Today’s Challenge – Steve Stevens

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I get lots of emails about my rigs and what kinds of tones guitarists might be looking for. I try to put a lot of variety in each pack so hopefully only a couple of packs will be enough for most people, but sometimes someone comes to me for something pretty specific.

This past week I got an email wanting to know if I had any rigs that sound like Steve Stevens’ tone. Now I can’t presume to be that good because he has some serious tone. It’s always thick and warm and crisp and even-sounding. He has some of the best heavy pop-rock guitar tone imho. But not wanting to let them down, I happened to have time and a day off in my hotel room so I thought I’d give it a shot.

To start, I scrolled through some standard higher gain rigs I had, Marshalls, Bletchley, Soldano… then I thought why not try the Friedman BE100 that I never really bonded with. Even with my Xotic strat that I happened to have with me, it was too dark and covered. I hadn’t revisited that rig since I did my Kemper Cab Pack so I started trying different cabs with it and found one on the second try that worked pretty well.

I played with the eq knobs a bit and even added a studio eq in the x slot and tried to tighten up the low mids a bit and add a bit more 2k bite, a trick that I read years ago in a Steve Vai interview. Then I just played around a bit more with adding a bit of the Space effect and some Vintage Chorus. I also blended in a bit of Screamer. I played around for a bit and I think I got it sounding pretty good. Try turning all the fx on for a wetter, more modulated 80’s tone. Now, it may not be his true tone, but just the process of trying to achieve something can lead to good things, even if the outcome isn’t achieved. I’m sharing the rig below for any interested in trying it out.

Friedman BE SS – 2018-07-01 12-11-28.kipr