to offer an educational discount on the required software for the course - AmpliTube 4 Deluxe. Once enrolled, students will be directed to IK Multimedia's online store, where AmpliTube 4 Deluxe can be purchased. Early enrollment is encouraged to ensure software delivery prior to the start of the course.

Hardware Requirements

You will need a way to connect your guitar directly to your computer in order to record with AmpliTube. Examples include the IK Multimedia Stealthplug, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Mbox, etc. See the Student Deals page for discounts.

In order to run AmpliTube 4 Deluxe and participate in this course you must meet the following minimal hardware requirements:

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.7 or higher
  • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo or higher
  • 2 GB of RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 2 GB free hard disk space
  • Sound card
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam

PC Users

  • Windows 7 64-bit or higher
  • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo / AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 or higher
  • 2 GB of RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 2 GB free hard disk space
  • Sound card
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam


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Next Term Starts January 9

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