2. Blues-Setup

Guitar

While the blues can be played on just about any guitar, there are a few clear favourites. The first is the double-cutaway semi-acoustic. This type of guitar originated with the Gibson ES-335, which is still generally considered by many to be ‘best in class’. These guitars are usually equipped with humbuckers for a warm, fat tone (use the neck pickup), or biting lead at the bridge.

The blues in its many forms is so central to the history of the guitar, that most other major guitar types can be identified with a particular player or style, from Fender’s Stratocaster (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray) and Telecaster (Albert Collins) to Gibson’s Les Paul (Gary Moore, Peter Green).

Amp

Most blues players prefer amps which preserve the subtleties of the guitar’s natural tone. Many classic blues sounds inhabit the area generally known as ‘crunch’ – that is to say neither fully distorted nor completely clean. Full distortion tends to reduce the guitar’s dynamic range - clipped waveforms are by their nature compressed. Crunch can have quite the opposite effect, as quiet notes tend to sound relatively clean, while playing louder produces more distortion.

Valve combos are popular with blues players who require a degree of subtle, creamy tube distortion, but generally don’t need the volume or want the big bottom end of a stack. A 1x 12” valve combo at high volume is capable of both a wide dynamic range and a broad range of tones.

Effects

The blues is not a style characterised by the heavy use of effects. Subtle nuances of tone and dynamics will often be lost in the wash of sound produced by effects popular with rock players, such as delay and chorus. Many world-renowned blues players have setups consisting of little more than a guitar, amp and cable.

Overdrive for blues is achieved using the amp itself, a favourite pedal, or a combination of the two. In this situation, the pedal is usually used as a signal booster - rather than producing distortion itself, the it raises the guitar’s output to a level where distortion is induced in the amp.

Certain effects do lend themselves to the blues style though, particularly if a crossover into ‘psychedelic’ rock is sought. ‘Wah-wah’ has been particularly popular since its possibilities were first explored in the late Sixties by Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. A wah pedal is essentially a sweepable mid-frequency boost. When placed before overdrive in the signal path, the overall volume boost is often enough to increase the amount of overdrive. In this position, the tone is given a degree of ‘grunt’, compared to placement in an FX loop, where the sound is smoother as the amount of distortion is predetermined by the preamp.

The psychedelic blues boom of the late Sixties was infused with another characteristic sound - the Leslie speaker cabinet. The Leslie’s speakers are not in fixed positions, but instead mounted on motorised arms which rotate the speakers to produce a distinctive ‘watery’ pulsating effect. Apart from their great sound, Leslies are famous for being big, heavy and full of moving parts which can easily malfunction if not maintained very carefully. Fortunately, there are now many pedals which produce similar effects, such as tremolo and ‘vibe’, as well as dedicated Leslie simulators.

Your Contacts

Best rated products

  1. Harley Benton SC-550 Faded Tobacco Flame

    Harley Benton SC-550 Faded Tobacco Flame

    In stock within 3-4 weeks
    269 €
  2. Harley Benton SC-450Plus HB Vintage Series

    Harley Benton SC-450Plus HB Vin­tage Series

    In stock
    179 €
  3. Harley Benton SC-550 Paradise Amber Flame

    Harley Benton SC-550 Para­dise Amber Flame

    In stock
    269 €
  4. Harley Benton SC-Custom VB

    Harley Benton SC-Custom VB

    In stock within 3-4 weeks
    199 €
  5. Harley Benton SC-450Plus LD Vintage Series

    Harley Benton SC-450Plus LD Vin­tage Series

    In stock
    179 €
  6. Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Pro HB

    Epi­phone Les Paul Standard Plus Pro HB

    In stock within about one week
    525 €
  7. Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro EB

    Epi­phone Les Paul Custom Pro EB

    In stock within about one week
    555 €
  8. Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Pro HCS

    Epi­phone Les Paul Standard Plus Pro HCS

    In stock within 4-5 weeks
    498 €
  9. Epiphone Les Paul Standard Ebony

    Epi­phone Les Paul Standard Ebony

    In stock within about one week
    419 €
  10. Harley Benton SC-450Plus VB Vintage Series

    Harley Benton SC-450Plus VB Vin­tage Series

    In stock
    169 €
  11. Harley Benton SC-450 P90 GT Classic Series

    Harley Benton SC-450 P90 GT Classic Series

    In stock
    149 €
  12. Harley Benton SC-1000 VB Progressive Line

    Harley Benton SC-1000 VB Pro­gressive Line

    In stock
    189 €
  13. Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack EB

    Epi­phone Les Paul Player Pack EB

    In stock within about one week
    222 €
  14. Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit Single Cut

    Harley Benton Elec­tric Guitar Kit Single Cut

    In stock within 6-7 weeks
    98 €
  15. Epiphone Les Paul Standard Ebon B-Stock
    B-STOCK

    Epi­phone Les Paul Standard Ebon B-Stock

    In stock
    354 €

Top Brands

  • Hagstrom
  • Charvel
  • Framus
  • Guild
  • PRS
  • Music Man
  • G&L
  • Maybach
  • Stromberg
  • FGN
  • Suhr
  • Danelectro

Most popular products

  1. Mooer GE 300

    Mooer GE 300

    In stock
    735 €
  2. Line6 Pod HD500X

    Line6 Pod HD500X

    In stock
    399 €
    591 €
  3. Fishman Loudbox Mini with Bluetooth

    Fishman Loudbox Mini with Bluetooth

    In stock
    319 €
    534,31 €
  4. Boss GT-100

    Boss GT-100

    In stock
    353 €
    429 €
  5. Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit DC Style

    Harley Benton Elec­tric Guitar Kit DC Style

    In stock
    89 €
  6. Harley Benton ST-20 SB Standard Series

    Harley Benton ST-20 SB Standard Series

    In stock
    79 €
  7. Line6 Amplifi 75

    Line6 Amp­lifi 75

    In stock
    198 €
    349 €
  8. Line6 Helix Guitar Processor

    Line6 Helix Guitar Pro­cessor

    In stock
    1.299 €
    1.876 €
  9. Harley Benton HB-20R

    Harley Benton HB-20R

    In stock
    59 €
  10. Harley Benton G212 Vintage

    Harley Benton G212 Vin­tage

    In stock
    198 €
  11. Boss Katana 100

    Boss Katana 100

    In stock
    285 €
    359 €
  12. Harley Benton HB-10G

    Harley Benton HB-10G

    In stock
    39 €
  13. Boss GT-1 Guitar Multi-FX Pedal

    Boss GT-1 Guitar Multi-FX Pedal

    In stock
    189 €
    209 €
  14. Fender Mustang I V.2

    Fender Mus­tang I V.2

    In stock
    111 €
  15. Line6 Helix LT Guitar Processor

    Line6 Helix LT Guitar Pro­cessor

    In stock
    888 €
    1.285 €