To find the best tone in whatever form

Welcome to The Search For Tone

Welcome to the Search for Tone. This site displays the best guitar amps, great fx and advice for achieving the holy grail of guitar tones. I started the site with what I thought were the top 10 guitar amplifiers.

As I wrote about the top 10 amps, I realised that there's a place for information on smaller amplifiers as well, especially where have features that beat the larger amps.

To get you started, here are a few starting points for finding your way around this site:

Marshall Vintage Modern

It's been suggested that I go and audition a Marshall Vintage Modern amp.

Ibanez TSA15H Tube Screamer 15W Tube Guitar Amp Head


I like the look of this. I've never been a fan of the appearance of the retro-styled smaller guitars amplifiers such as those from Epiphone, Gretsch or Harley Benton, but I looked twice at the style of this amp. For once, there's a retro-style amp I wouldn't mind standing next to on stage.


So it's a small amp but it's not that quiet. Face it, 15W is too loud for turning up full at home, but looking closer and it has a pentode to triode option reducing the output to 5W. That's still loud at full volume, but getting closer to suitable levels for home.

Use inversions for a deeper sound

Quick tip:

Use inversions for a deeper sound and more tone


This principle applies for any chord, check that you're using the right inversion and neck position for that chord. They all sound different and what's more, they sound different on different guitar/amp/speaker combinations.

Need a dropped-D/7-string sound very quickly, play an inversion starting on the A on the 6th string. It will sound deeper than the standard of playing the D major as a barre chord on the 5th fret.

From this:




Jet City Amplification PicoValve 5W Tube Guitar Amp Head


This is more expensive than the Kustom Defender 5W, but offers a few features that may make it more worthwhile, depending on what your looking for. It's still a low power amp and has piqued my interest by being licensed by THD Electronics.

Kustom Defender 5W Class A Guitar Amp: Is this the cheapest 5W valve guitar amp yet?


I'm a fan of small, low-power guitar amplifiers for nailing the tone you want at the volume that your neighbours will condone. I know a lot of people give the cheaper models a hard time, expecting top-end boutique tone out of a cheap Epiphone valve junior hot rod. Well that's not going to happen.

Elements of Tone 2: Picks


This is the second article in the Elements of Tone series following on from the first article: Elements of Tone 1: Strings.

In this article, I'll discuss the difference that picks can make to your guitar tone.

Tone or Playability

I've had a poll on this site since I started it:

Which is the more important feature of a guitar; tone or playability?

So far, roughly 80% of voters sided with tone and that's also my answer as well. I can do more with a guitar with great tone and awkward neck or body than I can do with an easily playable guitar with awful tone.

However in the last couple of weeks, I've come closer than ever to saying playability is more important.


Elements of Tone 1: Strings


This is the first article in the Elements of Tone series.

Strings are an underrated component in the search for tone.

Bugera V5 5W 1x8 Tube Guitar Combo

Yet another addition to the small, low-power valve amplifiers. I like the idea of the Bugera V5's power attenuator as I know that 5W is still too loud to crank up in your house if you want to maintain relationships with your neighbours. 1W is a good amount of power and I'm not really sure about 0.1W.


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